Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Black Girl, Light World X: The Help



It’s not a Disney movie.  Trust me.  And the woman who wrote the book WITH HELP FROM THE NAACP is far from racist.  Trust me.  Someone is looking to make a buck based on the fact that she wasn’t respected.  I understand wanting respect, but WTF does money bring you?
What does it matter if the NAACP helped Kathryn Stockett? The fact is if one use the likeness of someone in a book or movie or the like, one has to 1) ASK THEIR PERMISSION and 2) PAY THEM
But apparently Stockett didn’t feel the need to do either, even though she is making money off of another person. If money doesn’t bring anyone anything, maybe Stockett shouldn’t make any money from her book/movie deal? If money wasn’t a big deal, why wasn’t Abilene Cooper notified in the first place?
A white person making money from a black person’s life and not feeling it necessary to ask them for permission and/or pay them from the proceeds… that sounds soooooo familiar! Where in history have we seen this before?
it is a Disney movie. As in, you know, distributed… by Disney. 
American Psycho is a Disney movie then too.  Lionsgate is owned by Disney.  I guess Ed Gein’s family ought to beg Bret Easton Ellis for money because Patrick Batemen was based on him.  Or perhaps JK Rowling’s best friend from college ought to get money from HER because Ron Weasley is his life with added magic.  Want to bet if Katherine Stockett was a black woman who had done the same thing to Abilene Cooper would she be wanting money for it?  Are the ancestors of the Borgias making a fuss over The Godfather?!  Why..a Dago using the church for his personal gain! o.O  It’s the Roman Empire being built all over again! 
Yes…What Katherine Stockett did with “The Help” IS SOOOO akin to the atrocities of slavery, tortures of racism and the defamities of the entire history of the Black population since they were raped and robbed of their kingdoms and beautiful societies in Africa.  Gimme a break.  I saw as many fucking Black people in “The Help” screening as there were whites.  I guess Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer and Emma Stone are racists too building on the White Supremacy of Miss Katherine Stockett.
Let’s break this down shall we?
  1.  I guess Ed Gein’s family ought to beg Bret Easton Ellis for money because Patrick Batemen was based on him.” 
    Well, no because he’s something of a celebrity/public figure meaning the facts of his life are a part of public record AND his right to privacy ended with his death AND all of the characters based on him were changed enough to not completely resemble the original person. If you want more info on personality rights and privacy rights, go here and here.
  2. “Or perhaps JK Rowling’s best friend from college ought to get money from HER because Ron Weasley is his life with added magic.”
    That’s between her and her friend. I’m sure she got PERMISSION to use his life them being, I don’t know, friends and all, which Stockett and Abilene Cooper were not.
  3. “Want to bet if Katherine Stockett was a black woman who had done the same thing to Abilene Cooper would she be wanting money for it?”
    It doesn’t really matter whether she would or wouldn’t. The point is that it’s her life and character that are on the page and she has the legal right to control and get contractually agreed upon compensation for the use of her life and character. If she wants to charge Kathryn Stockett for that use, it’s her prerogative.
  4. “Are the ancestors of the Borgias making a fuss over The Godfather?!  Why..a Dago using the church for his personal gain! o.O  It’s the Roman Empire being built all over again! “
    See pt. 1
  5. “Yes…What Katherine Stockett did with “The Help” IS SOOOO akin to the atrocities of slavery, tortures of racism and the defamities of the entire history of the Black population since they were raped and robbed of their kingdoms and beautiful societies in Africa.”
    Yes, what Stockett did is akin to the atrocities of slavery because it’s a part of that legacy. White people have a history of using Africans and African descendants (as well as other peoples) as free labor, sexual objects, and entertainment. In these modern and postmodern times where being called a racist is social self-harm, this act often finds its expression in taking the stories of black people—and others—and centering them around said white people, making themselves the hero of the story of the battle against racism and oppression (see revisionist civil war history, To Kill a Mockingbird, Avatar, The Blindside, Crash, and this article), when the reality is that black people have been fighting against racism mostly by themselves and these stories just exist to make white people feel less guilty. 
    Yes, there have been some white people who realized that white supremacy was evil but usually they joined the efforts of black people who were already fighting and they weren’t generally the leaders. Stockett’s creative works are just more of the same drivel. What makes it ironic is that her hypocrisy is blatantly exposed by the way she treats the actual real live black people that she used in her fictional books.
  6. “I guess Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer and Emma Stone are racists too building on the White Supremacy of Miss Katherine Stockett.”
    I think that they, like others (perhaps yourself?), would like to believe in the story that Stockett has presented and they have to choose what they feel is most important; fictional racial harmony that may inspire actual racial harmony or actual racial accountability. We apparently disagree. It happens. *shrugs*
TL;DR  Guess I’m a racist giving money to the harsh crackah bitch making money off the backs of an entire race of people by being inspired by one woman’s life!  Bad white girl…go to Hell for being RACIST!
I guess Eminem is a racist too for being a prolific rapper and making money off of something he “Stole” from black culture! o.O  Bad white boy, get back heathen racist! 
I’ve read through some of the things you’ve said on your Tumblr about white people.  I understand the plight of blacks and other races, it’s disgusting and horrid.  I’ve exeperienced it firsthand raising Indian children in a household where I was treated almost no differently than a Mamie but their culture.  But you are filled with unjustified hatred for a race of people in the same way white people were unjustified in their hatred.  Racism doesn’t just run in the “white” culture.  You don’t think I haven’t been subjected to racism myself?
I don’t hate white people at all, and there are many white people that I love quite dearly. What I hate is whiteness and white supremacy. Not whiteness in the sense of being of European descent, but whiteness as the identity constructed to establish superiority over everyone else in the world. Europeans and European colonists never identified themselves as a singular group called white people until they as a group found other cultures that they wanted to exploit. The very idea of being white (versus black/brown/red/yellow) holds within it the ideas of white supremacy. Until Europeans reinvented themselves as white people they identified by their nationality and ethnicity. When Whiteness/Race came along so did White Supremacy/Racism. And unfortunately that’s what most of Western culture (especially American culture) is built on.
It’s “white” people’s refusal to look at their current culture and acknowledge the current disparities that keeps them locked in the racial frame of “the past”. And books like The Help only continue to whitewash the past and rose-tint the present; they add absolutely nothing to the continued growth away from racism.
We have made great strides in America I will never deny that. But it seems to me that both white and black people think that what progress has been gained cannot be lost, therefore they have no more work, no more strenuous self-examination to do. While they sit, stagnating, the progress that was gained recedes before this generations eyes. It is that make me righteously indignant.

Have you READ “The Help”?  There is no white-washing at all.  In ANY of it.  And have you looked at “Black” culture?  The glorification of self-hatred, misogyny and racism portrayed in movies and rap music and even Black literature?  It is setting the strides of amazing activists like Maya Angelou, Colin Powel, Condaleeza Rice, MLK JR., Malcolm X, Langston Hughs, Barack and Michelle Obama,  Bill Cosby, Lena Horne and other phenomenal Blacks in history back 40 million years. 
Also..stories like “The Blind Side” were true.  I guess white people can’t help black people either for fear they will all think we are doing it out of self-gain and not REAL altruism.
The fact that you think that the feel good book that is The Help is an accurate depiction of how the 60s was for black people and The fact that you seem to think those issues you listed are in any way unique to black culture and that fact you think that you as a privileged white person have the right to pass judgment on black culture instead of acknowledging how your culture has contributed to today’s realities is… both troubling and evidence of what I stated in my last post.
As to hip hop… the #1 consumer of popular hip hop is the white suburban male (here and here and here) and they are the market that mainstream companies cater to.
It is white people that want to see black people hating themselves.
It is white people that want most to exploit and objectify black female bodies.
It is white people that want most to consume images of racism and violence among black people.
Chew on that.
As to the Blindside, yes it is a true story and an inspiring one at that. The problem lies -again- in the fact that stories such as those are the dominant narrative of Hollywood, rather than the reality of black families taking care of their own. Do you know how difficult it would be to get the same serious (not a comedy) movie made about a black family adopting or fostering a black child? Really? If a movie with Black people (not person, people, as in more than three) isn’t in a historical movie or a comedy then it’s that close to impossible to being produced.

Proving my point about Black people and films:
Paris.– US actor Danny Glover, who plans an epic next year on Haitian independence hero Toussaint-Louverture, said he slaved to raise funds for the movie because financiers complained there were no white heroes.
"Producers said 'It's a nice project, a great project... where are the white heroes?'" he told the press during a stay in Paris this month for a seminar on film.
"I couldn't get the money here, I couldn't get the money in Britain. I went to everybody. You wouldn't believe the number of producers based in Europe, and in the States, that I went to," he said.
D"The first question you get, is 'Is it a black film?' All of them agree, it's not going to do good in Europe, it's not going to do good in Japan.
"Somebody has to prove that to be a lie!", he said. "Maybe I'll have the chance to prove it."
"Toussaint," Glover's first project as film director, is about Francois Dominique Toussaint Louverture (1743-1803), a former slave and one of the fathers of Haiti's independence from France in 1804, making it the first black nation to throw off imperial rule and become a republic.
(from Dominican Today)

To Close:

"My biggest problem is that there is simply no creativity in movies with black casts at all. White people are 12 year old wizards, teens with crushes on vampires and werewolves, fighting blue people, talking fish and toys, and yet the best we get is a movie about the genteel south? Someone please make a movie about two black folks falling in love at a rock concert or a feature film about Storm from X-Men discovering her power, or something, ANYTHING, that goes beyond Black Pain (TM) / White Saviour (TM) movies. Sheesh."
A commenter on “Why I’m Just Saying No to ‘The Help’” (via atrapforfools) 

The problem isn't simply that Black women are playing maids in a film; the problem is that there's enough interest in Hollywood to make a film about Black maids serving white people (who are ultimately the heroes of these films), but there is no interest in making films about Black people overcoming that oppression or doing anything interesting at all really, especially if there aren't any white heroes at the center of the story. If white people aren't at the focus, it's not going to be supported. And that's a problem of white supremacy.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Black Girl, Light World IX: What Kind of Card is Race?

What Kind of Card is�Race - Hot Topics - Danielle Belton's The Black Snob:

What Kind of Card is Race? The Absurdity (and Consistency) of White Denial By Tim Wise
Published on Counterpunch,, April 24, 2006

"Since the O.J. trial, it seems as though almost any allegation of racism has been met with the same dismissive reply from the bulk of whites in the U.S. According to national surveys, more than three out of four whites refuse to believe that discrimination is any real problem in America (2). That most whites remain unconvinced of racism's salience--with as few as six percent believing it to be a 'very serious problem,' according to one poll in the mid 90s (3)--suggests that racism-as-card makes up an awfully weak hand. While folks of color consistently articulate their belief that racism is a real and persistent presence in their own lives, these claims have had very little effect on white attitudes. As such, how could anyone believe that people of color would somehow pull the claim out of their hat, as if it were guaranteed to make white America sit up and take notice? If anything, it is likely to be ignored, or even attacked, and in a particularly vicious manner.
That bringing up racism (even with copious documentation) is far from an effective "card" to play in order to garner sympathy, is evidenced by the way in which few people even become aware of the studies confirming its existence. How many Americans do you figure have even heard, for example, that black youth arrested for drug possession for the first time are incarcerated at a rate that is forty-eight times greater than the rate for white youth, even when all other factors surrounding the crime are identical (4)?...How many know that white men with a criminal record are slightly more likely to be called back for a job interview than black men without one, even when the men are equally qualified, and present themselves to potential employers in an identical fashion (6)?How many have heard that according to the Justice Department, Black and Latino males are three times more likely than white males to have their vehicles stopped and searched by police, even though white males are over four times more likely to have illegal contraband in our cars on the occasions when we are searched (7)?How many are aware that black and Latino students are about half as likely as whites to be placed in advanced or honors classes in school, and twice as likely to be placed in remedial classes? Or that even when test scores and prior performance would justify higher placement, students of color are far less likely to be placed in honors classes (8)? Or that students of color are 2-3 times more likely than whites to be suspended or expelled from school, even though rates of serious school rule infractions do not differ to any significant degree between racial groups (9)?Fact is, few folks have heard any of these things before, suggesting how little impact scholarly research on the subject of racism has had on the general public, and how difficult it is to make whites, in particular, give the subject a second thought.
Perhaps this is why, contrary to popular belief, research indicates that people of color are actually reluctant to allege racism, be it on the job, or in schools, or anywhere else. Far from "playing the race card" at the drop of a hat, it is actually the case (again, according to scholarly investigation, as opposed to the conventional wisdom of the white public), that black and brown folks typically "stuff" their experiences with discrimination and racism, only making an allegation of such treatment after many, many incidents have transpired, about which they said nothing for fear of being ignored or attacked (10). Precisely because white denial has long trumped claims of racism, people of color tend to underreport their experiences with racial bias, rather than exaggerate them. Again, when it comes to playing a race card, it is more accurate to say that whites are the dealers with the loaded decks, shooting down any evidence of racism as little more than the fantasies of unhinged blacks, unwilling to take personal responsibility for their own problems in life."

***emphasis added***
***for the complete article and notes click on the titles***

(2) Washington Post. October 9, 1995: A22
(3) Ibid.
(4) "Young White Offenders get lighter treatment," 2000. The Tennessean. April 26: 8A.
(5) Bertrand, Marianne and Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "Are Emily and Greg More Employable Than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment in Labor Market Discrimination." June 20.
(6) Pager, Devah. 2003. "The Mark of a Criminal Record." American Journal of Sociology. Volume 108: 5, March: 937-75.
(7) Matthew R. Durose, Erica L. Schmitt and Patrick A. Langan, Contacts Between Police and the Public: Findings from the 2002 National Survey. U.S. Department of Justice, (Bureau of Justice Statistics), April 2005.
(8) Gordon, Rebecca. 1998. Education and Race. Oakland: Applied Research Center: 48-9; Fischer, Claude S. et al., 1996. Inequality by Design: Cracking the Bell Curve Myth. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press: 163; Steinhorn, Leonard and Barabara Diggs-Brown, 1999. By the Color of Our Skin: The Illusion of Integration and the Reality of Race. NY: Dutton: 95-6.
(9) Skiba, Russell J. et al., The Color of Discipline: Sources of Racial and Gender Disproportionality in School Punishment. Indiana Education Policy Center, Policy Research Report SRS1, June 2000; U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System: Youth 2003, Online Comprehensive Results, 2004.
(10) Terrell, Francis and Sandra L. Terrell, 1999. "Cultural Identification and Cultural Mistrust: Some Findings and Implications," in Advances in African American Psychology, Reginald Jones, ed., Hampton VA: Cobb & Henry; Fuegen, Kathleen, 2000. "Defining Discrimination in the Personal/Group Discrimination Discrepancy," Sex Roles: A Journal of Research. September; Miller, Carol T. 2001. "A Theoretical Perspective on Coping With Stigma," Journal of Social Issues. Spring; Feagin, Joe, Hernan Vera and Nikitah Imani, 1996. The Agony of Education: Black Students in White Colleges and Universities. NY: Routledge.