1. Fuck you, Florida.

     
  2. 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. 

    (via racebending)

    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.

     
  3. One of the ancient ploys of the film industry is to make a film about non-white people and find a way, however convoluted, to tell it from the point of view of a white character.
    — 

    Film critic Roger Ebert on Hollywood in his review of “Flowers of War”

    “Can you think of any reason the character John Miller is needed to tell his story? Was any consideration given to the possibility of a Chinese priest? Would that be asking for too much?”

    (via racebending)
     
  4. vickiexz:

    PSA: Your Default Narrative Settings Are Not Apolitical

    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).

     
  5. I love historical films and I’m so sick of all these kinds of Jane Austen movies where they have these fucking period movies. How many times do we have to remake fucking Pride and Prejudice? How many times do white people need their history told to them over and over and over again? It’s so fucking boring. It’s always the same. There are enough movies like that. There are enough examinations of white people history. There’s enough of all these novels, all the Bronte sisters, all the fucking Jane Austen bullshit — I don’t care anymore. I’m sick of it. Why can’t we go into other people’s history? Why can’t we go into more Asian history? Why can’t we go into more Asian-American history? Why can’t we go into more Latin-American history? Why can’t we do any of these things? But they don’t. We have to keep regurgitating Old England. It’s so racist, and nobody actually comes out and says this is fucking stupid.
     
  6. Who’s white?

    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:

     
  7. 2547567:

    downlo:

    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.

     
  8. covenesque:

    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.

     
  9. lucidstrike:

    thewhitemankilledthetruth:

    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.image

    (Source: youngbadmangone)

     
  10. 20:37

    Notes: 6121

    Reblogged from abagond

    Tags: racismviolencewhite supremacypolicecrime

    abagond:

Phantom Negro Weapons are those weapons which White Americans report black people having but which are never found for some strange reason. They are known for cloaking, shapeshifting and causing death to those who possess them:
1999: Amadou Diallo - shot 41 times, hit 19 times, died. His gun shapeshifted into a wallet.
2006: Sean Bell - shot 51 times by police and died after one of his friends reached for his gun. The gun cloaked itself and was never found.
2009: Oscar Grant - shot dead when he reached for his gun. Since it was a Phantom Negro Weapon, police failed to find it when they searched him before putting him face down on the ground.
2011: Kenneth Chamberlain - shot dead when he threatened armed policemen with a butcher’s knife. The knife, of course, being a Phantom Negro Weapon, did not appear on the video recording.
2012: Ramarley Graham - the gun in his waistband cloaked itself after police shot him dead in front of his grandmother.
2012: Trayvon Martin – no weapon was reported, but the way his killer acted you would think his Arizona iced tea and bag of Skittles had shapeshifted from something far more deadly.
2012: Rekia Boyd - was killed when police shot at Antonio Cross, whose gun shapeshifted into a mobile phone.
2012: Jordan Davis - killed after threatening Michael Dunn with a shotgun rather than turning down his music. The police were unable to find the shotgun. Maybe it will still turn up, but more likely it was Phantom Negro Weapon which has cloaked itself.
Phantom Negro Weapons | Abagond

    abagond:

    Phantom Negro Weapons are those weapons which White Americans report black people having but which are never found for some strange reason. They are known for cloaking, shapeshifting and causing death to those who possess them:

    • 1999: Amadou Diallo - shot 41 times, hit 19 times, died. His gun shapeshifted into a wallet.
    • 2006: Sean Bell - shot 51 times by police and died after one of his friends reached for his gun. The gun cloaked itself and was never found.
    • 2009: Oscar Grant - shot dead when he reached for his gun. Since it was a Phantom Negro Weapon, police failed to find it when they searched him before putting him face down on the ground.
    • 2011: Kenneth Chamberlain - shot dead when he threatened armed policemen with a butcher’s knife. The knife, of course, being a Phantom Negro Weapon, did not appear on the video recording.
    • 2012: Ramarley Graham - the gun in his waistband cloaked itself after police shot him dead in front of his grandmother.
    • 2012: Trayvon Martin – no weapon was reported, but the way his killer acted you would think his Arizona iced tea and bag of Skittles had shapeshifted from something far more deadly.
    • 2012: Rekia Boyd - was killed when police shot at Antonio Cross, whose gun shapeshifted into a mobile phone.
    • 2012: Jordan Davis - killed after threatening Michael Dunn with a shotgun rather than turning down his music. The police were unable to find the shotgun. Maybe it will still turn up, but more likely it was Phantom Negro Weapon which has cloaked itself.

    Phantom Negro Weapons | Abagond

     
  11. masteradept:

    thegoddamazon:

    crackerhell:

    inheritedloss:

    1/5. Why you should see “La Bayadere”

    The drama: Love triangle story that ends in death

    i was extremely confused and for a minute i’m like

    why would all these indian people have white makeup on

    then i realized it was just white people

    and now i has a sad

    Yeah, I’m not about that cultural appropriation life. Fuck that, you want to support actual Indians doing classic Indian dance without the whiteness? Check out Kuchipudi Kalanidhi, a classical Indian dance company. My mom is good friends with the instructors and they are absolutely amazing live.

    Still makes no sense to me why there are only white people in this..

     
  12. Not bad, considering that it’s Jezebel:

    The so-called “War on Men” isn’t a war on men at all—it’s a war on inequality. Oh, you’re feeling marginalized and underrepresented? Complain to me after you’ve been marginalized and underrepresented for 200 years. You haven’t even made it a day (mainly because it’s not actually happening to you yet—you have always had and WILL always have representation). And we can tell that you aren’t really subjugated, because if you were you would be coming to us, the supposed dominant group, for help—just like we’re forced to come to you, groveling, and beg for our reproductive rights, marriage rights, and equal pay for equal work. Instead, you’re insulting and alienating us and trying to shove us back down where we “belong.” Women and people of color and LGBT Americans have the right to complain because we’ve fucking earned it. And we’re kind of busy here, working on a project called “equality.” Let me know when you’re done flipping out over losing 1% of your privilege. We could use your help.

     
  13. image: Download

    nezua:

deepfriedavocado:

New York Post Subway Photo: Is Ki Suk Han’s Last Moment Just Another Cheap Thrill?
After the family saw this photo, ‘they couldn’t sleep.’
By Sukjong HongDecember 7, 2012
On Monday, Ki Suk Han left his Elmhurst apartment after fighting with his wife Serim. She tried to reach him by phone, but he wouldn’t pick up her calls.
On Tuesday, he became immortalized in an image on the New York Post’s front page, clutching the edge of a subway platform with his head turned to face the Q train bearing down on him. The word “DOOMED” was printed over the bottom of the image.
As other outlets reposted the Post front page, the image of Han’s death multiplied. Speaking on behalf of Serim Han and Han’s daughter, Ashley, Reverend Won Tae Cho of Faith Presbyterian Church in Queens told a press conference, “After they saw this photo, they couldn’t sleep.”
Han was about the age of my father, who is also a Korean immigrant. How often do I see men like my father on the front page of an American newspaper? I cannot think of a single occasion. So why was this moment—at this threshold of certain annihilation, at the border between a man’s life and death—broadcast to the world?
To be sure, the photo and its placement on the Post’s front page have been the focus of a heated online debate. From the public space of the front page, one cannot really choose to look away. Condemnation of the photographer was swift to come from many quarters, including news anchors and journalists. Within this maelstrom of opinion, some nuanced debates about the ethics of photojournalism took place, with many asserting that photographer R. Umar Abbasi and anyone nearby had, first and foremost, the moral obligation to save Han’s life. Many do give the photographer the benefit of the doubt; without being a witness to the event, who could say whether Abbasi could have helped him? More indignation has been directed at the New York Post, as many question whether the photo should have been published at all.
But beyond professional ethics or the moral obligations of strangers to help each other, there is a dimension of this debate that has been not discussed as widely. The Post’s handling of the photo was not just an individual tragedy, confined to Han’s grieving family and loved ones. It was in many ways a re-enactment of the violence that befell him, a collective act of violence by a media outlet, testament to an industry that has long differentiated between the images of white bodies and brown bodies in pain. This differentiation isn’t harmless; it indicates a societal standard for those whose bodies we respect and revere, and those who can serve to illustrate, incite, and stereotype without regard for their wishes or the wishes of their community. After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, numerous graphic images of dead Haitians proliferated in the media, horrendous scenes of uncovered limbs and ravaged bodies at makeshift morgues in the street and open air. When the catastrophic tsunami devastated Japan’s coastal communities, none of the dead were broadcast, and the focus of the photojournalism was on the survivors, working hard to cope.
We also have a decade’s worth of evidence to consider in the abundance and absence of certain images in the U.S. media. In the reams of photojournalism produced during the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, there are few wounded or dead American soldiers, even when completely masked in flag-draped caskets. Embedded photographers who dared to publish photos of American soldiers killed in battle, even if the bodies were unidentifiable according to the military’s rules, were barred from all military units in Iraq. This is certainly censorship, but it is normalized by the reasoning that this policy offers the soldiers and their families some dignity amidst the terrible loss.
Yet the same media outlets have been allowed to broadcast the mutilated bodies and the raw grief of so many Afghan and Iraqi war victims and those in other conflict zones. Outstretched hands grasping for water. An amputee waiting grimly on a hospital bed. An inconsolable mother. A blood-spattered, orphaned child. These photographs have assailed us from the front pages and from television screens on a regular basis. Undoubtedly the intentions behind many of these images were to lay bare the human costs of war and conflict. But did everyone react in the same way? Did we all weep together?
I suspect that in the stream of images of suffering people in the Middle East and other regions, contextualized as they were by text copy dotted with “militants” and “counterinsurgents,” it was not always easy to connect a smoldering ruin with the home of a human being, or the amputee to someone who was a father, a brother, a friend. For me, an image often needed the commentary of someone who could speak the language of the place in question, who understood its culture, its factions, its complex history, who could replace the numb horror of a grisly image with the immense magnitude of a life lost. In a New York Times article, journalist Anthony Shadid accompanied an Iraqi family in search of a missing man through a gauntlet of bureaucracy and gravesites in Iraq. By the end of the article, the story’s cover photo of a pile of wilted flowers strewn on a tombstone was incredibly weighted, and I wept. There was no need for a bloody image; there was, instead, a deep sense of loss.
Detractors might argue that the New York Post cannot be expected to hold anyone or anything sacred. It’s a tabloid, end of story. But the market, if that is what guides the newspaper’s editorial office, is still made up of people. In the case of News Corp, the media conglomerate that owns the Post, one need only look at the closing of its infamous British tabloid, News of the World. This paper, long vilified by politicians and celebrities for its shady and unethical investigative practices and protected by police collusion, was brought down in the end by widespread public outrage over its alleged hacking of a murdered child’s voicemail. Even the “market” has a breaking point.
The New York Post has always made a clear us-them distinction in its content, with a history of publishing derogatory, racist, and dehumanizing pieces about African Americans, Muslim Americans, Asians, women, and other groups.
They headlined Han’s death with this sensational copy: “Pushed on the subway track, this man is about to die.” There is something sinister, almost gleeful, in the wording; a buried note of triumph that they have captured this moment, a cartoonish framing of the danger Han faces. Where is the tenderness they show in eulogizing New York City’s police officers and firefighters who die in the line of duty? Perhaps the Post feels it is doing the world a favor by following up with its story of the suspect, Naeem Davis, and labeling him “FIEND” in its headlines. But why has it come to this tired storyline: a remorseless black man has pushed an Asian man to death? This is the narrative the Post specializes in producing; simplifying the misfortunes of others into a binary of villains and innocents. Nothing was learned by sharing Abbasi’s photo of Han on the front page. What the Post did was package up a life for a quick, sickening thrill.
While many reacted with anger to the use of this image, others commented that we are all becoming desensitized by the media’s use of sensational images. But again, we are not affected equally by the media’s choices. Many groups, including immigrants and people of color, suffer daily from the decisions made by mainstream media to criminalize and dehumanize them, by excluding them from the dialogue, by not considering them experts of their own lives and issues. Every media outlet, including the Post, has a choice when it comes to their content, and every reader has one as well, to respond when their media outlet abuses their power at the expense of a group or individual. And while the dialogue between corporate media and the ordinary reader has surely become a more lopsided one over the past few decades, it is not closed off completely.
Maybe the simplest way to put it is this. In regarding Ki Suk Han’s suffering, I felt pain for what had happened, which was intensified by the circumstances in which I learned of his death. No one’s death should be made into an easy spectacle.
The funeral for Ki Suk Han was held Thursday, December 6, in Flushing, New York.
A Korean American civic group based in DC, Council for Korean Americans, along with New York Seoul, an online portal for Korean American culture and politics, has called for people to write and tweet to the New York Post at @newyorkpost and letters@nypost.com.
Sukjong Hong covers Flushing as Open City’s Creative Nonfiction Fellow. Once a participating artist for Still Presents Past, a traveling exhibit based on oral histories of the Korean War, she has also written on South Korea’s DMZ for Triple Canopy. She has traveled to and coordinated study trips and programs in South Korea, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Japan. Contact her at sukjong33 [at] gmail.com or follow her @hongriver.

crucial reading for media literacy.

    nezua:

    deepfriedavocado:

    New York Post Subway Photo: Is Ki Suk Han’s Last Moment Just Another Cheap Thrill?

    After the family saw this photo, ‘they couldn’t sleep.’

    By Sukjong Hong
    December 7, 2012

    On Monday, Ki Suk Han left his Elmhurst apartment after fighting with his wife Serim. She tried to reach him by phone, but he wouldn’t pick up her calls.

    On Tuesday, he became immortalized in an image on the New York Post’s front page, clutching the edge of a subway platform with his head turned to face the Q train bearing down on him. The word “DOOMED” was printed over the bottom of the image.

    As other outlets reposted the Post front page, the image of Han’s death multiplied. Speaking on behalf of Serim Han and Han’s daughter, Ashley, Reverend Won Tae Cho of Faith Presbyterian Church in Queens told a press conference, “After they saw this photo, they couldn’t sleep.”

    Han was about the age of my father, who is also a Korean immigrant. How often do I see men like my father on the front page of an American newspaper? I cannot think of a single occasion. So why was this moment—at this threshold of certain annihilation, at the border between a man’s life and death—broadcast to the world?

    To be sure, the photo and its placement on the Post’s front page have been the focus of a heated online debate. From the public space of the front page, one cannot really choose to look away. Condemnation of the photographer was swift to come from many quarters, including news anchors and journalists. Within this maelstrom of opinion, some nuanced debates about the ethics of photojournalism took place, with many asserting that photographer R. Umar Abbasi and anyone nearby had, first and foremost, the moral obligation to save Han’s life. Many do give the photographer the benefit of the doubt; without being a witness to the event, who could say whether Abbasi could have helped him? More indignation has been directed at the New York Post, as many question whether the photo should have been published at all.

    But beyond professional ethics or the moral obligations of strangers to help each other, there is a dimension of this debate that has been not discussed as widely. The Post’s handling of the photo was not just an individual tragedy, confined to Han’s grieving family and loved ones. It was in many ways a re-enactment of the violence that befell him, a collective act of violence by a media outlet, testament to an industry that has long differentiated between the images of white bodies and brown bodies in pain. This differentiation isn’t harmless; it indicates a societal standard for those whose bodies we respect and revere, and those who can serve to illustrate, incite, and stereotype without regard for their wishes or the wishes of their community. After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, numerous graphic images of dead Haitians proliferated in the media, horrendous scenes of uncovered limbs and ravaged bodies at makeshift morgues in the street and open air. When the catastrophic tsunami devastated Japan’s coastal communities, none of the dead were broadcast, and the focus of the photojournalism was on the survivors, working hard to cope.

    We also have a decade’s worth of evidence to consider in the abundance and absence of certain images in the U.S. media. In the reams of photojournalism produced during the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, there are few wounded or dead American soldiers, even when completely masked in flag-draped caskets. Embedded photographers who dared to publish photos of American soldiers killed in battle, even if the bodies were unidentifiable according to the military’s rules, were barred from all military units in Iraq. This is certainly censorship, but it is normalized by the reasoning that this policy offers the soldiers and their families some dignity amidst the terrible loss.

    Yet the same media outlets have been allowed to broadcast the mutilated bodies and the raw grief of so many Afghan and Iraqi war victims and those in other conflict zones. Outstretched hands grasping for water. An amputee waiting grimly on a hospital bed. An inconsolable mother. A blood-spattered, orphaned child. These photographs have assailed us from the front pages and from television screens on a regular basis. Undoubtedly the intentions behind many of these images were to lay bare the human costs of war and conflict. But did everyone react in the same way? Did we all weep together?

    I suspect that in the stream of images of suffering people in the Middle East and other regions, contextualized as they were by text copy dotted with “militants” and “counterinsurgents,” it was not always easy to connect a smoldering ruin with the home of a human being, or the amputee to someone who was a father, a brother, a friend. For me, an image often needed the commentary of someone who could speak the language of the place in question, who understood its culture, its factions, its complex history, who could replace the numb horror of a grisly image with the immense magnitude of a life lost. In a New York Times article, journalist Anthony Shadid accompanied an Iraqi family in search of a missing man through a gauntlet of bureaucracy and gravesites in Iraq. By the end of the article, the story’s cover photo of a pile of wilted flowers strewn on a tombstone was incredibly weighted, and I wept. There was no need for a bloody image; there was, instead, a deep sense of loss.

    Detractors might argue that the New York Post cannot be expected to hold anyone or anything sacred. It’s a tabloid, end of story. But the market, if that is what guides the newspaper’s editorial office, is still made up of people. In the case of News Corp, the media conglomerate that owns the Post, one need only look at the closing of its infamous British tabloid, News of the World. This paper, long vilified by politicians and celebrities for its shady and unethical investigative practices and protected by police collusion, was brought down in the end by widespread public outrage over its alleged hacking of a murdered child’s voicemail. Even the “market” has a breaking point.

    The New York Post has always made a clear us-them distinction in its content, with a history of publishing derogatory, racist, and dehumanizing pieces about African Americans, Muslim Americans, Asians, women, and other groups.

    They headlined Han’s death with this sensational copy: “Pushed on the subway track, this man is about to die.” There is something sinister, almost gleeful, in the wording; a buried note of triumph that they have captured this moment, a cartoonish framing of the danger Han faces. Where is the tenderness they show in eulogizing New York City’s police officers and firefighters who die in the line of duty? Perhaps the Post feels it is doing the world a favor by following up with its story of the suspect, Naeem Davis, and labeling him “FIEND” in its headlines. But why has it come to this tired storyline: a remorseless black man has pushed an Asian man to death? This is the narrative the Post specializes in producing; simplifying the misfortunes of others into a binary of villains and innocents. Nothing was learned by sharing Abbasi’s photo of Han on the front page. What the Post did was package up a life for a quick, sickening thrill.

    While many reacted with anger to the use of this image, others commented that we are all becoming desensitized by the media’s use of sensational images. But again, we are not affected equally by the media’s choices. Many groups, including immigrants and people of color, suffer daily from the decisions made by mainstream media to criminalize and dehumanize them, by excluding them from the dialogue, by not considering them experts of their own lives and issues. Every media outlet, including the Post, has a choice when it comes to their content, and every reader has one as well, to respond when their media outlet abuses their power at the expense of a group or individual. And while the dialogue between corporate media and the ordinary reader has surely become a more lopsided one over the past few decades, it is not closed off completely.

    Maybe the simplest way to put it is this. In regarding Ki Suk Han’s suffering, I felt pain for what had happened, which was intensified by the circumstances in which I learned of his death. No one’s death should be made into an easy spectacle.

    The funeral for Ki Suk Han was held Thursday, December 6, in Flushing, New York.

    A Korean American civic group based in DC, Council for Korean Americans, along with New York Seoul, an online portal for Korean American culture and politics, has called for people to write and tweet to the New York Post at @newyorkpost and letters@nypost.com.

    Sukjong Hong covers Flushing as Open City’s Creative Nonfiction Fellow. Once a participating artist for Still Presents Past, a traveling exhibit based on oral histories of the Korean War, she has also written on South Korea’s DMZ for Triple Canopy. She has traveled to and coordinated study trips and programs in South Korea, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Japan. Contact her at sukjong33 [at] gmail.com or follow her @hongriver.

    crucial reading for media literacy.

    (Source: miswritten)

     
  14. A lot of times people make excuses for old people’s racism, as if racism is just a product of a bygone era and it will die out when the old people do…I always think that if my old people have to suffer racism, your old people should get called on it.
    — 

    Old People and Racism (via downlo)

    THIS

    FUCKING

    SHIT

    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. 

    (via setfabulazerstomaximumcaptain)

    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

    (via sourcedumal

    (via psychedelicfeminist)

    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.

    (via pearlann0423)

    ^^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.

     
  15. image: Download

    micropolisnyc:

Why aren’t there more minority models in the pages of fashion magazines?
The answers are often disturbing, and speak to a form of racial bigotry found in the fashion centers of New York and London — as well as a deep-rooted aesthetic that equates prestige and elitism with stereotypical whiteness (and thin-ness).
Here are a few highly-revealing quotes from fashion industry employees, from an analysis of the industry by Ashley Mears, a sociologist and former model. Her article is called “Size zero high-end ethnic: Cultural production and the reproduction of culture in fashion modeling,” and was published in 2009. Mears kept the identities of her sources private.
“A lot of black girls have got very wide noses… The rest of her face is flat, therefore, in a flat image, your nose, it broadens in a photograph. It’s already wide, it looks humongous in the photograph. I think that’s, there’s an element of that, a lot of very beautiful black girls are moved out by their noses, some of them.” —H, London Agency Director
“But it’s also really hard to scout a good black girl. Because they have to have the right nose and the right bottom. Most black girls have wide noses and big bottoms so if you can find that right body and that right face, but it’s hard.” —A, NYC Agency Scout
“Okay let’s say Prada. You don’t have a huge amount of black people buying Prada. They can’t afford it. Okay so that’s economics there. So why put a black face? They put a white face, because those are the ones that buy the clothes.” —L, NYC Stylist
“We don’t like using the same model too often, but it’s harder to find ethnic girls. And…well, I don’t want to sound racist, but— well for Asians, it’s hard to find tall girls that will fit the clothes because most of them are very petit. For black girls, I guess—black girls have a harder edge kind of look, like if I’m shooting something really edgy, I’ll use a black girl, it always just depends on the clothes.” —A, NYC Magazine Editor
“Me personally, in my opinion, there really is no good, good, black girl around. The really good, good black girl around are still the same, and are still the one that everybody wants… It’s very difficult to find one. The agency don’t deliver enough choice to make happy the client [sic].” —O, NYC Casting Director

[TW for the article]
White logic is circular logic:

The absence of non-white models is also deeply rooted in a Western relationship with race that aligns ethnic women with a heightened sexuality and accessibility. The editorial fashion world wants to downplay sexuality to the maximum, thus they choose child-bodied, excessively thin women with unique facial structures within the parameters of the white aesthetic; no one in the editorial fashion world wants to consider their choices racist but their desire to only utilise a certain appearance and also dismiss ethnic women for a lack of conformity to that standard reveals the latent racism that is perpetuated without question but with a recognisable degree of disappointment and no sense of responsibility.       

    micropolisnyc:

    Why aren’t there more minority models in the pages of fashion magazines?

    The answers are often disturbing, and speak to a form of racial bigotry found in the fashion centers of New York and London — as well as a deep-rooted aesthetic that equates prestige and elitism with stereotypical whiteness (and thin-ness).

    Here are a few highly-revealing quotes from fashion industry employees, from an analysis of the industry by Ashley Mears, a sociologist and former model. Her article is called “Size zero high-end ethnic: Cultural production and the reproduction of culture in fashion modeling,” and was published in 2009. Mears kept the identities of her sources private.

    A lot of black girls have got very wide noses… The rest of her face is flat, therefore, in a flat image, your nose, it broadens in a photograph. It’s already wide, it looks humongous in the photograph. I think that’s, there’s an element of that, a lot of very beautiful black girls are moved out by their noses, some of them.” —H, London Agency Director

    “But it’s also really hard to scout a good black girl. Because they have to have the right nose and the right bottom. Most black girls have wide noses and big bottoms so if you can find that right body and that right face, but it’s hard.” —A, NYC Agency Scout

    “Okay let’s say Prada. You don’t have a huge amount of black people buying Prada. They can’t afford it. Okay so that’s economics there. So why put a black face? They put a white face, because those are the ones that buy the clothes.” —L, NYC Stylist

    “We don’t like using the same model too often, but it’s harder to find ethnic girls. And…well, I don’t want to sound racist, but— well for Asians, it’s hard to find tall girls that will fit the clothes because most of them are very petit. For black girls, I guess—black girls have a harder edge kind of look, like if I’m shooting something really edgy, I’ll use a black girl, it always just depends on the clothes.” —A, NYC Magazine Editor

    Me personally, in my opinion, there really is no good, good, black girl around. The really good, good black girl around are still the same, and are still the one that everybody wants… It’s very difficult to find one. The agency don’t deliver enough choice to make happy the client [sic].” —O, NYC Casting Director

    [TW for the article]

    White logic is circular logic:

    The absence of non-white models is also deeply rooted in a Western relationship with race that aligns ethnic women with a heightened sexuality and accessibility. The editorial fashion world wants to downplay sexuality to the maximum, thus they choose child-bodied, excessively thin women with unique facial structures within the parameters of the white aesthetic; no one in the editorial fashion world wants to consider their choices racist but their desire to only utilise a certain appearance and also dismiss ethnic women for a lack of conformity to that standard reveals the latent racism that is perpetuated without question but with a recognisable degree of disappointment and no sense of responsibility.