Tag Archives: stereotypes

The Unbearable Whiteness Of Being (Part III)

We’ve spent the past few weeks talking about Whiteness, but maybe it’s time just to ask the question directly.

When I say something’s White, what image pops into your head?

Is it something like this?

Or something like this?

Or maybe one of these?

There is a certain image attached to White people, or the very least, generalized to White “culture.” That of the dork. The effete nerd. The bland, out-of-touch suburbanite, fearfully barricading themselves in their comfortable gated community.

And that’s a little ****ed up.

A little.

My day isn’t ruined when I hear a comedian lampoon White folks. I don’t fly into an indignant rage when someone cracks a joke about mayonnaise being too spicy. I certainly don’t think being called “Cracker” carries the same nasty implications as someone getting called “Nigger.”

But I’d be lying if I said it didn’t annoy me just a tiny bit. Continue reading

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The Power of Twitter Showcased at the Oscars: #OscarsSoWhite, #YesAllWomen, and #AskHerMore

Twitter has changed the way news is reported. The Black Lives Matter movement has been particularly successful in raising awareness for cases of police brutality that generally would have been overlooked by mainstream news channels.

Arguably the second most important aspect of Twitter is its ability to connect celebrities to their fan base. With the prevalence of these two features, it’s hardly surprising that celebrities and celebrity events have become more politicized.

This year’s Academy Awards are a prime example of this overlap between the celebrity world and political struggles that have been highlighted via Twitter. Below, I’ve included a few notable examples of Twitter flexing its muscles at the Oscars

#OscarsSoWhite

I’m not going to dwell too much on the circumstances of the #OscarsSoWhite boycott, since Gordon and Evan have already thoroughly explained its context. However, I do want to talk a bit about how the controversy was handled by the Oscars host, Chris Rock.

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Overall, I thought Rock did a great job calling out the Academy without reducing his monologue to a humourless lecture. However, in his article for Salon, Arthur Chu points out that,

Acting like caring about day-to-day violence in the streets and the impact media and culture have on that violence are somehow mutually exclusive — a common, frustrating, tired argument anyone who talks about racism in media will inevitably see dozens of times in the comments section — ignores history.

It ignores the many, many arguments that have been made about how the excuses made for the deaths of Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown frequently come verbatim from untrue stereotypes out of TV and movies, how the only way Darren Wilson’s description of Brown as a “demon” who was “bulking up to get through the bullets” could possibly make sense to anyone is after a lifetime of media portrayals of the scary superhuman black man. It ignores Martin Luther King going out of his way to call Nichelle Nichols and tell her not to quit “Star Trek” because having a black woman on TV who wasn’t a domestic servant mattered. It ignores the ongoing civil rights protests around the Oscars back in the 1960s and ’70s, including Marlon Brando making history as the first and only best actor winner to boycott the ceremony, sending American Indian Movement activist Sacheen Littlefeather to accept the award in his place.

Similarly, several activists have since pointed out the one-dimensionality of calling for more black representation only to appeal to Asian-American stereotypes for a laugh. Continue reading

Socially Conscious Comedy Part II: Key and Peele on Being Black in America

Seeing how I love to pretend that binge-watching comedy sketches counts as research, I decided to follow up on last week’s post about Amy Schumer with a post about Key and Peele.

I find a lot of Schumer’s work funny because I can relate to it. It’s not quite the same with Key and Peele, since I am neither black, nor male, nor American.

Although sometimes their characters aren’t male either.

Even though I have little in common with Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key, I do find their work hilarious. They do a variety of flawless impressions and have a much wider range than Schumer, who generally sticks to one (albeit very funny) schtick.

Like Schumer, they also take on some very serious social issues in their comedy. Since they are both half-black, Key and Peele often touch on the way racism affects the lives of black or biracial individuals. Below, I’ve included three racial inequalities that Key and Peele do a great job revealing via their sketches.

1) Racial Profiling and Police Violence

As a Canadian, the prevalence of police violence towards black Americans blows my mind.  Don’t get me wrong, Canada certainly has our own problems when it comes to police violence. That said, our more recent incidents of violence are due to taser-overuse, rather than unnecessary use of a firearm. It’s uncomfortable to watch cases of police violence when they are discussed on American news, since the focus tends to be on whether or not the victim of police violence “deserved it.” Black victims, even twelve-year-olds with pellet guns, are framed as threatening, in order to excuse why a cop discharged their firearm.

Key and Peele often subvert this “threatening black man” trope in their sketches. In “Flash Mob” and “White Zombies” Key and Peele play non-threatening black men who are mistaken as dangerous by the white people (or white zombies) around them.

Similarly, “Solution to Racial Profiling” mocks the racial double-standard that fames black youth in hoodies as “thugs” while their white peers are described as “misunderstood”.

One of their more serious sketches, “Negrotown,” addresses police violence directly, by imagining a world where police violence and racial profiling no longer existed.

Continue reading

3 Reasons Why I Will Be Watching Ronda Rousey Fight Bethe Correia

I enjoy fighting. I’ve even taken a couple classes in a few different martial arts (although never for long enough to learn anything more than the basics). Occasionally, I enjoy watching a match of MMA or boxing. Watching these matches always makes me feel conflicted. On the one hand, I enjoy the skill and level of physicality involved in fighting; on the other hand, as a Special Ed Aide, I feel terrible supporting sports that could cause long term brain damage. Despite this internal conflict, and despite the fact that I’m not an avid sports watcher, I know I will be watching Ronda Rousey fight Bethe Correia on August 1st. Below, I’ve explained a few reasons why.

1) Rousey is a bad-ass chick

This post went up late because I made myself go to kickboxing last night and then crashed when I got home. The main reason I convinced myself to go (trust me, I love finding an excuse when I can), is because of all the Rousey clips I’ve been watching. When I thought about skipping, I couldn’t help but remind myself, “what would Ronda Do?”

She would do a bad-ass ninja flip and then get herself to kickboxing practice, that’s what.

Continue reading

Culture War Correspondence: Being Canadian

EVAN: I was going to start off this introduction with a whole slew of Canadian stereotypes, complete with obnoxious faux-Canadian-written-accent, but let’s be honest, my inexperience with all such things is what originally made me opt for this topic in the first place.

This commercial should help fill in a few blanks, though.

It should be no secret to many of you that Kat hails from the Great White North, and while I myself was born there I’ve spent much of my life abroad. In today’s discussion our goal is to work through some of what it means to count oneself a Canuck.

KAT: This will be no easy task, since in our two corners of the country Evan and I are both closer to the States than we are to each other. Does Canada even have a distinct culture? Or are we like one massive tumour growing onto American pop culture?

Why don’t we start by spitballing some of the things we both tell people about when describing our “home and native land”? Continue reading

2 Broke Girls, S3E17 “And the Married Man Sleepover”: A TV Review

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I’m gonna be upfront with this review, the basic plot of this episode is a complete mess. There are too many threads that are technically connected to the main storyline but ultimately feel disjointed or are completely lost. All that being said, I’m going to sum up what happens in the next paragraph and then focus on two particular issues that were dealt with Monday night on CBS, from 8:30 to 9:00.

Essentially Caroline doesn’t want to have anything to do with Chef Nicolas, but he tells her that he and his wife have an open relationship. She and Max get their hair done, and then a Skype call with the wife confirms that she’s good to bang the Frenchman if she’d like. Caroline decides to go to dinner to turn him down, doesn’t, sleeps over, doesn’t sleep with him. The end. Continue reading

Shame Day: The Portrayal of Christians in Popular Media

I’ve ragged on Christians and Christianity alike, both in practice and doctrine, and I’ve never felt unjustified in doing so.  Nevertheless, and for all its issues, it really can’t be denied that in the past 20 to 30 years the religion’s really gotten the short end of the stick. In the interest of equity to all, we’re going to spend some time hashing out some of the more popular portrayals of Christians and explaining why they’re unfair, inaccurate, or even just plain spiteful.

I. Christians as One Group

Evan’s already covered the topic of how we’re drifting further and further away from a common cultural understanding- especially when it comes to religion. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing in and of itself, but it is starting to have some negative effects.

There was an episode of Weeds (gah- there’s hours of my life I’ll never get back) depicting the creation of this megachurch in the suburb that the show was (at first, anyways) largely centered on satirizing. And that’s fair; these things do exist, and usually in the wealthier, WASPier neighborhoods of this nation. And that was all fine and well until the episode where the zealous church-goers started speaking in tongues.

Continue reading