Colored Expectations -wk 3

Advertisements tell us just as much by what they don’t say as what they do, especially in comparison to one another. Scribners and The Crisis both contain sections in their magazines giving information about different lower and higher education. The Crisis dives right in to their education section with a large portrait of a sharp looking black military man, along with several other university postings. Scribners does not immediately post about their educators, though. They have a full paragraph giving warning that families should make their own “personal investigation” to ensure that schools are a fit because “The need of special or individual training for those not capable of adjusting themselves to a certain standard is generally recognized” (22). What this indicates to me is a certain level of trust with the “darker races” to their writers. If a school is posted, the understanding is that it would be “safe.” However, the message conveyed by Scribners is a certain paranoia that schools might have a certain brand of “special” that people don’t appreciate. To me, this reads as “don’t worry, y’all. Your white kids will be okay at these places, but verify to make sure.” Furthermore, certain of these postings communicate gender expectations, and those are not across the board consistent. In The Crisis, the Daytona Educational and Industrial School for Negro Girls discusses “Christian Influences” and how their new principal was once in charge of a house for “Working Girls” (160). This communicates a sense of expectation of black girls—to be groomed for polite Christian living and hard work. Meanwhile, Scribners lists at least 5 schools for girls, and they list activities such as dancing, music, painting, etc (22-23). The women in these schools are not being trained for hard work—they are being trained to be trophy wives and mistresses. The readers of these magazines are not only separated by color; they are separated by economic position. Without even reading the rest of the magazine, these school advertisements communicate the state of their readers. 


Jamie, your post speaks to the importance of advertisements to their corresponding magazines as a whole. The advertisements you have discussed regarding education from Scribner's and The Crisis, provide insight to the reader of the subject matter and theme of the magazine they will be reading. The language of the advertisements, as you point out, is targeted towards a specific audience. White girls were expected to attend school to have fun and to be trained in the skills of homemaking and finding a husband. While Black girls were expected to become upstanding, Christian women who would be marketable for work. The implications of race in relation to advertising tactics and language are very clear here: The Crisis, being a magazine for African Americans, advocated for racial uplift and would therefore word their advertisements in ways that appeal to that advocation. In contrast, Scribner's readership was white upper to upper-middle-class white individuals who were wealthy enough to enjoy leisure time. Therefore this time for leisure which is one of the themes of the magazine would be interspersed into all aspects of the magazine's contents, even school advertisements. Advertisements are one of the most interesting aspects of periodical studies for me because they reflect, sometimes, more than the magazine itself does, the tastes and economic status, background, etc. of the readers.