New Year’s Reading (Race and Sexism in Media)

In praise of the many depictions of Black women in the media:

Race & Media

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For Colored Girls: Depiction of Black Womanhood

mikeymagee

“Somebody, anybody, sing a black girl’s song. Bring her out to know herself to know you.”

From Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf.

You know what’s made me happy lately? It’s all the differing depictions of Black womanhood that’s been in the media lately. From upcoming shows and movies, to programs that have already currently awaiting a new season (or have sadly been cancelled, like Still Star Crossed).

Allow me to explain.

I saw Thor Ragnarok with my sister. Now, I’m not really a Thor fan, but I was beyond hyped to see this movie simply for Tessa Thompson. I wouldn’t call myself a Trekkie by any means (I do love Star Trek DS9 though) but I love Michael Burnham in Discovery (and I love the fact that this show focuses on a Black woman who has a background in the sciences). I love Misty Knight in Luke Cage. My sister and I watched the first episode of Issa Rae’s Insecure recently, and I marveled at the writing and the characters of Issa and Molly. I’m beyond hyped for the Nakia, Shuri, Okoye, Queen Ramonda and the rest of the Dora Milaje in Black Panther. I can’t wait to see Thunder and Lightning in the new Black Lightning TV series, and Iris West in the upcoming Flash movie (honestly Kiersey Clemons should never have been cut from the Justice League movie, but that’s a rant for another time.)

It’s great to see little black boys dressed up as Falcon, Black Panther, Luke Cage, etc, but it’s just as important, if not more so, to see little Black girls dressed like Valkyrie, dressed like Shuri, dressed like Storm or Vixen. I hope that Michael Burnham as just as much impact on Black girls and Black women as Benjamin Sisko had on me.

I love that media, lately, has taken to singing “Black girls’ songs” because black women have always been the backbone of the Black community. And I hope it can continue because Black women/girls deserve all the positive representation in the world.

Black girls (just like Black boys) are seeing that there isn’t one way to be a black person. That black womanhood is made up of differing ideas, politics, feelings and emotions, and each one of them is valid.

That’s an important thing for our community, and I’m glad its being spotlighted. I’m glad we have directors like Ava Duvernay who chose to have Meg Murray be a Black girl. I’m glad we have movies like 2014′s Annie with Quevenzhane Wallis who showed that Black girlhood is something that’s just as innocent and hopeful as anything else. I’m glad we have The Wiz Live with Shanice Williams, Queen Latifah, Amber Riley, Mary J Blige, and Uzo Aduba to show off the multiplicity and magic (yes, actual fucking magic) of Black women. I’m glad we have Laverne Cox, because her mere presence on screen is a validation for Black Trans Women who rarely see themselves in a positive light. I’m glad we have Riri Williams and her presence in the Iron Man narrative, just like I’m glad for the wild success of Hidden Figures, and I’m super excited for Taraji P Henson’s Proud Mary.

I’m here for any kind of representation for Black women because it’s needed now more than ever.

Source: mikeymagee

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A discussion of how NOT to treat Black characters:

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phamsa

There is racism in the writing of thousands of words’ worth of dissertation exploring the possibilities of Kylo Ren’s character based on the qualities and story arc that Finn has already shown and whose own plotline is canonically more feasible to what you lot claim as a powerful connection with Rey than the character who is the villain and has done nothing positive for/towards Rey. You lot have blatantly erased Finn’s characterization and actions. This is not isolated in that article. It’s a sentiment repeated continually by shippers that somehow pop-up in the FinnRey, Finn, and other tags. […] You lot are so concerned that you’re being accused of racism and instead of investigating yourselves of the inherent prejudices you might have, you decide to separate yourself from “the rest” which does nothing to quell the problem. Saying that majority of you are not racist does not magically negate r*ylo shippers from baring real-life prejudices that bleed into the consumption and interpretation of fiction. Your intent, no matter how positive you think it is, does not negate the impact of your and your lot’s actions, words, and works, that reek of internalized racism.” –@fakestarwarsfan

Source: nicholashamilton

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Black people’s contributions have pretty much been erased from all vectors of American history, and that includes most musical genres like Country, Rock, and even Punk.

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Goth So White? | Black representation in the Post-Punk scene

One would be gravely mistaken to think that there is no black representation in the fundamental part of Punk’s history. To illustrate this fact,  all one need do is take a look at photographer Michael Putland’s 1980 portrait ‘Ladies Tea Party’ that features Pauline Black, and Poly Styrene, along with Debbie HarryViv Albertine, and Siouxsie Sioux, and Chrissie Hynde.

http://www.post-punk.com/goth-so-white-black-representation-in-the-post-punk-scene/

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white-fragility-love-life-of-an-asian-guy-photo

The Sugarcoated Language Of White Fragility

The language we use to talk about racism is obviously distorted, a big clue that something is being hidden. It’s pretty easy to pinpoint the source: most White people can’t handle talking about racism. We flail. We don’t understand the subject, we get really uncomfortable, and we either clam up because we don’t want to say the wrong thing, or we bust out the whitesplaining (FYI, this is a best-case scenario. It can be much worse).

To mitigate our shortcomings, we surround ourselves with comforting words. Words that feel neutral. Words that don’t point fingers (at us). Words that center Whiteness, while erasing the harshness of discrimination and segregation. We reject words that we feel are too direct, that might reveal complicity on our part.

Let’s be clear that these linguistic gymnastics are only fooling White people. People of color have been aware that corporate pushes for “diversity” are often flimsy CYA efforts to mask sustained homogeneity, and “inclusion” is often code for tokenism. Scholars of color have been writing about the nuances of privilege and oppression for a longlongtimewhile watching White people invent different ways to either wriggle out of, dominate, or shut down the conversation. These same scholars have also been watching White writers and educators whisper the same exact thing they’ve been shouting, and magically draw a crowd.

….

Terms like “inclusion” and “white privilege” are designed to sneak past the racial stress triggers of White Fragility. They center Whiteness in a way that makes White people comfortable, while deflecting from the stressful realities of the racist harm that Whiteness causes. Imagine how many racial stress trigger alarm bells would go off if we were using words like “discrimination awareness” and “white undeserved advantages” instead.

And this:

White supremacy

Things we call “supreme”: The most delicious desserts. The most well-known and glamorous Motown singers. The highest court in the land. Um… God.

It has bothered me for years that linguistically, white supremacysounds kind of great. Almost holy. It would sound more appropriately scary if it were called something actively negative, like “White domination” or “White oppressorship.” Once again, imagine the White stress level skyrocketing.

Some disambiguation is necessary with this term. “White supremacy” is a system that prioritizes whiteness regardless of the presence or absence of racial hatred, but a “white supremacist” is a person who embraces overt racial hatred. It’s like a spectrum. By default, all White people are on the spectrum of complicity in upholding a system of White supremacy, but we only give the negative label of “White supremacists” to the really hateful people at the far end. This allows the rest of us to say “we’re not them.”

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/anna-kegler/the-sugarcoated-language-of-white-fragility_b_10909350.html
Source: cundtcake

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Recognizing the types of trolls you’re dealing with, and whether or not you wish to argue.

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blackfoxx

The white male style of debate is to antagonize you until you snap. Then they win by default, because they make up their own rules in which being upset automatically invalidates your argument. The key is also to argue about things that they have no stake and experience in, so they dont snap first. Of course in the event that they do snap first, its of course passion, not anger…

White people are like little kids who make up new rules and obnoxious powers to keep themselves from losing….

At the end of it all, they are happy that you are so civil and can debate things rationally and clearly without getting upset. Everyone shakes hands and thanks everyone for being able to discuss “conflicting” viewpoints. Because after all everyone needs to hear the opposing side to truly be sophisticated. Even if you’ve heard that side all your life and it completely devalues you as a human being.

What i hear is that the mark of civilization to white people is being dehumanized and taking it like a champ.

They also have little to no concept of power dynamics in these ‘sophisticated” discussions.

 alwaysbewoke: “alwaysbewoke: “ beyonslaying: “ aherringwrites: “ alwaysbewoke: “ blackourstory: “ alwaysbewoke: “ askrednetthall: “ specialsnowflakesanonymous: “ alwaysbewoke: “ nevaehtyler: “ Glad there are people who understand that ” here is why...
 alwaysbewoke

here is why this is NOT true. white people are MARRIED to the racial construct that is “whiteness.” not flirting, not dating, not texting, not sexting, not engaged to.. married. long term. and as such they make decision in favor of their race out of motivation to see their race succeed.

they’ve built an entire country on the premise of giving white people a leg up on everyone even if it meant the use of brutal force in additional to lies, half truths and etc. this is the very basis of whiteness upon which white people of built their idea of self.

you CAN NOT be pro-black without being anti-white because pro-blackness calls for the destruction of white supremacy and white privilege which undergirds whiteness and white identity.

it’s like stokely carmichael said “for racism to die, a totally different america must be born. this is what the white society does not wish to face; this is why that society prefers to talk about integration. but integration speaks not at all to the problem of poverty, only to the problem of blackness. integration today means the man who ‘makes it,’ leaving his black brothers behind in the ghetto as fast as his new sports car will take him. it has no relevance to the harlem wino or to the cotton-picker making three dollars a day…. integration, moreover, speaks to the problem of blackness in a despicable way. as a goal, it has been based on complete acceptance of the fact that in order to have a decent house or education, blacks must move into a white neighborhood or send their children to a white school. this reinforces, among both black and white, the idea that ‘white’ is automatically better and ‘black’ is by definition inferior.”

there’s a reason why whenever black people talk about racism, white supremacy, white privilege, white ignorance, white inaction and etc, white people overall lose their shit. the reason is because white people have built their entire sense of self on whiteness which is built on lies and oppression. to be pro-black is to be anti-white. as long as white people define themselves in any way shape or form with whiteness as a social construct, pro-blackness will ALWAYS be ANTI-WHITE. always.

and bullshit like this just makes wonder why? is still about being in white people’s good graces? why? after EVERYTHING white people have done and continue to do to black people, why the flying fuck do you care of your pro-blackness is anti-white? this is some fuckery to still care what your slavemaster still thinks about you and your movement to gain your freedom. reminds me again of what stokely carmichael said “black power can be clearly defined for those who do not attach the fears of white america to their questions about it.“

you think such nonsensical thinking is going to stop white oppression? white people see racism as a zero sum game! and millennials? millennials are just as racist as their parents!

and please, miss me with the “not all white people” nonsense.

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Sexism & Media

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rainbow-femme

So whenever i would watch movies and see The Badass Female Character fighting in various ways, something about it always bugged me. I just assumed it was internalized misogyny that made me dislike characters like black widow and Tauriel and tried to make myself like them.

Then I was rewatching Mad Max Fury Road the other day and I noticed that nothing bothered me about watching Furiosa fight and I realized the problem wasn’t watching women fight in movies that got on my nerves.

Watching the stereotypical Badass Female Character she always has these effortless moves and a cocky, sexy smirk on her face as everything is easy. Watching Furiosa, she grunted and bared her teeth. Her fighting was hard and it took effort and it hurt like fighting is supposed to. For once her fighting style wasn’t supposed to seduce the audience it was to be effective.

I wasn’t disliking these characters because they were women I was disliking that their fighting was meant to remind me they were women. High heels and shapely outfits and not showing effort or discomfort because it’s more attractive to effortlessly lift a long leather clad leg over your head rather than rugby tackle someone.

It’s the same with the Wonder Woman movie too. Fighting is hard and it takes effort, blocking bombs and bullets with a shield makes her grimace and bare her teeth with the effort it takes. She’s not flip kicking bombs she’s yelling and straining, not because she’s weak or bad at fighting but because that’s what it would be like.

I really hope we’re moving into an era of women having fighting styles designed for realism and not how hot it looks for the men in the audience.

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