Think you’re an open-minded white person? Well, you’d do well to get some pointers.
Posted by Deb in Uncategorized on November 4th, 2003
Edit this page's grammar and spelling with Emend.
Interesting.. I think I got the point it was trying to make, but so many of the letters to the people who set it up were very angry and divisive. As I understood it, it was criticizing many whites who think they’re liberal, but are actually bound by the same stereotypes about African-Americans that more overtly racist types have. And I thought this was a very good point: not all racism is openly hostile, but even well-intentioned ignorance can be painful to its victims.
I thought the one comment, that sometimes satire can be used to fuel what it’s actually trying to combat (the Itchy and Scratchy example) was something worth thinking about. Reminds me of my disagreement with Chris over Starship Troopers. I thought it was a brilliant and very biting critique of jingoism and a certain world view, while he though it actually promoted them. Similar thing going on here, I guess.
This reminds me of an article I read a few months ago written by a woman who has two biological children and several adopted children of different ethnicities. One of her daughters, who is African-American, is constantly bombarded when they go shopping with comments about how pretty she is; her brother, adopted from Korea, is told over and over how pretty his eyes are. At one point the little girl asks, “Why doesn’t anyone ever tell Kate [the woman's biological, white daughter] how pretty she is?” The tone of the article suggests that the former girl is actually becoming withdrawn about her appearance because the comments make her uncomfortable, not proud.
I bring this up because people often think they’re doing “the right thing” but the problem is, they’re just not thinking. One woman, in her comments on the site, remarked how living as a non-African in Africa made her realize how easy it was to feel conspicuous in so many little ways. I guess the point is to not make people feel conspicuous, but rather to accept them as a part of your world. Who goes around telling his/her sibling how pretty her hair is all the time? The sibling eventually is going to want to smack you.
A quick response to the comment Deana made in her second paragraph: I agree that media can try to prove a point and sometimes end up doing the opposite. I had the exact response to Natural Born Killers–I felt the message was that we glorify people who do these awful things; but Stone’s movie ended up doing just that, to the point of overshadowing his own point.
Not to turn this into a discussion about Starship Troopers, but I need to clarify Deana’s statements. The movie satirizes militaristic thinking and jingoism, but the original book did not. In fact, the book has often been criticized for presenting a militaristic, police-state society as a solution to current social ills. (Whether that’s true is left as an exercise for the reader.)
The satire is just one of the ways in which the book and movie differ, and I actually thought it detracted from what what the film could have been. It certainly would have been tough to miss, though.
It was 6 years ago. I don’t remember. I remember discussing the scene with Doogie Howser violating the alien and we disagreed about what it meant. But I was trying to illustrate a different point, anyway. Ah well.
Global Spin by Chris Radcliff is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.