Opinion | Church

Trayvon Martin, Hoodies, and the Power of Images

Understanding our visual writing helps explain how we respond to the case.

My brother has two daughters. One of them looks like me. Guess which one I have a special bond with? Oh, sure, other factors played a part as our relationship developed over the years, such as our mutual love of fashion and books, and her sister's bent toward sports. But even before my nieces were old enough to show such interests, there was already, although I tried not to let it show, a special pull toward that tow-headed little girl with thick glasses in whom I saw myself looking back at me.

This tug of the familiar goes beyond the familial, though. For example, I love dogs, all dogs. But if a Boxer crosses my path, I feel an instant bond. For the most cherished dog in all my life was a Boxer, and, having loved one Boxer mug, I favor them all based on appearance alone.

We humans are funny that way. We typically depend upon sight more than any other sense. We are visual beings, image-driven slaves to seeing. And we're hard-wired, it seems, to be drawn to the familiar.

This aspect of our ...

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