More on POC in TV

Good article over at Gawker relating the show Girls I posted about earlier. My fave bits:

It’s a failing of contemporary American culture that if there’s ever a discussion about adding a black character to a show, people immediately think that means a slang-spitting, wise-cracking stereotype. They assume the person asking for diversity is asking for the show’s creator to change the entire dynamic of the program. Instead, what’s more often happening is that the person interested in diversity is simply asking for the show’s creator to understand that black people can and do do everything white people do, usually making a character’s race irrelevant.

And:

When he won the Pulitzer this year for criticism, the Boston Globe‘s Wesley Morris owed part of his victory to his writing about the Fast and Furious film series. Though the Fast movies are almost universally mocked as obnoxious pieces of shit, Morris calls them “incredibly important” for their depictions of race. “[U]nlike most movies that feature actors of different races, the mixing is neither superficial nor topical,” Morris wrote of Fast Five. “It has been increasingly thorough as the series goes on—and mostly unacknowledged. That this should seem so strange, so rare, merely underscores how far Hollywood has drifted from the rest of culture.”

I’ve also noticed this about the Fast series and glad it got a mentioned here. My Masters thesis was on the depiction of Asian Americans in American film and televisions so this issues is obviously close to me and I’m glad to see if getting some traction by the media…

Blacks with guns…

Imagine that hundreds of black protesters were to descend upon Washington DC and Northern Virginia, just a few miles from the Capitol and White House, armed with AK-47s, assorted handguns, and ammunition. And imagine that some of these protesters—the black protesters—spoke of the need for political revolution, and possibly even armed conflict in the event that laws they didn’t like were enforced by the government. Would these protesters—these black protesters with guns—be seen as brave defenders of the Second Amendment, or would they be viewed by most whites as a danger to the republic? What if they were Arab-Americans? Because, after all, that’s what happened recently when white gun enthusiasts descended upon the nation’s capital, arms in hand, and verbally announced their readiness to make war on the country’s political leaders if the need arose.Imagine that white members of Congress, while walking to work, were surrounded by thousands of angry black people, one of whom proceeded to spit on one of those congressmen for not voting the way the black demonstrators desired. Would the protesters be seen as merely patriotic Americans voicing their opinions, or as an angry, potentially violent, and even insurrectionary mob? After all, this is what white Tea Party protesters did recently in Washington.

Imagine that a black rap artist were to say, in reference to a white president: “He’s a piece of shit and I told him to suck on my machine gun.” Because that’s what rocker Ted Nugent said recently about President Obama.

….

To ask any of these questions is to answer them. Protest is only seen as fundamentally American when those who have long had the luxury of seeing themselves as prototypically American engage in it. When the dangerous and dark “other” does so, however, it isn’t viewed as normal or natural, let alone patriotic. Which is why Rush Limbaugh could say, this past week, that the Tea Parties are the first time since the Civil War that ordinary, common Americans stood up for their rights: a statement that erases the normalcy and “American-ness” of blacks in the civil rights struggle, not to mention women in the fight for suffrage and equality, working people in the fight for better working conditions, and LGBT folks as they struggle to be treated as full and equal human beings.

And this, my friends, is what white privilege is all about. The ability to threaten others, to engage in violent and incendiary rhetoric without consequence, to be viewed as patriotic and normal no matter what you do, and never to be feared and despised as people of color would be, if they tried to get away with half the shit we do, on a daily basis.

Siditty: Tim Wise: Imagine: Protest, Insurgency and the Workings of White Privilege

(via Malloreigh).