One of the coolest things about being a freelance writer is that I get to learn new stuff. Since I just bought a house not too long ago, I was aware of radon, and that it’s dangerous, and that it can be in a person’s house, but I didn’t know anything beyond that, really.
So I was reading over at EPA.gov all about radon. I looked into how radon is measured, where it’s most prevalent in the country, what steps are required for mitigation if a house tests high. This research is for a few pieces for a newsletter that’s put out by a group of home inspectors.
There’s a list of radon publications, and one of them is “Learning About Radon: A Part of Nature.” Click Brochure for Native Americans (PDF) for the whole brochure.
Over to the left is the cover. It is beautifully illustrated like the whole brochure. And maybe there’s something I don’t know about Native American culture (i.e. that few Native Americans have an education beyond 3rd grade), but this brochure that is slated as “Designed for Native Americans” is just so vastly condescending.
Perhaps if the brochure was designed for grade school-aged Native Americans, I would feel less ashamed of the evidence of deep non-understanding and condescension present in the brochure. It wasn’t. It presents this total bias: that Native American adults need to be convinced to do things for their own health by their children and their children’s South American school teachers. It smacks of manipulation and ignorance and even if the brochure was published 30 years ago, that it is still up on the internet as a resource at the EPA’s website is a testament to our prevailing arrogance and xenophobia as a country and culture.