WordPress’s idea of a “default” blog is cute, but unnecessary. But nonetheless, I appreciate how easy-to-use their Themes are and how user-friendly the site is overall. I think this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship, WordPress.
I am finally settling into the feel of the blogosphere…
I get hit in the face with this: Floating World: facepainting
This post from the “Floating World” blog by Q. Le did a number on me. My head spun with the thought: How do I react?
Mr. Q. Le brings up a touchy subject that I truly never noticed before: Racism in Hollywood film casting. His article on The Last Airbender movie is worth the read, but for the sake of comprehension, Q. Le writes that Paramount Studios has intentionally chosen to cast predominantly white actors for the roles of characters for the movie The Last Airbender: a film based on a cartoon with strong attachment to Eastern culture and roots.
Essentially, these actors are going to perform in a movie that is based on Eastern culture and imagery—even though Paramount Studios blatantly advertised to choose white actors over ethnically diverse actors that are a part of the eastern culture and heritage the movie relies on.
After first understanding the issue, I was ashamed to have never noticed this favoritism casting in some other major Hollywood films. But then I realized that I really wouldn’t know anyway, on account of I am not a movie-goer and very rarely make time for films.
Nonetheless, this is a pressing issue! Everyone needs to be aware of the ongoing influence of racism and xenophobia in the United States – and to put an end to it.
I think I’ve already realized why the minorities in our county lash out with complaints of racism frequently – because it is so integrated into the American history of entertainment that it’s going to take all the oil in the gulf to get the rusty cogs of peace and equality running smoothly [see Q.’s article in which he also discussed the History of FacePainting in America].
I personally feel that everyone is a little bit racist/xenophobic – we all notice differences in each other. But it is about whether we choose to embrace the differences or reject and disrespect them that define racism in the general sense.
Since America has pretty much always been about ripping on other races and portraying whites as “superior” we [xenophobic white people] have lost the sense of innocence that would give us joy and intrigue in meeting someone from a different background.
As a young white girl from a small, ethnically stagnant town, I never had any experience with people from other ethnic groups and all I knew about black people were the racist jokes I heard at my high school and the racist remarks my grandparents would make about people on the television. Thus, in coming to Sioux City and attending college with a class that was 51% African American, I was (and still am!) in culture shock.
One night during my first weeks on campus, a friend and I walked by two of my black colleagues in the parking lot. They were shadowboxing and play–fighting each other. I was delighted (I tend to get excited about silly things like that) and started to cheer. Without thinking, I whooped “Give ‘im a black eye!” and “Give ‘im a fat lip!”. It wasn’t until I felt a yank on my shirt collar as my friend started to pull me away, and saw that everyone was giving me a strange, side-long glance, that I finally realized my social faux pas; the implications of what I’d blurted. I was so embarrassed!
But [in this case] the nature of my problem does not lie with racism; it lies with my filter problem. My filter problem is simply that I don’t have one. And by that I mean I don’t filter what I say at all. In the wise words of Brother Ali, “Whatever comes up, comes out.” And furthermore, had it not been for the too-prevalent racist stereotypes in our society, there would have been nothing at fault for what I’d said.
Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean it’s my colleagues’ fault for assuming I was being a jerk. If these themes/stereotypes were not so over-used and abused, they wouldn’t have thought twice about what I’d said either. The problem comes from the media, from our history, from our families. We don’t have introduce race to our children as a barrier, or it will forever be viewed and distinguished as one.
Back to Mr. Q.’s article: differences need to be embraced. Instead of shutting out all other races of actors and taking over the theme of eastern culture with white people and essentially Americanizing it, we could be reinforcing the mysticism of eastern culture authentically with actors that have lived it and are actively representing it. Plus, as Q. Le also mentions, ethnically diverse actors do wonders in the way of role models for children of the same ethnic group; it’s important to have people who relate to your culture to look up to.
The problem with America is that we try too hard to be the epitome of EVERYTHING, we want to dominate all cultures, mysticism, ways of life and say we’ve been there, we can do it just like they can but better because it’s the American way. We aren’t a jack-of-all-cultures and we aren’t giving culture room to grow on the American people; we’re force-feeding it to the public with our own brand stamped on it.
All it takes is a step back to honestly try to understand and appreciate other cultures, instead of poking fun at them for their differences. It’s hard not to gawk sometimes, and even harder to keep assumptions from jumping to mind, but all it takes is a little naivety and innocence to be completely entrapped by the interesting roots of other people different than yourself.
Next time you find yourself next to a stranger in the elevator, think before you react to them. Who are they, what are they like? They’ve had so many experiences that you wouldn’t dream of, and while it might not be appropriate to ask a complete stranger for their life story, just remember that anyone can be a teacher and you might need to be taught a thing or two. ♥
As my very first blog post I’d like some feedback on this: Are my views on racism and equality justifiable? Thanks for reading,
Kaitlin Tow ♥