2013-02-04

Racism is annoying

I read everything posted on Womanist Musings*. I have for a while now. I started reading it because I got interested in gender and sex, in particular gender and sex as a spectrum rather than a binary. I added some links for you edification.**

Reading toward my self educational goal I found that Womanist Musings tackles many subjects besides, including racism.

Those posts are the reason why I follow this blog so closely. As a white person who intellectualizes stuff I expect to nod approvingly and enthusiastically when people of color describe and discuss racism. Racism is wrong and clearly a problem, so what's not to agree with?

But, see Womanist Musings tends to put a spin on it that even I, in my comfortable liberal chair sipping my artisan coffee, have trouble twirling along with. Like the assertion*** that Lena Dunham's exclusion of non-whites from the HBO series Girls**** makes Dunham a racist.*****

It's hard to read stuff like that because it means that no matter how well-intentioned and thoughtful I am I am one too. At best I am a racist from ignorance, at worst because I fail to notice my preferences and take stuff like being able to identify with main characters for granted.

When I moved to the US I found BET******. Now, I am not unused to minority TV; in my home country pains are taken to create programming for a diverse set of ethnic groups/nationalities/languages, but it's usually at the forbearance of otherwise majority channels. The rest of the programming follow the same pattern of casting pretty much every one as a member of the majority.

I thought BET was exciting. It spoke to my need to be inclusive, open minded, not racist. I was surprised that it was so hard to watch, that I couldn't relate, that I found mannerisms and language inauthentic and affected. I soon gave it up.

I had a similar reaction to gay men who In Real Life spoke with that lisp attributed to gay men in movies.

And I was sorely disappointed to find that I didn't like my first transsexual acquaintance, and that  I find many expressions of feminism rather grating.

Why can't people just be nice and dignified about oppression?

It's important to confront this need to mold people into shapes that I can like, I read Womanist Musings carefully so that I can understand my discomfort and feel offended. How can I truly see and accept people for who they are if I keep my forgiving, tolerant, condescending attitude?



*** http://www.womanist-musings.com/2013/01/did-we-have-pro-woman-golden-globes.html

No comments:

Post a Comment