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?
Imagine if the vast majority of Germans refused to apologize for the Holocaust and instead denied that it happened or argued that it wasn’t so bad, taught white-washed, revisionist history to their children, and continued to engage in a sanitized, less overt form of concentration and ethnic cleansing.
That’s basically what white Americans have been doing to African Americans.
Book sale find 1. Filed in “men’s, women’s, and senior issues” (wtf?). Should have been under “comedy.”
I looked this up on Amazon. Here’s part of the blurb:
He focuses on the experiences of white males who have been victims of reverse discrimination under such programs and explores the lackluster response from government, the media, and employing institutions. Lynch examines the political taboo that for two decades effectively stifled discussion of the issues that affirmative action raises in both public discourse and scholarly analysis….In case studies based on interviews and other data, Lynch assesses the reactions of white males to affirmative action social barriers, as well as their impact on co-workers, friends, and relatives. He describes the role of the mass media, the social sciences, and ideological elites in creating a conspiracy of silence concerning the hidden and unintended consequences of affirmative action policies. The only study that deals specifically with the impact of affirmative action on white males…
What a load of nonsense. The top review is actually entitled “affirmative genocide”!
The author has also written a book attacking diversity training and one defending entitlements for “mostly white” senior citizens. Here’s his twitter page. First tweet is a link to a Nation Review article about how Black Americans are the “true casualties of amnesty”.
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.
to a white person diversity basically means ‘i have the option of interacting with Black/Brown folks at the time and place of my choosing.’
like they are a resource to be called upon when they want ‘soul food’ or someone to practice their spanish on. but if the Black/Brown presence is readily visible/audible outside of the gentrifiers choosing, then they are an invasive nuisance.
because this is ‘diversity’ not ‘i want to live in an all Black/Brown community’.
They basically want to be cultural tourists, to visit POCLand, not live there.
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:
the rest of the time it’s just “what *are* you?”
Hell at this point, asking about my ethnicity is the preferred question. It’s better than the above, or “Where are you FROM? Oh, then I mean, where are your parents from???”
Ha. This reminds me of a routine my Chinese American friend goes through (and which most visibly ‘ethnic’ people can probably relate to):
"So where are from?
"I mean, where are you really from?"
"No, where are your parents from?"
"Well my parents moved here from California."
"Where are they really from?"
I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had with strangers that started with a brief, intrusive interrogation of my ethnicity, place of birth, native language, etc. I don’t understand why white people feel like they have to know all this information. What happens if I answer ‘wrong’?
I’ve tried highlighting the strangeness and rudeness of these questions by pointedly asking them what their ethnicity is, but this backfires since white people love nothing better than to talk about being Irish-Welsh-German on their dad’s side and French-Dutch-Italian on their mom’s side and 1/16 Cherokee, blah, blah, blah.
The bolded sections represent quotes from the criticism he received. All the z-snaps are in order.
Your characters are unrealistic stereotpyes of political correctness. Is it really necessary for the sake of popular sensibilities to have in a fantasy what we have in the real world? I read fantasy to get away from politically correct cliches.
God, yes! If there’s one thing fantasy is just crawling with these days it’s widowed black middle-aged pirate moms.
Real sea pirates could not be controlled by women, they were vicous rapits and murderers and I am sorry to say it was a man’s world. It is unrealistic wish fulfilment for you and your readers to have so many female pirates, especially if you want to be politically correct about it!
First, I will pretend that your last sentence makes sense because it will save us all time. Second, now you’re pissing me off.
You know what? Yeah, Zamira Drakasha, middle-aged pirate mother of two, is a wish-fulfillment fantasy. I realized this as she was evolving on the page, and you know what? I fucking embrace it.
Why shouldn’t middle-aged mothers get a wish-fulfillment character, you sad little bigot? Everyone else does. H.L. Mencken once wrote that “Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.” I can’t think of anyone to whom that applies more than my own mom, and the mothers on my friends list, with the incredible demands on time and spirit they face in their efforts to raise their kids, preserve their families, and save their own identity/sanity into the bargain.
Shit yes, Zamira Drakasha, leaping across the gap between burning ships with twin sabers in hand to kick in some fucking heads and sail off into the sunset with her toddlers in her arms and a hold full of plundered goods, is a wish-fulfillment fantasy from hell. I offer her up on a silver platter with a fucking bow on top; I hope she amuses and delights. In my fictional world, opportunities for butt-kicking do not cease merely because one isn’t a beautiful teenager or a muscle-wrapped font of testosterone. In my fictional universe, the main characters are a fat ugly guy and a skinny forgettable guy, with a supporting cast that includes “SBF, 41, nonsmoker, 2 children, buccaneer of no fixed abode, seeks unescorted merchant for light boarding, heavy plunder.”
You don’t like it? Don’t buy my books. Get your own fictional universe. Your cabbage-water vision of worldbuilding bores me to tears.
As for the “man’s world” thing, religious sentiments and gender prejudices flow differently in this fictional world. Women are regarded as luckier, better sailors than men. It’s regarded as folly for a ship to put to sea without at least one female officer; there are several all-female naval military traditions dating back centuries, and Drakasha comes from one of them. As for claims to “realism,” your complaint is of a kind with those from bigoted hand-wringers who whine that women can’t possibly fly combat aircraft, command naval vessels, serve in infantry actions, work as firefighters, police officers, etc. despite the fact that they do all of those things— and are, for a certainty, doing them all somewhere at this very minute. Tell me that a fit fortyish woman with 25+ years of experience at sea and several decades of live bladefighting practice under her belt isn’t a threat when she runs across the deck toward you, and I’ll tell you something in return— you’re gonna die of stab wounds.
What you’re really complaining about isn’t the fact that my fiction violates some objective “reality,” but rather that it impinges upon your sad, dull little conception of how the world works. I’m not beholden to the confirmation of your prejudices; to be perfectly frank, the prospect of confining the female characters in my story to placid, helpless secondary places in the narrative is so goddamn boring that I would rather not write at all. I’m not writing history, I’m writing speculative fiction. Nobody’s going to force you to buy it. Conversely, you’re cracked if you think you can persuade me not to write about what amuses and excites me in deference to your vision, because your vision fucking sucks.
I do not expect to change your mind but i hope that you will at least consider that I and others will not be buying your work because of these issues. I have been reading science fiction and fantasy for years and i know that I speak for a great many people. I hope you might stop to think about the sales you will lose because you want to bring your political corectness and foul language into fantasy. if we wanted those things we could go to the movies. Think about this!
Thank you for your sentiments. I offer you in exchange this engraved invitation to go piss up a hill, suitable for framing.
Dude. I bounced off his first book in that series, but that character MIGHT just convince me to give it another try.
Also, Anne Bonny, Mary Read, Ching Shih, the Red Lady, Lai Sho Sz’en, Grace O’Malley, Sayyida al Hurra, the Lioness of Brittany, Mary Killigrew, Lo Hon-cho, and quite a few others.
LADY PIRATES REPRESENT.
This guy is such a patriarchal bigot that he actually wrote to Scott Lynch because he thinks all fictional worlds should be sexist and racist too. Lynch’s response was perfect.
“When the Germans invaded… *excuse me* when some but not all Germans invaded”
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.
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
Why is it that only white people are assumed to be capable of racism?
The majority of racism my wife & I have dealt with has come from black people. We notice it’s especially prevalent in older people. But- I mean, race is bullshit. Skin pigmentation is a genetic trait. CULTURE is a choice, and something we create.
You don’t choose to be born black or white, or anything. It’s like having pride in having teeth, or breathing oxygen. Or gender.
Fuck that noise. You can’t take seriously take credit for shit that was lopped onto you like that.
Why not take pride in things you actually CHOOSE, or work hard for?
We don’t see each other as colors, other than as a commentary track to other people’s bullshit absurdities.
How about we just be the betters of ALL our fucking elders- and get on with being human beings with respect for EVERYBODY (including people’s beliefs, orientations, etc)- as long as they’re not being fuckfaces? And if they are- do the worst thing you can do to a fuckface, and ignore them! Fuckfacery requires fuel.
Hey look I found a fuckface ^^^