*A fundamental breakdown of Whitewashing and how, and why, color blind casting of canon Black characters wouldn’t work.
Does anybody else remember a time, long long ago, when you could just enjoy things?
You could watch a movie and just appreciate it instead of over analyzing every single scene to make sure there’s nothing remotely offensive about it.
You could have a favorite character and just like them and appreciate how great they were written and portrayed, without being told you’re terrible because they’re a villain. Even though they’re FICTIONAL and most likely were deliberately written to be likable. (Even if they were written as an evil character, I still think you have a right to like them, but maybe that’s just me)
You could love and be a fan of the actors without having to go full on FBI agent, looking into their backgrounds to make sure they are 100% perfect and had never made a mistake ever.
You could post about said actor without some busybody little fandom cop, slithering into your inbox to tell you(all too happily) that your fave is “problematic” (god, I fucking hate that word), and you’re disgusting if you still like them.
I’m in my 30’s so I remember those good ole days and it’s kind of sad to know, that most of you will never truly know how great that was. That’s a time long since forgotten. Bummer.
Yes, I remember that.
You know what I also remember?
How one of my friends was always awkwardly quiet after the rest of his friends group laughed at a ‘no homo’ set up joke. How he never laughed along when someone used ‘gay’ to describe something. I remember telling people who didn’t laugh that “it’s a joke, what’s wrong with you?”
I also remember, almost a decade after, crying happily as he married the love of his life who happened to be a man.
I remember laughing at a racist joke in a movie with my cousins, and her one black friend, her best friend, up and leaving because of it. I remember nodding along as she said “ugh, she can never take a joke”.
I remember asking my cousin about her years later and learning they never spoke after that. Ten years of friendship lost that night.
I remember sitting in a room filled with guy friends, making sexist jokes and being told I was so cool for not being as uptight as “other girls”. I remember that slowly losing its shine, and wondering why I felt more and more uncomfortable hearing that.
And then I remember who I was back then, and how I am so glad I am no longer that person.
I remember the first time I apologized to my gay friends for the jokes I used to make. I remember the first time I didn’t try to defend how I “didn’t mean to be racist”. I remember the first time I asked a guy just what is wrong with “other girls”, and how I lost some friends that day who I realized were never really my friends.
You know what changed? I changed. Through listening and understanding and admitting my privileges and faults, I changed. Now even if I try, I can’t just enjoy something that jokes at the expense of others. I cant watch someone who is unapologetically problematic in media.
I can’t enjoy these things because I realize now that their very existence hurts. That the very existence of this type of media perpetuates behaviors and ideologies that can lead to people being abused, harassed, and murdered.
And you know what? That’s a good thing. Because the more people who refuse to ingest this type of media, the less audience it has, and the stronger the message becomes that these things – racism, homophobia, sexism, transphobia, etc. – are not things to be waved off. You’re not edgy or cool for ignoring them. You’re not “uptight” by being upset by them. These are real things with very real social impact.
The reality is, there was never a time when everyone could just enjoy things. To be able to say you had that time is to admit the privilege you had at not having to think about problematic behavior because it didn’t negatively affect your life.
I don’t remember a time where I could “just enjoy things”. What I remember is a time where I was able to enjoy something by throwing everyone who could be hurt by or suffer from it under the bus.
I remember those times in MY life. And I am so fucking grateful they are in the past.
YES. Thank you for spelling this out.
*Okay, this isn’t fanfiction related. I just enjoyed this little snippet of someone’s daily work life. I’m still reasonably certain that even though this is all pretty funny, it isn’t half as exciting as working at the local Walmart.
-Sold lingerie to an eighty year old woman
-Got a free salted caramel frappacino from the suspectedly gay barista, Parker
-Sold a bra to the mom of a sixteen year old girl who was cringing the entire time
-Had a very engaging conversation with a three year old boy about colors. We both like blue.
-Served an old woman who I thought had an impressive mustache, but it was just nose hair
-Watched her and two other women with her get trapped between two sets of automatic doors because they did not understand how to open them. How they got through the first set, I still do not know.
-Sold fifteen gallons of kitty litter to a soccer mom who refused to break eye contact
-Got a second free starbucks drink. This one was a pumpkin pie one that wasn’t even on the menu. I like this barista man.
-Gave dozens of children stickers. Several of them squealed when they got them. This is the best part of my job.
-Sold an old man $200 of furniture and got him to sign up for a Target credit card. Before he finished the last step, he turned and walked away with his cart without a word.
-He still hadn’t paid. I called him back and he apologized, saying “sorry, sometimes my diabetes makes me do that.” He didn’t finish getting the card.
-A woman came up with $220 of items. After a wad of coupons and a stack of free gift cards from other promotions, her total went down to $55. I want her to teach me.
-Saw a girl skipping down the aisle in what can only be described as a pink princess fairy wedding dress. She was filled with happiness and if I hadn’t been on the clock I would have taken her. At the very least, I want that outfit for my own.
-Got approached by a large man named Jason. He told me not to steal. I will take this advice to heart.
-Met a woman referred to only as The Cat Lady. She asked if I wanted her to buy me a keychain from Ross. I told her I had no keys. She nodded solemnly and walked away, whispering their exact location inside Ross, just in case.
-Got called into the HR Head’s office at the end of my shift. I was expecting to be yelled at for some reason. She and another lead showered me in compliments for ten minutes straight, saying a lot of managers had been saying great things about me all day. Not what I expected, but I’ll take it.
-Intimidating farmer man in overalls and pigtails came through my checkout. He bought a bucket. He spoke no words. He made no eye contact. He left me with questions.
-Three college boys came through, each buying spandex and makeup wipes. They spoke no words. They made too much eye contact. They left me with more questions. I question when this job will provide answers.
-A three year old came through, pushed by his personal chauffeur. He bought one small Spider-Man onesie. He carried out the entire transaction on his own. He was the most polite customer I have had so far.
-Three people walked away without their change. Only two returned.
-A man bought thirty light bulbs with a coupon. He told me he did not need thirty light bulbs. He just likes coupons.
-He then walked to customer service, claiming to have returned several things he did not mean to. He then walked a lap around the store and left. He did not leave the store with his light bulbs. They were nowhere to be found.
-A customer came through looking nervous. She leaned over the counter. She whispered to me. Someone had pooped in the baby supplies aisle. All evidence pointed to it not being a baby.
-Two children came through the line. They were chanting to their mom through heavy streams of tears. “WE WANT STICKERS MOMMY.” There were no stickers at any of the registers. They continued crying. I failed my people.
-An old woman bought five bottles of wine and a large bottle of vodka. Her license told me she had lived through World War II. Her smile told me she was still living.
-I sorted through the candy in the checkout lanes. I was meant to set aside candy that had expired in the last month. A box of Kit Kats was found that had expired in February of 2015. One was missing. I hope the poor sap is okay.
-Clearance school supplies have arrived. A man bought 71 spiral notebooks for $6. A woman bought 110 folders for $4. I hope they meet each other. I would like to see the child of two math problem characters.
-A bearded man named Rusty came through. I sold him a bottle of Crystal Light powder and a gallon of water. The powder was empty. The water jug had an inch of pink water left in it. How long has he been inside the store already. His beard intimidated me too much to ask.
-An elderly man in a fedora pushed two full carts into my lane. They were both filled to the brim. He bought 52 12-packs of Mountain Dew. 12 were diet. He repeatedly told me he was 80 years old. As I handed him his receipt, he leaned in and whispered, “I’m going to get DRUNK.” He pointed at his carts, smiled at me, and scurried away with his definitively alcoholic purchase. I wonder if he knows. I wonder if he cares.