Saturday, July 23, 2011

Street smart questions

"When motor vehicles bring in the risk of death, why are pedestrians given most of the responsibility of preventing it?"

That and some very pertinent points raised by Karthik in his new post where he writes:

The term “jaywalking” was introduced at this time, and pedestrians who cross mid-block were caricatured as being unsophistacted and boorish... It occurs to me that such propaganda bears remarkable similarity to the notion of the “white man’s burden” that European colonizers used to justify their tyranny.  The caricatures of jaywalking pedestrians correspond to early European prejudices about oriental people. In the meanwhile, streets that were used for several millennia by pedestrians and other street people (street vendors, for instance) were effectively invaded by automobiles. Rules advantageous to the colonizers were then enforced as a way of “civilizing” the “uncivilized”.

Read it here

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