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> There's More Than One Way To Be A Bustie Of Color, stereotypes are not our friends
auralpoison
post Mar 4 2011, 06:43 PM
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I must admit that I am quite adept at speaking to LE no matter my condition. I am polite, friendly & respectful even if I am lying through my teeth & trying not to weave/hurl/hiding a bottle of tequila down the back of my pants. wink.gif

Articulate, savvy, beautiful little girls of color call out Lil Wayne for his misogyny & the lifestyle he glamorizes in his music. This has popped up all over the web in the past few days & I for one have been enjoying the dialogue it's created. For the most part, that is. I gotta say there are some remarkably glib, selfish people walking around out there that don't care about our daughters, our baby sisters, our nieces, or the little girl next door. And that makes me sooooo sad.


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anarch
post Mar 4 2011, 05:43 PM
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Dave Chappelle and his white friend Chip are smoking a joint, when they see a cop...
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anarch
post Jan 31 2011, 10:33 PM
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I enjoyed this comment: "This article just goes to prove that we are having the exact same non-conversation about race/ethnicity that we've always not had."

Yeah, the NYT article pissed me off too. It reads to me like an old-time anthropology-travel piece: "I spent weeks in the jungle with these newly-discovered people called pygmies, learning their way of life..." (Speaking of which, have you seen Babakiueria? If not, you MUST see it.)

Jesus, I had pulled a few example quotes out of it to critique, but the whole thing is just an amazingly shallow, "America is so wonderfully post-racial" take on what could have been ,what should be, what IS, a rich subject that ought to be challenging people's lazy-liberal assumptions, not confirming them. Ewcccchhh.

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auralpoison
post Jan 31 2011, 03:10 PM
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I found this interesting, so I thought I'd post it: Post racial America my black & white ass.

I have to admit that the article rankled me when I read it, but I know I can sometimes be sensitive over the whole mixed thing what with how some people just don't get it. All the Obama drama has really brought it home just how fucked racial relations still are in the US.


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Persiflager
post Jul 14 2010, 06:46 AM
Post #5


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Derailing for Dummies


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“Logic is the art of going wrong with confidence.”
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sukouyant
post Jul 9 2010, 06:08 AM
Post #6


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From: Canada


I had to bite the inside of my mouth to keep from laughing.
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Persiflager
post Jul 8 2010, 03:22 AM
Post #7


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Ha! Does that work at Christmas too? or birthday parties?


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“Logic is the art of going wrong with confidence.”
Morris Kline (mathematician, author) 1908-1992
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sukouyant
post Jul 7 2010, 06:05 PM
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It reminds me of a trip some of my mom's friends took to a very hoity toity cottage of a colleague's family, white folks. Part of the dialogue in the car going home...
"Well, I think we should have left a gift"
"pfeh, They should be GLAD to have so many Black friends!"
*appalled* "I am not a commodity!"
etc.
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nappysco
post Jun 30 2010, 12:05 AM
Post #9


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QUOTE(Persiflager @ Jun 22 2010, 03:41 AM) *


I JUST sent a link this site to a friend. It's one of my favorites. You might also want to check out "How To Rent a Negro" by damali ayo. Hilarious satire in the same vein as blackpeopleloveus.com.
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anarch
post Jun 23 2010, 01:50 PM
Post #10


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Ha! I remember finding that site a few years ago and thinking "Holy shit WTF is this site OMG this is freakin' hilarious!"

Glad to see it's still up and getting traffic.
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Persiflager
post Jun 22 2010, 02:44 PM
Post #11


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From: Babylon


Yes, I was scared by them too! I hope they only glanced at it, but still.....


--------------------
“Logic is the art of going wrong with confidence.”
Morris Kline (mathematician, author) 1908-1992
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koffeewitch
post Jun 22 2010, 10:05 AM
Post #12


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Persi: did you happen to read the letters section? I couldn't believe all the people who thought the site was serious! Does no one understand screaming, in-your-face sarcasm anymore? It's frightening.


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"The U.S. is the only nation on Earth to pass from barbarism into decadence without once passing through an era of civilization."
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Persiflager
post Jun 22 2010, 03:41 AM
Post #13


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From: Babylon


Very funny website about white people with black friends.


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“Logic is the art of going wrong with confidence.”
Morris Kline (mathematician, author) 1908-1992
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Persiflager
post Jun 17 2010, 09:04 AM
Post #14


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From: Babylon


Short but interesting article from Racialicious on race issues for writers.

Interesting article, Sukouyant; I agree, it was quite painful to read!


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“Logic is the art of going wrong with confidence.”
Morris Kline (mathematician, author) 1908-1992
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sukouyant
post May 28 2010, 05:31 PM
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I guess I'm all about posting articles today. I came across this thought experiment recently and just read the entire article today. It was a little painful to read, because imagining things 'the other way around' (though there are surely more than only two directions in this racial conundrum) pushed the reality of these standards for everyone up in my face even more.

http://www.amptoons.com/blog/archives/2010...re-white-women/

eta: this is the original location http://nerdsevolving.blogspot.com/2009/08/...hite-women.html
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anarch
post May 17 2010, 07:17 PM
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QUOTE(Persiflager @ May 17 2010, 04:53 AM) *
Yeah, and one of those reasons just might be that Pixar, like most other story creators in our society, have not questioned that male=default.


I wish I'd thought of precisely those words at the time. I was, unfortunately, too annoyed at the way that thread was going to be able to come up with anything other than sputtering incoherence.

I'm glad you're getting something out of Why Are All The Black Kids...?, and this discussion, too. It's been years since I thought about trying my own hand at fiction, but our exchanges make me put myself in your shoes -- the prospect of trying to diversify the kinds of characters I'd write would be daunting. WTF do I with my hetero, able, class privilege (for starters) know about those kinds of marginalization. Only as much as I've read and picked up by lurking. It doesn't feel like enough to justify presuming to write an LGBT, disabled or working- or poverty-class character. But everybody's gotta start somewhere, right?

Anyway, anything goes in the rough drafts. If we can't experiment there, then where? Fixing things is what editing's for. smile.gif
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Persiflager
post May 17 2010, 06:53 AM
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No anarch, it wasn't too strong at all! I think that might have been my confession - it's taken me quite a long time to accept those feelings and start taking action to change them.

That's a really good call on trying multiple characters of colour; just thinking about it that way takes the pressure off. And thanks for linking to that metafilter thread.

A comment that resonated with me from the same thread:

"[Hey, I'm just naive enough to believe that artists make decisions for reasons, possibly more so at Pixar than at other places.]

Yeah, and one of those reasons just might be that Pixar, like most other story creators in our society, have not questioned that male=default.

I've been a creative artist, I've made the decisions - and I'll tell you, I didn't think through EVERY decision. Gender of characters is something I tend to think about, but I don't think about their race, for example. In fact, I have defaulted to white characters in everything I have ever written. That was not an artistic choice - there was nothing about the race of the characters that was important to the story. It's an example not of racism, but of racial laziness on my part. In fact, just thinking about this is making me think that the next time I write a story, I'll question my white=default/normal habit, because it's not really a reflection of the world I live in."

Ooh, and my favourite part of 'Why are all the Black kids sitting together in the cafeteria' so far (paraphrased) - it's not my fault, but it is my responsibility. That feels so constructive, and pretty much the opposite of what I thought before.


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anarch
post May 17 2010, 12:26 AM
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Your reaction is a relief! I thought, after walking away from the computer, that maybe I'd put things too strongly. I'd started to compose an apology in my head. I remember that somebody, possibly you but I can't remember, posted something a year or two ago about being hyper-aware of race when POC were around (and the horror of potentially putting a foot wrong), all the freakin' time. That's an understandable reaction, and one I really don't want to inadvertently contribute to. The heart of the matter is, I usually feel like just an ordinary normal human being, not conscious of skin tone differences and all the baggage that comes with them. Unless something or somebody reminds me of them by stereotyping. Or making remarks that betray their bigoted ignorance and the fact that they have no idea how uninformed they are, and that they would most likely be belligerent about it if I tried to suggest it to them. Etc.

Been thinking about that friend of mine. It was probably unfair of me, just drifting away without trying to take it up with her. Oh well. I didn't have any vocabulary at the time to express, even to myself, why my feeling of betrayal was a reasonable reaction. Thinking about it here moves me a little closer towards contacting her sometime. So thank you!

QUOTE(Persiflager @ May 15 2010, 01:46 PM) *
One of the things that struck me about Octavia Butler's black characters was their colour wasn't necessarily a big deal in the context of the story. So at first glance, I would think 'Oh, I can do that! It's just a throw-away comment!'. But thinking about it later, I realised just how much lay behind each throw-away comment (and it was all to do with how race affected the character's view of the world, rather than how it affected the world's view of the character).

By the bye, I will not be writing any 'sassy black female best friend' characters. Any characters of mine that are POC will be as socially awkward and sass-deficient as the white ones.

I wonder if maybe it wouldn't hurt to try writing a few throwaway-ish POC characters or comments here or there, just to get used to the basic idea of having them in the landscape of the manuscript. I'm thinking of how often I put something off for ages because it's a completely alien process that I've never done before and I'm nervous about doing it wrong. (Most recently, car buying from a dealership.) Then when something forces me to do it anyway, I make mistakes but I get through it mostly in one piece. And then, I know how much better equipped I am to tackle the next time and the task doesn't seem nearly as formidable as when I'd never done it before.

Sass-deficient! LOL.

Somethign else someone said at metafilter once, about writing characters that avoid stereotyping and tokenism:

I do think there's something to the theory that they may be nervous about doing female characters and getting slagged for bad stereotypes. But the thing is, the fewer female characters there are, the more weight gets put on each one of them.If you only have one female character in your movie, but you have ten male characters, the decisions you've made about what the female character is like get amplified. Is she too-loud? Or too-quiet? Or attention-hungry? Or pushy? Well, there's some suspicion maybe you're saying something wider about all women by making her that way.But if you have, say, three or four female characters, the pressure eases off because you'll have one that is too loud, one that's clumsy, one that's a scaredy-cat, etc.
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Persiflager
post May 15 2010, 03:46 PM
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Thank you so much for thoughtful response, anarch - it's incredibly helpful. I got 'Why are all the Black kids sitting together in the cafeteria' out from the library today (thank you for the recommendation below, and apologies for being so slow to act on it), and will start trying to wrap my head around all the things that I hadn't previously realised I didn't know blink.gif

One of the things that struck me about Octavia Butler's black characters was their colour wasn't necessarily a big deal in the context of the story. So at first glance, I would think 'Oh, I can do that! It's just a throw-away comment!'. But thinking about it later, I realised just how much lay behind each throw-away comment (and it was all to do with how race affected the character's view of the world, rather than how it affected the world's view of the character).

By the bye, I will not be writing any 'sassy black female best friend' characters. Any characters of mine that are POC will be as socially awkward and sass-deficient as the white ones.


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anarch
post May 14 2010, 08:17 PM
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QUOTE(Persiflager @ May 14 2010, 03:01 AM) *
'How weird would that be if it happened every time? If I had to get used to the default skin colour being something other than white? If I had to accept that jolt as normal?'

Anyway, I write stories, and have recently started worrying about the lack of diversity in my characters. It seems wrong to make every single one white, it seems dishonest to ignore race when describing them, and it seems really wrong to go down the route of tokenism and just change the colour of one without changing anything else about them (is that tokenist?). But my family/friends/cultural references are all overwhelmingly white, and I feel that I lack the tools to write realistic, non-cliched, characters of colour.


I'm not white and have been reading about this stuff for like over a decade now, and I STILL get that jolt too (great descriptor) when realizing that a protagonist isn't, after all, white. How does a fish know it lives in water, right?

I'm sure you know that diversifying the friends/cultural references would help. Do you ever hang out at racialicious? Just lurking there should help lay some groundwork and help you get familiar with the complexities of thinking about and experiencing race. Getting to know more POC as friends, if they strike you as the kind of people who you like making friends with. The kinds of friends you can have great conversations with...well you've got a good start with those of us here! smile.gif

The following may not be relevant to you because you're already aware of a lot of these issues, but I'm writing it as a cautionary tale for people who might find it useful: There was a white guy on another board who said he'd tried to make friends with POC, but the interactions stayed superficial and didn't last anyway. He never knew why. Then one day while reading a racism thread, a lightbulb went on. He had a feeling that there had been times when those people may have mentioned something they thought was racist. And he had a feeling that he had probably trivialized and dismissed their experiences, invalidated their feelings.

While that's not an automatic death blow to an interracial friendship, I can say that it was a big factor in why I drifted away from someone I had previously considered a friend. A mutual contact told me maybe 4 years ago that this former friend was interested in hearing from me. I still have not bothered to contact her, because it's just not a priority. It has crossed my mind to photocopy the page from the Witnessing Whiteness book that addresses this phenomenon, and send the photocopy to her.

I would write an explanation on it: "Dear so and so, remember when I said 'xxxxxx struck me as possibly, maybe even probably, racist," and you said 'Oh no, it probably had to do with this or that other explanation that has NOTHING to do with racism'? I know you meant well, but read what I've circled on this photocopy. You didn't listen, you just jumped in to defend, when you weren't even there and I was. I get enough of being treated as invisible and voiceless and invalid and inconsequential from mainstream society, media, and personal acquaintances. I don't need to get it from any of my friends. I didn't think any of this consciously. I just knew that your words made me feel invisible, etc, and betrayed. So I drifted away and stayed away even when I heard that you wanted to hear from me. If you still want to be friends after reading this, I guess I'm open to it now, if you're open to informing yourself about my world and training yourself to be vigilant against inadvertently invalidating and dismissing it."

So I'm just bringing that up to say that the fact that you're reading and thinking and informing yourself about this, it's smart. It'll all help you to have better chances of nurturing real lasting relationships with POC, some of whom might volunteer to offer suggestions on POC characters you might have written.

As for tokenism, well, I love Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan series. I find her universe really white and her POC, tokens. But she writes well enough that even so, the series draws me in. Being a token has its own problems, but if the alternative is not being there at all...
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