Racist Caricature of the Day: The Tragic Mulatto

Content Note:  The subject matter in this post contains images, words, and phrases of a racist nature, some of which may be graphic.

Those of African descent have long been ‘othered’…treated as if they aren’t part of the human race…treated as subhuman…or only part human; certainly not deserving of the same rights as everyone else (often read as white people). This othering has resulted in racist caricatures of Blacks. These denigrating caricatures treat Black people in a dehumanizing manner. One such racist caricature is ‘The Tragic Mulatto’:

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Racist Caricature of the Day: The Tragic Mulatto
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Racist Caricature of the Day: ‘The Tom’

Content Note:  The subject matter in this post contains images, words, and phrases of a racist nature, some of which may be graphic.

Those of African descent have long been ‘othered’…treated as if they aren’t part of the human race…treated as subhuman…or only part human; certainly not deserving of the same rights as everyone else (often read as white people). This othering has resulted in racist caricatures of Blacks. These denigrating caricatures treat Black people in a dehumanizing manner. One such racist caricature is ‘The Tom’ (I find this caricature especially offensive because the Tom in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin was portrayed as a father who was physically strong, young, and loyal to the men he called master. He was also a principled man who tried to live by the values he believed were embodied in Christianity. As you’ll see from this article, the nature of the Uncle Tom changed over time to become one of an older man, with no children, who was not physically strong. He was also a simple man with no depth nor principles, who was loyal to his white master, and disloyal to other blacks. This version of Uncle Tom stripped the character of his roots. The alteration of the Uncle Tom to a man who was docile and passive, who wouldn’t rebel or complain was meant to show that slaves didn’t have it that bad.  It was as if this version of the Tom caricature sought to retcon slavery. This attitude is still found today in politicians who claim that slaves didn’t have it that bad.  I find this deeply offensive and reprehensible.)

Continue reading “Racist Caricature of the Day: ‘The Tom’”

Racist Caricature of the Day: ‘The Tom’

Racist Caricature of the Day: 'The Tom'

Content Note:  The subject matter in this post contains images, words, and phrases of a racist nature, some of which may be graphic.

Those of African descent have long been ‘othered’…treated as if they aren’t part of the human race…treated as subhuman…or only part human; certainly not deserving of the same rights as everyone else (often read as white people). This othering has resulted in racist caricatures of Blacks. These denigrating caricatures treat Black people in a dehumanizing manner. One such racist caricature is ‘The Tom’ (I find this caricature especially offensive because the Tom in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin was portrayed as a father who was physically strong, young, and loyal to the men he called master. He was also a principled man who tried to live by the values he believed were embodied in Christianity. As you’ll see from this article, the nature of the Uncle Tom changed over time to become one of an older man, with no children, who was not physically strong. He was also a simple man with no depth nor principles, who was loyal to his white master, and disloyal to other blacks. This version of Uncle Tom stripped the character of his roots. The alteration of the Uncle Tom to a man who was docile and passive, who wouldn’t rebel or complain was meant to show that slaves didn’t have it that bad.  It was as if this version of the Tom caricature sought to retcon slavery. This attitude is still found today in politicians who claim that slaves didn’t have it that bad.  I find this deeply offensive and reprehensible.)

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Racist Caricature of the Day: 'The Tom'

Pop Culture Link Roundup: Sexism Edition

You asked for it.

You demanded it.

Now you’re getting it.

TWILIGHT. IS. BACK.

I’m not a fan of Twilight.  I haven’t read the books, nor do I have any intention of doing so.  If I want to be tortured, I’ll have someone pull out my finger- and toe- nails with pliers (and no anesthetic).  No need to read Stephanie Meyer’s stalker laden, anti-abortion, pro-abusive relationship, misogynistic faux-romance (fauxmance?) by way of Mormon porn (plus I’ve seen several of the movies, which contain the same thematic elements). But if you’re one of the countless millions of people drawn to that tripe (can you tell how much disdain I hold for the Twilight?), you may like this (hat tip to The Mary Sue). Deadline has the details:

Five features wasn’t enough. Lionsgate said today that it is partnering with author Stephenie Meyer, Facebook, Women in Film and Tongal to launch a social media campaign to develop and produce short films by female filmmakers based on the characters in The Twilight Saga. The venture, called The Storytellers – New Creative Voices of The Twilight Saga, will include films based on a broad spectrum of characters from the Twilight universe, with guidance provided by Meyer’s encyclopedic The Twilight Saga: Official Illustrated Guide. Entries will be judged by Meyer, Kristen Stewart, Kate Winslet, Octavia Spencer, Jennifer Lee, Catherine Hardwicke, Julie Bowen and Women In Film President Cathy Schulman.

The five winning shorts will be financed through production advances, and fans will help select a grand prize-winning filmmaker who will receive a cash prize and career opportunities. “The female voice is something that has become more and more important to me as I’ve worked in the film industry,” said Meyer. “I’m honored to be working with Women In Film, Lionsgate, and Facebook on a project dedicated to giving more women a chance to be heard creatively.”

The only good thing about this is that it will highlight female directors, of which Hollywood doesn’t have enough (though apparently, Indie films have a better representation of female directors, which kinda puts the lie to any claims that there are fewer female directors because women don’t want to direct movies).

* * * *

The truth is out there.

And we already know what it is.  There is a gender based pay disparity in Hollywood (just like the rest of the US).  In an interview with Red magazine, Gillian Anderson of X-Files fame talks about how much less she was paid than David Duchovny (hat tip to The Mary Sue):

It seems incredible now to think Anderson was just 24 when she was offered the part of Scully on The X Files, quickly establishing herself as an international star – although Duchovny was originally paid significantly more. It was three years before Anderson made a stand and was finally awarded the same salary.

‘At the beginning, the pay disparity was massive. But that happens all the time in Hollywood. It’s, “Do this for me, I’ll get you a job.” All the stuff in the papers today about people in entertainment who have abused their position…’

Anderson is clearly not one of those women who might shy away from referring to herself as a feminist, and she’s on a roll: ‘It’s built into our society. It’s easy to miss and it’s easy to get used to it. There are things that are intolerable in today’s world, in terms of the perception of women. Whether they’re vamps or vixens… the expectation that, if a woman is wearing a short skirt, she’s “asking for it”.’

Sexism.

It’s everywhere.

* * * *

It’s even on Jeopardy!

Monday night’s Jeopardy! had a “What Women Want” category, but instead of featuring things women actually want—paid maternity leave, to finally adopt the ERA—it had herbal tea and good-fitting jeans. (It wasn’t even a celebrity edition.)

I like some of the Twitter responses to Jeopardy’s sexism.  Instead of this:

Women want this:

Rather than this:

Women want this:

For a show that is based around knowledge, they have much to learn.

Pop Culture Link Roundup: Sexism Edition

You know those racist caricatures I’ve been blogging about lately?

They’re still around.  Last year, a group of students at an Arizona elementary school were bullying a young African-American boy.  He was called a monkey, as well as a nigger and coon.  Pam Aister, a teacher of 25 years at the school stepped in to defend the student.  Guess what?

She was recently terminated.

Continue reading “You know those racist caricatures I’ve been blogging about lately?”

You know those racist caricatures I’ve been blogging about lately?

You know those racist caricatures I've been blogging about lately?

They’re still around.  Last year, a group of students at an Arizona elementary school were bullying a young African-American boy.  He was called a monkey, as well as a nigger and coon.  Pam Aister, a teacher of 25 years at the school stepped in to defend the student.  Guess what?

She was recently terminated.

Continue reading “You know those racist caricatures I've been blogging about lately?”

You know those racist caricatures I've been blogging about lately?

Racist Caricature of the Day: The Picanniny

Content Note:  The subject matter in this post contains images, words, and phrases of racist nature, some of which may be graphic.

Those of African descent have long been ‘othered’…treated as if they aren’t part of the human race…treated as subhuman…or only part human; certainly not deserving of the same rights as everyone else (often read as white people).  This othering has resulted in racist caricatures of Blacks. These denigrating caricatures treat Black people in a dehumanizing manner.  One such racist caricature is ‘The Picanniny’:

Picaninnies as portrayed in material culture have skin coloring ranging from medium brown to dark black — light skinned picaninnies are rare. They include infants and teenagers; however, most appear to be 8-10 years old. Prissy, the inept and hysterical servant girl in Gone With the Wind (Selznick & Fleming, 1939) was an exception. She was older than the typical picaninny, but her character was functionally a picaninny. Picaninny girls (and sometimes boys) have hair tied or matted in short stalks that point in all directions; often the boys are bald, their heads shining like metal. The children have big, wide eyes, and oversized mouths — ostensibly to accommodate huge pieces of watermelon.

Continue reading “Racist Caricature of the Day: The Picanniny”

Racist Caricature of the Day: The Picanniny

Hey look! Reverse Racism is totes real!

Thanks to Brony for bringing to my attention a video by Aamer Rahman- ‘Fear of a brown planet‘:

This is what so many people get wrong when discussing racism (most often those people are white, but that’s not always the case).

Racism is not just a white person calling a black person a racial slur like nigger, coon, tom, savage, pickaninny, mammy, buck, samba, jigaboo, or buckwheat.

It’s not just mobs of white people storming into the homes of black folks and subjecting them to lynchings.

It’s not just black people being denied the right to vote, which came in 1870 (but is still fought against today).

It’s not just slavery (abolished by the 13th Amendment which was passed in December 1865, however, enforcement of the 13th Amendment took decades to realize, and even then, some whites found a way to practice involuntary servitude; the last state to abolish involuntary servitude was Maryland, in 1972).

It’s not just black people being forced to sit at the back of the bus.

It’s not just white people fearing “racial contamination” from swimming in the same pool as black people.

Racism does not just harm black people either.  Asian-Americans, Indians, and Hispanic-Americans are all harmed by racism in the United States.

Racism is so much, much more.

Racism is racial profiling practices like ‘Stop & Frisk’.

Racism is the Republican and Libertarian opposition to government assistance programs.

Racism is bootstrapping and the idea that there’s a level playing field for whites and blacks.

Racism is the treatment of President Obama by virtually the entire Republican Party and a great many Americans.

Racism is The Bell Curve.

Racism is the American criminal justice system.

Yeah, those are all examples of racism.  But what IS racism?

Racism refers to a host of practices, beliefs, social relations and phenomena that work to reproduce a racial hierarchy and social structure that yields superiority and privilege for some, and discrimination and oppression for others. Racism takes representational, ideological, discursive, interactional, institutional, structural, and systemic forms. Despite its form, at its core, racism is constituted by essentialist racial categories that turn human subjects into stereotyped objects, and then uses those stereotypes to justify and reproduce a racial hierarchy and racially structured society that limits access to resources, rights, and privileges on the basis of race.

Extended Definition

It is important to recognize that racism manifests in a variety of forms and styles in today’s world. Forms of racism include the following:

  • Representational: depictions of essentialized racial stereotypes are common in popular culture and media, like the tendency to cast people of color as criminals and as victims of crime, or as background characters rather than leads, in film and television; also common are racial caricatures that are racist in their representations, like “mascots” for the Cleveland Indians, Atlanta Braves, and the Washington R******* (name redacted because it is a racial slur).
  • Ideological: racism is manifest in world views, beliefs and common sense ways of thinking that are premised on essentialist notions of racial categories, and the idea that white or light skinned people are superior, in a variety of ways, to dark skinned people. Historically, ideological racism supported and justified the building of European colonial empires and U.S. imperialism through unjust acquisition of land, people, and resources around the world. Today, some common ideological forms of racism include the belief that black women are sexually promiscuous, that Latina women are “fiery” or “hot tempered,” and that black men and boys are criminally oriented.
  • Discursive: racism is often expressed linguistically, in the discourse we use to talk about the world and people in it, and manifests in racial slurs and hate speech, and in code words that have racialized meanings embedded in them, like “ghetto,” “thug,” or “gansta.”
  • Interactional: racism takes an interactional form such as a white woman crossing a street to avoid walking past a black or Latino man, a person of color being verbally or physically assaulted because of their race, or when, someone assumes a person of color working at an establishment to be a low-level employee, though they might be a manager, executive, or owner.
  • Institutional: racism can take institutional form in the way policies and laws are crafted and put into practice, such as the decades-long set of policing and legal policies known as “The War on Drugs,” which has disproportionately targeted neighborhoods and communities that are composed predominantly of people of color, New York City’s Stop-N-Frisk policy that overwhelmingly targets black and Latino males, and educational tracking policies that funnel children of color into remedial classes and trades programs.
  • Structural: racism takes structural form in the ongoing, historical, and longterm reproduction of the racialized structure of our society through a combination of all of the above forms. Structural racism manifests in widespread racial segregation and stratification, recurrent displacement of people of color from neighborhoods that go through processes ofgentrification, and the overwhelming burden of environmental pollution born by people of color given its proximity to their communities.
  • Systemic: racism within the U.S. can be described as systemic because the country was founded on racist beliefs with racist policies and practices, and because that legacy lives today in the racism that courses throughout the entirety of our social system.

In addition, sociologists observe a variety of styles, or types, within these different forms of racism. Some may be overtly racist, like the use of racial slurs or hate speech, or policies that intentionally discriminate against people on the basis of race. Others may be covert, kept to oneself, hidden from public view, or obscured by colorblind policies that purport to be race-neutral, when in fact they manifest in racist ways. While something may not appear obviously racist at first glance, it may in fact prove to be racist when one examines the implications of it through a sociological lens. If it relies on essentialized notions of race, and reproduces a racially structured society, then it is racist.

(bolding mine)

That part is bolded because so many people do not understand that racism is not limited to racial slurs or policies.  Racism extends to institutionalized structures of power that benefit the racial majority and discriminate against racial minorities.  This is why there is no such thing as reverse-racism.  Black people do not have social, political, or economic power over white people. They never have. While some African-Americans have bigoted or prejudicial views of white people, this doesn’t rise to the level of racism because they lack the social, economic, or political power that white people have.  Aamer Rahman’s video explains perfectly why reverse-racism is not a thing.  I wish every person on the planet could watch this and take the time to think about it.

Hey look! Reverse Racism is totes real!

Really Facebook?

Facebook is causing an uproar again:

The world’s largest social network has decided to move forward with deleting all LGBT Facebook profiles who do not change their personal profile names to their legal names during a two week grace period.

The decision comes after Facebook agreed to meet with a group of drag queen activists on Wednesday to discuss Facebook’s recent campaign to delete hundreds of drag queen profiles who are using their “stage names” or chosen names on their Facebook accounts.

Facebook’s policy stipulates that a name displayed on a personal account must be “your real name as it would be listed on your credit card, driver’s license or student ID.”

“We had a good discussion with the group about their perspectives on our real name standard, and we stressed how the standard helps prevent bad behavior, while creating a safer and more accountable environment,” said Facebook spokesperson Andrew Souvall in a statement.

“We’ve decided to temporarily reactivate the profiles of several hundred members of the LGBT community whose profiles were recently deactivated,” Souvall continued. “This will give them a chance to decide how they’d like to represent themselves on Facebook. Over the next two weeks, we hope that they will decide to confirm their real name, change their name to their real name, or convert their profile to a Page.”

Here’s a novel fucking idea-crack down on the bad behavior itself, rather than people who choose anonymity!  People choose anonymity for a variety of reasons.  One important reason is for their personal safety.  No one should be forced to compromise their safety to participate in social media.  The problem is the bad behavior, not the anonymity.

Also, this shit also pisses me off:

Facebook’s policy stipulates that a name displayed on a personal account must be “your real name as it would be listed on your credit card, driver’s license or student ID.”

I don’t use my real name on Facebook.  Yes, I go by ‘Tony’, but that’s not my real name.  That’s not how my name appears on my credit card, driver’s license, or student ID (what’s that?).  Will I now be required to change my account to reflect my actual name?

Fuck you Facebook.

Really Facebook?

Liberty and Justice…for all?

In 1892, the United States Pledge of Allegiance was written by the socialist minister Francis Bellamy. Today, US citizens are likely familiar with the refrain:

“”I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

What some may not know is that this is not the original wording.  In 1954, the words “under God” were added to the pledge.  Prior to that, the Pledge read:

“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Even this, however, was not the original form of the Pledge.  The year 1923 saw the addition of the words ‘the Flag of the United States of America’ to the Pledge.  The original Pledge of Allegiance read as follows:

“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

(I find the random capitalization to be really amusing. There is no reason for either ‘flag’ or ‘republic’ to be capitalized.  It’s as silly as religious people capitalizing random religious words.)

I take issue with the forced recitation of the Pledge, especially in public schools.  Young children are not taught what it means to pledge allegiance to their country. They’re just taught to do so and told it’s the right and proper thing to do.  What is so great about pledging your loyalty to a flag, or a country? Moreover, why should one be compelled to do so?  It does nothing more than enforce blind patriotism in people who are often too young to fully understand what they are doing and why.  That way often leads to nationalism and jingoism.  As seen in the War on Terror, many Americans blindly supported the United States’ actions overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan-which, while ostensibly under the cover of capturing those responsible for the September 11th attacks, involved invading a sovereign nation and engaging in actions that led to the death of innocents (according to a Brown University study, 132,000 civilians were killed in 10 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan).  The killing of innocent people is completely at odds with the notion of ‘liberty and justice for all’.  Teaching our youth that the United States is a great country, without equal, and dedicated to concepts such as justice, fairness, equality, and liberty before they can understand those concepts and analyze whether the actions of the US are in line with those concepts breeds nothing more than blind loyalty.  Such loyalty can result in people glossing over, or completely ignoring the fact that throughout the history of the US, the government has not embodied the concepts of justice, fairness, equality, and liberty for all.

“Really?” some might ask.

“Fuck, yes.” I’d likely respond.

“Explain yourself!” some might respond.

“Go educate yourself, you who are online and capable of employing the Google on your own” might often be a response back from me.

This time, I won’t go that route.  I’ll spoonfeed the smugnoramuses (portmanteau of ‘smug’ and ‘ignoramus’) out there…a little.

Examples of the United States not living up to the concepts of ‘liberty and justice for all’ (aside from the aforementioned killing of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan):

The genocide of First Nation people in the United States.

The treatment of African-Americans as slaves in the United States.

Japanese-American internment camps-in the USA-during WWII.

Women as second class citizens in the US.

The United States has a long history-that continues to this day-of treating people really shitty. That’s why I love the claims of right wing extremists who long for the days of yesteryear when the US was a bastion of morality and a shining example of all that is good in the world (where. is. my. puke. bucket). Are they talking about those bygone days like this:

Slave life varied greatly depending on many factors.

Life on the fields meant working sunup to sundown six days a week and having food sometimes not suitable for an animal to eat. Plantation slaves lived in small shacks with a dirt floor and little or no furniture. Life on large plantations with a cruel overseer was oftentimes the worst.

Perhaps they’re referring to these good ole’ days of the Sand Creek Massacre:

However, Chivington ignored the symbol of peace and surrender, raising his arm for attack. An easy victory at hand, cannons and rifles began to pound upon the camp as the Indians scattered in panic. The frenzied soldiers began to charge, hunting down men, women, and children, shooting them unmercifully. A few warriors managed to fight back allowing some members of the camp to escape across the stream.

One man, Silas Soule, a Massachusetts abolitionist, refused to follow Colonel Chivington’s orders. He did not allow his cavalry company to fire into the crowd.

The troops kept up their indiscriminate assault for most of the day, during which numerous atrocities were committed. One lieutenant was said to have killed and scalped three women and five children who had surrendered and were screaming for mercy. Finally breaking off their attack they returned to the camp killing all the wounded they could find before mutilating and scalping the dead, including pregnant women, children and babies. They then plundered the teepees and divided up the Indians’ horse herd before leaving.

When the attack was over, as many as 150 Indians lay dead, most of which were old men, women and children. In the meantime, the cavalry lost only 9 or ten men, with about three dozen wounded. Black Kettle and his wife followed the others up the stream bed, his wife being shot several times, but somehow managed to survive

Or maybe they’re thinking of the days when wives could be legally raped by their husbands:

It was not until the late 1970s that anyone was convicted of raping his spouse in the United States. Before then, criminal codes typically included a “marital rape exemption,” or provision barring prosecution for the rape of one’s spouse. Such laws reflected then popularly held views that only stranger rape constituted “real rape” or that forced sex is a “wifely duty.”

This thinking mirrored the common law presumption, in effect for hundreds of years, that spouses should be exempt from prosecution. It was based in a theory articulated by Matthew Hale, [Chief Justice in England in the 17th century,who] “wrote: “[t]he husband cannot be guilty of rape committed by himself upon his lawful wife for by their mutual matrimonial consent and contract, the wife hath given up herself in this kind unto the husband which she cannot retract.”

In the 1970s and 1980s, numerous states adopted laws criminalizing marital rape, and by July 1993, it was illegal in every state to rape your spouse.

(Incidentally, North Carolina was the last state to decide “hey women have the right to be protected from marital rape” in 19-fucking-93).

There are many more examples of the failure of the United States to live up to the principles of the Pledge of Allegiance.  Perhaps our government ought to focus on teaching children what it means to be good people.  They ought to teach them the principles of egalitarianism and humanism.  They need to teach what the concepts mean, why they are important, and show how each and every one of us can live up to these concepts. This needs to be taught to kids at appropriate ages, and needs to be ongoing, with no whitewashing.  Teach the good AND the bad.

Also, the US ought to lead by example.  A good start?  Arresting Darren Wilson.

Liberty and Justice…for all?