Not only did a Latino actor not play Tony, who clearly in real life looks like a Chicano, but his ethnicity is stolen from the Latino community at a time when Latinos have been demonized. Our real Latino national heroes if acknowledged would dramatize our patriotism and contribution to the United States…
In “Argo” we have yet another instance where the public has been denied of an opportunity for all Americans to learn of an American Latino’s valor, talent and patriotism. This occurs because there has been no consequence to this behavior. It is time for a change.
Moctesuma Esparza on Ben Affleck’s Argo and the White-Washing of the Mexican-American. Esparza says:
The film actually goes out of its way to obscure Tony Mendez’ ethnicity. His name (Mendez) is mentioned only once and the character says he is from New York (Tony was born in Nevada from a mining family with six generations in Nevada and raised in Colorado). Nowhere in the movie does the viewer get that the hero is Mexican American.
Ben Affleck’s portrayal of Antonio “Tony” Mendez was very contained and had very little range, I don’t know what Tony personality is like to judge the portrayal but this did not impact the movie’s success or failure. It was an excellent role that would have elevated a Latino actor like Benjamin Bratt or Michael Peña.
Instead, like with the story of Guy Gabaldon, whose extraordinary achievements in the WWII Battle of Saipan, capturing, by himself, 1800 enemy soldiers, more than any other American soldier in the history of our country, was similarly white-washed as Jeffrey Hunter played him in the 1960 film, “Hell to Eternity.” But that was more than half a century ago, Argo is now.
In the closing credits, the photos of the real people portrayed are presented side-b- side with the actors’ photos showing the very close resemblance and care that was taken in the casting process to cast actors who looked like the real people. Yet, for the key role of Tony Mendez, the director/producer Ben Affleck chose a single long shot of Tony with President Carter where his image was not distinct or recognizable, breaking the pattern he had chosen for all the other real people depicted.
White privilege is being able to star in a person of color’s life story. See also: Angelina Jolie in A Mighty Heart and almost everyone in 21. Nevemind. I should have made a separate post. Sorry, folks.
For whatever reason, many white Americans seem to think that ‘white’ = WASP (white Anglo Saxon Protestant) and that folks whose forebears came over on the Mayflower are the actual whites, not the Italians, Russian Jews, Irish Catholics, etc. It’s certainly true that non-Anglo European ethnic groups were once considered nonwhite. But the definition of whiteness changed generations ago to encompass pretty much any European ethnicity that embraced white supremacy. So nonwhites from Europe got to become white ethnic Americans and enjoy white privilege. And nonwhites from every other continent remained nonwhite…because what’s the point of being white if there are no nonwhite people around to oppress?
Yet I’ve had many conversations with white Americans who’ve tried to employ that throwback definition of whiteness, to treat ‘white’ as though it only means ‘WASP’. Conveniently, this distancing from whiteness tends to only occur during conversations about racism. I don’t think they realize that whiteness is achieved, but that non-whiteness is thrust upon you. Their European ancestors gladly handed in their nonwhite badges as soon as they were able to do so. This was an opportunity that many others at the time did not have (though some tried) because their ethnicity was visible in their skin color, hair texture, eye shape, etc.
What’s particularly annoying is when white Americans not only deny their whiteness, but attempt to use their immigrant ancestry to appropriate ‘person of color’ as an identity. ‘People of color’ was devised as a positive, empowering alternative to terms like ‘minorities’ and ‘nonwhites’, which can be inaccurate or suggest otherness and inferiority. The term subverts the usual racial dynamic by suggesting that white people lack color instead of us lacking whiteness. ‘People of color’ is a specifically racial term. It does not mean ‘ethnic people’ or ‘non-WASPs’.
It is also a modern term that began gaining prominence by being employed by racial justice advocates in the 1960s and ’70s. It is nonsensical and self-serving to use an archaic definition of non-whiteness in order to claim a label that modern nonwhites popularized.
So the fact that your ethnicity wasn’t considered white generations ago doesn’t mean you can get away with claiming to be nonwhite or a person of color today. You still benefit from white privilege. And claiming POC status so on the basis of your Euro ethnic identity is particularly offensive since your ancestors chose to leave non-whiteness behind by stepping on black people, Mexicans, Chinese, Indians, and other nonwhites on their way up the racial hierarchy.
Some further reading:
I am not about to coddle these folks and “respect my elders” when not but too long ago these folks were calling for MY PEOPLE to fucking get lynched and die and shit. Hell the fuck no. You think you’re immune from my wrath but you’re not.
ALL OF FUCKING THIS
My mother was born in 1957.
She was in grade school when the whole desegregation shit went down.
She told me about how white women would treat her like shit for daring to want to fucking learn.
My grandfather told me of how white men his age would fucking JOKE about how they should have ‘put the niggers in the concentration camps because Germany had the right idea.’ He’s a WWII Vet.
Fuck what you heard.
I WILL NEVER EXCUSE OLD PEOPLES RACISM
You all do realize that’s how they were taught, right? Not that racism is okay but that’s how they grew up. Do you hate people who are homophobic now because their parents were too?
Everyone says “what’s in the past is done” but this shit pops up. Not to mention, about half the time these people are in the early stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s and they aren’t mentally capable to think clearly. How do I know? My grandfather is that way.
Suck my dick, guys. I don’t see your parents or grandparents making a fuss about it. Neither should you.
^^That’s a shitload of stupid white patriarchal garbage. You can go dip your nasty dick in an anthill, pearlann0423.
"Do you hate people who are homophobic now because their parents were too?"
You do realize that Americans were much more homophobic in the past, don’t you? Reagan callously ignored the plight of HIV-stricken gay men for most of the 1980s. Yet gay rights are quickly gaining support from the public these days, especially from younger people. Those young people were raised by the same homophobes who voted Reagan into office. How on earth did they manage to overcome their socialization? It must have been magic!
So yes, I do hate homophobic people. Being bigoted is not an inevitability, but a choice. Being raised in a certain way is no excuse. My parents raised me Roman Catholic, including parochial school, Sunday school, etc. and guess what? I’ve been agnostic/atheist since I was 14. My parents are racist and sexist, and guess what? I work very hard to not be either. I’m hardly the only lefty who had a very conservative upbringing or who was taught bigotry at a young age.
It’s possible to resist your programming. How else do you account for the fact that whites were active in the civil rights movement and allied with the Black Panthers? I think the fact that those folks were in the minority demonstrates that it’s possible to overcome socialization, but difficult. Most people (like you and your gramps) are just too damned lazy and selfish to even try.
"Everyone says “what’s in the past is done” but this shit pops up."
I’ll respond to your banality with a better quote: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past”. Saying the past is done as if it’s completely closed off from the present is absurd. What is the cut-off point? If I say something shitty to you, are you not allowed to come back at me 2 seconds later because what I said was technically in ‘the past’? Growing up in a prejudiced environment doesn’t grant you permanent immunity from criticism if you lazily reproduce those prejudices. People have free will. We are not robots helplessly carrying out our programming.
"Not to mention, about half the time these people are in the early stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s and they aren’t mentally capable to think clearly."
Hey look at those stats you just pulled out of your ass! Also, what a condescending, ageist thing to say. Just because your racist old grandpa has dementia doesn’t mean all or even most racist old people aren’t in their right minds.
I have no interest in coddling old white bigots like your grandad, kid. You know why? They were once young white bigots like you. They had opportunities to change their ways, but chose not to. Just like you will probably choose to comply with your white supremacist upbringing and ignore everything I’ve just told you.
Don’t believe there’s a racial element to the War on Drugs? As a former U.S. marshal and special agent for the Drug Enforcement Agency, Matthew Fog witnessed the astonishing inequity of the War on Drugs firsthand. This is his story.
let’s make a list of people who are surprised:
- white ppl
- koolaid drinkers
usual list i see
Apparently, Mitt Romney used to impersonate police officers when he was in college. Youth is no excuse. It would never have occurred to me to do the same thing when I was a college freshman:
While he may have believed that his cop antics were harmless, Romney may well have been breaking the law merely by donning a police uniform, committing a crime if he pretended to be a cop and a felony if he did so more than once. In both California and Michigan, any person convicted of fraudulently impersonating a police officer may be sentenced to up to one year in prison…
You can be for damned sure that Barack Obama would never had had a viable political career if he had done the same thing. He’d likely be serving an extra-long prison sentence.
Amanda Marcotte nails it again with this piece on Julian Assange and his defenders:
That liberals have not erupted in rage against Assange suggests that we haven’t abandoned the belief that rape, especially acquaintance rape, doesn’t count as a violent crime. It also suggests liberals still don’t quite see misogyny as a serious problem so much as an unfortunate character flaw that can be overlooked if someone is designated a “Great Man.”
[TW: rape, violence] Heartrending portraits of child brides by photojournalist, Stephanie Sinclair:
Although child marriage is against the law in many countries, and international treaties forbid the practice, it is estimate[d] that about 51 million girls below age 18 are currently married, often under the cover of darkness and in secret. In Afghanistan alone, it is believed that approximately 57 per cent of girls wed before the legal age of 16.
Race + The Walking Dead: Why Michonne Matters (spoilers) I’m both looking forward to and dreading this upcoming season. I totally agree with this post: Michonne is an amazing character, but her story arc features events that I’m almost certain TWD will handle poorly. Anticipate pissed off posts from me about the new season of TWD.
Two essays that should be read together: Jessica Valenti, I’m not a mother first and Tami Winfrey-Harris, A Black Mom-in-Chief is Revolutionary: What White Feminists Get Wrong about Michelle Obama
"Your Women Are Oppressed, But Ours Are Awesome": How Nicholas Kristof And Half The Sky Use Women Against Each Other
Sound sartorial advice: if you’re looking for fancy clothing like tuxes or cashmere, buy second-hand rather than new. I’ve personally found this to be very true of cashmere. The stuff you can get for new these days is thinner and poorer quality than vintage cashmere.
How to Stop American People From Becoming British. Guilty as charged, though I think the fact that I once lived in the UK means you can’t stab me in the neck right now.
An interesting list of people who had creative breakthroughs while they were sleeping
Google has an adorable new doodle celebrating the 107th anniversary of classic comic, “Little Nemo in Slumberland”
Ohio State University’s marching band’s awesome tribute to classic video games. The Tetris segment is particularly great.
Now to “Reverse Racism.” It’s crucial to maintain the distinction between the above three terms, because otherwise white people tend to redefine “Discrimination” as “Racism”. Their main argument is that because both blacks and white can discriminate against each other, that “Reverse Racism” is possible. But the truth of the matter is that black people: 1) have far less opportunity to discriminate against whites than whites have to discriminate against blacks, overall; and 2) black people lack a system of institutionalized support that protect them when they discriminate against whites.
It took black and white people working together for one hundred years to get programs like Affirmative Action installed in the U.S., but it took one white man (Alan Bakke) only a single Supreme Court case to get those programs dismantled because he felt he didn’t gain entry into medical school based on his white race.
“Reverse Racism” would only describe a society in which all the rules and roles were turned upside down. That has not happened in the U.S., however much white right wing ideologues want to complain that they’re being victimized by the few points of equality that minorities and women have managed to claim. White people who complain about “Reverse Racism” are actually complaining about being denied their privileges, rather than being denied their rights. They feel entitled to be hired and not to be discriminated against, even though the norm is white people discriminating against blacks. If, in a rare instance, a black employer discriminates against a white job applicant, that’s not “reverse” anything — it’s simple discrimination. It’s to be condemned on principle, but it’s not evidence of some systematic program by which whites are being deprived of their rights.
The right wing popularized the term “Reverse Racism” because they were really angry at having their white privileges challenged. Anyone who uses that phrase, whether they are right wing or not, furthers the right wing’s cause. This is what I tell Democrats and progressives who I hear using the term — not only are they being inaccurate, but they’re helping out their opponents.
The above arguments can be applied to any institutionalized structure of oppression, affecting any race, ethnic or religious group, and can be used to to oppose claims of “Reverse Sexism” too.
I hope that clarifies things a bit.
Just one answer of many on the subject of why I call BS on “reverse racism.”
Bolding mine.(via damekatharsis)
It’s pretty easy. I’m a white America. We’re all kind of born with a silver spoon in our mouth. We’re all much luckier than people born in Bolivia or West Africa….
I’m the luckiest guy in the world. I would love it if you would put this in your magazine. I realize that my career is 99 percent luck, if not 99.9 percent luck. The fact that I’m born in America, and America has control over all these other colonies, and enslaved all these other countries — I mean, there are so many things that have happened in my life that make me so lucky.
White people everywhere are exploding, some even threatening to boycott Mad Men. (via mohandasgandhi)
STOP TRYING TO MAKE ME LIKE YOU CONNOR!!!
If there’s one thing White people hate, it’s when someone breaks ranks and tells the simple damned truth.
GOP presidential candidate Gov. Rick Perry (TX) has faced severe backlash this week as the result of stories that he had opposed a campaign to remove the Confederate battle flag from statehouses across the South and that he had hosted family and friends at a West Texas hunting camp that once read “Niggerhead” on its entrance gate. Yesterday on Mike Gallagher’s radio show, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) defended Perry. “Rick Perry is not a racist,” Graham said, saying the Texas governor is the victim of an “intimidation” campaign. “You know if you’re a southern white guy, it is part of your life,” Graham complained.
Here, I fixed it for you:
I’m not giving these guys a cookie (TM) for doing the right thing—which is something you should do without expectation of reward. I’m highlighting this letter as an example (a sadly rare one) of how social justice activists in positions of privilege can use that privilege to make their movements more inclusive, just, and progressive:
We—two white men—write this letter conscious of the fact that the color of our skin means we will likely be taken more seriously. We write this knowing that because people of color are thought to be too biased to speak objectively on issues of race, our perspective in this context will be privileged. We write this aware of the history of colonization, genocide, and slavery upon which this country stands, which has created this oppressive reality.
We write this letter to the organizers and participants (ourselves included) of #OccupyWallStreet out of great love for humanity and for the collective struggles being waged to save it. We write this letter because of our support for this nascent movement, in the hopes that with some self-reflection and adjustment, it may come to truly represent “the 99%” and realize its full potential.
According to the main websites associated with #OccupyWallStreet, it is “one people, united,” a “leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions,” and an “open, participatory and horizontally organized process.” In other words, it professes to be the universal protest against the greed and corruption rampant in our society, open for anyone to join and shape.
But a quick survey of the movement so far shows that that the good intentions outlined do not reflect the reality of the situation. There is indeed an organizational structure and a core group that makes leadership decisions in #OWS (and we think this is a good thing). They are the media team at the media command center, the committee facilitators and the people who have been actually occupying the park for the past three weeks. One only needs to take a good look around to see that the leadership and the core group—which has managed to attract enormous national and international media attention—is overwhelmingly white (and largely male), and as a result the voices and perspectives of #OccupyWallStreet reflect that reality more generally.
[U]nintended marginalization is occurring daily at #OWS. We know this may be hard for some people to understand. Of course, who could expect us to understand what it is like to be reminded of your skin color every time you leave your home? Who could expect white people to understand that the spaces we feel so comfortable in may feel exclusive or even hostile to people of color? After all, we are never told; we are not forced to learn that our skin color is related to our social status; and we are not taught black and brown history, so many of us do not know how we got here–and cannot imagine it any other way.
But as Audre Lorde wrote, it is not the responsibility of the oppressed to educate the oppressors about our mistakes. White people may not be to blame for the privileged position we occupy, but we must be accountable for the liberties and benefits we enjoy at the expense of our black and brown brothers and sisters.
We would like to add our voices to the chorus of constructive critiques coming from communities of color. We believe the white people of #OccupyWallStreet need to understand something: the feelings of economic insecurity, political powerlessness, and lack of support that have brought so many of us to the protests at Liberty Park have been lived by many of the people of color in this country for centuries. Without an active effort to address racial issues from the core of #OccupyWallStreet, the protest will fail.
The People of Color / Unified Communities working group at #OccupyWallStreet was created on October 1, 2011. Their e-mail is email@example.com, their website is pococcupywallstreet.tumblr.com and they meet every Sunday at 3pm in Zucotti Park. Let’s be truly revolutionary allies and firmly support them to bring a racial analysis to the core of one of the most potent people’s movement in our country today—before it is too late.
— time2getbuck’s roommate on white student complaints about Affirmative Action