Oooh. I LOVE THIS.
Why isn’t anyone talking about this?
Watch non black cosplayers and lovers of cosplay stay silent on this.
This is horrible. Beyond horrible.
Black men and women are being gunned down for “suspicious behavior” meanwhile we have white men walking into and out of stores, Walmarts, and Targets, with actual weapons strapped to their person, without so much as a backward glance.
Take a facet of crime, and then look at television shows/movies that feature those criminals as protagonists.
White serial killers.
White political corruption
White drug dealers
I mostly want to talk about this as a TV phenomenon, but pick a crime, any crime, and Western media has probably made a movie/TV series/play/etc. with a white person that romanticizes the criminal activity. No matter what, a white person can do whatever terrible crimes and still have a TV/movie fanbase that loves them.
When you see black or brown people committing crimes on screen, you are to see them thugs and criminal masterminds and people to be beat down.
When you see white people committing crimes on screen, you see a three-dimensional portrait of why someone might commit that crime, how criminals are people too, and how you should even love them for the crimes that they commit because they’re just providing for their families or they’ve wronged or they’re just people and not perfect. This is particularly a luxury given to white male characters, since there few white female criminals as protagonists.
If and of the above shows were about black or brown folks, there would be a backlash of (white) people claiming that TV and movies are romanticizing criminals and are treating them too much like heroes and that it will affect viewers and encourage violence and “thuggish” behavior. And yet fictional white criminals get to have a deep fanbase who loves these white criminals, receive accolades and awards, get called amazing television that portray the complexities of human nature. Viewers of these characters see past the atrocious crimes and into their humanity, a luxury that white characters always have while characters of color rarely do. The closest that mainstream TV has come to showing black criminals as main characters is probably The Wire, and even then, the criminals share equal screen time and equal status as main characters as the police trying to stop them.
The idea that crime can be so heavily romanticized and glorified to such a degree is undoubtedly a privilege given to white characters. The next time you hear someone talk about Dexter Morgan or Walter White in a positive way, it may be an opportunity to rethink how white people can always able to be seen as people no matter what they do, while everyone else can be boiled down to nothing but a criminal.
I always felt extremely uncomfortable with this trope because, not only is it racist, but it tends to feed into the already too common propensity society has to humanize, romanticize and exonerate irrevocably terrible white men. Like if you’re a white man and you commit awful crimes, you will likely go down in history as a legendary celebrity and historical figure
Early in my freshman year, my dad asked me if there were lots of Latinos at school. I wanted to say, “Pa, I’m one of the only Latinos in most of my classes. The other brown faces I see mostly are the landscapers’. I think of you when I see them sweating in the morning sun. I remember you were a landscaper when you first came to Illinois in the 1950s. And look, Pa! Now I’m in college!”
But I didn’t.
I just said, “No, Pa. There’s a few Latinos, mostly Puerto Rican, few Mexicans. But all the landscapers are Mexican.”
My dad responded, “¡Salúdelos, m’ijo!”
So when I walked by the Mexican men landscaping each morning, I said, “Buenos días.”
Recently, I realized what my dad really meant. I remembered learning the Mexican, or Latin American, tradition of greeting people when one enters a room. In my Mexican family, my parents taught me to be “bien educado” by greeting people who were in a room already when I entered. The tradition puts the responsibility of the person who arrives to greet those already there. If I didn’t follow the rule as a kid, my parents admonished me with a back handed slap on my back and the not-so-subtle hint: “¡Saluda!”
I caught myself tapping my 8-year-old son’s back the other day when he didn’t greet one of our friends: “Adrian! ¡Saluda!”
However, many of my white colleagues over the years followed a different tradition of ignorance. “Maleducados,” ol’ school Mexican grandmothers would call them.
But this Mexican tradition is not about the greeting—it’s about the acknowledgment. Greeting people when you enter a room is about acknowledging other people’s presence and showing them that you don’t consider yourself superior to them.
When I thought back to the conversation between my dad and me in 1990, I realized that my dad was not ordering me to greet the Mexican landscapers with a “Good morning.”
Instead, my father wanted me to acknowledge them, to always acknowledge people who work with their hands like he had done as a farm worker, a landscaper, a mechanic. My father with a 3rd grade education wanted me to work with my mind but never wanted me to think myself superior because I earned a college degree and others didn’t.
There comes a time in every blog owner’s life when you gotta take something down.
Either because it doesn’t have the message you hoped it did or because the people behind it are just more of the same, kool aid drinking bigots (albeit the off brand one).
Recently, a blogger and featured writer for Colorlines, Aura Bogado, wrote a piece raising some significant issues with the organization FCKH8’s video titled, “Hey White People: A Kinda Awkward Note to America by #Ferguson Kids”.
I was charmed by the video, I admit that, I thought it had a good message, until the end where I was asked to buy a tshirt by a very fair young man. Despite being slightly put off, I understand the stick: charity, lots of organizations need money, so I thought, I’ll reblog and signal boost, be an ally.
Within hours of my post, the hashtag, #IStandWithAura began appearing on my TL. I read Aura’s piece, “This is the T-Shirt Company Making Money Off of Ferguson”, and then I read the correction.
Rather than Colorlines standing with their journalist, they wrongfully issued a “correction” to her article citing journalistic integrity after receiving an accusation of reverse racism from FCKH8.
As a publication that deals with race (hence Colorlines), their betrayal is two fold: 1. treatment of Aura is deplorable and the lip service paid to the myth of “reverse racism”. Every time an organization or a person uses reverse racism and isn’t called out on their faulty logic it makes it that much more difficult for our needs to be met as people of color. It stinks of respectability and that is not a mentality that will further the discussion of race.
I became acquainted with Aura through twitter. I have found her to be competent, trustworthy, thoughtful, and willing to engage to help others discover the truly insidious nature of racism.
As a Latina, I struggle to find others like myself who’s experiences are similar and the betrayal by Colorlines is beyond understanding. Knowing the damage this can do to Aura’s career, that it has done to their readership; I hope they will more carefully consider their retraction policy or they need to stop marketing themselves as such.
I encourage everyone who reads this, follows my twitter, is a friend on facebook, to boycott FCKH8. They are not an organization interested in helping the communities they purport to, they are exploitative and this proves it. Rather than take Aura’s criticisms and see if they are founded and correct them, they chose to bully and silence through her publication, via her race and her gender and Colorlines allowed it.
FCKH8 consider yourself blocked and boycotted. Colorlines & Race Forward, as a member of the community, I appreciate your apology to Aura but I will no longer continue my readership.
One final note on FCKH8 as an organization
FCKH8 needs to undergo some serious remodeling. And people supporting that organization should know that this kind of advertising is not funny:
So much of the language used to describe abuse comes from the abuser’s point of view. STOP SPEAKING FROM THE ABUSER’S POINT OF VIEW.
"Physically, the Israelis had won; all those broken lives and all those smashed buildings and all that destroyed infrastructure do not suggest that the Palestinians have "prevailed" (to use a "Bushite" word). But strategically, the Palestinians have won. They are still in Gaza." -Robert Fisk
Photos by Eloisa d’Orsi
Operation Protective Shield