"In our time we have come to realize that the concept of 'image' is not a shallow or trivial affair. Images are the coins in terms of which we are known and valued by the world, and ultimately they are internalized; as such they become the basis for self-evaluation. Appearance becomes 'reality,' and nonappearance may mean oblivion. When disdained or ignored, people are taught how to control their images, to shape them in accord with their view of themselves and life, despite often contra-dictory views presented from outside, they acquire a set of skills that are nothing less than the means for gaining enhanced power and self-determination.
"Work that is built around portraying a people's interpretation enriches the society to which it is addressed. We have come to accept our multi-cultural, multiethnic world as a richer one than the imaginary homo-geneous 'melting pot' once desired. We enrich the total culture and the members of ignored groups when we aid them to 'be themselves,' publicly and powerfully. It is significant that the elderly provide a model here, since they represent a human universal, cross-cutting specific ethnic and regional membership. Assisting them in their movement from victims to victors is a fitting way to bring about internally generated social change."
1. Quote from Barbara, Myerhoff, "Surviving Stories," Remembered Lives: the Work of Ritual, Storytelling, and Growing Older, ed. Marc Kaminsky (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1992) 300-1.