Thursday, March 03, 2016

My Two [Facebook] Cents On Racism and #OscarsSoWhite

So, yeah, you know, I watched the Oscars on Sunday, AKA The White People’s Choice Awards, as host Chris Rock rightly called it. And the next day on Facebook a friend of mine posted this:
“Way too many jokes about racism in 45 min of the Oscars!!!”
And I was annoyed. It smacks of that, “I don’t wanna talk about racism and when black people do it, well, it just makes me uncomfortable” idea. And I was just about to remark upon that comment to my friend when I read these comments by various people:
“I agree. Enough already!”
“That's black ass Chris Rock for you, but that's acceptable”
“And we're black, I mean back, come on!!!!”
Now, I thought that was funny, but I guess when black people say it some white folks get offended. But it was this comment that sent me into Fume Mode:
“Yeah, kinda makes you wonder. ..gee why so much racism lately? Oh I don't know, maybe because everyone keeps bringing it up and making everything about race!”
Why.So.Much.Racism.LATELY??? Apparently this person — and I won’t put up names because, well, some folks, illiterate and uninformed as they might be, deserve to be left alone. But I replied to her comment:
“Yeah, there'd be no racism if people would just stop talking about it? WTF?”
And she said:
“Nope! Not at all. I'm just sick and tired of it being the reason for every problem in this country. Sometimes people just make bad choices and they should be held accountable for them. Racism is not the root of all problems. To be honest, I'm worried about the world that my children are growing up in. I know every generation faces this but, I feel like this generation is should be very concerned for a number of reasons.”
That was such a word salad I checked to make sure it wasn't Mama Grizzly Bore™ replying and then I said:
“Racism isn't the root of every problem in this country, but it is a HUGE problem and to suggest that if we all just stopped talking about it, that it would "go away" is the height of insensitivity. Racism still exists and sweeping it under the rug doesn't work.”
I guess I struck a nerve because I got this:
“Have a good day.”
So I replied:
“You, too.”
But, y’all know me, I wasn’t done yet and so I posted this:
“I hate to say it, but the very idea that the discussion of racism has upset all of you, to the point of saying "It's just too much," proves we have a race problem in this country.”
And then I read this:
“Come on Bob Slatten, it should have been addressed absolutely, but not for 4 hours.”
Four hours? I must have been watching a different Oscars because, yes, it was a nearly four hour show, but there were awards and speeches and songs and Girl Scout Cookies, so …
“It wasn't addressed for four hours and if it made y'all uncomfortable, then maybe you should think about that.”
And so I thought about this idea of not talking about stuff; black people, or actors, not bringing up the fact that they are being shut out of awards and it might be due to their skin color. But it was the idea of ‘Why do we have to talk about it all the time’ that got me thinking:
“As a gay man, would y'all have been happy if I'd just kept my mouth shut and stopped pushing my agenda and waited for y'all to grant me the right to get married? How would that have worked for y'all.”
I mean, sitting by and doing nothing leads to nothing; no change; no education. Just more of the same … like this last comment I read on the post:
“HAD to turn off that racist Academy Award show. .. couldn't stand C. Rock shoving their cry-baby agenda in our face.”
Sure, a bunch of overpaid actors and producers and directors saying ‘Why didn’t you nominate me’ does sound a little cry-baby, but when you stand it on the shoulders of ‘Why can’t I vote’ and ‘Why can’t I go to that school’ and ‘Why can’t I marry another race’ and ‘Why can’t I eat at that lunch counter’ and ‘Why are so many black men in prison for crimes that don’t send white people to jail’ and ‘Why are so many unarmed black men more likely to be gunned down in the streets for the same reasons that find white people safe from harm’ it does make sense.

Look, an award is nice, but when you ignore the accomplishments of a person because of their race, and let’s face it, there were some great movies with black actors, and great films  with black storylines — Straight Outta Compton is a prime example — and those films are ignored, then we have a problem.

The OscarsSoWhite controversy is the tip of that iceberg and just because you don’t see the whole threat doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

And ignoring it won’t make it “go away.”


anne marie in philly said...

RIGHT ON, BRO! ignoring racism/homophobia/xenophobia/jingoism won't make it go away.

too many white religious freaks have their heads in the sand singing "lalalalalala I can't hear you" whilst spouting religious platitudes like "I'll pray for you". git yer assheads outta da sand and start making a difference with your actions instead of your knees!

the dogs' mother said...

My brother and I, because of our coloring and very strange last name, have been accidental minorities all our lives. We were talking about it the other weekend.
My Dad and Mom still run into it. Very subtle at times. So if we see it with our
mistaken identity then you know it is much worse for people who are true minorities.

Dave R said...

Discussion is good, it's necessary to equalize and move things forward - most of what I've read concerning Chris Rock's humor at the Oscars has been negative, which doesn't move things forward in the least; it only lets things simmer.

Also, regarding Straigth Ouuta Compton, Ice Cube produced, which means he was the one ultimately responsible for what the film looked like and sounded like, who directed and who starred. Don't you find it interesting that he hired white writers?

Helen Lashbrook said...

If 20% of Trump voters think the emancipation bill should be overturned then there is a HELL of a lot of racism in your country