Coffee Rhetoric: White Privilege
Showing posts with label White Privilege. Show all posts
Showing posts with label White Privilege. Show all posts

December 03, 2015

The Wiz Live! or Racists Ruin Everything

In case you don’t know, NBC’s The Wiz Live! makes its nationally televised debut tonight at 8:00 pm, much to my (and loads of other people’s) delight. If you’re a fan of the 1978 film version directed by Sidney Lumet and starring Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Lena Horne, Nipsey Russell, Mabel King and a host of other Black entertainment notables, then this a big deal. Furthermore, if you’re a fan Stephanie Mills’s soul-stirring version of Home from the 1975 Broadway version of The Wiz, and saw the clip of her rehearsing with newcomer Shanice Williams (the new Dorothy), then you’re really stoked for tonight, no doubt.

This is all cause for an exciting night at home, snacks and wine on deck, right? Right? Well, not according to Whiteness… which works to piss on the proverbial parade of any person, place, or thing that poses a threat to its power and/or privilege; and anti-Black sentiment extends to the world of entertainment and theater—whether racists are having a collective hissy-fit over actress Amandla Stenberg being cast as Rue in the first installment of The Hunger Games, lobbing ugly racial hate at singer FKA Twigs for being engaged to Twilight actor Robert Pattinson, or threatening to boycott the new Star Wars movie for its inclusion of a Black Storm Trooper—anti-Blackness isn’t exclusively perpetrated by old-timers from the American South, the GOP, and Donald Trump supporters; liberals, millennials, and Gen Xers alike are just as hateful… despite some of these same offenders liberally vulturizing Black culture and vernacular, but I digress.

A Twitter-search of ‘The Wiz Live’ will expose a host of clueless white folks who’ve never even
heard of the 1975 Broadway production of The Wiz or watched the 1978 film adaptation, but who felt equipped enough to complain about what they perceive to be ‘reverse-racism’ because, Yemaya forbid, if everything isn’t centered on Whiteness. Notwithstanding the fact that the 1939 musical-film fantasy The Wizard of Oz, starring Judy Garland as Dorothy, was an all-white affair.

November 03, 2013

Whitewashed: White Americans Reflect on White Privilege


"...To be white in this culture means to deny the reality of racism; it means to deny the privilege that we have as whites. Most people, who are Whites, don't want to accept that they are privileged, because they are." 
"People don't want to talk about being White because they know that at a deep level, even though some of them may not have talked about it with anybody or every expressed it, they do know that they get a benefit from being White." 
"... To me, it's about privilege. A lot of people get to walk around thinking that we live in a meritocracy, and thinking that their own hard work is the only thing that's responsible for their achievements. I think that it shapes everything." 
"I was taught that you respected Black folk, but not really as human beings, but more like cats, and dogs, and cows; you wouldn't mistreat a cat or a dog in my family, and you wouldn't mistreat a black person. I don't have any trouble admitting that I'm a racist; I think it's absurd to try to fight with that. I grew up in this society I was conditioned by, I think internally in my psyche I have grounded and rooted those attitudes and I see it in me all the time... I mean, I'm always dealing with it. I don't think that make me a bad person ... I just think it means I've been well indoctrinated." 
"... Like Malcolm X said: 'Racism is like a Cadillac; there's a new model every year'. Racism is a dynamic social construction, so it's always changing and it's always mutating. So people that say, 'well there's no racism anymore', they're referring to racism as it existed in 1950 or 1920 or 1910."  
Above is a collection of quotes from Whitewashed: Unmasking the World of Whites, a 2013 documentary by Mark Patrick George. Clocking in at just under 35 minutes this interesting featurette examines white privilege and racism via footage—(collected over the course of several years)—of several white Americans offering insight on what whiteness means to them and the situations that have prompted them to realize how institutional racism works to marginalize others, and work in their favor. 

September 22, 2013

Nature's Classroom: Reenacting Slavery as a Learning Tool?

Exploring How One Massachusetts Program Misses the Mark


Picture being a parent, signing off on a permission slip enabling your child access to what you think will be an once-in-a-lifetime educational experience that’ll enhance what they're already learning at school. Now imagine, later, discovering that the ‘experience’ you permitted your son or daughter to participate in included them being chased at night, through the woods, while being assailed with racial epithets and insults during a slavery reenactment. Definitely not the type of educational team building any parent would knowingly sign off on without some trepidation, I'm sure.

Apparently, one Hartford school decided to treat its middle-school students to a history lesson many of them wouldn't forget. Last fall seventh graders from the Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy attended a 4-day outing at an environmental education facility called Nature’s Classroom; which boasts thirteen sites in New York and New England and promises that students will come away from their experience having developed a “sense of community, confidence in themselves, and an appreciation for others that will carry over to the school community.” However, that’s not the warm feeling some left the program with after participating in an Underground Railroad slavery vignette which allegedly included: pretending to be up for sale at a slave auction, pretending to be on a slave ship, cotton picking, and the like.  

And since James and Sandra Baker (of Farmington, CT) seem like the type of parents who would never knowingly agree to have their child subjected to that kind of mental mind fuck exercise, they removed her from the school and filed a human rights complaint with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities and with the Department of Education (on behalf of their daughter) against the Hartford school system, after learning the details of the trip. 

August 01, 2012

Victoria Foyt’s ‘Save the Pearls’, A World Bereft of White Privilege and Beauty Standards

While browsing the internet for current events, I happened upon some buzz of the “WTF?” variety regarding an independently published YA novel written by Victoria Foyt called, “Save the Pearls Part One: Revealing Eden.” A quick Google search led me to an interesting list of results; which included dismay from bloggers, Amazon stats [the book was rated poorly], and its official site. The cover art for the book features a young woman whose skin and hair color are split bilaterally, down the middle [black skin, raven colored hair on one side, flaxen haired and pale skin on the other]. An official synopsis [from the Save the Pearls site] reads…
In a post-apocalyptic world where resistance to an overheated environment defines class and beauty, Eden Newman’s white skin brands her as a member of the lowest class, a weak and ugly Pearl. The clock is ticking: if Eden doesn’t mate before her eighteenth birthday, she’ll be left outside to die.

If only a dark-skinned Coal from the ruling class would pick up her mate option, she’d be safe. But no matter how much Eden darkens her skin and hair, she’s still a Pearl, still ugly-cursed with a tragically low mate-rate of 15%.

Just maybe one Coal sees the real Eden and will save her-she has begun secretly dating her handsome co-worker Jamal. 
I haven’t read the entire book, but based on the generous excerpts I’ve been able to without having to pay and Foyt’sown misguided views on what constitutes anti-racism and racism, I’ve gleaned all that I need and then some, so more than enough to offer a critique on Foyt’s work.