Posts tagged Racism
Posts tagged Racism
Back in spring 2008, (I love the Gmail archive) I was talking to one of my best friends, Mia Mingus, about the ways that Black women are depicted in the media. She, a self described “queer physically disabled Korean woman transracial and transnational adoptee,” suggested that there could be a term to describe just that, because she too noticed that the way Black women were treated was different from other women of color. I played around with words and ultimately settled on misogynoir (sistagyny was one I thankfully discarded). I had other Black women, Whitney Peoples, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, among others, vet the term and we talked about its potential utility, its pros and cons. I started to use it on the Crunk Feminist Collective and members of the CFC started to use it too (I put it in my dissertation and journal articles no one will read :)). It took on a life of its own on tumblr and it is amazing that so many folks I don’t know have taken it up and use it far more frequently than I have. Major thanks to Trudz a.k.a Gradient Lair.
I say all this to say that it is important to me and to at least one other non Black person of color that the term is used to describe the unique ways in which Black women are pathologized in popular culture. What happens to Black women in public space isn’t about them being any woman of color. It is particular and has to do with the ways that anti-Blackness and misogyny combine to malign Black women in our world.
I see some folks are trying out misogynchrom for a term that applies to women of color generally. For me, POC and WOC as terms don’t really get to the heart of what is happening in our connections as non white folks. These are useful terms for building solidarity in some ways but have significant limits. See Janani’s post on BGD for more on the limits. I don’t know that lumping all other WOC into one category is useful, especially when the differences between us could help us root out our own internalized oppression.
I was looking for precise language to describe why Renisha McBride would be shot in the face, or why the Onion would think it’s okay to talk about Quvenzhané the way they did, or the hypervisibilty of Black women on reality TV, the arrest of Shanesha Taylor, the incarceration of CeCe, Laverne and Lupita being left off the TIME list, the continued legal actions against Marissa Alexander, the twitter dragging of black women with hateful hashtags and supposedly funny instagram images as well as how Black women are talked about in music. All these things bring to mind misogynoir and not general misogyny directed at women of color more broadly.
Find the language that works for you but please don’t redefine the terms we create for ourselves.
This production marks the first time in 36 years that the play has been produced for Broadway. This version of the classic tale, according to press notes, “will retain Shakespeare’s original language but have a modern setting in which members of the Montague family will be white, and the Capulet family will be black.”
According to producers, “In this new production, the members of the Montague household will be white, and the blood relatives of the Capulet family will be black. While race defines the family lineages, the original cause of the ‘ancient quarrel’, passed down by successive generations to their young, has been lost to time. Shakespeare’s dramatization of the original poem sets the two young lovers in a context of prejudice, authoritarian parents, and a never ending cycle of ‘revenge.’ Against this background, the strength of their love changes the world.”
1. I didn’t know Phlicia Rashad had a daughter
2. making romeo and juliet and interracial couple is like the most boring fucking way to spice up romeo and juliet.
I get really frustrated when people decide to make R&J “relevant” by casting the two families as members of modern ethnic that are experiencing conflict. Not just because it’s boring and overdone and never as insightful as the directors and producers think it is.
It’s because the feud between the Montagues and the Capulets is explicitly a stupid bullshit pissing match between two powerful families that no one else takes seriously (and that even some members of the family think is silly).
So anytime someone decides to make R&J “relevant” by making those families black/white or Israeli/Palestinian or something along those lines, they a) undermine the seriousness of those conflicts by implying that a little kumbaya can prevent the deaths of young people, and b) erase the fact that, unlike the Montagues and Capulets, one of those real world groups is invariably guilty of violence and oppression against the other.
Ever been browsing Grindr and seen “No Blacks, no Asians”? Ever heard a white gay man talk about being a “sassy Black woman”? Ever seen a Shirley Q. Liquor video? There is an undeniable problem with racism in the gay community, but far too many white queer folks don’t want to talk about it.
The purpose of this blog is to hold white queer folks accountable for their appropriation of Black culture, their insistence that being oppressed on other axes keeps a person from being capable of oppression, and the white supremacy that permeates mainstream white queer culture.
This blog is intended to be a safe space for folks who want to rant about gaycism however they want. We’re not here to tone police, because anger is always a valid response to racism and white supremacy. Anyone who disagrees with that can fuck right off.
We welcome your submissions, whether they’re all-caps rants or doctoral dissertations. Links, personal stories, anything. Together we can say “Hell No Gaycism!”
All new low - even for the GOP.
Read more here http://www.salon.com/2012/07/27/fla_republican_we_suppressed_black_votes/
dot dot dot dot dot dot dot
hi can everyone hear about this pls????
people are actually surprised about this?
I’m surprised they said it out loud.
Living in this society, yes, there will be books, music, movies, etc. that have problematic themes in them. Also, there will be actors, singers, performers, etc. that have done and said problematic and hurtful things to marginalized groups. Some can apologize and change. But a lot will not (because their aim is only to market themselves to the majority, and they don’t really give a shit about you if you’re marginalized).
Then for some of us, we probably won’t notice the problematic material until later in our lives when we’re more self-aware, then we learn that a lot of crap we like was actually bad for us.
It’s disappointing to find out that a media that you liked or a celebrity that you liked has actually said and/or done hurtful, bigoted things. It feels like betrayal if you’re a part of that group yourself. And if you’re not, you just feel dirty continuing to like the problematic media or person.
Lots and lots of feelings surrounding it, I know. But here are some tips on how to deal:
- Just calm the fuck down jfc
- Just listen to what people are saying about the person, and don’t leap out to defend them and interrupt people. If you do, then you really have to pull back and evaluate how you can be so fucking petty and childish. Also, expect people to tell you to STFU and call you out for derailing.
- If you don’t know the context, be brave enough to look it up yourself instead of interrupting conversations and going, “I am a HUGE fan and have been for many years! I DEMAND PROOF! STOP YOUR GROWN-UP DISCUSSION RIGHT NOW AND SPOON FEED ME!”
- If the celebrity/book/movie/etc. hurts a marginalized group you’re a part of, and you want the marginalized group calling the problematic shit out to stop and validate you and your feelings so that you will feel less like a privileged asshole, then guess what? YOU’RE A PRIVILEGED ASSHOLE! One of the worst types, actually — a gross, emotionally manipulative one. You SHOULD feel like one, feel bad about it, and then stop being one if it makes you feel so bad. Seriously, don’t talk about how mad it makes you and whine about how much you like a certain movie or so-and-so celebrity. Also, if you are trying to be more aware of your privilege, yet you act like this, you’re failing extremely hard no matter how bad you feel about Dan Savage being an abusive shithead, Lady Gaga being transphobic and racist, Gwen Stephani being a typical racist white lady, etc.
- If the celebrity/book/movie/etc. hurts a group you are a part of, but you still like the celebrity/book/movie/etc., that’s great! Now, please just let people talk and share their opinions and don’t try to shut down others or think your voice is more important than anybody else’s. And if the problematic shit is indeed there, without a doubt, while you can have your own feelings about it, you don’t have a right to tell other people how they should feel. And if you’re just in denial about it all, then unfortunately, your own internalized stuff is yours for you to deal with. Go deal with it and let people talk, or better yet, just listen to what people say and think about the media you consume. You don’t have to make judgments on anything immediately — just think for yourself.
- It’s not the end of the world, you’re not “evil” for liking the person/media in the first place, up is still up, down is still down, etc. Seriously, it’s ridic how defensive people can get about these things. I can understand why — some books, movies, and celebrities have changed my life, too. There’s no undoing that. But there’s also no undoing the fact that we live in an oppressive society where bigotry is still very much alive and perpetuated through the media and the news. This is how stereotypes are kept alive, this is why characters are often whitewashed, this is how rape culture hasn’t died yet. It’s horrible. You might feel horrible that such a horrible piece of our culture has helped you at one point. But maybe you should learn not to worship people or put them on pedestals and realize that people, yes, even people you like (!), can do bad things, say bad things, write bad things, direct bad things, etc. that really, really hurt people. That’s on them. But it should be on you to see the problematic behavior, deconstruct it, and see it for what it is instead of losing your shit over it. You can take parts of the good yet acknowledge and condemn the bad. You can still like an idea behind a movie yet hate a bigoted actor who’s in it. You can still like music from a certain performer yet realize they’re -ist assholes. That’s totally possible to do. Not everything is all-or-nothing or “black-and-white.” Everybody has the ability to be perceptive, so ffs, work on your own perception. But if you shut down marginalized people calling shit out, then you ARE a bad person.
- And really, if finding out that something you like is -ist, oppressive, or bigoted completely destroys your foundation, then the person who called it out to begin with should pat themselves on the back for a job well done. And you should try to have a stronger foundation for your principals and morality instead of building it around a celebrity. For example, if Lady Gaga is the sole reason why you’re supportive of the LGBTQ community (and yes, lol I’ve heard this), then you find out she’s problematic, and that just changes EVERYTHING for you, then actually, you don’t give a shit at all. If that hurts your feelings and you want to scream at me, do two things. Go back and read the first point then the rest of this post, then go look up Lady Gaga and her transphobia and racism. Also realize LGBTQ should (doesn’t, but should) include trans* people and PoC.
For the balcony.
While we both fall under the queer umbrella, our experiences differ greatly. Perhaps this challenges the idea of a queer umbrella to begin with—do we really have that much in common?
But that’s beside the point.
There are troublesome trends in the gay cis community that should be noted. Here’s a checklist. Gay cis dudes, spot these trends and stop it. To my followers: if you have items to add or I slip up, let me know!
- It is not okay to poke fun at vulvae or describe how much they disgust you. You’re mocking my sexuality by doing so. You’re mocking some trans* folks’ body parts by doing so.
- Being gay does not absolve you of other privileges.
- Speaking of racism, it’s awesome to be feminine. It isn’t awesome to joke about how you are secretly a “sassy black woman” when you are actually a white cis dude. It feeds into stereotypes about women of color.
- Being gay does not mean you may touch my breasts without asking. I am uncomfortable being touched without given permission, and I suspect it may trigger others too.
- Make sure your friends are okay being called sluts, whores, bitches, and so on. Not everybody is comfortable with historically misogynistic terms, however fondly you use them.
- Gay is not the new black. Queer rights are not comparable to the civil rights movement. To make these comparisons implies that racism is over, which is far from true.
Please substitue the word “children” for “99 percent of the idiots using the #peace tag on tumblr.”
I always get too angry to articulate why images of malnourished African children bothers me. Why it is racist. Why it’s wrong.
This article above helps.
The way you think about Africa is wrong.
The way you think about the entire world beyond you is probably wrong.
But let’s start with Africa. Because chances are you paid the 30 dollars for that stupid fucking Invisible Children starter kit. That at one point in time you participated in a 30 Hour Famine at church. Or you “adopted” a starving child with a few friends after you saw a 5 minute infomercial. Possibly you really like Bono. Or Blood Diamond made you feel really bad. Hotel Rwanda made you cry. Maybe you have one of those shirts with the heart in the middle of the continent. Or that you really want to internationally adopt an “orphan.”
The way you think about Africa is wrong.
Did you know that the UNICEF definition of orphanhood as the loss of one or both parents. Did you know that children are adopted by white parents all the time when their biological parents are still alive. Did you know that foreign adoptions happen all the time because parents see themselves as too impoverished or incapable to raise their children on their own. Did you know that Madonna, the supposed savior of Malawi, abducted her child because international adoptions aren’t even legal in that country.
Did you know that the never-ending stream of donations you send to Africa is destroying local economies and small businesses. Did it ever occur to you that your donations are putting people out of business. Did you consider that you might be creating poverty just for participating in a capitalist system that steals from the poor and then throws them whatever is left over and calls it “charity.” Did it never occur to you, while you were donating money and feeling good about it, why it is that your dollar is needed in the first place.
Did you know that organizations like World Vision (the asshats who brought you the 30 Hour Famine) have set up camps for survivors of war and violence in Uganda, where they regularly impose Christian teachings and values through a process called “sensitization,” in order to get survivors to think more like they do. Did it ever occur to you that there are thousands of languages, cultures, and lives that are being homogenized by “charitable” organizations, and that it’s on your dime.
Did you know that money you donate comes with strings, and sometimes it doesn’t even come at all. Did it occur to you that organizations don’t spend their money unless they want to, and that frequently comes with stipulations. Did you consider that maybe there are places in Africa and elsewhere that really need your money or economic support, but don’t give a fuck about your hegemonic religious values. Did you have any clue that organizations like Invisible Children take in millions of dollars annually, but don’t even spend a third of it in Uganda.
Did you have any idea that countless charities, hospitals, adoption agencies, etc., set up in Africa are illegal, and done without credence to national or local government. Have you heard of volunteer tourism? Did you have any idea that completely untrained and uneducated people are hauling ass to Africa, and building charities that board, educate, and treat young children illegally with absolutely zero recognition of the law of the land in which they are in.
Did it ever occur to you that maybe some people in Africa are doing just fucking fine. They have a house. They own shoes. They have parents and siblings and food and an education and a favorite restaurant and hobbies and ambitions and a happy life. Did you consider that maybe your stupid generalizations and conceptualizations bother and insult them, and make it more difficult to be them.
Did you ever consider that Africa is a living, breathing continent of millions of people who are different. Economically, socially, religiously, lingually, culturally, ethnically different. And that your stupid fucking pictures of malnourished kids, your idolization of Angelina Jolie and Madonna, your ridiculous Invisible Children bracelet, your idiotic KONY 2012 posters are racist. They’re simplifying a place that is not simple. They’re portraying an enormous continent as singular, backward place. Instead of more complicated than you have ever bothered to understand.
You operate autonomously, offering your “help” where it has not been asked for. Blindly donating your dollars and your time without having any idea how it is being spent.
There are people there. Governments. Cities. There are people living their lives in a continent that you do not understand, but you claim to help.
This rant was long-winded but I’ll conclude.
Just please if you take nothing else away from this. Be critical of the shit you are fed. Africa is a continent. And at least take the time to learn about it before you even consider throwing money or used books or Toms sneakers at it.
I am now officially in love with whoever wrote this!