If you google ‘Eric Garner’ I guarantee you that almost every article by major media outlets will list some or all of the following: Garner’s height, weight, his (alleged) past criminal history, and that the police supposedly thought he was “illegally” selling cigarettes. And all this information will be in the first few paragraphs.
Here’s what most corporate news outlets won’t make so readily available (you may have to dig for it): precisely how many officers ganged up on Garner, their complete police histories, any crimes they may have committed in their personal lives, and not even the names of all the involved officers are listed. And you may or may not have read that Garner clearly said he couldn’t breathe at least six times, and that multiple witnesses said Garner had just arrived on scene and broken up an altercation.
The media is hardly objective and they begin covering for the police and victimizing the victim very early on. These lopsided “facts” and seemingly minor omissions is only the beginning. Wait until it goes to court. Then you won’t believe how much news outlets, the police and defense attorneys will demonize Mr. Garner.
Unless you’re Black. Then this is an all too familiar pattern.
From Emmett Till to Rodney King to The Central Park Five to Oscar Grant to Amadou Diallo to Sean Bell to Trayvon Martin to Renisha McBride to Jonathan Ferrell to Jordan Davis to Eric Garner and so very many others…even though we’re always unarmed, there is never a shortage of disproportionately White juries eager to conclude that the act of merely existing while Black is always sufficient justification for inflicting brutality, imprisonment or murder onto any unfamiliar Black bodies
Seems like it’s always the same old song and dance whenever Black people seek justice from the system made to imprison us: Criminalizing Blackness — White people may commit crimes, but Black people are always viewed as criminals.
Remember when Noah’s screenwriter explained that everyone in his movie was white because it was “mythical,” and because white people are apparently universal stand-ins for the human race?
Directed by Ridley Scott, the forthcoming Exodus: Gods and Kings stars Christian Bale as Moses, Joel Edgerton as Rhamses, and Aaron Paul as Joshua.
Why is everyone so mad? They found some dark-skinned people to play the guards and other servants /s
I bet they’ve tried to burn every last copy of the casting sheets for this.
I was really fucking annoyed when they cast whiney white boy Christian Bale to play Moses in Exodus (2014) and even whiter Australian white boy Joel Edgerton to play Rhamses.
But it’s okay, they have hired an actor who is a POC and of African descent, which is good because Exodus takes place in Africa. It’s all good guys.
Isn’t everything really okay and not racist now? Right?
I once attended a symposium on journalistic ethics where the keynote speaker, a well-known journalist, talked about journalists’ special role in society as guardians of democracy. Because of this, he said, journalists are sometimes allowed to do certain things that other citizens are not, such as intrude into people’s private lives. This is much like doctors who are allowed to cut into people or soldiers who are allowed to kill, he explained.
Then he offered another analogy: it’s like police who “have the right to beat people.” I sat in the audience, momentarily stunned. I nudged a friend next to me. Had he actually said that police have a right to beat people? Yes, she said, I had heard it right.
I looked around at an almost completely white and generally middle-class audience in the auditorium of the private college where the symposium was being held. No one seemed too upset by what he had said.
The speaker went on to say a lot of other reactionary things. Later, during the question period, I went to the microphone, intending to focus on another stupid point he had made.
"But before I get to my question," I said, "I want to say that it seems to me that anyone who can say that police have a right to beat people is presumptively excluded from discussion about ethics of any kind."
The audience squirmed, unsure of how to react. The speaker winced but never responded to my challenge.
Later, during the reception, I talked to a colleague who was unclear what point I was trying to make. Surely, the speaker just misspoke, he said; what the speaker meant to say was that in certain situations, police have a legal right to use force, sometimes even deadly force.
Yes, I understood that, I replied. But my point was that he used the phrase, "the right to beat people.” The language reflects his relationship to power. No one who comes from a class of people subject to being beaten by police would ever think of using such a phrase. Only people who don’t have to worry about being beaten would make the “mistake.” Beyond that, I argued, it’s not implausible that the speaker and lots of other folks like him are glad they live in a world in which police sometimes beat people; it keeps the “dangerous classes” in line.
"Try to imagine if he were black, even a black person with a professional career and a middle-class life," I said. "Think of how different interactions with police are for black people. Do you think he would have said that?"
My colleague shrugged and said I was overreacting to an admittedly careless, but harmless, choice of words on the speaker’s part. The colleague turned, never really understanding what I thought was a simple point, and headed off to talk to someone less contentious.
I was left standing there, full of anger, wanting to scream, and feeling incredibly alone.
I looked around and realized that all around me were people just like me - white, middle-class, educated academics or professional journalists. And I hated them. I don’t just mean that I was frustrated with them. At that moment, I hated them. Not just the speaker, but all of the nice middle-class white folks in the room who were too polite to say anything, to hold the speaker accountable. I even hated the three or four white people who had come up to me after the talk and thanked me for speaking up. I bit my tongue and didn’t ask them the obvious question: Why didn’t you speak up too, instead of leaving my comments to hang in the air, to wither and die without support?
Fuck you, Florida.
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.
Once upon a time, we know, there really were knights and castles and quests, and maps whose blank spaces warned of dragons and magic. That being so, a medieval fantasy novel only needs to convince us that the old myths were true; that wizards and witches existed, and that monsters really did populate the wilds. Everything else that’s dissonant with modern reality – the clothes, the customs, the social structure – must therefore constitute a species of historical accuracy, albeit one that’s liberally seasoned with poetic license, because that vague, historical blueprint is what we already have in our heads.
But what happens when our perception of historical accuracy is entirely at odds with real historical accuracy? What happens when we mistake our own limited understanding of culture – or even our personal biases – for universal truths? What happens, in other words, when we’re jerked out of a story, not because the fantastic elements don’t make sense, but because the social/political elements strike us as being implausible on the grounds of unfamiliarity?
The answer tends to be as ugly as it is revealing: that it’s impossible for black, female pirates to exist anywhere, that pixies and shapeshifters are inherently more plausible as a concept than female action heroes who don’t get raped, and that fairy tale characters as diverse as Mulan, Snow White and Captain Hook can all live together in the modern world regardless of history and canon, but a black Lancelot in the same setting is grossly unrealistic. On such occasions, the recent observation of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Diaz that “Motherfuckers will read a book that’s 1/3rd elvish, but put two sentences in Spanish and they (white people) think we’re taking over” is bitingly, lamentably accurate.
Foz Meadows is fabulous, also I think I could read about real life female pirates all damn day.
This whole piece is well researched too, so it should come in handy the next time you hear a straight/cis/white/male nerd say something problematic (and since they really seem to enjoy spewing toxic nonsense, that will probably be soon).
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:
As a fellow Asian, I am asking you to shut the fuck up and shut down your shitty, anti-black blog. You are not helping end anti-Asian racism by attacking black people. If you actually care about ending anti-Asian racism, you have to go to the source: white supremacy. Attack that.
As for the LA riots. Shit. That happened in 1992—were you even alive back then? I am older than most Tumblr users and I was in early grade school when that happened.
Look, shithead, it’s racist and ignorant to blame black people for what happened to the Korean community back then. Why not blame the white establishment for failing to protect those businesses? Why not blame LA police for being racist pigs who had been terrorizing the black and minority communities in LA for decades? Why not blame white Americans for doing their best through redlining, discriminatory hiring practices, etc. to keep African Americans an impoverished and oppressed class? Your anti-black racism is preventing you from seeing the bigger picture.
People like 2547567 are so fucking embarrassing. They don’t seem to realize or care that Asian American identity politics is inspired by/modeled on/lifted from African American scholarship and activism (same goes for most other ethnic groups in the U.S.) They’re the wellspring of all anti-racist movements in this country. If you call yourself an anti-racist activist and also shit on black people, you’re nothing but a bigoted hypocrite.
I wish there were some kind of formal repudiation ceremony I could do in cases like these…”2547567, I rebuke thee!”
lol? maybe YOUR ” Asian American identity politics is inspired by/modeled on/lifted from African American scholarship and activism” but mine are drawn from my OWN FILIPINO PEOPLE AND THEIR OWN MOVEMENTS WOW. So maybe you feel indebted to some black power movement but as black people have said THEY CARE FOR THEIR OWN CAUSE, NOT OTHER POC so ASIANS SHOULD ALSO DO THE SAME, HOW IS THAT ANTI-BLACK?
and when is calling our blacks on their anti-Asian attitudes shitting on black people? Learn to differentiate?
” it’s racist and ignorant to blame black people for what happened to the Korean community back then. Why not blame the white establishment for failing to protect those businesses? “
uhhhh I BLAME THEM BECAUSE THEY’RE THE ONES THAT DID IT LOL
MAYBE WE SHOULDNT BLAME CRIMINALS FOR THEIR CRIMES BUT BLAME AND LOCK UP THEIR PARENTS FOR RAISING THEM WRONG ALSO?Wow you sure do excuse black people a lot for any wrongdoings lol
This is my last post on this subject because it’s clear you’re not only racist and deeply misguided, but probably around 14 years old.
1. How is it looking after your own to attack an entire race of people who haven’t done a goddamned thing to you? Your original post was bullshit and many people have pointed out why.
2. I’m certainly not excusing anti-Asian racism among black people or anyone. But attacking it in the way you did was not only itself racist, but is futile. Incidents of racism by POC against other POC in this country are just symptoms of the actual problem, which is white supremacy. You can’t divorce criticism of anti-Asian racism by other POC from the context in which that racism flourishes. I mean, technically you can, but the end result is going to be incoherent garbage.
3. You’re not Korean but you decided it was OK to appropriate the suffering of Korean Americans in order to fuel your anti-black racism. It’s becoming clearer and clearer that this is not about fighting racism for you, but engaging in anti-black bigotry. Only racists go digging around for fuel like that.
4. What’s funny about your anti-black ranting is that you’re ignoring colorism and racism against Filipinos by other Asians. Including the ones whose recent history you’re trying to use to fuel anti-black racism. Do you not remember that, as a Filipino, other Asians have historically looked down on you? Have you missed the fact that how non-Filipino Asians treat Filipinos bears more than a passing resemblance to how whites treat blacks in this country? If your anti-racism were really modeled after Filipino activism, then you’d be fully aware of all of that.
I rebuke and repudiate your ass.
I def remember the riots and one thing anti black Koreans always fail to remember is that cops didn’t want to help Koreans during the riots either and left their asses to protect rich white people across town.
And lol, I def remember stories of apologies and cleanup efforts by ppl in the community, but people like op have severe selective memory
Yes! Fostering enmity and suspicion between Korean Americans and African Americans (or any POC) only serves white supremacy.
This is why I have no patience with Asians who drink the white establishment Kool-Aid. It’s not only morally wrong to be racist, but it’s so stupid and self-defeating. It may make you feel useful to be used as a stick to beat up other people of color, but you know what people do with sticks once they’re done using them? They throw them away. Aping the master doesn’t mean you’ll be the master someday. You’re only reinforcing the bonds that are keeping you in your place in the racial hierarchy.
It’s funny how a (biased) memory of the LA riots remains alive in Asian American consciousness, but not the history of POC solidarity movements that began in the 1960s with African American organization and aid. We should be inspired by the latter memory, not dwelling on the former. But it serves the white establishment better to sensationalize stories about inter-ethnic conflict than to talk about inter-ethnic coalition efforts.
Asian/Black relations is a conversation that pops in Philly media every so often and no one asks the right questions
There was this huge rash black kids just kicking the shit out of asian immigrant kids at southeast philly high the last few years
And it took the media so long to get to the bottom of things
These black kids didn’t hate these kids because they were Asian (as it was framed originally)
They were mad because a lot of these were straight up NEW to America, only here for a few years
And they were getting treated better in the classroom than them by white teachers
Their weaknesses (poor English for most of them) weren’t being written off as symptomatic of them as Asian people, but merely a minor bump in their learning
And black kids were not getting that same courtesy
So yeah that made them fucking angry.
When Asian folk are pigeonholed as “model minorities”, that’s white supremacy. When black folk attack Asian folk as “model minorities”, that too is white supremacy. When the media does not acknowledge that, again, white supremacy rears its ugly head.
On a related note, with the help of Asian Americans United (AAU), BPSOS-Delaware Valley, Victim/Witness Services of South Philadelphia, and the Asian Student Association of Philadelphia, a lot of the kids from that incident a few years ago put together an exhibit called ‘We Cannot Keep Silent’ that’s worth checkin’ out. It’s open through March 2013 at least.
More POC solidarity, less participation in our collective oppression. Onward to liberation.