Here’s a selection of readings from last week. The articels themeselves may not be new but they are worth reading if you have an interest in the subject.
*Racism and Toxic Masculinity in Pop Cullture:
blackgirlfly asked: Given what we know from Finn in the various canon novelizations, do you think his depiction in the film serviced him well? Finn is clearly an intelligent, strong, brave, skilled individual, however that doesn’t seem to be what many took away with. They’ve simply written him off as a sanitation worker or the “new Jar Jar”. Is this purely fandom racism or poor character development and do you think there’s room for improvement?
I think by and large the film serviced him well. We know that he’s intelligent, strong, brave, and skilled because we were shown that in the film. I think there are two major things going into people’s inability to see that Finn is an incredible hero: racism and hyper/toxic masculinity.
As to the racism, it’s been scientifically proven over and over again that white people have significant difficulty empathizing with Black people in real life and on screen. Also given rampant media stereotyping, it’s difficult for people to see Black people outside of basic stereotypical boxes. So even when confronted with a multidimensional and incredible character like Finn, all they see is “comic relief” or “sidekick.”
This is why it’s really important that writers understand that you can’t just write a Black character in the same way as you would a white character. More work has to be done to play up their goodness, heroism, and complexity otherwise people will rely on stereotypes or throw away lines (i.e. how Finn once worked in sanitation when he was a trooper in training and stationed on Starkiller base) to erase all of that. For example, this is why the slow burn relationship build up with Black female characters isn’t successful…folks will just see her as the “strong friend/sidekick who don’t need no man” and won’t see the build up and then will act surprised when it happens. The media needs to spend time just showing Black women being loved and valued and romantic interests and after that settles in the mass consciousness, then we can do the slow burn (or at least both at the same time…bc the will they or won’t they thing alone just isn’t working).
As to the hyper/toxic masculinity, folks aren’t used to male heroes like Finn. Finn is vulnerable, acknowledges his feelings and fears, and is compassionate and empathetic. A lot of men (of all races) I’ve talked to who didn’t like Finn and claimed he was useless kept bringing up “he never won a fight” and “he was unconscious at the end” as “reasons” why he was “useless and weak.” They also always make mention of how Rey, “the girl,” defeated Kylo when Finn “couldn’t” (not taking into account Kylo’s injury, Rey tapping into the Force, and the fact that Finn wielding the saber and injuring Kylo at all w/o consciously using the force is huge). All of that is rooted in the idea that male heroes need to be invulnerable and kill and win all the time and “be better than the girl” by whatever metric they set (note: Finn & Rey are obviously equals and anybody insinuating otherwise has a problem). Finn’s subversion of hyper/toxic masculinity is so important. But that kinda adherence to toxic masculinity keeps people from seeing that Finn is literally the catalyst for the entire film, the reason the plot keeps moving forward, the emotional center of TFA, and obviously on his own hero’s journey.
I mean, it’s a trilogy ffs. Neither Finn nor Rey have reached their full potential. John already told us “Finn ain’t playing no more.” But somehow people think that because Rey’s force sensitivity was made more obvious in the first film that somehow Finn is less important or not a lead or whatever nonsense and it’s all truly ridiculous and rooted in problematic shit that people need to work through.
tl;dr: racism and toxic masculinity are a hellavu drug and white writers don’t understand the extra work they have to do with Black characters to mitigate the effects of those isms on how Black characters are interpreted.
Racism in General:
Chris Kluwe is always going to be one of my favorite people. If you haven’t read his book yet, Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies, then please find a copy, and settle in for the evening.
Fuck You, Donald Trump
Fuck you, Donald Trump.
Fuck you for being a hypersensitive, grossly plump caricature of a human being; a squirming mass of cockroaches lurking under a skinsuit veneer.
Fuck your wanton plundering of our social fabric, your willingness to tear down the structure that allows you to exist, your glorification of the worst parts of humanity, all in the name of your own insatiable greed and depravity.
Fuck your racebaiting, fearmongering, Nazi-enabling rhetoric that allows the darkest and most destructive corners of our collective zeitgeist free reign to terrorize the rest.
Fuck your ignorant paucity of intellect, your narcissistic belief in your own ego, your inability to recognize your own descent into fascism.
Fuck your promotions of white supremacists to positions of power, of science denying crackpots to oversee our future, of bootlicking toadies to oversee your transition.
Fuck your misogynistic views on women’s rights, fuck your archaic beliefs on the freedom of press and religion, and fuck your idiotic venality when it comes to the destruction of a country that, while not always achieving freedom for all of its citizens, has done the best to get there in the entirety of recorded human history.
Fuck you, Melania Trump.
Fuck you for being willing to support this disgusting slime mold because it means you can live a life of privilege and luxury, never mind the hardships that will befall women across this nation due to your husband’s philistinic views.
Fuck you for posing for puff pieces in entertainment magazines while the cabal of shitgoblins your partner is assembling gets ready to reverse everything that has allowed you to possess even the most moderate amount of power.
Fuck you for taking the easy choice, the choice to suck the dick of a loathsome troll in order to wear Hugo Boss dresses, instead of taking a stand in order to protect the fifty percent of our population who shares your gender.
Fuck you for smiling and waving at the cameras when your husband is on record as saying, “Grab them (women) by the pussy. You can do anything.”
Fuck your betrayal of everything Susan B. Anthony and other suffragettes fought for, fuck your tacit acceptance that a woman should be an accessory to a man, fuck your self-centered interest in insuring your own well-being over the well-being of the country that allows you such a lifestyle.
Fuck you, Ivanka, Eric, and Donald Trump Jr.
Fuck you for being willing lackeys of this pusillanimous ape, for carrying his water on television and in media interviews.
Fuck you for clinging to his hairy teat, for not finding the courage to strike out on your own, for not recognizing that even though you can’t choose your parents, you can certainly choose your own path in life.
Fuck you for normalizing this piece of shit wannabe-Hitler, for treating his wretched series of business enterprises as anything other than the fraudulent snake-oil jobs that they are, for bowing beneath the lash instead of standing tall and making your own way, despite the loss it might incur.
Fuck you for the hate and pain you will inflict on hundreds of thousands of American citizens because you couldn’t muster the courage to say, “No, this isn’t right, and even though I’m related to you by blood, I refuse to proceed with this abhorrent state of affairs.”
Fuck your greasy, slimy, frat-house words and beliefs, your ideals that would tear us apart, your craven unworthiness to occupy a public space that you achieved through no merit of your own, one which you have no idea what to do with other than to cause hurt.
Fuck you, Jared Kushner.
Fuck your anti-Semitism.
Fuck your quisling compliance, your willingness to see those like you tortured and degraded in order to further your own lot in life.
Fuck your manipulation of our media through your financial control of the Observer, fuck your sheltered life of wanton privilege, fuck your inability to understand the arc of history.
Fuck everything you do to uphold a wretched lout who would suffer no qualms in ordering you in front of the firing squad if it meant he might live another day.
Fuck you, Republicans who refuse to disown this bloated leech.
Fuck your cowardice, your disavowal of the solemn duties of your office — keeping this country safe from tyrants and demagogues.
Fuck you for meekly bending the knee in compliance, instead of speaking truth to power.
Fuck you for choosing political expediency over courage, fuck you for sacrificing the poor and the sick, fuck you for dragging our government into a hole from which it may never recover.
Fuck you, members of the media.
Fuck your constant pursuit of ratings, of quarterly profits, of giving this tinpot cumdumpster a platform with which he can influence a large part of our country
Fuck you for buying into the idea that racism should be afforded an equal platform with equality, for calling a Nazi anything other than a Nazi.
Fuck your smarmy thinkpieces attempting to normalize a new hegemony, fuck your cowardice in the face of totalitarianism, fuck your CEOs and VPs and executive producers who are willing to feed the innocent to the depraved in order to forestall their own demise.
Fuck you for not doing your job.
Fuck you, Trump supporters.
Fuck you for your willing ignorance, your inability to understand that a fascist is telling you exactly what he wants to do to you.
Fuck you for tearing apart the rule of law, and bringing back the rule of force.
Fuck you for not caring, for believing the easy lies you read instead of using your brain to find the truth.
Fuck you for putting your petty hatreds and squabbles ahead of everything that once made this country great, and fuck you for unwittingly causing it to fall.
Fuck you everyone who refuses to take a stand against this man.
Fuck your inability to understand history.
Fuck your selfish interests that ignore the fact that if one of us isn’t free, none of us is free.
Fuck your willingness to normalize this dictator, your filthy desire for more lucre, your inability to fight for your fellow citizens and everything this country once stood for. The Founders would be ashamed of you.
Fuck your blind optimism that things will somehow magically turn out okay, fuck your American exceptionalism draped in the corpses of communities of color, fuck your overwhelming ignorance that could be solved if you simply wished to learn and ask ‘why.’
Above all, fuck your cowardice, your self-loathing hypocrisy, your myopic blinders keeping you from identifying the single greatest threat our republic has faced since we took up arms against the British, because if someone other than you suffers, somehow that makes it just fine.
Fuck you, Donald Trump, for turning my country into something that it never should have become, for turning it into something no country should ever become.
Fuck you, Donald Trump, for driving us into conflict, one that will most likely end in violence.
Fuck you, Donald Trump.
*This Indigenous woman chronicles her experiences at the one of the Women’s Marches that occurred this weekend. There are a number of criticisms I had about the Women’s March but overall I think its a positive thing. I had no plans to participate in it, but I support those who wanted to and did so, as long as this isn’t the end of their activism..
*The Normalization of White Criminality:
*This article has been making the rounds of Tumblr again: