Stephen Jay Gould (via feministpizza)
Stephen Jay Gould (via feministpizza)
From his great piece in the NYT:
In modern America we believe racism to be the property of the uniquely villainous and morally deformed, the ideology of trolls, gorgons and orcs. We believe this even when we are actually being racist.
The “I’m not racist even though I’m doing something actually racist right now” rationale is linked to the notion of racism as something worthy of societal condemnation. That is a good thing. As Sugrue identifies in his book, you see a post-World-War-II consensus forming in the 1950s that racial discrimination actually is wrong.
Along with that (perhaps in the 60s) comes the idea that racism is something that “low-class” white people do. It’s not a system of laws and policies, so much as the ideology of Cletus the slack-jawed yokel. But Arnold Hirsch and Beryl Satter’s work shows the University of Chicago quietly and privately pursuing a racist strategy of “urban renewal” while publicly claiming otherwise.
The problem with this, as Coates suggests, is that when we think of racism as something that only evil people do, we excuse, ignore or miss much of the racism at work in contemporary society. This understanding of racism allows people to ignore (and thus makes it extremely difficult for racial justice advocates to call out) racism implicit in government policies, racism at work in admired organizations (Universities and law enforcement are two good examples) and racism among otherwise “good,” well-intentioned people (many of whom might describe themselves as allies in the fight for racial justice). And we can’t move forward until we can all recognize and deal with these must less explicit, but still quite pervasive forms of racism. A similar argument could be made for other social movements that have had major successes followed by backlash and retrenchment (not surprisingly feminism comes to mind).
Elissa Schappel, in the articulately-titled Salon.com article, Stop dumping on Lena Dunham!
So there you have it. Let’s be real, guys! People of color do not work in the multi-faceted fields of publishing or “the arts.” Nope. No Asians, no Blacks, no Latin@s. That would be unrealistic. But you’ll see some diversity — lots of people with old British ancestry, Swedish ancestry, Nordic ancestry, even French! Right?
BTW. Many people have “kvetched” over the absence of diversity in Seinfeld. But clearly, some white ears don’t hear voices of color.
“Girls” has been the target of ageism and sexism, and that isn’t right. Even so, it is not the first show to receive criticism over lack of diversity. It’s not due to sexism or ageism that the show is being called out…”Girls” is being called out due to stereotypic depictions of characters of color, the writing staff’s blasé response to concerns about diversity, and for insisting that it is novel and different and creating spaces and representing women who don’t have a place or voice, even as it continues to marginalize intersectionally.
Anti-girl all day everyday #forlyfe
I completely agree that the lack of racial diversity on tv is a problem but I feel like the Girls backlash isn’t doing much to fix this. It might be making it more difficult for shows/producers/writers etc. to ignore diversity/intersectionality, though Girls did quite well before making an effort to address these problems.
Why focus so much energy on Lena Dunham when we could channel at least some of that energy into petitioning HBO and other networks to support shows created/written/directed/produced by people of color? I’ve seen a ton of the former and none of the latter on tumblr thus far.
Also, when a show makes a concerted effort to respond to criticism it doesn’t make sense to me to be “anti” that show. Why (and how can we afford to) write off people who want to learn/become allies/better understand and respond to issues of diversity?
Finally, why are we focusing so much more attention on a show that fails to include people of color when there are a TON of shows out there that continue to actively depict people of color, ethnic and sexual minorities and women in terribly derogatory ways? I’ve seen maybe one post on my dashboard about race on Two Broke Girls and what feels like a million about Girls. We need to address invisibility without forgetting that (the wrong kind of) visibility can just as problematic.
— Zina Saro-Wiwa in her NYT Op-Doc, “Black Women’s Transitions to Natural Hair”
from Dorothy Roberts, Fatal Invention
“White women in Chicago are slightly more likely than black women to get breast cancer, but black women are twice as likely to die from it. That is a startling statistic by itself. But what is equally as shocking is that in 1980 Chicago’s black and white breast cancer mortality rates were identical: black and white women died at the same rate.”
Searching for an explanation, Roberts interviews Steven Whitman, director of the Sinai Urban Heath Institute. Whitman explains,
“The improvement in the white rate began to take place just as we began to figure out how to do early detection with mammography…White women were able to take advantage of these improvements and black women were not at all. So what you have is a stunningly painful observation that in twenty-five years black women have gained nothing, not one iota, in terms of beast cancer mortality from any of our advances…every week in Chicago, a little more than two black women on average die from breast cancer just because of the disparity. It’s literally a matter of life and death.”
What prevents black women from getting the kind of cancer care available to white women? As Dorothy Roberts and Whitman suggest, one major barrier is access to mammography.