Friday, 29 September 2000

Maps and Racism

Listening to:

Schumann, piano trio in D minor, op. 63.

Maps and Racism

An interesting piece on how to demonstrate racism to school children by teaching them to discriminate on the basis of eye colour. It further includes a link to a site selling copies of the Peters Projection maps. These are neat maps, which have the property of presenting the correct areas (one square inch anywhere on this map represents an equal number of square miles). (Another Peters map site.)

Of course, it’s not just the projection you choose that has potential political significance, it’s what you decide to put in the middle of the map. The Peters one puts Africa and Europe in the middle, and cuts through the Pacfic and Bering Strait. Maps I saw when I lived in Canada quite ridiculously put the Americas in the middle of the map, cutting Asia in half at about India. In New Zealand, maps are currently centred on New Zealand, smack bang in the middle of the bottom of the expanses of the Pacific. The cut is then down the Atlantic, at cost perhaps to Iceland and Greenland.