Growing up, I used to wonder what an archeologist or alien would make of our cultural artifacts. They’d probably look at stuff like this…
Out of 1,810 total characters, 1,277 (about 70.6 percent) were male, and 1,714 (94.7 percent) were white. As Michel notes, this is similar to the underrepresentation of nonwhites in newspaper comics (which have about 2 to 4 percent nonwhite characters) and worse than children’s books (which have 5 to 10 percent). […]
Women disproportionately filled the roles of “parent,” “assistant,” and “spouse.” They were far less likely to be portrayed as “scientists,” “literary figures,” “coaches,” or “police.”
In fact, when it comes to many of these occupations, it’s a good bet that New Yorker cartoons are far behind the real-world numbers: about 10 percent of the lawyers in the cartoons were women, whereas about 33 percent of American Bar Association members are in reality.
… and conclude the sex ratio was 3:1, our skin colour was white (with rare exceptions), and there was massive behaviour differences between groups.
But then they’d stumble on grave markers, and realize the ratio’s really 50/50. Census forms would hint at a much larger variation in skin colour. School records would reveal little difference, and the scientific record would both reinforce that while revealing rampant sexism and racism.
And they’d shake their heads, or waggle the appropriate appendage, and be thankful they grew up in a more enlightened culture.