Survival’s Stamp It Out campaign aims to challenge racist descriptions, however unwitting, of tribal peoples in the media.
Terms like ‘stone age’ and ‘primitive’ have been used to describe tribal people since the colonial era, reinforcing the idea that they have not changed over time and that they are backward.
This idea is both incorrect and very dangerous. It is incorrect because all societies adapt and change, and it is dangerous because it is often used to justify the persecution or forced ‘development’ of tribal peoples. The results are almost always catastrophic: poverty, alcoholism, prostitution, disease and death.
Survival would like you to be on the lookout for terms like ‘stone age’ and ‘primitive’ used to describe tribal peoples in the media today. When you spot one, please fill in one of our Stamp it Out e-cards with the information given below and send it to the editor.
Fill in the form with the information given below and click “Send postcard to editor”.
Dear Editor ,
Your recent book/article/programme
referred to the
Terms like 'primitive' and 'stone age' have been used to describe tribal people since the colonial era. They reinforce the idea that these peoples have not changed for generations. But this is not true. All societies adapt and change - not just ours. Tribal people are no more 'savage' than the rest of us.
The idea that tribes are backward leads directly to their persecution. For example, it is claimed that forcibly developing tribes is 'for their own good', and helps them 'catch up' with the 'civilised' world. The results are almost always catastrophic: poverty, alcoholism, prostitution, disease and death.
I hope you will refrain from using such terms in the future.
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