Tag Archives: Political Correctness

Subtle Racism Sucks

This is a topic I’ve been mulling over writing about for over a year now and it simply hasn’t come together, until now that is. I’ve been inspired to write this post because of some random video a friend of mine from high school shared on Facebook of all places. As much as I bitch about Facebook it’s nice to see someone pull through with a post that is heartfelt, meaningful, and gets your mind thinking a bit.

So about that video. She posted a five-minute long video that was just her talking. This person doesn’t fuck around on social media and if she posted a five-minute long video of her talking I knew something was being said and I wasn’t disappointed. She hit the current situation (the protests, Black Lives Matter, the police, racism, #AlLlIvEsMaTtEr, etc.) clearly, directly, and it definitely hit hard. 

To sum it all up, she said something about self-reflecting about the beliefs we all hold. Easy, right? I’m not racist at all so there isn’t much to reflect upon. She also said the stupidly deep line that went something like, “It isn’t our black friends that need to solve racism; that is up to us to solve, because we are the problem.” Obviously not all white people are the issue and the ‘we’ is a generalization of the white race, but racism is inherently a problem with non-black people by definition. Well, I’ve never thought about it that way before; until now I’ve viewed the recent protests as a conflict between the cops and blacks — I’m not black or a cop so what can I do about any of it? But regarding systemic racism and me being a white person? Maybe I do have a part in it after all. Maybe I am part of the problem? Maybe I am part of the solution.

But I’m not racist, at least as far as I know. But here at this blog I try to remain as open and honest as I’m able and have been wondering if I’m part of the problem after all. One thing I’ve noticed about racism is that it’s really subtle; it isn’t people in the streets chanting that they hate ‘niggers’ or anything. It’s much more quiet and repressed than that.

Subtle Racism in the World…

I recall a conversation in college about PC culture. Political correctness if you’re unaware of the term. The question was this: does PC culture help eliminate racism/hate or not? Most of the class seemed to agree, thinking that if it was taboo to call blacks ‘niggers’ or gays ‘faggots’ that it would somehow solve the problem. If everyone is too scared to say the words in public, it’s like the problem doesn’t really exist. It never has room to grow into full-fledged hatred. I was one of the few dissenters, arguing that eliminating language or making it unacceptable didn’t remove the true feelings behind the thoughts; people will feel what they feel even if they can’t put it into words. To me PC culture was an utter failure because while it dissuaded people from being vocal about their feelings, those feelings still existed, and to me it felt like a ticking time bomb.

Racism still exists in subtle forms, and I really think this might be due to our heavy PC culture in the past few decades. I think of my dad and how any black man walking along the street is “looking to buy drugs,” or whatever. Not like any African American can actually enjoy a walk or anything: they’re always assumed to be up to something shady. Or the fabled, “He’s one of the good ones,” when a white person has one as their friend. As if blacks have to prove they’re “one of the goods ones:” implying that they’re bad or flawed by default. There are a few other examples about Mexicans being lazy or criminals, but I don’t have any specifics to add here. Once again, racism isn’t white people calling blacks ‘niggers’ or anything; it’s much more subtle than that and we overlook most of this closeted racism.

I suppose my worry with this subtle, quiet racism is that given the correct environment (basically our current environment…) racism like this can grow and fester like a disease. Sure, people can’t say the n-word due to political correctness, but what if it becomes the norm? What if hatred to other races becomes acceptable and even desired by the dominant social trends of the day? Then it becomes cool to call blacks slurs, to hate openly instead of hiding it within. It becomes public, a sort of demon that no one can stop, and this is the Real Racism — like 1930s German Racism — that I find so damn terrifying even if it doesn’t currently exist. I’m sure a large portion of the population feels these quiet but repressed feelings of hate where there’s only some fragile, poorly-fortified damn stopping these feelings from spilling over into the mainstream. And this damn is us quiet, timid, well-meaning people of the world.

My Facebook friend’s main point in her video seemed to be about correcting your fellow humans about subtly racist comments and actions that your quietly-racist uncle/dad likes to randomly spout out. Show that you’re not accepting of any form of subtle hate. Make a stand. Say something. Don’t make it okay. Sure, someone who blurts out, “That’s gay,” I would correct, but this seems obvious and easy enough to implement and only requires courage to actually speak up. But with self-reflection I began wondering if I had some subtle form of racism that I wasn’t aware of. And here’s where we get to the old blog post that I’ve never gotten around to writing: Yes, I’m prejudiced. Yes, I’m biased. And it’s in a way I’m not even fully understand. It’s also in a totally undramatic and seemingly harmless way that sounds stupid and pointless to write anything about. My main racist crime?: I don’t use checkout lines with black people as the cashier. Like subconsciously. Bear with me in this silliness; I’ll post the second part before the weekend is over. I promise.

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The Little Mermaid Sucks

Goddamn this entire topic is stupid. Initially I was pissed over the entire “debate” about what race Ariel should be in the upcoming live-action Little Mermaid movie, but the more I thought about it the more pissed I became at social media and people in general. Without social media people probably wouldn’t be foaming at the mouth over something so fucking trivial, pointless, and stupid. I think the “debate” of the Little Mermaid casting choice isn’t the actual problem here: it’s just a symptom of the “outrage culture” that is enabled by social media and especially Facebook. It’s nearly a perfect example of how social media can whip people into a frenzy over something that isn’t a big deal at all.

Let’s also not lie here: this is currently a Hot Fucking Topic and I want to rake in viewers/readers/subscribers while the going is still good. Let me in on all the drama while things are still hot. You know people will totally forget about this in a week so time is of the essence.

To recap a bit: Disney loves making stupid-ass live action movies lately. I’m assuming there are a few reasons for this. They’re cheap to make (they don’t need to make a totally new movie), they can capitalize on nostalgia, and who the fuck knows, maybe Disney is simply getting lazy lately. Either way they’re churning out live actions films that no one really seems to actually be asking for and The Little Mermaid is one of the upcoming ones. Whatever.

Apparently people are going rabid over the fact that Ariel — a white girl in the original film — is now being played by a black girl. HOLY FUCK GUYS, HOL UP! There are a wide-range of arguments going around both for and against this choice: Originalists want Ariel to be white simply because she was white in the animated movie. Fair enough. These people have no real racist motivations to be against a black Ariel, they just think the remake should be as close to the original as possible. Other socially progressive people think that, sure, an African Ariel is also okay as it really doesn’t matter who the hell plays a goddamn mermaid: it is just a movie. I suppose I can see a little truth in each sides’ arguments (At least the typical ones I’ve heard. There are a few raving racists talking about “white culture” being stolen by blacks or some shit like that, but fuck those guys.) but have stayed mostly neutral over it because it is the stupidest thing you could ever argue about (besides the color of a striped dress. Those were the good ole days).

A realistic depiction of “dolphin Ariel.”

Let’s also visit what is being discussed real quickly: the race of a mermaid. I’m sorry to disappoint anyone, but mermaids aren’t real. If you want to really get technical, an aquatic human/fish hybrid probably wouldn’t have any pigment in their skin at all and might look the color of a damn dolphin, once again, if they actually did exist. They wouldn’t be white or black but a kinda cloudy-day-grey color if they actually did exist. This is just me guessing by the way. The fact that people are pissed over the race of a mythical creature is insane. It’s like being pissed if someone put a blue unicorn in a movie. “But unicorns aren’t blue!!!!” What fucking color would they be then? (I think a blue unicorn makes sense: it would have perfect camouflage for flying in the sky. This could help the species evade it’s natural predator, the fire-breathing dragon. Dragons would also probably be blue for the exact same reason lions are orangish.)

Another reason I’ve heard against an African Ariel is some overarching idea that Disney only made this choice for politically correct/public relation reasons, sort of pandering to others so they company appears “racially conscious” or something like that. Implicit in this is the idea that Disney is pandering to a minority of people (blacks) at the expense of pissing off a majority of people (whites). This belief states there is a right and a wrong choice by equating Disney’s pandering with a lack of sound financial reasoning. Basically if Disney really wanted to make a ton of money — according to this line of thought — they wouldn’t piss off white people by making Ariel black. But this doesn’t make sense if you think it through: Disney is a huge, take-over-the-world type of company that (especially since they’re publicly traded, ticker of DIS) wants to rake in as much cash as possible. This is literally their job and they have tons of resources to allow them to do this as effectively as possible. Disney has a small army of smart, talented, mathematically-inclined people accompanied by sociologists and researchers collecting tons of data and doing surveys to find out the exact risk/reward of a black Ariel and have found that it is a net positive for the company. If anything pissing off white people and making Ariel black clearly makes the best financial choice because this is what they decided to do. Disney is in this to make money, and they’re not going to take some feel-good, PR/PC choice if it will lose them money. I honestly think this choice will not backfire on them in any way.

I suppose I view the entire issue as Disney’s choice/problem anyways. They own the rights to the movie so could cast a fucking Indian midget for all I care. I mean it wouldn’t make sense to me, but it’s their movie so fuck it, they’ll do what they want to do. While Disney (the huge company) isn’t a genuine artist (what with all of that money-raking/keeping shareholders happy thing going on), I put all artistic decisions on the artist. It’s their work and they’re in control of whatever they want to do. They are beholden to no one because that’s not how art works. Not that a live-action remake of The Little Mermaid is necessarily high art but you get the idea.

And to bring this back around, it’s probably social media’s fault anyways. It is the venue where all of this bullshit drama can actually take place: people wouldn’t get this fired up if they had to actually have a conversation about it. I imagine a conversation would go something like this: an Originalist would say “I think Ariel should be white — not because I have anything against black people — but simply because she was white in the original.” And the other person could say “Hmm. I guess I understand that, but it doesn’t change the fundamentals of the story. It isn’t hurting anything for her to be black. It gives black girls someone to identify with.” And they could agree to disagree with a little appreciation for the opposing view. On social media it’s just posting/sharing foaming-at-the-mouth posts that just piss everyone off who disagrees with you. As always there is no real conversation and is just people shouting what their beliefs to others. We pick our sides, start posting/screaming, and hope to drown out the opposite view through shear force and the consensus of the crowd.

And then there’s me: a person who is complaining about people complaining about a silly topic on social media. The irony isn’t lost on me either so no need to point this out. If you guys want to start a dumpster fire in the comments below or on this blogs Facebook page with your Hot Opinions, go right ahead. It’ll be fun to watch. The Little Mermaid Sucks.