- The Neutral and The Marked: A Primer For Your Kids
- From Pale To Pumped: With Racial Stereotypes
- Why & How People Of Colour Are Included In Advertising: 1st of a Series
- "Your Body": Men Are People and Women Are Women
Everything that activists have been saying, of how white equals the default, equals neutral primarily white male at that and everything else is other. Everything else is marked and labeled differently.
When we say this stuff is everywhere we do mean everywhere. It's indoctrinated from the very beginning of life; in toys, on tv, in how people relate to the infant or child.
"What a pretty baby, is a boy or a girl?"
"What a pretty little black/asian baby."
The answer to this is not to say well, don't mention race at all. Because it's already been proven that not mentioning race, due to years of social conditioning, defaults to white. The answer is to make race and culture recognized as distinctive but not fundamentally different.
I'm a girl, someone else is a boy. It's pretty damn distinctive. But we're both adults, or children depending on age and experience and we're definitely both human beings. If I'm the black woman and someone else is a white male, it's distinctive, it means something, it filters and shades our perspectives and that is important.
But there is no either or scenario. It's not 'be human' or 'be a black/asian/american first nations human'.
It is not impossible to hold two concepts in the mind at the same time. If lemonade can be sweet and tart or sweet and sour, surely the concept of a human being having distinct experiences as well as more common ones can be understood - no matter how impossible various individuals would like to make it seem, world wide.
Human AND Muslim (not plus, like it's some built on addition or extra attribute that comes in a special kit). Human AND Female. Human AND Black.
Frankly, I think that 'special kit' attitude is why so many white people scramble to find american first nation history in their family pasts and why they embrace other cultures, like hiphop. They figure they had to throw away their special kit to become white, so now they'll just annex someone else's distinctiveness because they had to give something up and sacrifice equals oppression.
Nevermind they gave up their roots in the hopes of meeting and matching up to the financial elite and became 'white'.
But if this stuff gets caught early enough, if it's an African Descended Family Toy Set, with an Asian Descended Family Toy Set with a European Descended Family Toyset (and notes for ALL on where in that particular Diaspora that family came from) - then maybe there can be change.
I was reminded today of the Sami, which I grew up learning about under a different name. And it brought home a point I've been nibbling on for a while when it comes to the phrase 'Indigenous Peoples'.
White folk were indigenous peoples too. They've the indigenous peoples of Europe. And they like to forget that their greed and wars and using up resources of their homelands led to them venturing out to meet other indigenous groups and then lying to them and defrauding them and killing them off with their native diseases. Or rather, those with power in those native tribes, lied and cheated, both the new indigenous peoples they met and their own, less wealth endowed, peoples.
And I guess if you write your history to say that the only other human beings you found in the world, were all inferior to you, then you don't have to think about the lying and cheating and murder. And it's possibly even easier to do with strangers after you've already practiced it on your own people.
But that just leaves guilt in the end - useless, impractical guilt and a whole lot of habits to learn to drop. I wonder if all the people saying 'Teach us. But you never teach us. You keep telling us to learn on our own.' Are basically saying the lying, cheating, murder is hereditary and comes with a side of laziness?
Funny that's what they keep saying is wrong with the people they tend to lie to, cheat from and murder. Intergenerational projection, perhaps? Maybe coming from all that useless guilt?
And then there's wondering as to why some folk won't accept an apology that's nothing but a 'Please forgive me for my huge sense of
entitlement guilt. Please tell me what to do, impose a penance because after all, you still work for me.'
Sunday, August 16, 2009