Thursday, January 10, 2013

Color-blindness is sometimes too blind

Flagged for your reflection: in a post about some new cop show I won’t be watching, media critic Alyssa Rosenberg drops some knowledge about privilege:
[I]t’s that space in between utter colorblindness and cancerous racism that Hollywood—not to mention other sectors of society—seems to have so much trouble with. Most of us aren’t saints who are wholly untainted by racism or Klan members. Instead, we grow up with ingrained and historically determined conceptions about race that influence our behavior, we learn that those ideas are social constructions rather than immutable truths, and we grapple with those realizations. Many people of color in this country are fortunate enough not to be subject to violent hate crimes, but not fortunate enough to be free of more subtle and pernicious racism. And if you’re white, as I am, your life is affected by your race, too, but in ways that have been treated as if they’re natural and unremarkable. All of this seems rather unsurprising to me, and very definitely interesting. But so often in Hollywood, it is dangerous territory.

All of this is very true. Invisible structural racism, often practiced predominantly by well-intentioned folks who are just doing their 9-to-5 jobs as cogs in whatever machine they work in, who would be horrified at the thought they are some sort of knuckle-dragging "racist," is really hard to notice growing up white. If Hollywood would tell more of those stories--stories that are neither simplistic uplift about "diverse" ensembles rescuing the United Federation of Benetton or simplistic melodramas about sneering antebellum or Nazi racists, it might help some of us well-intentioned white folks on our long, long road to getting a clue.

Dale Carrico is just now thinking about some of the same things. Well worth checking out.

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