We all agree that reverse racism, as a concept, is as whack as any other kind of racism. But what about “reverse racism” as a phrase? In our latest MIXLY Perspective, staff writer Joel breaks down why he hates the phrase almost as much as the thing itself.
Staff writer Joel is back for another MMXLII perspective! Inspired by his adoration for photos of mixed race babies, Joel shot this video to confess his love – and his secret fear that a preference for one particular type of baby might be just a little bit racist.
There’s been a lot of disheartening news lately – enough that some folks are already calling this season, barely halfway over, “America’s summer of hate.” The moniker may very well be earned – maybe it will even stick. If it does, though, we hope it will be because today’s children will one day make such hatred a thing of the past. We’ve written before about the iGeneration’s unprecedented openness to and appreciation for diversity. Today, we’d like to share some video evidence of that trend, in the hopes that it might help you get through a summer filled with bad news.
Photo from Youtube.
We just watched Amnesty International’s new video, “When You Don’t Exist,” and to be honest we can’t quite decide how it makes us feel. Certainly the campaign raises awareness for and about disenfranchised immigrant populations. We think that’s a good thing, and although this video seems targeted to a British audience there’s no doubt that the issues it explores will become increasingly important here as the States hurdles towards 2042. On the other hand, there’s something uncomfortable about the way the campaign relies on the assumption that audiences will find whites inherently more sympathetic than people of color. Maybe that’s the point, and this ad simply forces the viewer to acknowledge a prejudice that values white personhood over any other sort. We can’t decide, though, if the point is made too subtly, and those prejudices end up being reinforced even as a positive message is made about immigration.
On yet another hand, at least one member of our staff felt a weird and undeniably problematic pleasure at seeing middle-class, suburban whites recast as disenfranchised refugees. Whether that pleasure was derived from some form of schadenfreude or uglier racial resentments is something that person will have to work out for themselves, but if you had a similar reaction we’d love to hear about it.
In fact, we’re having such a hard time deciding how to feel about this video that we’ve decided to put the question to you, in the hopes that your responses will help us decide what the appropriate response is. Take our poll below, and feel free to elaborate in the comments section if you feel the need. We need all the help we can get deciding what our opinion is on this piece.
Photo from Vimeo.
Take a look at this thought-provoking trailer for “Dark Girls,” a new documentary in which director Bill Dukes explores the still-taboo issue of colorism. The film reveals the discrimination, some of it subtle and some of it not, faced by women with darker skin, and examines how that discrimination can affect self-perception.
We have a 5-year-old child in our film who has four dolls in front of her and her fingers are as dark as mine and we say, what is the beautiful doll: the white doll; what is the smart doll: the white doll. What is the ugly doll: the black doll; what is the stupid doll: the black doll. She’s gotten that message from someplace and that’s what we are addressing. The audience gets the opportunity to really experience it from the lens of our cameras. They decide what the right answer is. We don’t presume that we know.
We found the trailer alone illuminating, and we’re excited to watch the full film. Dukes discusses what he learned working on the project in this interview with The Washington Post. Particularly significant is the revelation that colorism, often considered an issue most important to African American communities, is a phenomenon that affects women of color across the world.
And as we examined it, we discovered skin bleach cream is a multibillion-dollar business worldwide, in Asia, India, Africa and it goes on and on. This nation, too, the irony being that while black women are trying to become less ethnic and more white, white women are risking skin cancer and tanning booths twice a week, Botoxing their lips, getting butt lifts to look more ethnic and crinkling up their hair.
We’ve talked before about how the perception of physical beauty is susceptible to change over time, with new trends and looks coming in and out of style. Dukes’ movie reveals how much those trends can be influenced by prejudice. The pervasive reach of colorism, as suggested by the worldwide success of the skin bleach industry, is an example of the power Western standards of beauty still hold over much of the world. We think it’s an important topic to be aware of. When a prejudice is as pervasive as colorism, it can affect a person’s thinking in ways so subtle they’re easily missed, a problem Dukes discusses in his interview.
I think the deepest part is we learned our own prejudices and we learned our own indoctrinations. We learned where our own standards of beauty came from, what were our preferences and why were we making those decisions in terms of women.
Becoming aware of those prejudices and indoctrinations is the first step in combating them, which is why we’re encouraging all of our readers to check the film Sunday, June 23rd of 2013, when it will be shown widely for the first time on Oprah’s OWN network. “Dark Girls” is the first in a planned three-part series: the second film, “Yellow Brick Road,” will examine the issues faced by lighter skinned women, while the third movie “What is a Man,” will switch things up with an exploration of issues of masculinity and male identity. Let us know what you think about the trailer. How has colorism affected your life? How has it affected your thinking?
Photo from So Let’s Talk About _______.
Many commonly look at George Takei as Mr. Sulu from Star Trek but if you look deeper he’s been an activist for Asian-Americans and other under-represented communities. Though more of the supporting cast in his Star Trek days, Takei has taken on a leading role in the things he’s involved himself in since his sci-fi adventure days. Case in point is this piece he wrote in the wake of the Boston Marathon tragedy and a recent visit to Arkansas. As he reminisces about he and his family being relocated at gunpoint for “looking like” the people involved in Pearl Harbor he asks us to be aware of how we view people in comparison to the terrorists that were revealed to the public recently. Read More
These are true words from an American Muslim. When terrorist acts occur the media and people of America have a tendency to assume prematurely that it will be someone who is Muslim. A pretty bad presumption on our society’s part. These presumptions can lead to a negative view of our Muslim neighbors. We usually don’t think of how this makes them feel so it’s time we see/hear their reaction. Read More
Lay’s seemed to create quite a stir when they introduced their new flavors to the United States public. Chicken N Waffle in particular received a large amount of attention. Some cried racist, some Read More
Please be clear that this isn’t our opinion nor the creator of this video. But what the internet seemed to suggest to her as she searched for some answers about what people think about her, an Asian woman, is a bit disturbing. Read More
We’re no stranger to Bill O’Reilly making offensive statements or generalizing races, cultures, ethnicities, etc, but we’d be off of our jobs if Read More