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Esoterica

bana05

Glee - We can do ‘ginger supremacy’ but not ACTUAL racism, that’s still fucking relevant and clearly at play on the very show??

bana05:

We can talk about serious matters of bullying and homophobia and briefly on sizeism, but we cannot give serious consideration of what it’s like to be a nonwhite student at a majority-white school, with majority-white teachers, with obvious majority-white biases at play, and make people’s nonwhite cultures the butt of jokes, like “Asian F”, “Asian Therapy”, “Cocoa Babies”, “Glee club, not crunk club”, “fiesty, violent Latina who only speaks Spanish when mad”, “lazy (though there’s canonical proof over two seasons that’s not the case)”. Hell, you even sort of addressed it in S1 with “Throwdown”, and then never bring that back up again -  not even when the moment is handed to you, by your own pen, on a silver platter with that Rachedes conversation in Mercedes’ SUV at the end of “Night of Neglect”.  Mercedes isn’t stupid.  She’s observant, she knows how life works.  Children of color learn those particular rules pretty damn quickly.

Those concerns? They’re actually not fucking funny and they’re not throwaway experiences or concerns.  They eat away at you like acid, depleting whatever encouragement or self-esteem, or even self-efficacy one could’ve had before stepping into, what is actually, hostile environments.  But they’re subtly hostile, to the point folk have you convinced you’re the crazy one and seeing things and your can’t trust yourself to decipher what your own lived experiences are.  Now we know why Emma has OCD, and I think that’s actually a really compelling and moving reason; but can we discuss why Mercedes might be oversleeping and throwing up and having a lack of energy if she’s not pregnant (and…I still don’t think she’s sexually active.  Way for fandom to make that leap when it’s Mercedes of all people)?  Those are signs of depression, people.  We got a little bit of the pressure Mike Chang’s under, and it definitely added texture to his character.  But Mercedes clinging to kind words, only getting kind words from people she’s known for all of five minutes (both Lauren and now Shane) but not from her “family” even though, when it’s mattered, she’s always been there for them?

My parents always said black people have to be two times better to be considered equal, and my goodness if we haven’t watched that play out for the past two and some change seasons.  Mercedes finally called people out on that, then respectfully said “thanks, but no thanks” and got out of a relationship that was starting to be toxic to her.  I’m proud of her for that.  And yo, if they make this child come back begging while neither Rachel, nor Quinn, nor Santana had to do that after they quit/got kicked out, I’mma cry fuckery.

And no, I’m not putting this under a “read more”.  Read it.  Do your mental gymnastics to deny what’s been going on onscreen and in glee fandom.

countoamillion
bananaleaves:


“You got an Asian F?”

I hope you all are ready for an onslaught of feelings.
This storyline is going to be awful. I haven’t watched this show since the end of S1 basically and I am not going to. But this storyline is going to be awful in the way that the other “Asian” storylines this show handles are also awful.
@thewaxlion, @eyre, and I were talking about our feelings the other day and especially about our feelings regarding our own experiences with self-policing with regard to Asian-American students in high school. (Obviously, parts of our own high school experiences.) I know people who have went to Stuyvesant High School, including some of my own family, and I have friends who attended other magnet high schools in DC where there are high proportions of Asian-American students and there is always this discussion that comes up about not being Asian enough. Which, of course, fits hand in hand with the model minority stereotype.
Which is why this storyline, if done properly, would be so important to me. I was that kid in high school who was like oh, you know, a C is an Asian F. And I have had talks and arguments and other things like that with my parents about grades going back to elementary school. WHICH IS WHY THIS STORYLINE WOULD BE IMPORTANT TO ME, IF DONE PROPERLY. Academic performance fits hand-in-hand with the model minority stereotype, and so it became this thing that we used to judge ourselves. Much like math. If you’re bad at math, you’re a “bad Asian.” And that’s just how the dialogue around Asian-American student … groups? people? goes a lot of the time.
And around tumblr and also in real life, I’ve heard people who’ve talked about how alienated they feel in environments where there are a lot of Asian-American students because it makes them feel like outsiders, isolated from this greater community. But that greater community - in high school - polices the shit out of itself. You can be too Asian - fobby - or you can be a bad Asian - “Americanized,” bad at math, bad at school - etc. And obviously, there are a lot of people that fall between the two, myself included, but that always seems to be the line that’s drawn. Good Asians, Bad Asians, Too Asian(s).
And this storyline is important to me because Tina, as a character, in the gifs that I have seen, in what I have seen of her in S1 is doing her own thing. She dyes her hair, she joins glee club, she isn’t chained to her academic life - she does what makes her feel happy. And this is sort of the opposite tack because there was also an incident where she spoke out because she didn’t want to eat chicken feet with his family every week - never mind that you are in Ohio, where are you going to eat dim sum every week? And also you wouldn’t have chicken feet every night, but that’s besides the point - but here, it’s about grades.
And grades are always talked about but they’re always joked about in high school hallways when part of it is because good grades mean you’re a good Asian mean you’re going to be successful and make your parents proud means you’re the model minority. And it’s all wrapped up in that but you’re in high school so what do you know, and ha ha, you are so(/such a bad) Asian, isn’t that funny.
And I’m not going to lie. I have a lot of weird internalized model minority ish, I’m positive I do, and I wish this show could sit down and have a frank talk about it because where else do we see an Asian-American teenage couple interacting and dealing with this shit? Nowhere else. In fact, I’d go out on a limb and say they’re probably the only Asian-American teenage couple we’ve seen on primetime tv - with storylines! - in a while. And it’s important that it gets talked about because it happens and nobody talks about it and it becomes this thing that you use to judge yourself.
Except that would be real talk.
And who would want that when you could make a joke instead?

bananaleaves:

“You got an Asian F?”

I hope you all are ready for an onslaught of feelings.

This storyline is going to be awful. I haven’t watched this show since the end of S1 basically and I am not going to. But this storyline is going to be awful in the way that the other “Asian” storylines this show handles are also awful.

@thewaxlion, @eyre, and I were talking about our feelings the other day and especially about our feelings regarding our own experiences with self-policing with regard to Asian-American students in high school. (Obviously, parts of our own high school experiences.) I know people who have went to Stuyvesant High School, including some of my own family, and I have friends who attended other magnet high schools in DC where there are high proportions of Asian-American students and there is always this discussion that comes up about not being Asian enough. Which, of course, fits hand in hand with the model minority stereotype.

Which is why this storyline, if done properly, would be so important to me. I was that kid in high school who was like oh, you know, a C is an Asian F. And I have had talks and arguments and other things like that with my parents about grades going back to elementary school. WHICH IS WHY THIS STORYLINE WOULD BE IMPORTANT TO ME, IF DONE PROPERLY. Academic performance fits hand-in-hand with the model minority stereotype, and so it became this thing that we used to judge ourselves. Much like math. If you’re bad at math, you’re a “bad Asian.” And that’s just how the dialogue around Asian-American student … groups? people? goes a lot of the time.

And around tumblr and also in real life, I’ve heard people who’ve talked about how alienated they feel in environments where there are a lot of Asian-American students because it makes them feel like outsiders, isolated from this greater community. But that greater community - in high school - polices the shit out of itself. You can be too Asian - fobby - or you can be a bad Asian - “Americanized,” bad at math, bad at school - etc. And obviously, there are a lot of people that fall between the two, myself included, but that always seems to be the line that’s drawn. Good Asians, Bad Asians, Too Asian(s).

And this storyline is important to me because Tina, as a character, in the gifs that I have seen, in what I have seen of her in S1 is doing her own thing. She dyes her hair, she joins glee club, she isn’t chained to her academic life - she does what makes her feel happy. And this is sort of the opposite tack because there was also an incident where she spoke out because she didn’t want to eat chicken feet with his family every week - never mind that you are in Ohio, where are you going to eat dim sum every week? And also you wouldn’t have chicken feet every night, but that’s besides the point - but here, it’s about grades.

And grades are always talked about but they’re always joked about in high school hallways when part of it is because good grades mean you’re a good Asian mean you’re going to be successful and make your parents proud means you’re the model minority. And it’s all wrapped up in that but you’re in high school so what do you know, and ha ha, you are so(/such a bad) Asian, isn’t that funny.

And I’m not going to lie. I have a lot of weird internalized model minority ish, I’m positive I do, and I wish this show could sit down and have a frank talk about it because where else do we see an Asian-American teenage couple interacting and dealing with this shit? Nowhere else. In fact, I’d go out on a limb and say they’re probably the only Asian-American teenage couple we’ve seen on primetime tv - with storylines! - in a while. And it’s important that it gets talked about because it happens and nobody talks about it and it becomes this thing that you use to judge yourself.

Except that would be real talk.

And who would want that when you could make a joke instead?

(via bana05)

thescreenasiseeit

The “Other Ethnic”: Minorities in Glee.

bana05:

lilliep:

thescreenasiseeit:

It occurred to me recently that, despite being a member of the original cast, Jenna Ushkowitz, who plays Tina Cohen-Chang on Glee, has only had one solo where the narrative has allowed her to finish. Tonight’, ‘My Funny Valentine’, ‘I Follow Rivers’… The first two songs called for Ushkowitz to deliberately sing them badly, and ‘I Follow Rivers’ was interrupted by hecklers.

Let’s look at the maths of that for a minute:

There have been 46 episodes of Glee so far, with an average of about 8 songs per episode, which equals about 370 songs overall, and out of all of those songs, Jenna Ushkowitz has only been allowed to finish singing one, True Colours’.

That was all the way back in Season One, so I went and watched it again to refresh my memory, and do you know what I noticed?

More maths:

The ‘True Colours’ performance is a little under 2 minutes long, and of those two minutes, the focus is on Tina for less than 20 seconds. That means that during her one and only solo, Ushkowitz got less than 1/6 of the screen time.

During the most recent episode,” I Am Unicorn”, Kurt, a white, openly gay character on the show, voiced his frustration that he will never be able to play the leading roles he desires because he is unable to ‘pass’ as straight. This struck me as an interesting thing for Kurt to say, and for the writers to prioritise, as it’s a problem that most ethnic minority actors and performers face constantly. I’m pretty sure the emphasis put on a potentially ‘ethnic’ Maria as the lead in the school musical, West Side Story, exists mainly to place Mercedes in a position where she can legitimately rival Rachel for a role, thereby creating drama for the following episode, but even though I know this, I still find the willingness of the audition panel to consider a non-white Maria unbelievably refreshing.

The sad fact of the matter is that in the real world it’s doubtful that Santana, Tina or Mercedes would get the same consideration as Rachel. Not because they aren’t as talented, but because of ethnicity. I have heard the arguments for this treatment countless times, both in regards to the fashion and beauty industries, and the entertainment industry. I’ve heard many, many excuses, but I still find that whilst people are happy for a minority to take the supportive roles: the best friend, the sidekick, the wisecracking partner etc. people often refuse to consider a minority lead. From what I can understand some of the fandom have had a similar response to the idea of Mercedes as the lead in West Side Story, people seem quite happy for her to play Anita, but not Maria. In the film version a Puerto Rican actress, Rita Moreno, was able to play the supporting role of Anita (for which she won an Oscar), but when it came to the role of Maria the studio went with a White European actress (Natalie Wood).

The problem is that Glee constantly frustrates by bringing these issues to the foreground and then doing nothing about them, or worse, uses them to vilify, stereotype or make fun of its minority characters. Mercedes is often painted as irrational or a diva when she challenges the assumptions that Rachel will/should get all lead parts (although she is also not the only character to do this, I can recall Santana doing the same thing on occasion) and yet whenever she does so her behaviour is cause for people to dismiss her actions, and by the same token, the viewpoints that led her to those actions in the first place. This is similarly the case with Santana, although Santana occupies a slightly different space because of her homo/bisexuality.

Glee seems to treat homosexuality as a serious subject, but race as a cause for comedy. Let’s go back to Kurt’s comment about not getting lead roles, despite the obvious parallels between Kurt’s situation and that of the minority characters, the closest we get to seeing these parallels on screen is Artie’s throwaway line about wanting to play Porgy someday. The unlikeliness of which is so evident that it’s clear the audience is being invited to laugh at it. I could write a whole other post on that line alone so I’m going to stop before I get too carried away, but the implication is clear - race is funny, sexuality is not.It remains to be seen if the writers choose to address these issues with next week’s episode.

But Glee does not have the greatest track record with handling race. I take issue with the writers’ desire to prefix everything Tina and Mike do with the word “Asian”, although they did the same thing with Puck and Rachel (“Jew”/”Jewish”) and it looks as though they’re planning to do the same thing with Mercedes new relationship (“cocoa babies”) - the thought of which fills me with dread.

Aside from not understanding the need to distill characters that people have grown to love and relate to into caricatures and stereotypes, I also don’t really understand how it’s funny. What if it wasn’t a minority character saying it? What if Finn or Quinn went around prefixing everything they did with the word “White”? Would it be considered comedic then? Probably not. But you know what, that would never happen, because Finn and Quinn have both been written as multi-dimensional characters without requiring their ethnicity as a crutch. Many of the other characters have not been afforded that privilege.

I have difficulty with the idea that Glee purports to be a show about an ensemble cast where everyone is different but valued for who they are, while it continually prioritises the same few characters over everyone else. Which characters do we know the most about? Which characters have a family/home life that we’ve seen? Rachel, Finn, Quinn, Kurt and, while he was still part of the show, Sam.

The only minority character whose background has been explored in any meaningful way is Santana, and even then it has only been explored in relation to her sexuality.

There are notoriously few roles for minority actors in television, film and theatre, even fewer lead roles, and of that already diminished pool of opportunities there are even fewer for women. So, to viewers of Glee, these characters are not just characters, they have been transformed by their rarity into representatives of hordes of people who have not had the chance to see themselves reflected on screen before. It means something to a black woman who sees Mercedes, an Asian girl who sees Tina, or a Latina who sees Santana, because finally theirstories can be heard. Not only that, but these characters also serve as a barometer that shows how the rest of society views a particular minority, and therefore how society will view them. So when Glee pushes these characters to the background, stereotypes them and makes them ‘comedically ethnic’, the message is that these characters don’t deserve the spotlight, attention, love, respect, meaningful friendships or to be looked at as anything beyond their race. In fact, the message being sent out is that these characters do not even deserve characterisation. Can you imagine, never seeing anyone like you on the screen, and then when you do that is what you’re being told? That is what’s held up as an acceptable way to treat someone like you?

Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy Glee, but I find it troubling that the show, however implicitly, claims to represent and celebrate diversity but then marginalises and stereotypes the majority of the characters it claims to be supporting. It’s come a long way from the show it was in Season One, and while it appears to be getting back on track I fear that the ideas of inclusion and diversity that were so prevalent in Season One have fallen by the wayside. I’ll keep watching, but I’m also hoping that the show will learn to treat its minority characters with more sensitivity than it has done thus far.

And, please, let poor Tina finish a solo!

(via the-original-dtwps)

lilliep

bana05:

lilliep:

Just because Mercedes and Rachel are cool doesn’t mean that Mercedes should not be allowed to audition for whatever she wants to audition for or be upset that she has yet again been passed up. I’m seeing all this bullshit about how Mercedes is such a bitch and blah blah blah. You know what? I would be to if I’m constantly second choice. Mercedes has every right to be tired of being put on the back burner. We know she wants the chance to be in the spotlight like Rachel has always been, but it either gets taken from her or she gets passed up. This is just the straw that broke the camel’s back.

#TEAMMERCEDES

It just smacks of “the black girl needs to stay in her place” doesn’t it?  ”Off the sidewalk with you!”

Welp…

unshurtugal

bana05:

acciosamcedes:

tvwrambling:

Inspiration Vortex: The main reason why I love Hummelberry more than Kurtcedes

tvwrambling:

shurtugalcrisscolferpotter:

All through the beginning of season 2 Mercedes did absolutely NOTHING about Kurt being bullied. She was more concerned about tots and other stupid random things, and didn’t even notice a thing. It was right in front of her face and she ignored…

Oops, I caused some butthurt, I see.

1) Not everybody needs to believe in something, and saying so is pretty ridiculous. And believing in your loved ones is not the same thing as believing in a supernatural being, regardless of how cute an anti-atheist tagline it makes on primetime TV. I know this because I’ve survived the deaths of several friends and relatives without any kind of faith, and without any of my friends trying to insist that I need to have it. 

2) Yeah, Rachel was an asshat in GC too (pretty much everybody was, as I pointed out, although I don’t remember Puck doing anything too horrible) - but there’s a difference between praying for somebody’s relative and basically talking that person into going to your church in order to increase YOUR comfort level with THEIR belief system. And my criticism was specifically on the line “I don’t know how to talk to you anymore” - I don’t recall Rachel saying anything that blatantly ignorant, in fact I remember her getting the hell out of Burt’s room when Kurt told her to. But then, I haven’t rewatched the episode because the amount of atheism!fail committed by Kurt’s “friends” just reminds me of my own real life. 

3) Stuff Rachel did to people other than Kurt = I don’t really give a crap. Seriously, I couldn’t care less if she took out a whip and flayed Sunshine’s skin off, because the character was eight kinds of useless. In fact, that might have been amusing, to tell you the truth. And if Finn wasn’t such a dumbass he’d have gotten over all the crazy women in his life by the end of season one. (Sorry, Finn stans. I hope he grows up a little more with regard to relationships this year, because I do like him in the context of Kurt’s brother after “Furt,” regardless of the obvious mistakes he made in the past.)

And finally - I wasn’t a huge Hummelberry fan during season 2, so this is kind of a stupid argument. The writing sucked ass and assassinated everyone’s characters several times over. This is why I don’t ship Klaine either, tbqh. “For Good” won me over, as well as the first episode of season 3. Of course, if Rachel regresses into a boy-crazy manipulative nutbag again, I’ll be back to wishing she’d get hit by a bus a la Mean Girls.

I think I’m starting to see what gets people about Mercedes. It’s not so much that she’s “mean”; all the characters have their mean points. And it’s not that she just doesn’t get it. Let’s be real here, none of the characters get the point all the time.

What impressed me about Mercedes in Grilled Cheesus is that she was completely honest in her feelings. She told Kurt exactly how she felt and that’s how she should be. She didn’t sugar coat things and say one thing when she really meant another. It boggles my mind that someone can be honest about not believing in God (I’m talking about within this fandom) and the fandom calls them brave and anyone else mean for not agreeing with them wholeheartedly. Or when faith based religion is mocked (see Kurt’s rant in the choir room. Some may have found it amusing but it was meant to be offensive. This episode was just as much about highlighting Kurt’s intolerance towards faith/religion, as it was to highlight Mercedes intolerance/confusion to atheism) people cheer and think it’s great.

But as soon as Mercedes dares to be honest and say that she has no idea how to talk Kurt through this (probably because she’s never had a close friend who was an atheist), people rant and rave. And then when she invites him to church, people are still angry and think she forced him. Ummm I may be mistaken, but Kurt very willingly went with her. And I’m sure if he had said no, she would have left it alone. And notice the song she sings to him; it’s not a religious song at all. It’s a song about being there for your friend and being someone they can lean on. She got the message.

So why can’t you?

Because Kurt is flawless and can do no wrong and Mercedes is a craptastic friend for not being at his beck and call and not anticipating his every need and move, and everyone else’s feelings should always come second to Kurt’s.  Nobody else’s matters.  And you can’t really fault much of the fandom for feeling this way when, on the show, the writers put a primacy on Kurt’s, Rachel’s, and sometimes Finn’s feelings over everyone else. But the fact people are comfortable with this is…uncomfortably hypocritical in actuality.  And this is the same fandom that preaches about acceptance and tolerance. *smh*

Mercedes is failing to be Mammy to everyone else. She keeps thinking she’s a complete complex person with her own beliefs & priorities. You’re falling into the same fallacy. Mercedes can only be a great friend if she’s always there to comfort people even though they turn around & forget about her 5 minutes later or if her comforting is done in a way that includes absolutely none of her history, beliefs, or standards. Now see, doesn’t it all make sense?

bana05

Inspiration Vortex: Again with these GLEE RPG calls with Samcedes as parents to "all-white face claim" kids...that's not how it works...

bana05:

thempress:

bana05:

thempress:

bana05:

thempress:

thempress:

bana05:

And why do you need to make theirs the only heterosexual couple with adopted kids, and why do you think Mercedes would be cool with only adopting white children? Come on, people.

I don’t get it either.

Mixed children are gorgeous.

Too many in Hollywood to…

Oh I agree 100 percent. I’m sure I expressed in a good way but that’s exactly what it seems to be.

And I stick with the idea that they don’t want to play a character that is mixed. Not only Ms. Graham you have so many other young actresses and honestly you could even take some light skinned black men and women and use them as biracial. You could use some black people with blue/green/grey eyes that are indeed black but for the sake of the RPG you could make them mixed.

It’s subtle racism or maybe it isn’t so subtle I’m not sure but it’s something that is very troublesome.

It’s as if they are saying that being black is not something you want to pass on, like it’s a genetic handicap and it would be safer if they would adopt.

I’m probably rambling needless to say I see it too, I roll my eyes and agree with you. I don’t know how you could change that type of thinking.

You can’t, especially when it’s been reinforced in Glee itself.  Rachel goes on and on about her Jewish side but she said a total of one comment about her black side (not that you cannot be black and Jewish (in a nonbiracial way) at the same time, but it’s clear that’s the paradigm being set up on the show).  And yes, they could definitely use light-skinned black actors (or not, I’m lighter than Katerina and I have two black parents).  And another tracked tag I see this often is Angelina Johnson/Roxanne Weasley.  Like, damn, really though?

I’m not saying the Jones/Evans (or Jones/nonblack partner) has to be an afterschool special all the time in the game, but the Mercedes’ erasure is offensive to me, and I’m not sorry to say it flat out.

Not that I expect it to change, but it needed to be put out there in the universe.

It is very offensive.

And yes I’ve read your comments about that happening in the Harry Potter fandom as well and it just boggles the mind sometimes because I’m sure most of these people don’t even understand how racist they are being.

And that’s a very true statement because Rachel is being raised by a black man as well and no matter what at the end of the day there are some things she should identify with more than anything. If she doesn’t then she is belitting her father’s heritage.

Then again this is Glee and as I’ve posted before it’s about gay acceptance but not about racial tolerance.

And yeah there are people in this world who don’t think that you can be both black and Jewish if you ARE interracial so I guess it’s a big stretch when there is no blood related link to claim both. There are people who forget that both Lisa Boney and Lenny Kravitz were both half black and half Jewish and their daughter Zoe is a product as well as the well known young rapper Drake.

I really think what you touched on in the story is true that white people don’t like the idea of having a daughter/grandaughter, son/grandson that doesn’t have those rosey red cheeks, those bright blue eyes and that pale skin even if they are brunettes and the chance of having any of those features are slim to none anyway.


It needs to be addressed. They need to be called on it. Thank GOD we have an intelligent woman like yourself to do so. 

You’re giving me too much credit, but thanks. :)

Yeah the racial intolerance on the show, especially wrt Mercedes is disconcerting at best, troubling and worse, and expected nonetheless.  It just makes it worse because Glee and it’s fandom claim to be about acceptance and tolerance and cannot even admit to the epic amounts of fail when it comes to how it treats particular characters.  That folk blindly and, pardon the pun, gleefully treat Mercedes and Amber with such gross disrespect even though little of it is warranted, or disproportionate to the amount of other epically faily things other characters on the show have done (like Rachel sending a foreign exchange student to a damn crackhouse v. Mercedes trying to help her friend process grief or say one snarky thing to a boy and therefore should be forever barred from dating him…) is like, wow…some of you aren’t even trying to be subtle about it.  And then the showrunners waiting until the last minute to release promo pictures of her and folks making graphics with everyone in the main cast but her is just…ugh.  This fandom.

Points to my heated rant about being over this fandom. Mercedes has been there since day one she is a part of the original six yet you wait til the last minute to release her picture, you make fan art of the entire cast including staff and leave her out, you leave the girl who was performed with only a FEW  members of the cast at last years Emmys, the girl artist like Adele say love her and her voice…what other reason do you have besides racism.

She’s one of the, if not THE, most talented member of Glee vocally. EVERYONE in the cast gushes over her. The boys openly and admantly flirt with her in every interview yet you purposely ignore all of that and make a joke about a horrible ridiculous story line that should have never been written.

I’m not going ot be sad if this is her last year. I want her to do so much better than this show that all of these people who have ridiculed her and ignored her for years have to sit back and eat some humble pie when she’s a major player in the industry.

My sister and I have said a million times that Glee is a great show to be gay on a horrible show to be a minority on.

Right; basically I’m watching now to support Amber.  The minute she’s out, I’m out and I’ll have no regrets.

And funny how it’s “only a TV show” when it comes to racial critiques but it’s a transcendent force of social good when it comes to sexuality matters.  Why do folks have a problem with the ability for it to be both?  Kind of wish Glee hadn’t started smelling itself and just stuck with the formula it had the first season, which was hilarious.  It was what it was and I appreciated it.  The moment it tried to be a vehicle for social change and then not for everything, just for some things is the minute it opened wide the floodgates for fail.

bana05

Fandom(s), your racism and misogyny is showing and it’s fugly as fuck.

bana05

Irony: When the black Disney princess is overshadowed by her white best friend.

bana05:

And I like Lottie, but damn, this movie wasn’t about her, fandom (and PatF writers).  This is like the ultimate exercise in privilege because never does the black best friend overshadow her white principal.  *sigh*


letthetruthlaugh

How media clearly reflects the sexism and the racism we cannot see in ourselves.

isitis:

bana05:

I wanted my first-year film students to understand what happens to a story when actual human beings inhabit your characters, and the way they can inspire storytelling. And I wanted to teach them how to look at headshots and what you might be able to tell from a headshot. So for the past few years I’ve done a small experiment with them.

Some troubling shit always occurs.

It works like this: I bring in my giant file of head shots, which include actors of all races, sizes, shapes, ages, and experience levels. Each student picks a head shot from the stack and gets a few minutes to sit with the person’s face and then make up a little story about them. 

Namely, for white men, they have no trouble coming up with an entire history, job, role, genre, time, place, and costume. They will often identify him without prompting as “the main character.” The only exception? “He would play the gay guy.” For white women, they mostly do not come up with a job (even though it was specifically asked for), and they will identify her by her relationships. “She would play the mom/wife/love interest/best friend.” I’ve heard “She would play the slut” or “She would play the hot girl.” A lot more than once.

For nonwhite men, it can be equally depressing. “He’s in a buddy cop movie, but he’s not the main guy, he’s the partner.” “He’d play a terrorist.” “He’d play a drug dealer.” “A thug.” “A hustler.” “Homeless guy.” One Asian actor was promoted to “villain.”

For nonwhite women (grab onto something sturdy, like a big glass of strong liquor), sometimes they are “lucky” enough to be classified as the girlfriend/love interest/mom, but I have also heard things like “Well, she’d be in a romantic comedy, but as the friend, you know?” “Maid.” “Prostitute.” “Drug addict.”

I should point out that the responses are similar whether the group is all or mostly-white or extremely racially mixed, and all the groups I’ve tried this with have been about equally balanced between men and women, though individual responses vary. Women do a little better with women, and people of color do a little better with people of color, but female students sometimes forget to come up with a job for female actors and black male students sometimes tell the class that their black male actor wouldn’t be the main guy.

Once the students have made their pitches, we interrogate their opinions. “You seem really sure that he’s not the main character – why? What made you automatically say that?” “You said she was a mom. Was she born a mom, or did she maybe do something else with her life before her magic womb opened up and gave her an identity? Who is she as a person?” In the case of the “thug“, it turns out that the student was just reading off his film resume. This brilliant African American actor who regularly brings houses down doing Shakespeare on the stage and more than once made me weep at the beauty and subtlety of his performances, had a list of film credits that just said “Thug #4.” “Gang member.” “Muscle.” Because that’s the film work he can get. Because it puts food on his table.

So, the first time I did this exercise, I didn’t know that it would turn into a lesson on racism, sexism, and every other kind of -ism. I thought it was just about casting. But now I know that casting is never just about casting, and this day is a real teachable opportunity. Because if we do this right, we get to the really awkward silence, where the (now mortified) students try to sink into their chairs. Because, hey, most of them are proud Obama voters! They have been raised by feminist moms! They don’t want to be or see themselves as being racist or sexist. But their own racism and sexism is running amok in the room, and it’s awkward.

This for every time someone criticizes how characters of color and female characters of color especially are treated in text and by subsequent fandoms.  It’s never “just a television/movie/book”. It’s never been ”just”.

THIS

But representation doesn’t matter in post-racial America. Or something. The media that gets made teaches people to discriminate in theory & in reality.