Weekend Reading: The Fandoms Ain’t Alright

This has definitely caught me in my feels this week as I learned that Kelly Marie Tran was, very possibly, driven from the only social media site she has engaged with, Instagram, since being cast as Rose Tico in the latest Star Wars film. She received so much racist and sexist hate, that she deleted all her posts, and shut down her page. I’m saddened by this, because I was really enjoying following   her actor’s journey on Tumblr, and she seemed incredibly happy to be a part of the franchise. Joining the Star Wars franchise, as a principle player, was supposed to be a happy, and momentous, occasion for her, and a bunch of assholes spoiled it! She seemed like such a positive person, so bubbly, and pleasant,and she just wanted to share some of her happiness. I was interested in her journey to stardom, and planned to follow her career.

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https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-persecution-of-kelly-marie-tran-how-star-wars-fandom-became-overrun-by-alt-right-trolls

So how did a breakout role in an incredibly influential film end in fear and self-censorship? For anyone who’s been following recent trends within the Star Wars fandom, this outcome would actually be fairly predictable; in fact, given the racism, misogyny, and general toxicity that’s built up around the franchise, it’s impressive that Tran was able to last this long. Like so many other assholes, bigoted Star Wars fans have recently become emboldened, emerging from the chrysalises of racist Reddit threads as ubiquitous, bullshit-spouting butterflies. 

And now, like Leslie Jones, and Daisy Ridley before her, she’s decided she has simply had enough of the constant racist abuse, and  the Star Wars fandom is just too toxic for her. This is what “fandom “has come to, people harassing and abusing the creators of the content they claim to love. This goes against the very definition of what “fandom” is.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fandom

Fandom is a subculture composed of fans characterized by a feeling of empathy and camaraderie with others who share a common interest. Fans typically are interested in even minor details of the object(s) of their fandom and spend a significant portion of their time and energy involved with their interest, often as a part of a social network with particular practices (a fandom); this is what differentiates “fannish” (fandom-affiliated) fans from those with only a casual interest.

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This isn’t just about criticizing Star Wars, or disliking her character. No matter how much certain media sites try to play it down by mentioning that other Star Wars actors have been harassed out of acting altogether (Jake Lloyd, Hayden Christensen ), they must acknowledge that her harassment included the triple vectors of  racism, sexism, and fat shaming. This wasn’t about calling her being a bad actress and is  the  the exact same thing that happened to Leslie Jones for daring to appear in a movie.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/why-was-leslie-jones-targeted-trolls-n638291

And no, this isn’t just the Star Wars fandom. This is a much larger issue than Kelly Marie Tran and its about time the mainstream media looked closely at it. Every type of fandom has this same toxic element within, from books (check out the Goodreads bullies from the early 2000’s, and the SadPuppy Brigade in Science fiction), movies (Leslie Jones’ retreat from Twitter, and the  attempted tanking of Black Panther on Rotten Tomatoes), games (see Gamergate, and the term “Swatting”, which has already cost the life of one man), and television (see the racist harassment of Candace Patton of The Flash,  the erasure of characters of color, in media in which they are the primary characters, like Teen Wolf, and there was The Rick and Morty Schezuan Sauce Debacle last year).

The common denominator of all this toxicity is primarily straight, White, and male. White male geeks are showing their whole ass, in every sphere of geekdom, as they always have, but now this news has finally made its way into mainstream media, which has long ignored what goes on in fandom circles. How did things go so terribly wrong? Did this happen because being a geek has gone mainstream and attracted unsavory elements? Was geekdom always like this? And if not, what caused the behavior change? People are   thinking about this now  because this is a larger issue beyond Kelly Marie Tran, and The Guardian pulls no punches when it comes to naming exactly what this issue is:

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/jun/07/kelly-marie-tran-rose-why-are-some-star-wars-fans-so-toxic

These males – and it is males – feel they have ownership over a piece of entertainment: that geekdom is their safe space, theirs alone, and the newfound mass popularity of the genre is bringing a lot of casuals into their hitherto predominantly straight, white, male dojo. Diversity isn’t what some of them want. Which is bizarre, considering the benefits of diversity are what quite a lot of sci-fi is actually about. But it’s not what these people believe they paid for, and therefore see themselves of having part-ownership of. The sense of entitlement is staggering.

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I can’t even say its just White fanboys who are responsible because there is just as significant a contingent of White women, who are as toxic, “misogynoiristic”, racist, and  delusional in their fandom, as the White fanboys, who insist that these creations are ruining their childhoods, by being inclusive of gender and race. For example, check out the ‘shipping behavior surrounding Reylo, JohnLock, and Destiel.

White female fans have  attacked Candace Patton, the women of the MCU, the actress wives of the stars of Supernatural and Sherlock. Why? Because they believe these real life women stand in the way of their OTP (One true pairing.) These are the same women who think they’re being progressive because they ‘ship two White male characters, while ignoring the half dozen actually canon, gay characters of color, in movies like Moonlight, and TV shows like Teen Wolf, and Shadowhunters.

Female fans were so incensed at the character, Sharon, from Captain America: The Winter Soldier, that they harassed, and attacked the actress, and started a Twitter campaign insisting that Captain America have a boyfriend. (Never mind that Steve Rogers has NEVER  even been hinted at as being gay, anywhere in the comics, or the MCU.) (For the record, I’m not against gay characters. I  don’t want canon straight characters being changed to gay in the source material, although I will headcanon them as gay in fanfiction. I would prefer creating media with actual  gay characters, of which there are plenty, that I’d love to see in movies.)

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White male fanboys have even attacked Star Trek, for having too much  diversity, and social justice messages! They claim that is not what they’ve watched the show for and  I have to question whether they’ve EVER watched the show, because diversity, and social issues was the entire foundation around which the franchise was created. What the Hell have they been watching?!!!

I’ve tried to figure why these fandoms have become more toxic, and there are several articles that point to things like, the anonymity of the internet, and the feelings of entitlement that fans may have towards the source material, the actors, and characters. All of that is true, but those are just a couple of  elements in  the toxic stew that so many fandoms have become.

Not all toxic fandom has a racial component, because those fandoms without a significant portion of marginalized members can be just as toxic as the ones that do. But it cannot be denied that when there’s a significant number of PoC, and women, in the source material, there’s also a definite racial component to the backlash. I fear this will only get worse, as people who were previously marginalized as creators, actors, and fans, keep making significant inroads into Pop culture. I see that I’m going to have to pull out Samuel R. Delany’s essay again:

http://www.nyrsf.com/racism-and-science-fiction-.html

As long as there are only one, two, or a handful of us, however, I presume in a field such as science fiction, where many of its writers come out of the liberal-Jewish tradition, prejudice will most likely remain a slight force—until, say, black writers start to number thirteen, fifteen, twenty percent of the total. At that point, where the competition might be perceived as having some economic heft, chances are we will have as much racism and prejudice here as in any other field.                                                           ——Samuel R. Delaney

And I believe that this is what’s happening here. White fanboys are having a full on meltdown, as the Pop culture they use to claim entirely for themselves, has begun  broadening  its fanbase, by appealing to women and minorities. Not only that, but a significant portion of fandom has been infiltrated by people who are not actually fans at all. The loose coalition of the Alt-Right, and White Nationalists, for example, who see all this as yet another opportunity to harass women, and PoC, are simply jumping on the bandwagon.

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And yes, I think this behavior in fandom is directly tied to the behavior of White men behaving badly in the rest of the culture, from mass shootings, to car attacks, to violent marches. They have caused controversy in every field, including the fields of  History, and Science, as they attempt to change historical, and scientific narratives to fit their White racial agenda. There is an all out attack on every part of American culture.

https://www.publicmedievalist.com/race-racism-middle-ages-toc/

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2018/04/race-rising-anxiety-white-america/

But I generally believe there is more racism in fandom, not because there are more racists in fandom, but because there are more races in fandom. Not because the business of entertainment cares so much about these groups, but because we have all been exceptionally clear about letting them know we will no longer be giving them our money for products that refuse to include us, (and they’ve also seen they can make serious  bank by appealing to us, i.e. Black Panther,  The Fast and The Furious, Star Wars.) Even some White fans have claimed to be tired of only seeing White men onscreen, and have been clamoring for more diversity.

https://io9.gizmodo.com/fantasy-writer-n-k-jemisin-explains-why-theres-more-ra-1586220859

She begins by explaining that racism has become a bigger issue in fandom lately, partly because people of color are becoming more powerful as creators in the publishing industry. And that means the backlash is going to be stronger.

But ultimately, it doesn’t matter how many temper tantrums, and meltdowns White men have, though. Once “fans” start reacting this badly, they’ve already lost whatever war they think they are a part of. The business of entertainment has made so much money from appealing to people like me, that I don’t think they have any plans to go back to the way things once were, of only appealing to the demographic of: White men ages 18-35. (There’s also the side effect of fans and creators watching this behavior, and doubling down in their fight against racism, homophobia, and sexism, as they don’t want to be associated with such rabid behavior.)

Further Reading:

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/doctor-who-backlash-exposed-the-irony-of-men-who-dont-want-women-in-fandom_us_596f642ce4b0000eb1978720

http://minervamag.com/2016/01/when-fandom-goes-wrong/

https://splinternews.com/fandom-isn-t-broken-it-s-just-not-only-for-white-dudes-1793857254

Racism, Misogyny & Death Threats: How Star Wars Fans Turned to the Dark Side

https://www.theverge.com/2018/1/2/16840170/swatting-death-call-duty-toxic-fandom

https://filmschoolrejects.com/star-wars-fandom-is-broken/

http://talynnkel.com/blog/2017/10/9/your-fandom-is-racist

Racism, Misogyny & Death Threats: How Star Wars Fans Turned to the Dark Side

https://www.theodysseyonline.com/star-wars-fandom-toxicity-problem

https://birthmoviesdeath.com/2016/05/30/fandom-is-broken

http://www.syfy.com/syfywire/star-wars-has-a-white-male-fandom-problem

https://www.inverse.com/article/31867-star-trek-discovery-racism-sexism-reddit-youtube-trailer

*Twitter Reactions

It seems I wasn’t the only person who felt some type of way about what happened to Kelly. A lot of people came out in support of her, including her co-stars and the director.

 

*And yeah, I’m not leaving White women out of this either. There are a ton of white women writing fanfiction, and meta essays, that seek to erase, and diminish, characters of color  from their own narratives.

 

*And Finally

When it comes to WoC in fandom:

(link to twitter thread)

https://newrepublic.com/article/137489/women-color-price-fandom-can-high

 If you’ve been involved in the dedicated fandoms of comics, science fiction, and fantasy as a black woman for any length of time you’ve undoubtedly had to face a degree of racism and sexism that such tweets are rooted in. It doesn’t matter if you’re an actress or a journalist, a screenwriter or a director, the price of visibility for black women in geek properties feels too high.

What is an Incel?

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This post contains links to some seriously toxic  bullshit. Read through the links with caution.

 

Maybe have several drinks first!

“Incel” is a word you have probably been hearing a bit more often in the media. In fact it was one of the trending words on Google in the wake of the pedestrian van attack that happened in Toronto last week, that killed and injured some 25 individuals.

This first post talks about the pop cultural foundation of “Incels”. The foundation of their ideas is not so widely divergent from the foundation of most  misogyny. Only with Incels it has been  taken to extremes, and becomes an actual personal identity.

These are the kinds of men who have fully, and completely, bought the pop cultural brainwashing, from endless movies, books, and TV shows, that tells them (and White men in particular, although Men of color are not immune) that their reward for being a man, is a beautiful woman.

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Incel, the misogynist ideology that inspired the deadly Toronto attack, explained

 

Some self-identified incels, as they call themselves, have developed an elaborate sociopolitical explanation for their sexual failures, one that centers on the idea that women are shallow, vicious, and only attracted to hyper-muscular men. They see this as a profound injustice against men like them, who suffer an inherent genetic disadvantage through no fault of their own. A small radical fringe believes that violence, especially against women, is an appropriate response — that an “Incel Rebellion” or “Beta [Male] Uprising” will eventually overturn the sexual status quo.

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And from Sociology:

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Incels – Subcultures and Sociology

http://haenfler.sites.grinnell.edu/subcultures-and-scenes/incels/

The Manosphere’s boundaries and composition are vague and ever-shifting. There are many subgroups: pickup artists, Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW, or straight men refusing to be involved with women), “red pillers” (a The Matrix reference in which the “red pill” is knowing that women rule over men), “incels” (involuntary celibates who believe women are shallow and do not date “ugly” men), traditional MRAs, and more. 

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*This is an excerpt from an article from Crack’d which I won’t link to, because  the comments are  a hot trash fire. I don’t agree with all of the article, but that doesn’t necessarily mean its wrong . It is perhaps, another, more facetious way of saying that men are socialized by pop cultural stereotypes to think of women in a certain way.

They have received the message, loud and clear, that women owe them sex.These are the kinds of men who have fully, and completely, bought the pop cultural brainwashing, from endless movies, books, and TV shows, that tells them (White men in particular, although Men of color are not immune, since they live here too) that their reward for being a man, is a beautiful woman.

We Were Told That Society Owed Us a Hot Girl

Photos.com

Does it seem like men feel kind of entitled to sex? Does it seem like we react to rejection with the maturity of a child being denied a toy?

 

 

And then we have Star Wars, where Luke starts out getting Princess Leia (in The Empire Strikes Back), but then as Han Solo became a fan favorite, George Lucas realized he had to award her to him instead (forcing him to write the “She’s secretly Luke’s sister” thing into Return of the Jedi, even though it meant adding the weird incest vibe to Empire). With Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling played with the convention by having the beautiful girl get awarded to the sidekick character Ron, but she made it a central conflict in the story that Ron is constantly worried that, since Harry is the main character, Hermione will be awarded to him instead.

In each case, the woman has no say in this — compatibility doesn’t matter, prior relationships don’t matter, nothing else factors in. If the hero accomplishes his goals, he is awarded his favorite female. Yes, there will be dialogue that maybe makes it sound like the woman is having doubts, and she will make noises like she is making the decision on her own. But we, as the audience, know that in the end the hero will “get the girl,” just as we know that at the end of the month we’re going to “get our paycheck.” Failure to award either is breaking a societal contract. The girl can say what she wants, but we all know that at the end, she will wind up with the hero, whether she knows it or not.

And now you see the problem. From birth we’re taught that we’re owed a beautiful girl. We all think of ourselves as the hero of our own story, and we all (whether we admit it or not) think we’re heroes for just getting through our day.

So it’s very frustrating, and I mean frustrating to the point of violence, when we don’t get what we’re owed. A contract has been broken. These women, by exercising their own choices, are denying it to us. It’s why every Nice Guy is shocked to find that buying gifts for a girl and doing her favors won’t win him sex. It’s why we go to “slut” and “whore” as our default insults — we’re not mad that women enjoy sex. We’re mad that women are distributing to other people the sex that they owed us.

Yes, the women in these stories are being portrayed as wonderful and beautiful and perfect. But remember, there are two ways to dehumanize someone: by dismissing them, and by idolizing them.

 

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It cannot be said that these are men who care about other men. They are not activists for anything beyond the degradation of women, specifically White women, (because WoC don’t enter into their calculations). They’ve been socialized to believe only White women are worth having sex with, yet such women  are considered subhuman , and worthless. They even have their own vocabulary to discuss this.

There’s absolutely nothing a woman can do that would ever appease any of  them, not even sleeping with them, as these are men who so hate themselves, that they would also hate anyone who claimed to love them, or gave them what they so badly desired. 

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https://www.racked.com/2018/4/28/17290256/incel-chad-stacy-becky

…If certain discussions on these forums are any indication, there are only two types of women in the world of incel, both of whom are white, thin, and attractive. But while incels seem to believe that the untouchable (and seemingly nonexistent) Stacy will never sleep with them, they feel as though they are owed attention and sex from Becky.

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Sadly, and contrary to popular belief there are quite a number of men of color who are “Incels”. Eliot Rogers was half Taiwanese, and the mass killer of fourteen women at Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal in 1989, was of Algerian descent. But don’t be fooled. Incels, as a rule, are just as racist, homophobic, and transphobic as the “Chads” they like to demean. They don’t care about the situations of other men, only their own personal hells, and the only time they champion these men of color is after they are dead, after having committed mass murder.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/minority-report/201804/the-incel-movement

What I find intriguing and unifying is that in all four of these separate tragedies, the perpetrator was an ethnic minority living amidst a predominantly Caucasian majority culture.  Ethnic minorities face immeasurable challenges in assimilating to a society other than their own and the sense of being a “perpetual foreigner” can pervade even the most assimilated individual when racist or invalidating comments are made.

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Our first instinct is to laugh at such wild ideas and beliefs, but make no mistake, men like this are dangerous. This article from The Independent discusses just how violent and dangerous  Incels can be:

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/incels-alek-minassian-mra-mens-rights-terrorism-toronto-van-attack-a8323166.html#commentsDiv

Blackpill ideology leaves no room for hope or change. Instead, they either have to live out their lives in misery, or take action and attempt to tear down the whole system. In their more explicit posts, some incels dream of enslaving women and forcing them to have sex with them, and murdering the Chads who have been on top for far too long. It’s unsurprising that another of their number has committed mass murder before attempting to make the police shoot him. With an ideology that sees violent ends as the only alternative to lifelong torment, it’s unlikely he’ll be the last.

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The above beliefs about women are responsible for much of the violence towards them, especially if they refuse sexual activity. The website When Women Refuse chronicles what happens to women who refuse sex with men. (I have to caution that some of the stories are about sexual assault, rape, and other violent acts.)

woman.https://thinkprogress.org/chilling-new-website-documents-what-happens-to-women-who-reject-mens-sexual-advances-1922cfb67922/

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Incels and the MRA are not activists. They do not champion,  march, or even protest to protect men from sexual assault, suicide, police brutality, or any of the evils that men subject other men to.

They do not care about the Rights of men.

These men are not activists. They’re idea of activism  consists of little more than  terrorizing women.

They care about removing and destroying the Rights of women, and spend much time fantasizing, among themselves,  about situations in which the sexual enslavement of women would be approved. They often fantasize about worlds in which no woman would ever have the right to refuse sexual attention from any man that wanted them. This is a horrible backlash against Feminist progress of the last forty years.

(Never mind the fact that WoC have lived in that particular version of America for some 300 years.) Incels, and MRAs wish to do to White women what they have been engaged in with WoC for the past three centuries. They fantasize often about a world where EVERY woman  is little more than slaves and broodmares, who would be required to give them sex.

And if they can’t enslave them, then…

https://www.elle.com/culture/career-politics/a20060379/involuntary-celibates-want-you-to-think-theyre-victims-theyre-anything-but/

The world got its first look at the incel subculture in 2014, when Rodger murdered six people in what he saw as an act of “retribution” against the women of the world for rejecting him. Rodger, who ended his murder spree by killing himself, left behind a hundred page autobiography-cum-manifesto in which he detailed what he called his “twisted life” and set forth the rationale behind his murder spree, which could be reduced to a simple proposition: if others were getting laid and he wasn’t, they deserved to die.

An example from the Incel Reddit itself, written by one of its members:

People make is sound as if the “Incel Rebellion” is a laughing matter and that people don’t understand problem.

The incels are not the problem, but rather they are a symptom that something is very wrong in our society — and unless their legitimate grievances are addressed this could very soon spiral out of control just like what happened in Iraq, Libya and Syria when their respective governments refused to address and deal with the legitimate grievances a portion of their popolation had.

Calling the Incels a bunch of virgins and “frustrated losers with communication skills equal to that of an autistic potato” is oversimplifying the problem yes they are all that but why are they frustrated virgins?

The real issue is that with the advancement of makeup, healthy at any size bullshit, feminism and through social engineering a lot of women have become detached from reality. The reason these Incels arn’t getting laid is because women with a sexual market value equal to theirs use makeup to go from a 3/10 – 7/10 (false marketing in my opinion and should be a punishable offense) to fuck with men above their league.

So I propose that rather than making Incels look bad we look at the reasons they’ve become this way and what steps we can take to deconflict and reverse things because, let’s be real calling them names, labeling them a terrorist organization etc isn’t going to make the problem go away.

There are several ways I propose we do this:

1) Women are no longer allowed to wear makeup, ie falsely advertise their beauty and hence stop them from banging guys above their league.

2) Women are only allowed to date men with equal sexual market value to them. State-mandated tests should be made and everyone get a sexual-market value card ranging from 1/10 to 10/10, like an ID card.

3) Every time a woman sleeps with a new man she lose one 1 rank on her sexual-market value card until she reach the lowest rank 1/10.

4) There’s no way to rise through the ranks other than through excercise

5) Women with more than 9 sexual partners and single moms should be forced by the state to date and have sex with incels that can’t get any women despite the above changes.

This would deal with the problem not the symptom and is the ay we deal with everything from counter-piracy to counter- terrorism. The incel threat is real and should be treated the same way.

 

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The beliefs of Incels are entirely contradictory, and are a perfect illustration of the Fable of The Fox and the Grapes:

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 The Fox and the Grapes
ONE hot summer’s day a Fox was strolling through an orchard till he came to a bunch of Grapes just ripening on a vine which had been trained over a lofty branch. “Just the things to quench my thirst,” quoth he. Drawing back a few paces, he took a run and a jump, and just missed the bunch. Turning round again with a One, Two, Three, he jumped up, but with no greater success. Again and again he tried after the tempting morsel, but at last had to give it up, and walked away with his nose in the air, saying: “I am sure they are sour.”

 “IT IS EASY TO DESPISE WHAT YOU CANNOT GET.”

 

Like most of the organizations formed as a backlash against the social progress of the past fifty years, they also  like to steal the language of social justice, to use for their own ends, in an attempt to make themselves seem innocuous.

They borrow a lot of language from the equality/civil rights agenda – society “treats single men like trash, and it has to stop. The people in power, women, can change this, but they refuse to. They have blood on their hands,” read one post the morning after the Toronto attack. Basically, their virginity is a discrimination or apartheid issue, and only a state-distributed girlfriend programme, outlawing multiple partners, can rectify this grand injustice. Yet at the same time, they hate victims, snowflakes, liberals, those who campaign for any actual equality.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/25/raw-hatred-why-incel-movement-targets-terrorises-women

Their landscape is strewn with completely unsquarable contradiction: “They’ll say how terrible it is that the left has won the culture wars and we should return to traditional hierarchies, but then they’ll use terms like ‘banging sluts’, which doesn’t make any sense, right?” Nagle continues. “Because you have to pick one. They want sexual availability and yet, at the same time, they express this disgust at promiscuity.

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And finally: What is the Manosphere? Incels (involuntary Celibate) do not make up the bulk of what is called The Manosphere.

https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/intelligence-report/2012/misogyny-sites

The so-called “manosphere” is peopled with hundreds of websites, blogs and forums dedicated to savaging feminists in particular and women, very typically American women, in general. Although some of the sites make an attempt at civility and try to back their arguments with facts, they are almost all thick with misogynistic attacks that can be astounding for the guttural hatred they express. What follows are brief descriptions of a dozen of these sites. Another resource is the Man Boobz website (manboobz.com), a humorous pro-feminist blog (its tagline is “Misogyny: I Mock It”) that keeps a close eye on these and many other woman-hating sites.

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And here’s the link to Manboobz, as it used to be called, but its new title is: We Hunted the Mammoth. This website tracks the, so-called, discussions going on in the Manosphere. I would never have known any of this existed were it not for the work that David Futrelle does on his website. He wades through all this shit, so we don’t have to.

http://www.wehuntedthemammoth.com/

On The Table: Items For Discussion

On Race and Gender

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*One of the things most invisible to us as film goers is, through whose gaze are we viewing the world around us. The statistics are pretty clear, from television, to movies, to books, the point of view is that of cis-gender, straight, white men, who control nearly the entirety of all three industries. They are the ones who determine which stories are important enough to get told,  and how those stories get told. 

One of the more interesting aspects in film and TV, is how none of the  White characters in any of these narratives ever question their race in relation to PoC characters.  Most of the White people in movies do not think about their race, their race is never mentioned, and they never think about the existence of  PoC, just like the creators of these films. Racism doesn’t exist in these all White worlds, and no one ever has to think about it, or deal with it, unless its a story specifically about it. For example, you can have a story with an all White cast that may be specifically about a Native American issue, but White people’s complicity in that issue  is never mentioned in the narrative.

I think I mentioned in another post, how the subject of race is the boogeyman that White creators (and critics) dare not look at directly. Race is the sun around which their entire psyche revolves, but which they refuse to acknowledge exists, as even the stories they tell, that do not explicitly mention race, still say much about how they think (or don’t think) about the subject.

This post discusses the output of three different white male directors who have not included PoC, in any of their films, in prominent roles: Martin Scorcese, Tim Burton, and the Coen Brothers. I have thoroughly enjoyed the collected works of all these directors, but it even took me a moment to realize that this is true. I basically study this subject, but the fact that a number of film directors I truly enjoy, have never employed any PoC in their films, (outside of a couple of villains), was still largely invisible to me, and that’s the point.

https://theestablishment.co/how-to-make-white-movies-5b9b83c61c53

… films with all, or mostly, white casts are not inherently harmful (some are great), but they do create for themselves a unique problem. Because even as the overwhelming whiteness on screen goes unquestioned, unremarked upon, it remains up there for us all to see — and it thus necessarily conveys some meaning.

…Films starring white people, or featuring zero people of color, don’t have the same impact. They must contend with an inherent dilemma, which is that without any commentary, their casting reinforces the status quo. White remains the default, and this itself is a kind of unspoken celebration. Ignoring this reality as a filmmaker is like ignoring a boom mic which falls into the frame. We will see it, even if the director somehow missed it.

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Why Cinematography May Be the Most Gender-Biased Job in Hollywood

A cinematographer — also known as a DP, for director of photography — dictates the movement and gaze of a camera, hugely influencing a movie’s feel. For years, women have been shut out of having that influence. Men vastly dominate its ranks, meaning that movies have been quite literally subject to the male gaze in a way audience members may not even be aware. (This article may have a paywall.)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/business/wp/2018/03/06/why-cinematography-may-be-the-most-gender-biased-job-in-hollywood/?utm_term=.0519c70ed87d

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*This interview with the show runner of Jessica Jones is a perfect example of the above topic, and shows that its an attitude not limited to White men. In fact, she is a textbook practioner of “White Feminism” (this is not a reference to the person’s race, but the name of the type of  feminism being espoused by that person, which does not take into account the lives of marginalized women ). It is the type of feminism that considers WoC to be an afterthought, at best, and non-existent, at worst.

You know how I can tell there are no WoC (or marginalized women) in the writer’s room of that show? In season one of Jessica Jones, there is the Angry Black woman stereotype in the first episode, Jheri is The Evil Lesbian who tries to have her ex-GF killed, her ex-GF is The Hysterical Female, loud, and irrational, and then there’s the Black female victim of the show’s lead. Not one of the show’s writers stopped to think how it would look, that Jessica kills Luke Cage’s wife (conveniently getting her out of the way) and then sleeps with him, while never mentioning to him what she did, (after she discovers that was his wife.)

I made a point to skip the new season, but I am not heartened by the news that the situation has not changed for WoC (or queer women) on that show, and I’m not going to give a third season a chance either. I’m done with the show. What I find even more galling, is that the showrunner makes it sound like the choices they made, regarding the roles of marginalized women on the show, were just some sort of “accident”, that no one had any control over.

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Fumbling to accurately portray both race and gender onscreen is hardly a problem exclusive to Jessica Jones. Shows like The Handmaid’s Tale and Law & Order: SVU, among others, center on transforming our ideas of what a “strong female character” looks like, but fail to decentralize whiteness. By refusing to do so, intentionally or not, these shows continue to present race as a hindrance rather than a very real part of their characters’ identities and a factor in their experiences. 

https://www.bitchmedia.org/article/reviews/jessica-jones-leaves-black-women-behind

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*The Twitter thread on this topic was brutal and hilarious. Mainstream publishing is another industry where female characters  are seen through a White male gaze, and no one ever seems to question this. When the writer is great, this isn’t quite so much of a problem, but when theyre mediocre though, its absolutely cringeworthy.

https://electricliterature.com/describe-yourself-like-a-male-author-would-is-the-most-savage-twitter-thread-in-ages-60d145d638d6

Whitney Reynolds

@whitneyarner

new twitter challenge: describe yourself like a male author would

Lilly Beth Chung@LillyBethChungx

[insert something about being mixed race and how that makes me petite and inherently submissive but juxtapose it with the idea of me being adorably aggressive and will stand up for myself. But make it sound endearing. ]

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*This post is about how women’s stories, in movies and television, are devalued by men. Essentially the test is, take a man’s story that has gotten widespread approval,  replace all or most of the characters with women, and watch the ratings for that story plummet.

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/mar/06/the-male-glance-how-we-fail-to-take-womens-stories-seriously

Male art is epic, universal, and profoundly meaningful. Women’s creations are domestic, emotional and trivial. How did we learn to misread stories so badly?

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*This same dynamic is at work in the idea of White prioritization. A perfect example of that is the TV show Friends, from the 90’s. There was a Black show called Living Single, on which Friends was entirely based. It is Friends that is remembered, and  got  revived for more episodes, after its cancellation. Living Single was simply forgotten. This is a great article on the difference between these two shows, and why those differences mattered in the remembrance of one, but not the other.. 

https://www.citylab.com/life/2017/01/the-gentrification-of-city-based-sitcoms/513302/

Patronizing a Central Perk-style coffee shop in the ‘90s meant you had enough income to spend on a marked-up cup of coffee. It meant that you had the luxury of time to hang out in a cafe for hours with your friends because you weren’t working two or three jobs to get by. When free internet became a basic feature, you went there because you could afford a laptop—which were then well out of the price range for many working-class people. Chances were good that your cafe was mostly populated by a bunch of people who shared your privileges and skin color.

Now, for the record, I was a Living Single fan and I pretty much hated and dismissed Friends. I watched pretty much every Black sitcom that came out in the 80s and early 90s, from Sister, Sister, to Family Matters. But just in case you want to get on me for hating Friends, I watched a lot of sitcoms that had nothing but Whites in them like The Drew Carey Show, Perfect Strangers, and Bosom Buddies, as well.

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Recently  the idea of White prioritization  was turned on its head by the movie Girl’s Trip. It was expected that Rough Night, a similar movie about young White women on a road trip, would have been the movie to capture public interest, while Girl’s Trip was ignored. But that was not what happened:

https://www.thewrap.com/how-did-girls-trip-succeed-where-rough-night-and-other-adult-comedies-failed

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*And when White writers do write about race, they don’t do  their homework. They almost always get the depiction of it wrong. Its as if they know racism is bad, they just don’t seem to have quite processed why that’s so. I think I mentioned this before that most depictions are wrong because the bigots actually have legitimate reasons to be afraid of the beings they’re oppressing. Otherworldly creatures, and superpowered beings, (who are almost always White) are bad stand ins for marginalized people in allegories about bigotry, because real PoC, DO NOT have superspeed, superstrength, or  laser eyebeams.

Its also interesting to me that audiences can empathize with these oppressed characters in movies and TV, but in the real world, oppressed people are often admonished against being angry about their situations. Its not a coincidence that such admonishments often come from the ones engaged in the oppressing, and who are most likely to be on the receiving end of that anger.

https://www.themarysue.com/jessica-jones-race-gender-superpowers/

 And in every one, it ends up being people of color versus white vampires, aliens, or whatever a show would rather have stand in for POC than actual POC. It’s often exhausting, and not just because watching a white actor preach about bigotry and racism to a brown actor is irritating. What I find more upsetting is that the characters who are mutants, aliens, super-powered, or whatever, get to be more militant and angry than characters of color.

 

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On the Female Gaze

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To read more on this topic, and the responses, become a member of Medium.com, where you can also follow me, read my responses to articles, and read posts I’ve recommended.

I posted about this earlier, on the fetishization of White, gay men by White women writers.

Why Are So Many Gay Romance Novels Written By Straight Women?

https://electricliterature.com/why-are-so-many-gay-romance-novels-written-by-straight-women-e1ad2ad2f5c8

And in the responses:

I know the perspective you’re talking about here all too well from my experience in fandom, and it’s disheartening as hell. It’s disheartening as hell to come to queer (and queered) media looking for that kind of representation and complex engagement and see it overrun with the worst kinds of Kinsey 0–2 women fetishizing queer relationships. If I never see another who tops/who bottoms “debate” in my life, it will be too soon. If I never see another piece of fanart reblogged on Tumblr to the tune of hundreds of thousands of notes putting stereotypically slender, able-bodied, attractive young white men in crop tops and flower crowns, it will be too soon. If I never am around another Kinsey 0–2 woman acting like pretty boys are just so much prettier if they’re making out with bruises and bloody patches on their faces after being physically abused/physically abusing each other for reasons related to homophobia, it will be too soon. If I am never exposed to the “woke up magically one morning with breasts because of a supernatural plot ….—Kate (Medium.com)

View at Medium.com

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On Cultural Appropriation

There’s been some huge discussion of how Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs (a play on the words I love dogs) is actually appropriating Asian culture. Is this appropriation?

https://www.themarysue.com/cultural-appropriation-poc-isle/

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/la-et-mn-isle-of-dogs-review-20180321-story.html

https://mashable.com/2018/03/23/isle-of-dogs-japanese-culture/#uoZ_BFMcqZqD

*For the record, I had never made plans to see this movie even though I have a dog (Hi Sarge!), and love dogs, because I  thought the dogs looked kind of terrifying, and everyone in the trailer spoke in depressing monotones. (I know I don’t talk about Sarge often, but really he doesn’t do much of note, beyond shedding copiously, and watching me expectantly in case  “walkies”  occur.)

 

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On Harassment Activism

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*A warning for reading these articles, some of them contain some really nasty shit against women and PoC, so read with a certain amount of caution, (or just have a few drinks first.) This seems to be the Right’s go to response to everything they dislike: harassing it out of the public sphere. This is about more than just controlling public forums like Twitter, this is about shutting up the people who are no longer listening to, or supporting, the received wisdom of White men. White men are fed up with so many people talking back, and refuting, the things they’ve been told, or espoused themselves. 

https://www.thedailybeast.com/comicsgate-how-an-anti-diversity-harassment-campaign-in-comics-got-uglyand-profitable?via=newsletter&source=DDAfternoon

https://www.inverse.com/article/41132-comicsgate-explained-bigots-milkshake-marvel-dc-gamergate

 

*And even academics aren’t immune from this “activism”, if they start saying things White men don’t like.

https://www.aaup.org/article/new-reality-far-rights-use-cyberharassment-against-academics#.WsejGfnwb0N

—Their plans became darker and more elaborate. One commenter suggested that their remote attacks on me be expanded to include my family. Another suggested that they take images they had found of my wife and Photoshop them in profane ways. They began to draft letters to send to administrators at my university and provided suggestions for editing to incriminate me. One commenter suggested they alter a screenshot they had created to make it appear as though I had used the term n****r. Another suggested that they accuse me of anti-Semitism. Their stated goal was to see that I was fired. This, apparently, was the type of opportunity they relished: find a person to harass, maybe by drawing him or her into a politi­cal argument, locate any information they could find online, and then coordinate attacks in an attempt to damage the person as much as possible.

 

 

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*This was an interesting article about the response of white people to diverse television, and movies, and their nostalgia about, and retreat to,  past eras of pop culture, like the eighties, when there was less diversity in the media.  We’re going to be seeing more reboots and remakes of TV shows that are not being remembered for their diversity, at the time.

This isn’t just the problem of RPO, but just about every show that is an nostalgic homage to that  time period erases the fact that Black people were having a serious impression on American culture at that time.

The problem with RPO is that the only pop culture of the eighties that’s mentioned in the movie, are things White guys would’ve loved. There’s no mention of the burgeoning hip hop scene, no Beastie Boys, or Run DMC, no Black fashions. In show after show, that’s all just conveniently erased from the history of that era.

https://www.theroot.com/ready-player-one-and-the-unbearable-whiteness-of-80-s-n-1824212737

Where is the Ghostbusters’ Winston Zeddmore? Jazz from The Transformers? Panthro from Thundercats (c’mon, we all know he was black), or even prominent women like Rainbow Brite, Strawberry Shortcake and She-Ra?

Writ large, Ready Player One, with its frothy retelling of the ’80s, is no different from decades of Western films with no black cowboys, rock ’n’ roll retrospectives that eliminate the black roots of the music, and commercials that appropriate our past while removing us from it. Today’s Gap commercials would lead you to believe that white people invented breakdancing and pop-locking.

 

I usually post in the mornings, but I was a little late with this one today.

Black Panther : Selected readings From Medium. com

All of these essays come from Medium.com. I decided to do a separate post for this site because I can’t directly link to all the articles. But I can link to the writers and you can look around, after joining Medium, and check out their other writings, as well. There are a few of these articles that sit behind a paywall, but its only five dollars a month, if you’re willing. Later, I’ll do a separate list of essays for fans on Tumblr.

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Black Panther: The King For Our Time

Lessons for America on the Consequences of Isolationism and Burying your Violent History Jay Kapoor

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Meditations on ‘Black Panther’ and the Future of Black Superhero Movies: Why did it succeed where many other black superhero movies have failed?

Eric Anthony Glover

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Black Panther: Lessons in Hollywood diversity and black pride

By: Nicol Turner-Lee

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‘Black Panther’: When Will African-American Films No Longer be Considered Unicorns?

After a string of seemingly anomalous box-office hits (‘Get Out,’ ‘Girls Trip’ and now Marvel’s latest), THR columnist Marc Bernardin argues that these hits can be repeated if Hollywood pays attention to the real reasons they succeeded in the first place.

The Hollywood Reporter

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I Went to See Black Panther and Found Myself in Erik Killmonger Jonathan Walton

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“Have I Ever Failed You?”

On Black Panther and Battling Our Father’s Demons

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Wakanda Future Do You Imagine? A Critical Examination of the Aesthetics, Culture, Politics, and Symbolism of the Blockbuster Film ‘Black Panther’ Son of Baldwin

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What ‘Black Panther’ Teaches Us About When Fathers Lie to Their Sons Zaron Burnett III

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‘Black Panther’ Inspires More Than African Americans  CNN

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Black Panther Is the Superhero Every Kid Will Want to Be This Halloween

Why that’s a good thing, and a few other observations about the latest Marvel blockbuster  Tim Grierson

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5 Lessons from Black Panther That Can Save Our Lives — and Transform Black Politics  Frank Leon Roberts

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Black Panther is one of the most important cultural moments in American history Shaun King

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How ‘Black Panther’ taps into 500 years of history

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Ryan Coogler’s film draws on centuries of black dreams of independence to create Wakanda

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An American Monster In Wakanda: Why I Would Be Erik Killmonger Talynn Kel

 

 

 

 

The Shape of Water (2017]

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I am a huge fan of Guillermo Del Toro. I’ve seen every one of his films, and loved  all of them, with the exception of Crimson Peak, which wasn’t a bad movie , (merely unequal to his other films.)

Guillermo is the kind of director whose films all have meaning. Every image, every line of dialogue, even the costumes and color choices,  have  a  personal meaning for the director,  or propel  the narrative, or examine a character, and he always has something interesting to say, a point he wishes to make, a message to impart to his audience. He makes fantasies that parallel and contrast the real world.

In many of his films, he chronicles how the world of fantasy impacts the real world. In Hellboy 1 & 2, there’s a discussion of real world reactions to the existence of supernatural creatures, and what place someone like Hellboy can make for himself in it. Blade 2, despite all its fantastical elements, takes place entirely in the real world, with the same technology, music, and culture. The vampires in that world have adapted very well to human ingenuity, and in Pan’s Labyrinth, a young girl’s horrifying  real world life, under fascism, is juxtaposed against a fantasy world, in which she actually holds power, and importance, and agency.

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I’ve read many reviews of this film, and not  one of them has mentioned how the fantasy elements of this movie contrast, and impact, the real world, of the sixties Civil Rights environment, in which it takes place. This movie is rich with social commentary that I’m not seeing reflected in any of its reviews. Most of the reviewers focus on the romance between  Eliza and her Fishman paramour, or the set design, or the special effects,  never bothering to go deeper, into what the film actually means for Eliza’s character, or the villain’s motivations. No one has discussed the time period in which it takes place either, which I find frustrating, because the villain’s motivations arise precisely out of the Jim Crow era in which the movie takes place, and informs how Eliza and the Fishman are treated, and the decisions Eliza makes.

The movie sits smack in the middle of the Civil Rights movement, and  although it isn’t something explicitlyshown,  this is a statement, not just about what’s happening with the characters, but a message to us today. As in all his films, Guillermo is telling us something about ourselves right now.  Guillermo says that he chose that particular time period because it’s a direct reflection of what’s happening in the US today, from the re-emergent Cold War, to the various social rights movements like BLM, and the casual racism, sexism, and homophobia, which has reared its ugly head again.

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Just as in the sixties, there is a clash of ideologies, which is often brought about, and exacerbated by, emergent technologies. The internet has allowed marginalized groups to push-back against, and challenge, the narratives of White supremacy, in ways they couldn’t before. Social Media allows marginalized groups to organize, and protest with an immediacy that was once lacking, and online communities allow them to disseminate news and information in real time, as with NoDAPL. In the sixties, it was the handheld camera, that brought the Civil Rights movement, the Korean War, and  the Vietnam War right into people’s livingrooms. It was the Space Program that heated up the cold war between Russia and the United States.

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Michael Shannon, as Strickland, is the physical embodiment of “White male rage, and entitlement”, existing at a period in time in which his cultural supremacy is being called into question by external forces,  that his oppression helped to create. He doesn’t just take his rage out on the amphibian captive, on whom he liberally uses a cattle prod, (his captive does push back against his rage and violence) but takes his hatred and contempt out on both Eliza, and Octavia Spencer’s character, Zelda, questioning her, in a smugly racist tone, why she doesn’t have any siblings (because that’s not common for HER people), which forces Zelda to reveal the tragic loss of her mother when she was born. At the same meeting he loudly asks if Eliza can hear him.

He has the best kind of life there is, with a  loving wife and children, a brand new model car, and a house in the suburbs, yet seems to resent all of it, showing no affection towards his wife and children, even though they dote on him, and he appears to be in a rage at even his “happiest” moments.  This is a man who can’t even find joy in fucking his beautiful, blonde,  trophy wife. The only time we ever see Strickland smile, in the movie, is when he’s contemplating, or bringing harm,  to someone else. Strickland also  lives in a world that is beginning to change, and he can see a future in which he can no longer express his rage and fear at those he deems as less than himself. Just like today, those “people” are talking back to him, and need to be put back in their place of not questioning his supremacy, and again, like today’s form of bigot,  all he has at his disposal is violence. He leads a miserable and rage fueled life.

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Eliza’s neighbor, Giles, is an older gay man who loves musicals, dancing and key lime pie. One of the first musicals we see in the movie is The Little Colonel, starring Shirley Temple, and Bojangles, and is an example of the time period romanticized by the White people of the sixties, just as the early sixties are heavily romanticized today. At one point, Giles entreats Eliza to turn away from the images of civil rights rioting on his TV, to a happier image of  Bojangles,  smiling, and dancing, and happy. Directly after that scene, Eliza and Giles do a little tap dance, while sitting on the couch, and maybe this is Guillermo’s way of pointing out how oppressed people have always tried to maximize what little joy they can find, in the face of so much misery. Eliza and Giles are both single, they don’t own a fancy home or car. In society, she and Giles have nothing, and are nothing. Now contrast Eliza and Giles simple pleasures of pie, movies, and dancing,  with Strickland’s joyless existence.

Dancing is also Eliza’s escape. There’s a surreal daydream about her and the Amphibian dancing in a musical. Guillermo’s message here is about the power of imagination, and how the oppressed find power and happiness. This is something clearly expressed in his movie Pan’s Labyrinth, where the little girl, Ofelia, dreams of escaping her brutal existence, as a Queen of the Fairies,  through the use of her imagination. This is also a statement about Del Toro’s  personal life. He grew up poor and  escaped poverty  through film, through dreams

 

. Eliza wants to escape the circumstances of her life too, and at the end of the movie, she is more than happy to do so. (Although, I must point out, that though Eliza has managed to escape, and Strickland is gone, Giles, and Zelda are left behind to pick up the pieces.)

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https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/features/guillermo-del-toro-confronting-childhood-demons-surviving-a-real-life-horror-story-1053205

There are several interactions between marginalized people that speak to the lack of unity of that time period. Giles is white and male, but every bit as powerless as Zelda, and Eliza, especially after people find out about his private life. Earlier, Giles is emphatic about not watching racial unpleasantness on his TV, but later, he attempts to defend a black couple who try to eat in the diner he frequents, but get kicked out by the counterman. Giles cares enough to come to their defense, but not in the moment, and we realize just how powerless he is afterwards, when he makes a pass at the waiter, and is kicked out of the diner was well.  Note that Giles is all alone when he does this. Guillermo quietly  illustrates how all these different  outsiders are trying to make it on their own. The message here is that unless  they all unite to stand against their oppressors they can accomplish nothing.

My biggest issue is the lone Black man in the movie, Zelda’s husband David. He is perhaps the weakest character in the movie. He is of no use to Zelda, (who speaks of him often and seems to love him), and he does not come to Zelda’s aid when Strickland bursts into their home and bullies them for Eliza’s whereabouts. He also does not aid in the Fishman’s escape from the lab, tries to talk Zelda out of getting involved, and is so cowed by his environment, that he rats her out to Strickland.

My overall impression is that David gave up fighting long ago, and  that he doesn’t really love Zelda, since he was not only  completely unwilling to fight for her but gave up Eliza as well. I have mixed feelings about this character, and I don’t think Del Toro thought him through very well, or took into account how this would look to any Black men watching this film, who would be infuriated at the depiction. On the one hand, it wasn’t necessary to have the only Black man, in the entire movie, be an example of  what the system of Jim Crow was meant to do, which is drain all the fighting spirit out of Black men, keeping them terrified, and submissive. On the other hand, if he were not those things, it would’ve become a very different type of movie. I feel he could have been eliminated from the plot altogether and the film would largely be left intact.

Strickland wants to destroy the Amphibian, a creature of the natural world that he often refers to as an abomination. He tortures and abuses the creature, to no purpose, but his own petty enmity. When the Fishman is slated for an autopsy table, Eliza teams up with Zelda, a German researcher, and Giles to thwart Strickland. In the end, they all come together to take down Strickland, and I feel like the message here was that only through the unity of  outsiders, can such an overwhelmingly oppressive force, like him, be overcome.

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In all of Guillermo’s films, you have a villain who attempts to destroy the natural world for vengeance, greed, entitlement, and/or short sightedness. In Blade 2, the natural order of the world is disrupted by a quest for power, and the  destruction of humanity is averted by the hero fighting with the very beings he’d made a profession of killing. In Hellboy, the villain wishes to disrupt the order of the world by calling down The Old Gods of Lovecraftian mythology, and in Hellboy II: The Golden Army, faded fairy nobility wants to avenge the destruction of the natural world by human greed. And in The Shape of Water, Strickland is destroyed by the the very sort of people he most hates and fears.

The message of the outsider being more noble, more self sacrificing, and more compassionate is woven throughout many of Guillermo’s films. Since Del Toro himself is a Mexican immigrant, he has always felt himself to be one of the outsiders, and most of his films are seen through such a lens, recognizing the power of those who stand outside the mainstream. All of Del Toro’s protagonists are pieces of himself. Unlike most fantasy film directors, he is willing to address social issues in his films, and reviewers need to give the man his proper respect for doing that, and acknowledge that in their reviews.

 

 

Quick question:What is Guillermo Del Toro’s fascination with Germans? Every one of his films has a German character in it. Can you spot them?

*Note: My second review of this movie will be a discussion of sex and disability.

 

Weekend Reading From Around The Internetz

 Some people were insulted by the following statement, but I thought it was pretty funny. The writer says that teaching with humor was his intention. 
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Yo! Black people! Listen up!

I already KNOW y’all gonna sneak food into Black Panther. How do I know? Cuz all my friends are. Cuz all my family will. Cuz I’M going to sneak food into Black Panther. I’m going to do that all five times that I see the movie. Cuz theater food is A: not good and B: too damn expensive.

That said, remember, some of us WORK in theaters. Which means that if we all leave our outside food trash in a theater, we’re going to see a lot of our family being fired. Yes, theater employees can get FIRED if they find our people snuck in food.

So first of all, don’t be obvious and don’t get caught. Second of all, DO NOT LEAVE YOUR TRASH IN THE THEATER!

This doesn’t mean “don’t just put your empty bag of hot fries under the seat” (though, don’t do that either, act like you have a Mama). This means, do not put your outside food trash in the theater trash receptical. The bosses WILL see that and the employees WILL suffer for it.

Come on y’all, let’s not risk Black people’s jobs while supporting this movie.

Also, just a reminder to not bootleg this movie, and square up with anyone that does.

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Black Panther Toy Ad

This is what’s so great about this ad, and about Black Panther in general. I love that they added a little Black girl to the ad, and let her play just like the boys. (Ftr, I have no objection the White boy in the ad, because Black Panther is for everyone to enjoy, and I sincerely hope everyone does. We like to be inclusive here at Chez Lkeke.)

Because characters of color have historically been relatively marginalized in movies, comics, and television, toys and commercials like this simply haven’t existed before which is a shame in and of itself but has deeper consequences. Oftentimes, the first step towards becoming a fan of something or part of a larger fandom is finding a character that you can relate to when you’re young and then seeing your relationship with them validated by the world around you.

Black Excellence & Woman Power Prevails In New Commercial For Black Panther Toys

 

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This post elaborates on larger piece I wrote, about how White writers  tend to think of race,  and how that plays out in alien invasion movies, which is something I briefly touched on in my Invasion of the Body Snatchers reviews. White people have a tendency to believe they lack pathology, but a closer look reveals that much of their thinking plays out in the pop culture created by White, straight, cis-gender, men.

WHITE FRAGILITY

by Robin DiAngelo

http://w-f.is/uai.html
Whites are taught to see their perspectives as objective and representative of reality15. The belief in objectivity, coupled with positioning white people as outside of culture (and thus the norm for humanity), allows whites to view themselves as universal humans who can represent all of human experience. This is evidenced through an unracialized identity or location, which functions as a kind of blindness; an inability to think about Whiteness as an identity or as a “state” of being that would or could have an impact on one’s life. In this position, Whiteness is not recognized or named by white people, and a universal reference point is assumed. White people are just people. Within this construction, whites can represent humanity, while people of color, who are never just people but always most particularly black people, Asian people, etc., can only represent their own racialized experiences16.

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The above post is also connected to the idea of “Cousin Culture” among PoC, and is related to an article written by Damon Young, for The Root, titled : Do White People Have Cousins?

What is cousin culture, you ask? It’s existing in a family where:

  1. Cousins matter;
  2. There’s no real distinction between first, second and third cousins; and
  3. There are a few people who don’t share any blood with you but are your cousins, too, just because their asses are around all the time and you didn’t even know they weren’t technically related to you until you were, like, 25.

https://verysmartbrothas.theroot.com/do-white-people-have-cousins-1820685828

 

 

Link to Root.com Article:https://t.co/NREeovQyJD?amp=1

via @ BienSur_JeTaime on twitter

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This post was part of a long discussion about racism in Tolkien’s works, whether or not Tolkien himself was a racist, how did this racism play out in his writings, and can Tolkien’s influence be blamed for so much of the racism to be found in fantasy settings. The Hobbit was written in 1937, and since that time, there has been a metric fuckton of  film and literature that was heavily influenced by Tolkien’s books. S

Tolkien may not have been an avowed racist, like H.P. Lovecraft, but like him he had a profound effect on fantasy literature, and he certainly had a blind-spot as regards race, as do most of the people writing in the fantasy genre, and their fans.

Please take the time to visit and follow:   for more on this subject.

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Hey guys my name is SomethingSomething MiddleInitial [Redacted] and today i’m gonna introduce you to the high fantasy world i’ve created! There’s lots of great diversity such as:
-White people that come in flavours of viking, merchant, and magical
-Tall elegant white people with pointy ears
-Short hardy white people with beards and axes

Looking for something other than white people? I’ve got you! On your left you can see:
-Savage, militaristic tribe coded as black or brown
-Honorable asian clan
-A race characterized entirely by negative jewish stereotypes

And don’t you worry: because i’m a coward i’ve also created a variety of non-human races that can be used as allegories for oppression without having to properly represent people of color in my work! You’re welcome!

 

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In a morbid, kind of way it’s interesting to see how the  internalized racism in Tolkien’s time that went unchecked due to the white society he was born in continues to go unchecked and internalized in the Tolkien fandom by white fans today.

The racist tropes that he wrote into his books are quite obviously those cultivated from his time, and because of the time they were written in it was a little more…understandable that readers then  were unable to realize their problematic nature. But still in 2017 white fans are still oblivious (either by ignorance or on purpose) to the deeper racism in his works, and that’s kind of scary.

And a lot of it comes from the fact that the fandom is so “white” dominate, so racism is typically examined from a “white” perspective, where it is whitesplained (Ie: No black people in Middle Earth, which to be fair isn’t quite true).

White fans tend to see racism as “action” as in, you must be doing a racist thing for it to be considered racist, and if you’re not doing a racist thing then you aren’t racist, and fail to realize that in itself racism starts with a mindset rather than an action. So “subtle” hints of racism get ignored.

Instances of racism that would be recognizable by people of color are invisible to white fans only because they haven’t experienced it, and have already solidified a “white” view of racism.

That said, the fact that white fans are more willing to listen to other white fans about racism in Tolkien’s characters and fandoms then they are willing to listen to actual people of color is, I think, is another example of white washed racism in the Tolkien fandom.

Racism is valid when white people are talking about it, but annoying, discourse, or reaching when people of color are talking about it. Why is that so? When did we get to this point?

The fact that I’ve seen white fans talking about racism being more well received than me and other fans of color talking about racism is disturbing, especially for a fandom that’s supposed to be so liberal (but the majority of fans I’ve seen in Tolkien-Tumblr are all white women in their late 20s and above, and thus the award holders for white feminism. And they validate the 16 year old white girls who think a year on tumblr gives them a degree on social justice, so an unhealthy cycle is continued).

If you find yourself drooling over a white girl’s explanation of racism in Tolkien fandom but rolling your eyes when a fan of color talks about it, then you need to reevaluate your life. Because white girls only know surface racism, people of color live it.

And this goes back to my point of “white washed” racism, and even further to our non-liberal fandom. It’s almost disappointing to see that as a fandom, we haven’t really progressed past Tolkien’s traditional, imperialistic views as far as racism goes.

I think a lot of this has to do with white feminism. One of the reasons we consider ourselves a liberal fandom because we can talk about sexism. But that’s slave-time feminism if we’re suddenly unable to listen to fans of color do the same with racism.

And of course I’m not talking about all white people in the Tolkien fandom, but it’s not very many that are not like this.

In my own experience I only know a handful.

 

#Ask me about how literally no one noticed “black men are raping our women” was being perpetrated in the way Tolkien wrote the Eöl story#How the only canonically non-white elf was treated in the narrative.#How the only cases of domestic abuse was – you guessed it! – between a non-white man who “forced” white women to marry them#The Silm is full of that shit#Which is why I like writing fanfiction to turn that all on its head#Wow. Am I *SUPER* salty over Tolkien fandom tonight. Must be the drink. XD#Tolkien fandom

@lunarymagic   I literally wrote an Entire Meta of Eol/Maeglin’s narrative and how it’s basically playing on racist tropes that are used to demonize men of color by making them demonize white women.

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When people are criticizing Lord of the Rings for not having POC in them, it’s more of a criticism on Jackson rather than Tolkien himself, considering Tolkien does have people of color in his works (and elves too).

But  the weird part about this is “die hard “ Tolkien fans are the ones defending Jackson’s whitewashed version of the film, despite the fact that there are canonically poc in Tolkiens works.

So like, that’s how you spot racist fans I guess? They’re die hard until someone asks why poc–which are in canon–are erased from Jackson’s portrayal? Suddenly it’s all “well its based off of norse mythology” or some bs like that despite the fact that a) it’s based off of other cultures and b) canonically Tolkein has POC in it.

So you’re “die hard” for the story, but you conveniently forget that there’s poc in it? In fact you’re so adamant about being anti-poc in his works because you’re such good fans?

I mean do yall Tolkienites defending Jackson’s white washing on the basis of it being “european” forget that some of its based off of ancient egypt? But you’re still the ones losing your shit over black elves and people? And just poc in general? I don’t get it.

Like you’re die hard until it gets a little too colorful for you. Why are you like this?

Not just white men, but white women in the Tolkien fandom as well. White feminism is a huge issue in the Tolkien fandom, and white women are the main culprits.

White men may be some of the more aggressive, as far as saying who and who doesn’t belong in story, and overall are behind the white washing.

But white fans that are women are the silent culprits who often uphold and validate racism behind the guise of feminism, which is often just white feminism.

 

Yeah, never let women off the hook for this shit. Or people who aren’t het, for that matter. Transformative fandom in general, AO3 in particular, is overwhelmingly made up of women, most of whom are white, and a good majority according to their polling do not identify as cishet. And it is a cesspool of white prioritization everywhere you look. Women did that all on their own with little to no male influence.

Anyway. They’re like that because they’re used to media centering on characters who look like them and they’ve been conditioned to believe that the whitewashing of history by.the film industry is accurate.

And really? Middle Earth, especially as portrayed by Jackson, has that “simpler times” brand of nostalgia for a time when white people didn’t have to worry about the rights of Black and brown people, it was out of sight, out of mind. Middle Earth being all white (except for otherized, threatening, rarely seen races) is part of the fantasy for a lot of people.

 

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Representation Matters

 

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So I’ve been overwhelmed by the black panther comicon appearance and I’ve been dwelling on how revolutionary the black panther movie is going to be, what it’s going to mean to countless people when this movie comes out and how long we still have to go, So I decided to put this short photoset together to illustrate exactly how big of a deal it is and how it is bigger than one person.

it’s so bittersweet because when I was younger (especially growing up where I did, a black kid in Finland) I really wished I had more access to imagery and media that reflected who I was because it would have made my life radically different for the better and I wouldn’t be at 26 (STILL) doing damage control but on the flipside, I’m so in awe of all of the beautiful talent in 2016 that younger black kids are able to see and be inspired by.

I think I was like 4 years old when I conciously picked up race and color via watching Disney’s “Aladdin” and I noticed how Jafar, the evil royal guards etc the villains were more ethnic looking or a shade darker than the “good” characters.

it’s insidious because you’re seeing something but at age 4, you don’t have the comprehension skill or knowledge to break it down and see it for what it is (Colorism, Societal bias against black people which is rooted in centuries of white supremacist doctrine, society associates things that are dark/darker colors with evil, danger, ugliness, dirt etc) and reject it.

so you pick it up and see it on a surface level and you think to yourself “well darker must mean ugly, criminal and less human”…then what happens when you look at yourself in the mirror and find out that you are black?

  how is that going to impact how you see yourself?

and guess what? if a 4 year old black kid can pick that up and internalize that about him/her/themselves….then a white kid can sponge up the same language and imagery that dehumanizes black people too (subconciously/conciously)…what happens when when these people grow up? become teachers, doctors, law enforcement etc? what kind of impact is that going to have?

I’m going off on a tangent and that’s just one personal example but society does that on a global grand scale and it is largely unchecked.

but honestly though,look at the photoset and think about how many talented people out there that we love and respect….who would NOT have achieved the things they did if it wasn’t for another person before them inspiring them to reach their goals and acting as trail blazers when it seemed as though it was impossible….then think about the flipside and how many people, with all the potential in the world, never lived to become great because they were met with more images dehumanizing them than ones uplifting them…this is why the fight for HONEST representation is important and it continues.

argh, I didn’t plan on typing anything but I got in my feelings after watching this again

…anyway, here are some pictures to make you smile, the next gen gives me hope

 

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Forthcoming Posts (Maybe?):

I’ve decided to wait for the DVD release of Blade Runner 2049 to do the second part of my review.

I’m going to wait for a couple more episodes before I review The X-Files, and 911. Black Lightning, Electric Dreams on Amazon, The Magicians, The Alienist, and something not really on showing up anyone’s radar, unless they have Starz, called Counterpart, which stars J.K Simmons..

A review of first half of season 8 of The Walking Dead.

The use/themes of fashion in movies and TV, the best TV/Movie costumes, and a post on “Movies I loved but y’all hated”.

I hope to get a lot of these done, along with posts about the importance of  the movie Bebe’s Kids, The Thing vs. The Thing, Hannibal the series: Season Three, and more Star Trek Discovery.

I’ve found it’s more helpful for me to watch a batch of episodes of a show, and then review it, rather than trying to catch individual episodes. It’s probably best not to pay too close attention to my promises, anyway  though. I’ve often found my ambitions to be greater than my time.

Weekend Linkspam (12/18/17)

Social Justice

On White People Behaving Badly

https://www.usnews.com/opinion/civil-wars/articles/2017-12-14/roy-moore-donald-trump-and-white-women-voting-for-misogyny

http://www.marieclaire.com/career-advice/a14104684/sexual-harassment-assault-in-science-field/

The Epidemic Of White Male Terrorism And Its Connection To White Privilege

Antifa Activists As The Truest Defenders Of Free Speech

 

Readings From Brotha Wolf

Brotha Wolf has been covering the issues of media depiction of Black Americans for several years now. It’s always been my belief that the news media always has been directly complicit in the racist beliefs of White people. It disseminates sterotypes and reinforces prejudices, which is why PoC fight so hard to say that Representation Matters, Black Lives Matter, and yes, Pop Culture Matters.

When we argue that fandom is racist, lacks empathy for Black characters, and that White fandom has no other template from which to imagine fictional narratives of Black people, this is what we’re talking about. When White people insist we don’t belong in fantasy settings, historical settings, or even futuristic settings, our depictions in the news media as present day criminals is behind some of those beliefs.

https://brothawolf.wordpress.com/2017/12/19/article-new-study-finds-news-outlets-promote-false-negative-portrayals-of-black-families-that-dont-match-reality/

https://brothawolf.wordpress.com/2013/09/24/is-the-news-media-racially-biased/

https://brothawolf.wordpress.com/2012/04/02/crime-in-black-and-white/

https://brothawolf.wordpress.com/2015/10/17/black-folks-in-the-white-news-media/

https://brothawolf.wordpress.com/2017/11/08/what-about-white-on-white-crime-and-white-terrorism/

 

Johnny Silvercloud

Deleting Your Bulls*** When We Call You Out is a White Privilege Flex

White Privileged: Shut Your Selectively-Pacifist, Pontificating Ass Up

Dear White America: This is Your Mess.

 

Fandom and Racism

https://www.theodysseyonline.com/star-wars-fandom-toxicity-problem?altdesign=socialux&utm_expid=.oW2L-b3SQF-m5a-dPEU77g.1&utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F

https://mubi.com/lists/sci-fi-as-race-allegory

https://theestablishment.co/your-fandom-is-racist-and-so-are-you-638c5200b15b

http://professorshih.blogspot.com/2017/12/if-you-cant-say-unqualified-say.html

Why Does the Black Panther Casting Call Cause White Butt-Hurt?

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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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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New Year’s Reading (Writing)

Writer’s Resources & Encouragement

 Here’s some advice and encouragement on writing people of color, from Tumblr:
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Characters of Color: Things Every Writer Should Know

I am a white author, and along with many other white authors I know, I worry about stereotyping characters or talking about a subject I don’t feel I have the right to. First off, we all need to get over the fear of misrepresentation or stereotyping and focus on doing our research. Obviously, every writer does not know the experience of EVERY race, culture, or sexuality, etc. However, as writers of any color, we are still capable of sharing these experiences through characters that might not be exactly like us. We shouldn’t exclude characters just because we don’t fully understand. We should do our job and learn more about them, so that these characters can have greater representation in fiction.

We all go through very similar experiences as human beings and we all have fears, hopes, dreams, and goals in some way or another. Acting like we can’t grasp a human experience because we’re not the same skin color is ridiculous. Sure, there are aspects of life that we only experience as a reflection of our skin color and our lives can be drastically different, but as writers we get into the heads of ALL different people. We spend time researching. We spend time trying to understand. Our curiosity and creativity IS what makes us writers. So, don’t be afraid to include characters that aren’t exactly like you because YOU DO IT ALL THE TIME AND YOU DON’T EVEN REALIZE IT.

 

Being afraid of “getting it wrong” might be a general fear, but you can’t let that stop you. If anything it should force you to do as much research as possible in order to get it right. It’s very hard to write a character wrong unless you are disrespectful of their experience, you don’t care, or you don’t take the time to understand something.  And writing characters of color or characters that don’t share your background doesn’t mean knowing everything about their history since the dawn of time because you’re still writing within the context of your story. You need to make them real and you need to develop them, just like any other character.

There are so many opportunities to move beyond your “standard main character” and start writing more underrepresented characters. It’s a shame that this is something we have to discuss all the time, but as writers, we can break the cycle.

-Kris Noel

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This is just a general guideline for how NOT to write stereotypical Black characters. I should note that sometimes, depending on what you’re writing, a stereotype may be unavoidable, but sometimes that can be mitigated by giving the character a great deal of complexity and depth, if it’s a primary character. Best not try this with secondary or side characters. At any rate you should probably get what’s known as sensitivity readers, people from the racial backgrounds in question, who can point out if you’re being offensive.

I need to point out that you need to do your research on racial stereotypes. If you don’t know what they are, then you don’t to avoid using  them, and  considering yourself not racist isn’t enough. We all receive subtle racial messaging we are unaware of, on the daily.

Oh, and AAVE means African American Vernacular English (Slang). Just have them speak standard English because, unless you’re in the culture (or grew up speaking it), you’re definitely going to get the use of the words wrong. What’s interesting is that those of us who speak AAVE can always spot a fake, and can even tell what generation and/or geography a person is from, based on what AAVE they’re using. It’s just like any other language you don’t know. If you don’t know it, don’t try it.

How to write fic for Black characters: a guide for non-Black fans

eshusplayground

  1. Don’t characterize a Black character as sassy or thuggish, especially when the character in question is can be described in literally ten thousand other ways..
  2. Don’t describe Black characters as chocolate, coffee, or any sort of food item.
  3. Don’t highlight the race of Black characters (ie, “the dark man” or “the brown woman”) if you don’t highlight the race of white characters.
  4. Think very carefully about that antebellum slavery or Jim Crow AU fic as a backdrop for your romance.
  5. If you’re not fluent with AAVE, don’t use it to try to look cool or edgy. You look corny as hell.
  6. Don’t use Black characters as a prop for the non-Black characters you’re actually interested in.
  7. Keep “unpopular opinions” about racism, Black Lives Matter, and other issues pertinent to Black folks out the mouths of Black characters. We know what the fuck you’re doing with that and need to stop.
  8. Don’t assume a Black character likes or hates a certain food, music, or piece of pop culture.
  9. You can make a Black character’s race pertinent without doing it like this.
  10. Be extremely careful about insinuating that one or more of a Black character’s physical features are dirty, unclean, or ugly.

Feel free to add more.

 

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As I said, if you want to avoid racism in your work, its not enough to just think of yourself as colorblind. The problem with being colorblind is you don’t see the stereotypes you’re engaging in either. You have to actively think about the use and placement of race within the narrative.

Writing without racism: its more than “what”, its also “how”.

phoenix-ace

 

Its great that people are asking, “how can we write fantasy worlds without racism?”  Escapism in fantasy is almost impossible for marginalized people, because we’re usually the only ones who have to accept the same bigotries in-text as we do in real life, because its tied to someone’s “escapism”.  For them, we either have a lower place in society that they can openly exploit, or we shouldn’t exist at all.  We need to deal with abuse in order for them to accept that fantasy world as a viable setting.  But I have an issue with just leaving it at “lets keep racist text out of the stories”.

See, the problem with making worlds where there is no racism is that so many people haven’t quite figured out how to do that right. Its like they take this idea of “colorblind racism’ here no one sees skin color, hence its just  “coincidence” that all the black people are subservient, or that all the Asian women are submissive and tiny.

Some examples (using my context as a mixed black person who identifies as black in most settings):

  • They’ll make a world where no one ever utters a single racial slur but still will use the same anti-blackness we see in real life (i.e. whenever they make us mammies or sacrificial lambs, using terms like “dirty” or “demonic” to describe our appearance a la Lord of the Rings, etc.)
  •   Or they’ll make sure that no one ever says “people color should be slaves” but lo and behold, that’s pretty much all you see.  (Like in Exodus, or the earlier seasons of Game of Thrones).  And we’re the only ones who HAVE to take THAT subservient role or else we’re “ruining the accuracy”. And when you call it out they say, “well that what you all were” but they won’t get why that’s just as bad as if they’d just admitted, “Hey, this is pretty racist” from the start.
  • Or (taking from what I said up there) they’ll make people who look black, and are from a culture obviously based on black people, but still claim they aren’t black, because they would rather divorce blackness from their world, instead of admitting we can be complex characters who can carry complex stories (because they still haven’t unpacked their own problematic ideas about black people)
  • Or worse still, they’ll make an entire world based off of a culture belonging to a group of people who they won’t even include.  I.e. the whole issue with Firefly and Serenity, and again Exodus.
  • Or we’ll be turned into white people with special powers or pointy ears.  Racism becomes, “hey this girl has red hair instead of blond hair lets exclude her”.  Meanwhile since there’s “no real racism” they claim there’s no need for “real” people of color (i.e. the problem with Dragon Age).
  • Or they’ll do some “colorblind” setting where everyone is mixed, but well all be reminded that only Aryan features are seen as “rare” and “special” an they’ll treat the rest of our features (i.e. brown skin, ark eyes, dark hair, etc. ) as “meh”.

Your worlds aren’t “racism free” just because make sure no one says the n-word.

Unless you really make an effort to think critically about these things (which includes trying to avoid: dehumanizing marginalized people, failing to include them as a part of the storyline unless the story “calls for it”, reducing them down to “inspiration porn” or metaphors, making them interchangeable, using fictional creatures in order to representation them, while making all humans white by default, etc.) then you run the risk of just being all talk.

 

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Here’s another reason to actively think about the subject of race when writing (or even not writing) your work. Just because the world you’re writing about is colorblind, does not mean that you, or your readers,  are. You and your audience exist in a  universe where race is a factor, and you will bring that into your work, no matter how well-intentioned you believe yourself to be.

@ other white authors:

iamatinyowl

If you do not mention your characters being specifically non-white? Your white readers will view them ALL as canonically white.

It is our responsibility to make it very, very clear that our characters are POC.

Just look at the horrifically racist Hermione debacle. She is canonically described as having big hair and dark skin. And yet, the white supremacists in the fandom are ripping apart any person who canons her as black. Despite the fact that a Black Hermione makes her being called slurs, and her commitment to SPEW SO much more significant and powerful.

We NEED to specifically and explicitly state that our characters are not white. We also need to make one million times sure (I’m talking aggressive paid and volunteer editing from any marginalized group you don’t belong to) that we are not enforcing racist stereotypes or damaging marginalized people.

POC representation by white authors doesn’t fucking matter unless theyre respectful, reoccurring, diverse, realistic, and humanized characters.

Even if you’re writing a post-apocalyptic sci-fi novel where humanity doesn’t care about race anymore (yikes), you need to think long and hard about why the “skin colour doesn’t matter” villain who betrays them all just happens to be Black.

 

Fanfiction

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Here are one person’s thoughts on the nature, purpose, and importance of fanfiction. I have observed that any popular media that appeals to, or is created by women, is often denigrated by men, and fanfiction, since it’s primarily created and consumed by women, is not exempt from this. Its part of the general attitude of degrading anything that women do (cooking), or create (fanfiction),  or consume (romance novels), in an attempt to elevate the work of male creators and consumers.  
inkandcayenne
tywinning asked you:
2012-08-09 03:37

As a professor, may I ask you what you think about fanfiction?

I think fanfiction is literature and literature, for the most part, is fanfiction, and that anyone that dismisses it simply on the grounds that it’s derivative knows fuck-all about literature and needs to get the hell off my lawn.

Most of the history of Western literature (and probably much of non-Western literature, but I can’t speak to that) is adapted or appropriated from something else.  Homer wrote historyfic and Virgil wrote Homerfic and Dante wrote Virgilfic (where he makes himself a character and writes himself hanging out with Homer and Virgil and they’re like “OMG Dante you’re so cool.“  He was the original Gary Stu).  Milton wrote Bible fanfic, and everyone and their mom spent the Middle Ages writing King Arthur fanfic.  In the sixteenth century you and another dude could translate the same Petrarchan sonnet and somehow have it count as two separate poems, and no one gave a fuck.  Shakespeare doesn’t have a single original plot–although much of it would be more rightly termed RPF–and then John Fletcher and Mary Cowden Clarke and Gloria Naylor and Jane Smiley and Stephen Sondheim wrote Shakespeare fanfic.  Guys like Pope and Dryden took old narratives and rewrote them to make fun of people they didn’t like, because the eighteenth century was basically high school.  And Spenser!  Don’t even get me started on Spenser.

Here’s what fanfic authors/fans need to remember when anyone gives them shit: the idea that originality is somehow a good thing, an innately preferable thing, is a completely modern notion.  Until about three hundred years ago, a good writer, by and large, was someone who could take a tried-and-true story and make it even more awesome.  (If you want to sound fancy, the technical term is imitatio.)  People were like, why would I wanna read something about some dude I’ve never heard of?  There’s a new Sir Gawain story out, man!  (As to when and how that changed, I tend to blame Daniel Defoe, or the Modernists, or reality television, depending on my mood.)

I also find fanfic fascinating because it takes all the barriers that keep people from professional authorship–barriers that have weakened over the centuries but are nevertheless still very real–and blows right past them. Producing literature, much less circulating it, was something that was well nigh impossible for the vast majority of people for most of human history.  First you had to live in a culture where people thought it was acceptable for you to even want to be literate in the first place.  And then you had to find someone who could teach you how to read and write (the two didn’t necessarily go together).  And you needed sufficient leisure time to learn.  And be able to afford books, or at least be friends with someone rich enough to own books who would lend them to you.  Good writers are usually well-read and professional writing is a full-time job, so you needed a lot of books, and a lot of leisure time both for reading and writing.  And then you had to be in a high enough social position that someone would take you seriously and want to read your work–to have access to circulation/publication in addition to education and leisure time.  A very tiny percentage of the population fit those parameters (in England, which is the only place I can speak of with some authority, that meant from 500-1000 A.D.: monks; 1000-1500: aristocratic men and the very occasional aristocratic woman; 1500-1800: aristocratic men, some middle-class men, a few aristocratic women; 1800-on, some middle-class women as well).

What’s amazing is how many people who didn’t fit those parameters kept writing in spite of the constant message they got from society that no one cared about what they had to say, writing letters and diaries and stories and poems that often weren’t discovered until hundreds of years later.  Humans have an urge to express themselves, to tell stories, and fanfic lets them.  If you’ve got access to a computer and an hour or two to while away of an evening, you can create something that people will see and respond to instantly, with a built-in community of people who care about what you have to say.

I do write the occasional fic; I wish I had the time and mental energy to write more.  I’ll admit I don’t read a lot of fic these days because most of it is not–and I know how snobbish this sounds–particularly well-written.  That doesn’t mean it’s “not good”–there are a lot of reasons people read fic and not all of them have to do with wanting to read finely crafted prose.  That’s why fic is awesome–it creates a place for all kinds of storytelling.  But for me personally, now that my job entails reading about 1500 pages of undergraduate writing per year, when I have time to read for enjoyment I want it to be by someone who really knows what they’re doing.  There’s tons of high-quality fic, of course, but I no longer have the time and patience to go searching for it that I had ten years ago.

But whether I’m reading it or not, I love that fanfiction exists.  Because without people doing what fanfiction writers do, literature wouldn’t exist.  (And then I’d be out of a job and, frankly, I don’t know how to do anything else.)

Source: inkandcayenne

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Writing with Color on Tumblr is a great resource for writing characters of other races,  ethnicities, and cultures. if you have any questions about how to write a certain character they have the advice for it. They can also provide resources for  sensitivity readers, and volunteer editors, of  your work.

 

http://writingwithcolor.tumblr.com/Recommendations

 

 

Tumblr Weekend Reading

Its been a whole minute since I made a Tumblr post, so here, have some interesting thoughts, memes, and photos, that came across my  dashboard:

Yes, I am lactose intolerant, although I am to understand that I have a fairly mild case. I can eat some dairy items like yogurt, ice cream, and cheese, without  wishing I would die, but a glass of chocolate milk would probably send me to the hospital, with excruciating abdominal pain.  But for real though, most cases of lactose intolerance just end in lots of farting.

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This is funny because this was sort of my thoughts while watching this movie. Earth, and the aliens, are basically a bunch of drama queens.

dragon-in-a-fez

I know we’re always talking about how Pacific Rim embraces the ridiculousness of the human race because “just build a giant robot to punch them in the face” is probably the most full-on human bullshit response we could have thought of to an invasion of giant aliens, but can we pause and also consider that the aliens are basically doing the same thing

like they wanted to invade us and their first thought about how to do so was “let’s genetically engineer giant fucking monsters that will crawl out of the depths of the ocean and trample cities”

Pacific Rim is just the story of two species that on a scale from 1 to 10 respond to every problem with a 17

 

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The mildly annoying fighting styles of female action characters. I think Charlize Theron, and a couple of others, are leading this charge to make female fight scenes more realistic to how a woman might actually kick some ass. Most filmmakers try to give women pretty, ballet -like, fighting styles, and I don’t mind that a whole lot, but they need to know it’s okay to show women getting down and dirty, when they fight, too. This is why I loved the movie Kill Bill, because it showcased a variety of women vs. women fighting styles.

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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I’d say the answer to this is yes. America has long been obsessed with the Black female body, while trying to pretend it’s not, and here’s why:

Is Society Fascinated with Black Women’s Body Types?

blackfeminisms

Colonialism introduced Europe as the cultural/aesthetic authority on values including beauty. While doctors in ancient times warned against obesity, diet culture began in the 1800s. Weight turned into a cultural status marker that considered fat to be negative. Whiteness as the epitome of beauty imposes a standard that devalues body types by race, gender, shape, size, and color. Society teaches women to deal with fatness through exercise. Nevertheless, Black feminists see Blackness as the site of resistance to the standards.

Society interprets Blackness as indicative of moral, sexual, and racial pollution. For example, a society threatened by Black women’s reproductive capabilities, 19th century Europe likened Black women to prostitutes through the controlling image of the Black Venus, which characterized her as the perpetual prostitute. Society discouraged coupling between Black women and White men through “blood discourses”  that projected the fear of Blackness onto mixed-race children. Some sociologists remarked on this phenomena with  Meghan Markle.

Society treats Black women’s bodies as a danger to social order. On the one hand, they might displace white women as the archetypical love and sex object. On the other, they threatened the patriarchal order of worker by having the status of worker and woman.

Society robs fat Black women of their sexual agency 

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Sociologist Shirley Anne Tatediscusses how we can read the iconic Venus statue as a fat Black woman. This perspective reveals which Black women’s’ bodies society reads as fat and how they represent them. Tate embraces an ‘alter/native’ view of Black women to highlight the multiplicity of body politics around Black womanhood. Society treats Black women’s bodies as other to white women’s and does so by making their forms hypervisible. This process simultaneously renders the whiteness of other women’s bodies invisible. As a result, Shirley Anne Tate argues this perspective: “enable[s] us to see that there is a corporeality of white class (Bourdieu, 1988) and gender with thinness as its epitome” (Tate 2015: 80).

The Mammy portrays Black women as undesirable sexually and desirable for service work. The Mammy symbolizes the status of a domestic servant to a white woman through her girth and dark skin. This controlling image reinforces the perception that white women were superior.  For example, Hattie McDaniel played a Mammy figure in Gone With the Wind. The UK has a similar portrayal Black women as “Big Mama. Fat Black women live in a society that paints them as undesirable and worthy of disgust. These beliefs divided fat Black women into domestic and care workers and thin white women into the domestic and care overseers.

Society ridicules Black women for their fatness

In the UK racist humor often revolves around fat Black women. In the 19th century White men dressed in drag to mimic Black women for racist ridicule, making fun of the notion of a desire for this body through minstrelsy. Far from being just a joke, racist humor has more sinister implications:

“Humour is not a harmless or benign form of communication. Rather, ‘racist humour, jokes may act as a type of coping mechanism for the racist, in the form of a palliative because the effects of joking allow for the expression, reinforcement and denial of racism’ (Weaver, 2011: 12). “ (Tate 2015: 91).

Additionally, Some White women performed minstrels too. Originally, minstrels arose from white racial fear of Black men. Minstrelsy thus demonstrates simultaneous racial aversion and desire.  Fatness and Blackness place Black women outside of beauty.Rhetoric in the U.S. frames Black women in terms of discipline, relegation, marginalization, imprisonment, and segregation away from white life, comfort, embodiment, and being. Treating Black women’s body as inferior meant colonial labor and gender roles placed Black women in the lowest rung of the social order.

Society treats muscular Black women with dark skin with fear

Whenever the former First Lady chose to wear a sleeveless outfit, some members of White society reacted to Michelle Obama’s muscular arms:

The struggle over Michelle Obama’s ‘right to (bear) bare arms’ shows that the USA is far from being post-race as the respectable femininity of the First Lady is judged by white, middle/upper-class privilege which insists on lack of musculature on women (Tate 2012:93).

Shirley Anne Tate argues Michelle Obama’s body defines norms of white upper/middle-class respectability. Her very presence creates a space of resistance that represents a deviation from the somatic norms of the U.S. First Lady. As a result, she endured a constant surveillance of her body, viewed as an outsider. Therefore, this fascination transforms her into the Black First Lady.

Why do people fetishize muscular Black women?

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Black women’s muscle as a spectacle dates back to racist pseudoscience of the 18th/19th  century. Shirley Anne Tate describes Black women’s bodies as a site of fascination.  A person compares themselves and others to a norm. As a viewer, a person extends their own bodies through their gaze. They interpret others through points on their body like their face, muscles, or skin. Comparison of one’s body parts to another leads a person to determine how close or different one’s body is to others:

Inassimilability or extension into the other does not mean that fasci- nation ceases. Fascination continues in the desire to find out the why of assimilation and the untranslatability of the body. Why can’t I be like her? Why do I want to be like her? What have I become? Is my becoming accompanied by fear, disgust, contempt? Fascination makes us look at ourselves first and foremost, at our very lives, to find out why we are fascinated by bodies/body parts. It is in the exchange between bodies, in the matching and untranslatability that we can begin to know ourselves, begin to understand our fascination as a pull to knowing the other, to get behind the façade that is the skin to ‘the real them’ beneath (Tate 2012: 94).

Fascination leads to a desire to find out why a woman’s body does not conform to the norm. However, narcissism motivates this fascination. Hence, people recenter themselves as they gaze upon others’ bodies to construct a sense of self. Therefore, the incorporeality of fascination makes it a fluid, simultaneous process of becoming and unbecoming through comparison to others.

How does fascination with Black women turn into fear?

Fascination is a multisensory experience that has varying degrees of effect and affect, motivated thus making the gaze a result of both desire and disgust. Therefore, fascination compels a response on the part of a viewer as it occurs not only through the senses but also through imaginings.

As a result, people pursue a means to satisfy their fascination. For example, this fascination extends to dark-skinned Black women who have muscular bodies. This affects interpersonal interactions across racial lines. Stereotypes about Black women motivate people to approach them with a feeling of insecurity or a desire to avoid her at all costs. So when Black woman’s bodies get policed in this manner, they are cast as evil and transgressive to indicate they fall outside the norms of appropriate ways of life.

Tate writes that “once it is set outside the norm it remains as it is cast, an unknowable hyper-known, knowledge of which remains within the colonial stereotype.”  White people project their fear of getting displaced in society’s racial hierarchy onto Black women through a racialization process that involves creating zones of containment by labeling her a source of fear.

How is fearing Black women racist?

Groups use fear to maintain racial regimes through the restriction of the movement of others’ bodies. Additionally, they expand their own movement. However, this involves a “racial regime of visible whiteness [that] must be kept in place to ensure that the borders of whiteness are kept firm.”Furthermore, this produces a fear of racial mixing. Rather than mix interracial, they develop resemblances through what Tate names racialized aesthetic profiling:

So expert surveillance is set up of Black women’s bodies, noses, lips, hair, skin colour, breasts, bottoms and muscles so as to mark difference and develop racialized aesthetic profiling. Racialized aesthetic profiling means that fear can be materialized in all Black women’s bodies irre- spective of who they are. This ensures the continuation, circulation and amplification of fear of the Black woman’s body as she begins to move outside of the borders established through the phenotype and stereotype (Tate 2012: 98).

One such Black woman who suffers this fascination is Serena Williams.  Serena, in particular, embraced a “girly” sports aesthetic, which contradicted social norms about appropriate muscularity for women. Yet, society characterizes women with darker skin as undesirable. Serena faces derogatory comments for posing as feminine. Nevertheless, muscular Black women experience fetishization just as fat and slim women experience hypersexualization.

Race and the sociology of emotions

The white affective matrix confers and questions womanhood as the view Black women’s bodies with varying degrees of adoration and disgust. As a result, Black women experience different treatment based on their body type.

The post Is Society Fascinated with Black Women’s Body Types?appeared first on Blackfeminisms.com.
from Is Society Fascinated with Black Women’s Body Types?

 

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These affirmations of allyship are exactly my sentiments too. I want LGBTQ people, Non-Black PoC, people with disabilities, everyone to experience all the same emotions I experience when I think of the movie Black Panther. I am deeply, and profoundly happy for Jewish female representation in Wonder Woman, Black gay men in Moonlight, Queer Latinas in Brooklyn 99, and Asians in Crazy Rich Asians, even though I’m none of those things. Everyone deserves to see themselves beautifully represented on a movie screen.

 deadletterpoets

Maybe I’m not the right person to say this as a black man but,

I hope the success of Wonder Woman doesn’t just mean more women are directing superhero movies, but are given the chance to direct/write movies from the many other franchises that exist like Mission Impossible, Transformers, Star Wars, Anything in this Dark Universe Universal is doing, a big budget Monster movie with Godzilla and King Kong, James Bond, I heard they are rebooting Resident Evil let’s let a talent woman director like Jennifer Kent with her horror background tackle that, Terminator (cause they just won’t ever let that go), Alien, Fast and Furious, and so many other I can’t even name them all. Or you know give them a big budget to adapt a popular book like Ava DuVernay is currently doing with A Wrinkle in Time, or let them have their own stories we need more original voices, or let them build their own unique franchises. And if they fail, let them try again cause lord knows even the best male directors and writers fail at times and they are still given multiple chances. We all should celebrate Wonder Woman’s success, but know it’s not the end of a long journey to true equality for women in Hollywood.

yumearashi

Maybe I’m not the right person to say this as a white woman but,

I hope that Black Panther is a *smashing* success and that it leads to not only more POC directing superhero movies, but also being given the chance to direct/write movies from the many other existing franchises and adaptations.  Plus, let them have their own stories and build their own unique franchises, we need their voices. And if they fail, let them try again cause lord knows even the best white directors and writers fail at times and they are still given multiple chances. Hopefully we’ll all be able to celebrate Black Panther’s success, but even if it breaks every box office record, it won’t be the end of a long journey to true equality for POC in Hollywood.

@deadletterpoets – thank you for being an amazing ally)

 

daughter-of-rowan

Maybe I’m not the right person to say this as a black woman, but

I hope that Crazy, Rich Asians is a roaring success. I hope it leads to doing away with the whitewashing of Asians in Asian properties (I’m talking to you, Netflix: White Light in Death Note? NO!). I would love to see Asians being able to break out of the “smart Asian friend” and “inspiring immigrant story” roles. I want to see Asian representation in CBMs. I want to see more than Japanese, Chinese, and Indian people as doctors, lawyers, shop owners, and financiers on the way up. And while we’re at it: Pacific Islanders are not replacements for Asians, and they don’t just play football and dance. Representation matters, and it has to be more than what makes Hollywood comfortable.

 

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From the comments on this one, I’d say the answer is a resounding YES!!!! Yes, White people, do indeed, get tired of looking at White people onscreen sometimes, and are just as hungry for new perspectives on old stories, as PoC.

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This pretty much was the permanent oven setting in our house. Hell, it was a major source of anxiety for me to turn the oven to 375 degrees, that first time.

luvyourmane: “The perfect temperature for everything! 🤣😂 .. . . . #sundaydinner #cooking #blackpeople #baking ”

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This conversation started out talking about how terrifying angels are, and then went in the direction of the  running commentary, on Tumblr, about how murderously dangerous is the wildlife in Australia.

Anonymous asked:

What do angels actually look like per the bible?

revelation19 answered:

Well, according to Ezekiel 1 they might look something like this…

According to Daniel 10 something like this…

According to Isaiah 6…

In Ezekiel 10…

Again in Ezekiel 10…

 

Basically, when the people writing Scripture tried to describe what they saw when they saw an angel… they run into the end of their imagination… they can never quite seem to fully explain it because they had trouble even comprehending what they saw, let alone being able to describe it to someone else.

 

musiqchild007

revelation19

Yeah, that’s usually how people responded to seeing them in the Bible…

 

the-unreadable-book

There’s a good reason why angels’ standard greeting is ‘Do not be afraid’.

 

glitterbomb-goblinking

I used to listen to this radio show and one thing I remember because it was so funny was a Christmas special where an angel showed up to tell the shepherds about the birth of Christ.  The conversations went:

Angel: “FEAR NOT.”

Shepherds: *screaming*

Angel: “I SAID FEAR NOT.”

Shepherds: *screaming LOUDER*

Angel: “WHAT PART OF FEAR NOT ARE YOU NOT UNDERSTANDING?”

 

 cameoamalthea

So demons are fallen angels but they don’t look scary because they’re fallen, that’s just what all angels look like…

Maybe that’s why so many Christians see visions of Saints or the Virgin Mary instead…like Jesus is all…no, no see being human made me realize sending Angels might not be the best idea. I don’t know if humans can handle this. So I’m gonna just send mom

 

mathblr

I’M GONNA JUST SEND MOM

 

veronica-rich

God: The humans are scared.

Mary: Fine. I’m on it.

 

 upallnightogetloki

Jesus: It’s either Mom or the thousand eyed flaming wheel, Dad, do you really think the humans are gonna be chill with that when they’re terrified of spiders already?

God: Hey now, some of those spiders eat birds.

Jesus: …Dad…

God: …To be fair, Australian wildlife was my dark creation phase.

 

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I touched on this in an earlier post, about Hollywood treating Nazis like a story prompt for the past fifty years, in everything from comedies, to action movies, has led to Americans seriously diminishing their influence, obscuring their crimes, and complacency, with their ideas. 

 kendrasaunders

never forget that narratives that follow “what if the nazis won” are never for those of us who faced their terror- they are for tourists to our suffering, people who wish to be saviors. no jew every gets to succeed alone in a story where nazis win- we, rromas, lgbt people, and disabled people are shunted to the sidelines, in an eternal genocide from which we cannot escape. they forget the persecution that we still face- to them, to the tourists, this is clever. to them, we are helpless. we cannot fight nazis, that’s why they won.

this is a false retelling of history, and YES, in ALL CASES, it is a glorification of nazis. they DIDN’T win because they COULDN’T. and to my jewish, rroma, lgbt, and disabled followers, they lost because WE FOUGHT. We closed camps with our riots. We killed nazis. We scalped them. Our stories aren’t told because every tourist wants to act like they would Stop The Nazis- WE were doing it LONG before anyone came to our aid.

Don’t let people fool you into thinking you are helpless. Don’t let narratives that put white, straight, able-bodied and able-minded characters at the forefront make you think you need them.

Superman was originally created as a gollum- A character of jewish magic who protects us. He is not Christ, he is not Goy, he is not Theirs. We are our own protectors. We are a community, a family, and a riot.  You don’t not have to accept the idea that the Nazis could’ve won. Because the only thing Nazis are good at is dying. And the only thing a person who writes this storyline is good at is violence.

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A call out post on fandoms faux-progressivism. I think I wrote about how fandom isn’t nearly as imaginative, in its treatment of characters, as they like to believe they are, and that the vast majority merely reproduce the same racist and stereotypical narratives they’ve seen in popular media, since its inception. They just don’t have enough imagination to create anything outside of the boxes that have been created for them to play in.

Many of them are in the business of upholding the status quo, too. And far too many think being progressive is just writing about two white men, having sex, or holding hands, and that’s as far as they need to go to be considered woke. Anytime fandom ignores canon gay relationships of PoC, in a show or movie,  my argument is that their insistence on slashing every white man who merely wanders into the orbit of another for longer than a minute or two, amounts to nothing more than a straight girl fetish, which parallels the straight male  obsession with lesbians.

We are supposed to be the most progressive and transformative community in pop-culture.

We who…

  • Hyper-focus on white, male characters
  • Contort these male characters into heteronormativity
  • Marginalize and erase characters of color
  • Write out women and replace them with men, especially in shipping
  • Attack women for “getting in the way” of our preferred ships
  • Hold female characters to higher standards than male characters
  • Hold characters of color to higher standards than white characters
  • Latch onto any single excuse to marginalize female characters
  • Utilize any single excuse to demonize characters of color
  • Put women on pedestals and act as if we’re doing them a favor
  • Justify white and male abuses or dismiss them as “mistakes”
  • Use actual mistakes to denigrate female and non-white characters
  • Romanticize white, male pain and mental illness
  • Expect female characters to perform all the emotional labor
  • Expect characters of color to be perfectly mentally healthy forever
  • Expect everyone to subsume their own mental health for the white males’
  • Dismiss the traumas and experiences of characters of color
  • Minimize the achievements of female characters

And then we wonder why mainstream media is so regressive, especially compared to us. We all talk as if mainstream media creators are behind the times.

They’re not.

Fandom likes to imagine itself as being progressive because of all the slash – a mechanism of progress which conveniently boils down to extra attention on overwhelmingly male (and overwhelmingly white) characters. This form of progress is one which takes a minor deviation from the social norm (homosexuality), only to end up ultimately supporting or even amplifying the status quo, by virtue of over-focusing on male characters (and over-representing white ones in the process).

Strip back that gay window dressing, though, and you’ll see that at best, fandom is just as socially stagnant as mainstream media and mainstream culture – or even worse, by virtue of engaging in media that overwhelmingly sidelines several other marginalized groups in order to prop up one.

Professional women have long known the old adage, “Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought of half as good.” What no one seems to realize is that fandom is still doing exactly the same thing.

We expect female characters to be twice as good for half the acclaim, we expect characters of color to be three times as good for a third of the acclaim, and we let white, male characters be only a quarter as good for four times the acclaim.

Mainstream media is keeping up with the times and with social progress just fine, it’s us who’ve deluded ourselves into believing that we, as a community, are more progressive than we actually are.

It’s been a while, but since this post just got a bunch of notes recently, I figure this is as good a time as any to add on some more thoughts.

Comparative Progressivism

Historically speaking, fandom has been progressive when compared to mainstream media. What most people don’t realize is just how little that’s really saying. When mainstream media is built on white male heteronormative power fantasy, it’s easy for any “alternative” depiction to come off as progressive.

A world where most of the women are fag-hags is certainly progressive compared to a world where most of the women are walking sex toys. That does not mean we should settle for this as a good depiction of women, or the marginalization of female characters.

Same goes for race. A character of color who is not a stereotype while supporting a white character is certainly better than a world where characters of color are stereotypes who are subsumed by white characters. That does not mean we should accept these as good representation of POC, or settle for their marginalization – or ignore their demonization as racism rears its ugly head, anew, in fandom.

And quite frankly, for a community where the overwhelming majority of our stories are based on mlm relationships, it speaks a lot to our internal attitudes and beliefs that we still, even after decades of existence, continue to write gay relationships as straight relationships with different genitals. The subtle heteronormativity that permeates the gay relationship tropes of fandom are astounding, and sometimes reek of internalized misogyny.

We Are All Joss Whedon

Joss Whedon was once considered tremendously feminist, and hailed as a paragon and idol of feminism in mainstream media. But contemporary analysis of his works shows that feminism was often a shroud covering some serious fetishization and occasional bursts of downright misogyny – and somewhat more disconcerting is the fact that more and more, his current works demonstrate that he hasn’t progressed forward from this much, if at all.

Fandom is the same.

We have long prided ourselves upon a history of progressivism and being transformative. It certainly was, back in era of Star Trek slash in an era where homosexuality was still illegal in many parts of America and the world. Fandom was truly transgressive when it wrote content that challenged such a deeply entrenched status quo. Even the most misogynistic and heteronormative portrayal of a gay relationship was transgressive against the staunch heteronormativity of mid-20th century mainstream media.

“Was.”

Because we’re still writing a lot of our fics on that model. Take a look at how many people debate hotly on who in a gay pairing is “the top” and “the bottom”. They are rarely ever discussing the hypotheticals of which male finds a certain sex position/act physically pleasurable. They’re asking, which one is the penetrative and active partner, and which is the receptive and passive partner. They’re asking which one is the “dominant” and which one is the “submissive” partner (with terms like ‘power bottom’ still relying on those baselines). They’re asking, “which one is the man and which one is the woman”. *( And often engaging in racialized transphobia and homophobia, by casting any people of color in inter-racial relationships, as the “top”, who is often described as bigger, and more muscular looking, than their slighter, more feminine/ effeminate same sex partner. This goes for both mlm, and wlw, relationships.

Meanwhile, actual female characters are rarely more than props to the men’s emotional health and personal narrative. A lot of them are written as little more than a fag hag or a “Straight BFF”.

We’ve gone from characters of color being walking stereotypes in the white characters’ narrative, to characters of color being either obstacles or non-existent in the white characters’ narratives. We don’t expect characters of color to literally serve the white characters while saying “yes, massa” all the time, now – but we still expect characters of color to to subsume themselves to white characters, with white characters’ feelings coming ahead of their own mental and physical health, their safety, and sometimes even their lives. Characters of color who have the audacity to act with a fraction of the self-absorption that is routine for white characters are castigated for being irresponsible and selfish.

This is if they’re even included at all. Ranging from marginalization to outright demonization, fandom constantly sidelines characters of color. Some fandoms have the unique anti-honor of being more racist – more sociall conservative, more prejudiced, and sometimes even more bigoted – than the mainstream media source material. Think about that for a minute. Mainstream media is finally moving forward and fandom is staying right where it is.

Fandom Wants the 1960s Back

Fandom can talk about feminism and progressivism all it wants. The reality of the true desires of fandom as a collective and as a community are expressed in its fanworks – not only in what is created in the first place, but which works become popular and get attention…and which ones don’t.

Fandom wants a world where white men are still front and center of everyone’s attention, where women are kickass but their stories aren’t that interesting, and where POC don’t need any care or attention.

Peel back the white mlm fetishization, and fandom hasn’t budged more than an inch since the first slashy Star Trek zines. Joss Whedon’s got nothing on us.

Born Sexy Yesterday

This video showed up on my Tumblr dashboard and I just had to share it. I love the way this blogger’s mind works. It’s something that’s been bothering me about romantic comedies, some of which are dressed up as sci-fi and fantasy movies,  for a long time, but I wasn’t able to clearly articulate the concept.

This trope is also called by another name: the  “infantilization” of female characters, and it also encompasses the tropes of the “dumb blonde”, and the “sexy schoolgirl”.

Well, the Pop Culture Detective (this is a series) has thoroughly articulated this problem for me. He basically breaks down the trope of the sexy, but naively innocent female character that the primary male character always falls in love with, lists the films that follow the trope, the films that turn it on its head, and briefly discusses its origins in colonialism. The video is some 18 minutes long, and I’m warning you, some of the imagery from past movies is astonishingly cringeworthy!


Now the Pop Culture Detective is a white man, so I don’t expect him to go into details on issues of race, although he is aware enough to briefly mention  the tropes racist origins.  One of the things you will notice in the images is the overwhelming whiteness of this trope. The trope may have been birthed in the racist stereotypes of Indigenous women, but for the past fifty, sixty years white women have embodied it. During that time period, when Europe was trying to collect as many countries as possible, this particular trope came  from stereotypes of Native women being innocent and/or subservient, but sexy,  savages.

https://lookinginthepopularculturemirror.wordpress.com/2015/03/08/the-portrayal-of-indigenous-women-in-popular-culture/

These are tropes that continue to this day, (and a few of those tropes  find their way into the primal black person stereotype with terms like “jungle fever”). The article below by Mediasmarts, has  managed to connect these  sexualized stereotypes to media tropes such as “Missing White Woman Syndrome”, to explain why the lives of missing, raped, or murdered Brown , Black  and Indigenous women, are ignored by news reports.


http://mediasmarts.ca/diversity-media/aboriginal-people/media-portrayals-missing-and-murdered-aboriginal-women

You may also recognize, if you’ve ever visited the website We Hunted the Mammoth, most of the talking points of MRAs and other misogynists. Many of their beliefs about women, (that they are like children who need a firm guidance from men, that their “hypergamous” sluts, whose sexuality needs to be tightly reined in, that women are stupid, and shouldn’t be allowed to engage in society they way men do) are little more than wish fulfillments, aimed squarely at white women,  and it’s not difficult to believe that a lot of their beliefs have been informed by seventy years of media depicting white women in this manner.

One of the arguments being had, across social media, is marginalized people trying to convince White people that everything we see in the media is representative of the real world.  Media stereotypes not only mirror real world beliefs and activities, but actually aided and abetted the formation of such beliefs.

When the stories of PoC are told through a White male lens (as so much of Hollywood is), these types of issues are ignored, because the creators neither know, nor care, and  illustrates why it’s so important for PoC to also work behind the scenes, not just in front of the cameras, to tell our  own stories, from our own perspectives.

 

The Mis-Evolution of James T. Kirk

In an awesome, long, and rather intense essay, Erin Horáková deconstructs Star Trek to expose Kirk Drift, a phenomenon in which the character in the original stories is shifted in our memory and perception towards a more stereotyped masculinity — and the change says some things about cultural biases. There’s a cartoon version of Kirk…

via Captain Kirk is not Zapp Brannigan! — Pharyngula

Taboo : Episode One: Well Yeah, Its Racist! Ableist! And Sexist!

Image result for taboo

I have a lot to say about this show, so let’s get started.

This show has been hyped to within an inch of its life, so naturally, I was really excited to see it. It stars Tom Hardy, and a host of other British people I didn’t bother to learn the names of because…ITS FUCKING TOM HARDY!!! And Tom Hardy is one of the few actors that I will  watch read a listicle, naked, while he sits in an empty room.

Now, let me get  this out of the way before I get started reviewing. There was a nasty rumor started about this show before it aired. It basically accused Hardy of racism because, as this one person (and once I researched it, I realized it’s really only been that one person, under a pseudonym, on a gossip website), says that he cast himself in the role of a bi-racial character, and that  the show is full of racist slurs against that character (which is true), and Africans in general.

Now, once this rumor hit Tumblr, it grew legs, and some of the more hysterical members of Tumblr immediately went on about how Hardy should be cancelled, how the posters will hate him forever and ever, and how much they hate the show.  My attitude was they should first research where the rumor came from (because at this point, two days before the show aired, that’s all it was, and a little too convenient for my tastes), wait until the show actually aired to formulate an opinion, and well, the show is set in 1800s England, so yeah there’s gonna be some Africa hatred occurring on the show.

Now, if you’re offended at hearing racial slurs, no matter the time period, I understand, and you should, by all means, not watch shows that will upset you. But just so you know, having racial slurs in a period piece is really just historical verisimilitude, and is no different than watching 12 Years a Slave, or Django Unchained. That is exactly the sort of thing White, English, citizens did very casually in 1814.  If you refuse to watch any period film because you’re sick of hearing racial slurs in movies, then I understand that.

I did watch the episode and here’s what I came away with. None of the racist slurs are aimed at Hardy’s character, but they are said ABOUT him, usually behind his back, and as far as I know, he isn’t a Black bi-racial. His mother’s race is not mentioned, although it is mentioned that his father bought his wife. (Buying a wife was not uncommon in that time period. All women, and not just Black ones, were considered commodities then, and white women were routinely swapped around, for all manner of reasons, like securing business ventures, or gaining someone’s inheritance.

At no point in the narrative is he ever shown as a victim of racism, or as any kind of victim at all, other than of his past and own conscience. This is a character with a lot of power over the people he meets because he’s unpredictable, and no one has any idea what his agenda is. This is also a character who realizes this during the course of the episode.

Image result for taboo

The people around him are upset because they thought he was dead, having been killed in Africa. When he returns, he is a very different sort of person, who speaks several Native languages, and talks in obscure metaphors. Also, his father suffered a bout of insanity just before his return, and people think he inherited that, not knowing that the insanity was caused by arsenic poisoning. There are more than a few sexist, and ableist slurs in the dialogue, but that one outraged person, who started the racism rumors, didn’t seem to catch any of those, which are also entirely in keeping with the time period. That was  how people talked and treated those with mental illness at that time. So, I’m gonna warn you, if you don’t want to hear that kind of stuff either, you need to skip this particular show.

I noticed that instead of condemning the show, they condemned the actor for writing  it. There has been  a long argument on Tumblr about how much culpability White actors should bear for  starring in vehicles with racist  narratives, or taking roles that could have gone to PoC. I try to take that on a case by case basis. This is not a defense of Tom Hardy, though. This is a defense of the show. If it turns out to actually be problematic in ways I can’t bear, then I’ll will stop watching it.

Image result for taboo tv show

So far, I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen of it, and   will be watching it, on the regular. It’s a gorgeous, dark, gritty show, but not as bad as Game of Thrones, although there is what I thought of as a gratuitous sex worker scene. I was expecting to really get into the characters, but was surprised to find the political intrigue very compelling.

Hardy plays a man named James Delaney, who returns after a long sojourn in Africa and being thought dead.  In the meantime, his sister and her husband, have  inherited everything, including a parcel of land their father owned in America. It’s a huge surprise when James shows up at his father’s funeral. In competition for the parcel of land is one of the most evil corporations to ever exist out of England: The East India Company.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/04/east-india-company-original-corporate-raiders

One of the former members of The East India Company, now haggling for his plot of land,  used to be in charge of a military regiment in which James was also a cadet, before he began acting strangely. Like Colonel Kurtz from Apocalypse Now, he had an exemplary career. He was the perfect soldier, until he had an attack of conscience, after finding out exactly  what he was working for. He spent the next two years whoring, drinking, attacking his own officers, and generally corrupting his brother cadets, until getting lost in Africa. I had the impression he was more haunted by his past actions, as a soldier for the East India Company, than anything that happened to him in Africa.

Image result for taboo tv show

The first episode is mostly spent in establishing exactly what James’ relationship is to various people. His sister is really his half sister, and they used to have an intimate relationship. It’s strongly suspected that she had a son by him, that neither of them  can acknowledge. James’ father went insane just before his return and embarrassed the family. James has his father’s body exhumed, by a Resurrectionist, and discovers his father was poisoned with arsenic. His sister’s husband hates him and is plotting his death because he stands in the way of the land inheritance, that he and his wife desperately need for the money. The English government desperately wants that plot of land as the British/ French/American war comes to a close, the land is strategically viable, and James refuses to sell it.

James appears to have superpowers, of some kind, as he keeps knowing stuff he’s not supposed to know, like his father dying. When one character says his father kept calling for him before he died, James says he knows because he heard him, which is creepy, no matter what he means by that phrase. Does he employ spies or is he psychic?  Everybody in the cast has secrets. Even their secrets have secrets and there’s just enough information parceled out to keep the viewer strung along.

Image result for taboo tv show

The cinematography is gorgeous. The skies are cloudy all the time, everything is dark and gloomy and covered in dirt, including the people, which is exactly how I like my stereotypes of Historical England. James wears a giant Beaver Hat for the entirety of the episode. Its almost like another character on the show. I wonder if the hat will get some lines of dialogue. he talks in a dark gravelly voice, sort of like a Victorian Batman, and everything is just dark, and grim, and darkgrim. Even that Mad Max movie had sunshine and people occasionally laughed at something. Nobody looks as if they’re enjoying themselves, but all this does is remind me that the past was waaay more horrible then the modern world, which actually makes me feel a little bit better.

So far, I’m in!

Oh, and here’s the review that sparked the rumor on Tumblr! (Out of all the possible reviews about this show!) I dont agree with a lot of it, and parts of the review were hilarious, but you can decide for yourself. Is the show racist? Is Tom Hardy?

TV Review: Tom Hardy’s ‘Taboo’ on FX

Talking on Tumblr

Not me!

My general attitude when reading things on Tumblr is this: That’s really all I can do on Tumblr, which doesn’t invite a whole lot of immediate discussion. If you want fast discussions, Twitter is good for that, but discussions on Tumblr take a while and sometimes you may never know how the discussion went unless it shows back up on your dashboard. If you can find these discussions, please visit…

View On WordPress

Talking on Tumblr

My general attitude when reading things on Tumblr is this:

That’s really all I can do on Tumblr, which doesn’t invite a whole lot of immediate discussion. If you want fast discussions, Twitter is good for that, but discussions on Tumblr take a while and sometimes you may never know how the discussion went unless it shows back up on your dashboard.

If you can find these discussions, please visit the original websites (which sometimes include tags) and  make haste to go read them because sometimes these little talks can get lost and you’ll never be able to  find them again.

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File this under things people need to know. Don’t just accept this person’s word for it, though. Do the research. My job is researching things, so I have and can vouch for the truth of it, but you should still look these names and themes up for yourself. Google is your friend!

rdtrashpanda:

ginsengmask:

at the women’s studies conference I went to last semester, someone did a presentation about how the myth of the black “welfare queen” was created and it’s so crazy to think that Reagan managed to make the American public believe that all black women were simply lazy and took advantage of the system when in reality, Reagan’s whole tirade against these supposed elaborate schemes of black women were based off of one Linda Taylor who assumed over thirty aliases and amassed a large amount of riches through a number of different ways (theft, forgery, insurance fraud, child abdication). It’s so easy to sway this country to believe racist allegations such as these because they don’t even care to find evidence to support such claims, they honestly just want an excuse to paint the black community as lazy criminals

The book I’m reading, The Battle for Justice in Palestine by Ali Abunimah, talks ab Nixon and Reagan specifically using coded language to create the illusion of “race neutral” politics that were truly created to harm Black people such as Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” where Nixon told an advisor, “you have to face the fact that the whole problem is really the Blacks. The key is to devise a system that recognizes this without appearing to” and Reagan’s “war on drugs” when Reagan launched a propaganda effort to associate drugs and crime with people of color, creating the stereotypes of “crack whores” “crack babies” and young Black men as “predators” that we still see today

What’s even weirder is that Linda Taylor was such a consummate con artist that she lied about her race and people believed her. She was born to white parents (and might have had some Indigenous American ancestors), but told people she was Black, Asian, Hispanic, & Jewish as it served her needs. The myth of the Black Welfare Queen is based on a long term con run by a white woman.

(via dynastylnoire)

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Sometimes some deeply philosophical discussions occur, like people vs utilitarianism, and how some of that philosophy ties into different forms of bigotry:

jorj-cardas:

gap-var-ginnunga:

siriustachi:

siriustachi:

silversarcasm:

bloodblonde89:

fluttersheep:

silversarcasm:

the idea of people having to be ‘useful’ is just so gross, like people do not exist to be used

having to produce something and have a use is a capitalist ideal and not an intrinsic part of humanity

just by being alive you are human and you are worth something and you can never be useless

this applies to animals as well

“Having to like DO THINGS is SO OPPRESSIVE. No one had to like DO THINGS before evil capitalism. In ancient times food, water, and shelter just existed and everything was taken care of for me”

Guess what happened to people who didn’t do things before capitalism? They died. Cause if you weren’t hunting, gathering, or useful in some aspect of nature. You were killed, died or starvation, dehydration, or exposure.

Being useful is literally part of our biology. Fucking moron. You pull some idea out of your ass because you literally don’t want to get off your ass.

I’m not saying nobody should ever do things ever, I’m saying people don;t have to produce to an arbitrary standard in order to prove their right to live

And if you really think disabled people deserve to die if we can’t ‘contribute’ or be useful in a way you approve of then congrats youre a fucking monster

actually there’s significant evidence in terms of Neolithic burials that disabled people who would not have been able to hunt for themselves (the archaeological evidence mostly shows mobility disabilities because it’s visible in the bone record) were well fed and cared for by their communities

so the “people like you would have been left to die” argument isn’t just cruel and violently ableist, it’s extremely historically inaccurate and based off of projecting modern prejudice on prehistoric cultures

sources because I’m on my laptop now!

note: in the neolithic era, a person in their 40s or 50s would be considered elderly

12,000-year-old burial of a woman about 45 with mobility disabilities both congenital and acquired

burial of a 40-50 year old Neanderthal man who had survived to old age with a deformed right arm and a long-healed head injury that would have made him blind in one eye

neolithic burial of a man in his 50s who lost the use of his left arm in adolescence

neolithic burial of a man in his 40s with evidence of a significant mobility disability caused by an injured hip and leg, some time in adulthood but long before his death

neolithic Asian burial of a man in his 20s with a congenital disorder which would have made him a quadriplegic around age 14. He survived for 10-15 years after that.

5th century burial of child with Down Syndrome

i read somewhere that you can measure the worth of a society by how it treats it’s helpless, elderly and sick and i think that’s totally on to something. this also ties in with the whole “survival of the fittest” garbage that people (mostly violent machismo men) spew without knowing what it actually means.

the inherent idea of productivity = worth IS a product of a culture based off of industrialization and capitalism, anyone who says otherwise is blinded by bias and needs to read some anthropology.

Animals do this, too. There’s a ten year old orca named Tumbo with severe scoliosis. He’s slower than the rest of his pod, but his mother and brother stay with him and help him hunt. He’s a transient, too, which means he travels great distances daily with his pod, and hunts dangerous prey like seals and sharks. Yet despite his disability, his pod takes care of him, and his pod thrives, even with the care they show him.

As someone said above me, a society can be judged by how it treats the sick, elderly and disabled. If animals can show such compassion, what’s a human’s excuse for lacking the same compassion for a fellow human being?

Source: silversarcasm
nerdsagainstfandomracism

I’m always fascinated by the fact that people can suspend their disbelief long enough to accept/enjoy the fantastic, exaggerated, or straight up ridiculous aspects of fiction. But as soon as someone brings up the idea of making people of color (or any marginalized group) the center of those types of stories, we suddenly have to abide by realism.

-Mod Finn

Anonymous asked:

what does this have to do with feminism? Personally I am really excited for the new movie and I am very interested with the new casting. But all these people are saying is that they don’t agree with changing the movies dynamics they knew and loved.

profeminist answered:

Here’s the problem. Let’s say that in the 70’s and 80’s white guys made up 90% of awesome lead characters in movies. The number may be higher than that but let’s use it as an example.

Now cut to today when Hollywood is rebooting everything beloved. If we don’t “change movie dynamics,” the reboots will also be 90% white men, leaving women and POC out of the picture AGAIN.

The “movie dynamic” that is so beloved is exclusion. It’s male supremacy. It’s white supremacy. It’s the belief that a white guy’s story is universal, while everyone else’s is niche. It is changing, it will change, and it should change. It was unjust in the first place.

Important point guys are missing: if there had been fair representation all along and there were a ton of great franchises led by women when we were all growing up, maybe nobody would need or want to gender-flip franchises, although that would still be fine. 

But there wasn’t. So to say, “don’t change things,” means “keep it white and male, I was the center of the universe and I don’t like having to share.”

Also, FYI those were the polite sexist responses. 

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So not only do we have to put up with the woobification of obvious villains in fanfiction, we also have to contend with the villainization of PoC, like Nick Fury, who was just doing his job.

Sometimes I just get so mad because Phil Coulson respects Nick Fury almost as much as the fandom disrespects Nick Fury. All your faves respect Nick Fury more than fandom does. Steve Rogers respected Nick enough to lie to his superiors and find out what Nick was trusting him with. Natasha Romanoff and Maria Hill were openly hurt when they thought he was dead. Clint trusted Nick enough to tell him about his family, trusted him to find a place for them, keep it off the map and off the books and Nick did that. Hell, Tony even came down out of a doughnut because Nick Fury told him too. The Avengers exist because of Nick Fury. The Avengers have repeatedly fought for and beside Nick Fury. Instead of recognize the complex character that he is, fandom has made the decision to erase, ignore and villainize him, but given that it’s a stupid ass decision, I have elected to ignore it.

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Why Japanese people shouldn’t be asked their opinions on American whitewashing:

thatfoureyedbitchDeactivated

I was watching this video today which was Japanese people reacting to some video called “Weeaboo Cringe Compilation,” and when they started asking Japanese people how they felt about the people in those videos, it was a bunch of positivity and “as long as they’re happy” bullshit. Then I just logged on to fb (which idk why I don’t just delete it at this point) and there’s a video where I guess the producer of the Ghost in the Shell commented on Scar-Jo’s casting, and he’s pretty much like “this is a great way for the story to be told across cultures” bullshit.

And I don’t want to speak over Asian Americans, but that shit pisses me off so fucking much! Stop asking Japanese people how they feel about westerners/Americans wearing Kimonos, wearing yellowface, being cast in live adaptions of their stories, being problematic weeaboo trash, etc! They don’t live in America. They don’t live here. There’s a reason why John Cho and Ming-Na Wen spoke up like “this is bullshit” but a Japanese producer doesn’t care. BECAUSE THIS SHIT LITERALLY DOES NOT AFFECT THEM. At least not negatively. In a best case scenario, the movie is a hit, and Ghost in the Shell gets more readers and people buying the dvds and movies and etc and giving that company more money. Japanese actors can easily get jobs in Japan (as long as they’re good). In America? Asian actors get so few roles that they make up like less than 1% of the roles available (that’s an old statistic, and idk if that’s changed in recent years, so tell me if that’s gone up), and if they do get roles, it’s crappy background characters that are racist stereotypes and caricatures of their cultures. Japanese people don’t have a voice here because it doesn’t affect them. AT MOST, it affects them with western tourists traveling to Japan acting like idiots, but 1) Japan would love the money that would make them and 2) the average Japanese person STILL doesn’t have to deal with an asshole like that. So they don’t get to speak on things and be looked at as the “voice of reason” like we don’t know why Asian Americans are mad/annoyed at the whitewashing!

Japan and the US’s racial makeup is like completely different. So what constitutes as problematic or whatever in one isn’t major in the other and vice versa. A country where any live adaption they did of an anime would easily provide the correct representation can’t speak over a nation where whitewashing of roles about non-white countries and cultures is rampant. And it irritates me because of course the Japanese are going to love someone like Scar-Jo playing a Japanese woman. She’s the epitome of white beauty that gets fed to us to worship. Like, you can’t ask a Japanese person how they feel about this shit without talking about years of white imperialism, the US relationship with Japan (especially after WWII), the image of ideal beauty world-wide being a white woman that looks exactly like Scar-Jo, the status that comes with that level of “beauty” etc. There are too many layers as to why a Japanese person who’s lived his entire life in Japan and will never be in America to live and become a citizen might love the casting while actual Asian Americans who live here won’t. It’s so basic and lazy and fucked up and disrespectful to Asian Americans to even try it. And I’m sick of people doing that shit.

Source:
*I think this poster has a point. Japan is a nearly homogeneous society, that was colonized by westerners, so the dynamic between Japanese people and Asian-Americans  is completely different. Japanese citizens are exposed to Western culture and thinking, but  without the actual Westerners, which creates a great deal of exotification of white people in Japanese culture.
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And there are some deeply important discussions about why Finn is Force Sensitive, along with some very compelling arguments, which I’m inclined to agree with. I’ve watched the movie about three times now, and the argument for this is legit, along with reasons for fandoms unwillingness to accept that he might be:

claranovak asked:

Why is that person so obsessed with disproving FS!Finn, Rey had not awaken at that point of the film. It doesn’t take a master degree. In fact Snoke obviously didnlt know about Rey UNTIL Kylo told him about her much later in the film. Hell, I don’t think even Kylo knew about Rey’s ability until the interrogation scene since he didn’t comment on it when he was mocking her about Han Solo and her friends (it also explains why Kylo seemed so personally angry at Finn in their fight).

luminousfinn answered:

cont. Kylo was obviously as interested in Finn as he was in Rey. That only makes sense if they are both force sensitive and a possible threat. And not just because Finn was some random stormtrooper. Considering stormtroopers get sent into recondition Finn’s doubts wouldn’t have caused that big of red flag alone. There has to be something else about him.

*Oh that ones easy. It starts with r and ends with ism.

When you consider the fact that Finn was envisioned and written as a white man (see all the concept art, in every piece Finn is drawn as a white guy), then all the clues and queues surrounding him isn’t even remotely subtle. And Rey (envision as a white woman) gets the more obvious clues because Abrams, Kasdan & Kennedy et al. knows that people will focus on the (white) man over the (white) woman.

The issue arose when John got cast as Finn and Abrams didn’t do rewrites to account for race. Because if people will focus on the white male over the white female, then they will focus on literallyanyone else (even the blurred out two bit white villain with no skills and less personality in the background) over a Black male lead.

But Abrams subscribe to the colorblind theory so I doubt he would ever even consider this an issue.

Back to your points.

Heck, even when Kylo does tell Snoke about Rey he sort of doubts it and doesn’t seem to have sensed her himself, despite the fact that she used the Force not that long before. (Exact words: “If what you say about the girl is true, bring her to me.”)

And Kylo does initially seem very dismissive of Rey. (Just a scavenger.) Right up until she laser targets his creepy obsession with Vader.

Yeah, since reconditioning is a thing and Phasma seems very much to be on top of things there, Finn’s doubts alone would not have cause Kylo Ren’s obsessive and unusual attention to FN-2187.

And it is very unusual. I’m working on an analysis of the scene between Hux and Kylo Ren on the bridge, during Finn’s and Poe’s escape and it highlights not only the interest Kylo has in Finn, but also how very extraordinary that interest is.

But more on that when I get the whole thing typed out.

Source:

*To elaborate on my contribution to this post: and tie all these posts together. Trust me! There is a theme here and that is “utilitarianism”. The usefulness of other human beings to the narrative. Fandom is nothing more than an extension of ideas given (to them) by Hollywood. Fanfiction, for example, is nothing more than fantasies being written about fantasies, and as a result, all that most Fandom can do, is reiterate the specific dynamics they’ve been taught by Hollywood films, for the past seventy plus years.

The only narratives (and justifications) Hollywood has given the public for having any marginalized person in a movie, is if that person is useful to the white lead characters. This goes for everyone who is not white, straight, cis, and male. For decades most white women could only be in movies unless they served the purposes of the male protagonist.  We even have special words for it: Women in Refrigerators, The Sexy Floor Lamp, The Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Their purpose in a movie is not to affect the plot, but to affect the men, who affect the plot.

The same is true for people with disabilities, most often used as “inspiration porn”, to  make the protagonist of the story, or sometimes even the audience, feel good about themselves. Almost the only time you see people with disabilities get cast at all, is in horror movies, as the monsters, or to inspire the main characters and audience to live better lives.

 The same is true for LGBTQ people, which is how we got the term, “the Gay Best Friend”. Usually, they only exist in the plot to give support, and sympathy to the straight characters, or prop up their love lives somehow. In thrillers and horror movies, they exist to be killed, so as to alert the protagonist that the villains are getting close, or to indicate to the protagonist that they are in a Horror movie.

And PoC, serve all these purposes, The Black Best Friend, The Caddie, The Maid, The Manic Pixie Dream Girl, The Black Guy Dies First. The only narrative that most white people have seen PoC perform for the past seventy years is that of being useful to the main characters, who are white. Yes, there are movies that exist outside that dynamic but most white people don’t, or won’t go see those films.

It’s the reason why fandom can’t see PoC in fantasy narratives that include fantasitical creatures like elves and orcs, and why Finn, from Star Wars can never be seen as anything other than Rey’s friend, rather than a possible  love interest. Its the reason people speculate that Michonne should die at Negan’s hands next season, to illustrate Rick’s whitemanpain. It’s the reason white Fandom doesn’t know what to do with T’Challa, other than make him Bucky’s Sugar Daddy,  and the Dore Milaje who challenged their white fave, Black Widow, gets vilified for being a big ol’ meaniepants, when she was merely doing her job of protecting her possible future husband. And its the reason why Nick Fury gets vilified, and Tony Stark gets woobified in fanfiction, for committing much the same types of behavior.

The only narratives most white people have to work from are marginalized people as servants and slaves, counselors, helpers, and  mentors to the white protagonist. And when not cast in  helping roles, then they are infantilized, or erased from their own narratives, so that the White Saviors can look good taking care of whatever problems they can’t solve for themselves.

Hollywood  has insisted on reproducing these  dynamics in film after film after film, since its inception. We should not be at all surprised at all the racism and bigotry we have seen  in the Fandom. Is it any wonder that there is a dearth of imagination, and a complete inability to see marginalized people outside of the boxes  in which Hollywood has kept us. They are merely reproducing the only kind of  stories they’ve been given. The fault isn’t entirely on the fandom. A large part of the fault lies with Hollywood.

This also ties into my earlier posts about how insidious racism and bigotry are. You have to remain vigilant and constantly examine what you’re doing, and why you’re doing it, if you don’t want to end up simply reproducing the racist, ableist, homophobic,  and sexist narratives we’ve all been ingesting since we were children. Its even worse when you  reproduce the mainstream narratives, while believing that you’re being progressive.

 

 

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