This week’s The Good Wife was fantastic, but yech, the way they treat race and people of colour on this show always frustrates me. If I were more awake and had less work to do maybe I could mount a better argument about this, but. I can think of three black characters who were given something to do in the last year (i.e. excluding Julius Cain, who’s still a partner at the firm, but flits by in an episode once every half-season to make a point about race, or something) - Derrick Bond, associate: fired! And I do feel like he was brought in and set up to fail as he did.
In this episode alone!: Wendy Scott-Carr, the person who led the case against Will, and when that case failed the show framed it as her failure! (And I don’t think I’m being overly sensitive about this, because even with Cary and Dana in the room with her at all times, every time someone from Lockhart-Gardner nailed it at the stand, and when we saw the case falter against the jury at the end, we saw her reaction: crushed and lost for words and caught completely off-guard.) Dana, who gets tricked by Kalinda (who’s shady but the audience does love her) and then slaps her. (And let’s not get into the “Cary likes dark-skinned women” thing, whatever that was.) It says more against them than not. :/
Plus this show likes to bring in weird science to justify racism? or something? I just. Dramatically this show is so good, and I enjoy these characters so much, and I love these ladies so much (Kalinda! textual bisexual who is badass!), but the way it handles race and other political ~issues~ is so sketchy.
Oh yeah. I mean The Good Wife is probably one of the only shows airing right now that I am still super-invested in, and there are many things it gets very very right (certain aspects of mainstream feminism, tacit rejection of ageism, the way it handles queer characters), but it is TERRIBLE with race issues, and the weirdest part is that I really get the feeling that it THINKS it’s great with them, if that makes sense? Like they’re really aggressively smug and proud about their liberal..ity (which is not a word but), particularly when it comes to racism. Because after all there’s Kalinda, and lots of diversity in casting for judges, lawyers, guest stars, heroes and villains alike, compared to other shows. And that’s true on the surface but let’s look at how the most visible PoCs are actually treated along a few different axes:
- Most of them don’t work for Lockhart-Gardner, who are positioned as the heroes even when they play in the grey areas. They are either—with the exception of Kalinda, Julian and a judge—opponents, outright villains, or clients on the receiving end of L&G’s aid. The clients are either downtrodden and magical (like the death row client in one of my admittedly favorite episodes, Nine Hours, or most of the show’s Asian clients who are shown from a third-world perspective or a “HE’S NOT REALLY A TERRORIST…IS HE???? no not rly but we had you going there for a minute haha” perspective), or they’re secretly guilty. Now, a lot of L&G’s clients of all races are secretly guilty, that makes things fun in a show about defense lawyers. But disproportionately, L&G’s black clients especially turn out to be guilty when the case is about racism. There’s a gross pattern of an episode (and I call a pattern if it’s at least one episode a season) being set up as a black man falsely accused of racism, who turns out to be guilty—“ha ha ha! Racism is a lie! The white people are the real victims here! We jumped so fast to the ~race card~ that we missed this black person’s obvious guilt!” More episodes disprove racism than prove it. And you get the feeling that the writers think this is oh so subversive and liberal of them. Okay fine. let’s move on.
- Whenever a character of color becomes a major player they’ve been set up to fail in really over the top ways, and outright villainized. Villains exist and that’s cool, but flat villains are just disappointing. This happened once with Derek Bond and TWICE with Wendy Scott-Carr. Derek, who comes in squeaky clean but turns out to be in cahoots with a drug dealer out to take over Chicago. And sneaky Wendy, that snake, craftily trying to trade on her race and gender and use them as an unfair asset against two white men in an election (let’s all stop and L really OL at that bullshit). Then, THEN, she tries to go after Will but everyone knows she’s just bitter about losing the election, and makes stupid mistake after stupid mistake and crashes and burns so hard that the jury makes a mockery of her, Alicia stalks out in self-righteous glory leaving Wendy with a quivering bottom lip, her own coworker nobly disowns her (the white guy tho, not the black woman) and to top it all off Peter dresses her down, belittles and fires her in a particularly gross scene that I suppose we were supposed to feel triumphant about. I’m just thinking about all the times the heroes of the show have celebrated and how most of the time this happens after they’ve overcome INSURMOUNTABLE SEASON-LONG ODDS and bested a black person.
(never mind that Will Gardner is in fact quite shady and Wendy was just doing her job, i mean that’s supposed to be the fun part about this show, the way it plays with the grey, i’m sorry when was the point EVER that will was some blighted hero??)
Then there’s all the hipster cracks about race, about how Cary only dates “ethnic women” which I STILL don’t get (honestly I don’t know WHAT they’re trying to say with Dana half the time or even if they know). And it sucks because sometimes this works, like when Renee Goldsberry’s character Geneva mocked Cary for making a case about the N-word and they joked about it, or when Kalinda gets asked/goaded about her ethnic background and meets it with one of Those Looks of hers. But sometimes it really really doesn’t work. The writers are just really invested in acknowledging that sure, race matters, but not in this situation, or that one, or the one after that one or ANY OF THEM. We’re past worrying about that. And occasionally they just take it beyond sense.
J + C
edit: once you click the link on tumblr, click with your mouse again to enlarge!
This is a commissioned comic I wrote and drew for an awesome woman I was put in touch with who is putting together a book for queer youth. She is compiling a series of stories by adult writers/visual artists/poets addressing what they would say to their younger selves if they had the chance to communicate with them in some way. I spoke to a few people about the project, asked them how they would envision talking to their younger selves and what they would say to them, and how they thought their younger selves would react. Thanks to Kevin R. Free, Tegan Quin, Fred Topel and of course Claire for all the insight into your own experiences!
This is unbelievably beautiful.
(Tumblr wasn’t letting me get to the clickthrough in any reblog, though, so here’s the link to the viewable comic.)
Just like the musketeers *_*
It’s occurred to me that Eli saying how the cover-up is always worse than the crime? Is basically what this show is doing with Julius — he’s their cover-up for how white & white privileged the lawfirm (and overall show) is. :(
(Which isn’t to say the lack of chromatic characters or a non-white POV isn’t a problem on its own, just that it compounds the issue when they bring in Julius to play out their schemes against Bond.)
So, The Good Wife: “Great Firewall”…wasn’t as bad with the Chinese guy plot as I thought it would be — though I wouldn’t say it was great either — mostly because it wasn’t about him very much*, but the Derrick Bond arc? SO BAD.
(spoilers after the cut)
Oh my gosh, I always love your posts so much. YESSSS to all of this. (Spoilers to follow.)
I was glad they focused on US corporate culpability in China rather than a simplistic white-USian view of evil totalitarian China, and the “torture is not torture according to the Bush administration” defense was a brilliant way to kind of hold up just how hypocritical it would be to take this perspective, when the US is full to bursting with its own fuckery (our worst is just directed at other nations’ civilians and dissidents to our imperial power, as opposed to our own, especially if our own dissidents are white and middle class but I digress). But I agree with you about the moral ambiguity cake - like, I think Alicia’s complete disillusionment this episode was absolutely meant to convey how wrong Will et al were, just like humanizing Natalie last episode was meant to convey how wrong the Florrick campaign is, but they work really hard to underplay the lead characters’ own culpability in that wrongness, to make them guilty bystanders rather than active proponents of racism, imperialism, etc, AND the real thing is just how hard they work to make the Elis and the Wills and the Dianes likable and central…without ever giving the Natalies or the Rita-the-nannies or any of the manifold Chinese dissidents who will continue to be affected by their choices, their own ongoing stories. So what we get is Will and Diane celebrating, Eli cheering for Peter, etc, and it’s framed as a positive thing, something we should celebrate WITH them - because we don’t really know or CARE about the Natalies, Ritas, etc, enough to give them more than a passing frown, a passing “well nobody is perfect!” directed our main white cast’s way; they are casualties of likable moral ambiguity, but in order to keep that ambiguity ambiguous (rather than outright reprehensible and selfish and unacceptable), we’re never allowed to actually follow their lives, just HOW affected they, and so many others, are, by these privileged characters’ self-serving choices. Don’t get me wrong, I love these likable assholes, it’s one of the biggest reasons why I can’t and probably won’t stop watching, but it’s a real issue when their POVs and life stories are the only ones we’re getting.
And yeah there is no textual criticism for actively or vocally supporting US imperialism in China - what’s wrong is cooperating with/handing over information to the bad Chinese gov’t! Not…being an abusive, exploitative superpower your own self - and thank you for mentioning the “RITA IS NOT SWEDISH! WE CAN TELL BY THE BACK OF HER HEAD! BECAUSE…she is black?” thing. I had my fingers crossed that she WOULD be Swedish, and fully ‘legal’ to boot - but nooo, I guess that wouldn’t be “the white POV is always right” enough for this show.
The Julius/Bond stuff was frustrating on 10 thousand levels. :/ I was really rooting for Bond, NEGL, for Julius to legitimately be in his court and for them to take over the firm (rather than for them to BOTH be portrayed as bad guys otoh). Because seriously. WHAT DID HE EVER DO TO JULIUS? BESIDES BE THE OTHER BLACK MAN IN THE FIRM WHO THE SHOW CAN’T HAVE THE ‘GOOD’ BLACK MAN HAVING ANY AFFINITY FOR BECAUSE THEN IT MIGHT ALMOST PERHAPS, IN SOME INCREDIBLY MILD AND VAGUE WAY, BE LIKE IT’S SAYING THERE’S A COMMON BLACK EXPERIENCE (PARTICULARLY IN AN OTHERWISE ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY-WHITE FIRM!) and we can’t have THAT! The only common experience is the white one, hello!!
I want a Bond, Natalie, Rita, Bishop show more than ever right now. :/ But still, definitely so much better than I was fearing - yay?
“If you look at American television, it is nothing to see a cast that is multi-racial. So we shouldn’t shy away from demanding more diversity on British TV. Only because it reflects the culture we live in,” said the English actor, who also guest-starred as a no-nonsense corporate VP on the U.S. version of “The Office.”
“Diversity was one of the first things I asked about as a producer,” Elba said “How many other races are we going to see? Because it would be very odd if Luther was the only black person in the series … So we see many different ethnic groups on screen. That is important to me and one of the reasons I wanted to do it.”
This is the biggest question that I have for whoever the fuck is running DCMKA.
Do you honestly think it’s funny for me to hear that I’m pretty for a Latina?
Do you honestly think it’s funny for me to hear sirens everyday over my house?
Do you think it’s funny for some white asshole to talk to me in broken spanish and expect me to kiss his ass?
Or how about around my neighborhood! Do you think it’s funny to see all these “for sale” signs and to hear how many of my friends have been working at the same dead-end job since High School? They can’t get out. They are fucking stuck.
Or my cousin’s hair! Her hair that she hates and refuses to believe me when I tell her that she’s beautiful after she washes it. She hates her curls. She hates them because she isn’t this blonde, straight haired person. She wants that and I don’t even have to ask why.
Do you think it’s funny that I know the grave sites of friends that I’ve lost to the streets?
Is my life really amusing to you? Me being told everday that I am inferior. There are people in this country and on this planet that hate my existence. That hate me. That want nothing from me and do not take me seriously. And it’s clear whoever is running this blog doesn’t give a flying fuck about anything I say because my life is meant to be sniggered at by multi-millionaires. I deserve to be laughed at right?
I recognize the problematic nature of me liking comics. But I don’t put it on a pedestal. It’s not meant for that. I point out problematic shit because I can’t ignore it. And I would love to see the progressive steps being taken to undo all the crap that DC or Marvel or any of the other comic giants throws my way. I’ve sent letters and I’ve complained about it. What the fuck have you done about it? But whoops, are you too busy to do that? Laughing at me is more important duh!
I cannot speak for all of my fellow brothers and sisters of color. I cannot speak for all of the persons with various disabilities and for the Queer community. I cannot speak for them all, but I know that anyone who falls in any/all of those groups knows what the struggle means.
And my question, is why the fuck is my life, OUR LIVES so fucking funny to you?
Your attempts at being funny are not funny. This is my life. These are our lives. They are our struggles. And you have the audacity to think that any of this is funny.
When the truth is, whoever is running that blog is a fucking joke. And here’s the thing, we are all laughing at you, not with you.
The cocoa butter had been moved to the ‘ethnic needs’ section of my supermarket. And at first I was happy. I’m like, ‘Ethnic needs: end of police brutality, more access to health care, more educational opportunities. Finally.’ No, no — just hair relaxers and cocoa butter, apparently.
I love chocolate. Here’s why I love chocolate so much. You see, in this country, a person is assumed to be white unless otherwise specified. That’s why I like chocolate. Because when you first think of chocolate, you think of something brown. And if you think of white chocolate first, well, then you’re a racist.
- Damian is not written as a PoC in any comic
- This does not mean that he is in fact white, or that no one is allowed to write about what it would be like if he was allowed to be non-white
- His sexism does not magically make him white
- Saying that you should not write about an Arabic character because he is sexist even if he does not engage in sexist behavior in your work of creative fiction is particularly side-eye-y since Arabic and Middle Eastern people are constantly accused of being misogynists because of Islamaphobia
- Mixed race people do not actually have to prove their PoC status by being perfect PoCs who defy all expectations and never do anything wrong
- Despite what the entire fucking world thinks
They seem to be “streamlining” the whole universe, don’t they?
I just think taking Blue Beetle and Static out of the Titans at the same time sends a message, intended or otherwise.
I blame Peaches for making me think about using characters in comics to address problems I have about comics.
In case you can’t tell from the references in the fic, I have a great hate in my heart for how DC handled the Black Adam arc in 52.
Fandom: DC Comics
Summary: Damian cannot get rid of Damian Al’Ghul no matter how hard he tries.
oh gosh I want him to come over so I can make him tabule and grape leaves and hug him forever. :(
Wow wow wow wow wow. This was devastating and powerful and subtle-strong-amazing. Everyone who is even marginally familiar with this character (I’m talking to you DC writers and editors and franchise as a whole) should definitely read this, and if you’re a fan of his? You MUST. All the intricacies and complexities of his character and his relationships and of identity in a continuity as hamfisted and lazy as the DCU, all of it is teased out so wonderfully and so seamlessly with who he is in canon, it’s incredible.
Are Latinos supposed to be grateful that a white superstar, born of privilege, included a racist shout out to our community? Not all Latino ladies are ‘cholas’ in the barrio, some of them are teachers, writers, engineers and nurses and doctors.
Robert Paul Reyes, “Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Single: Racist, Simplistic, Condescending Garbage!” (via gaysagainstgaga
ICE agents were “knocking on doors, saying they were selling Avon or with Domino’s,” said Glenda Arevalo, who lives in the complex. “They said, ‘Come out, come out, y’all are going back to your country.’”
When some responded they were in the country legally, she said ICE agents replied, “We don’t care. You’re going with us.”
Angella Rector said she saw an ICE agent put a gun against the head of one Hispanic and say, “If you move motherf—er, we’re going to kill you.”
The father of her three young children was among those arrested by agents, she said. “He was in his boxers. They told him, ‘You’re f—ing illegal.’”
Her husband is being taken back to Mexico, she said. “Now I have to raise the kids by myself.”
The Not So Silent ICE Raid in Mississippi | VivirLatino
In Mississippi—it continues.
I’ve never heard a good explanation from those who support a “tough stance” on immigration as to why things like this are supposedly necessary, why tearing apart families is okay. They’re breaking the law, they’re criminals, is always the response. Well, if that’s the big issue, change the law. Problem solved.
Anyway, this is infuriating.
It is estimated that about a million of the 7 million population of Libya are of Sub-saharan origin, some of whom have been in Libya for centuries and mostly found in the South of the country.
A significant number of these Africans are, however, recent imigrants to Libya or using Libya as a stop gap destination on their sojurn to greener pastures in Europe. Col. Gaddafi has made no attempts in hiding his supposed love of “Africa” and his determination to help create a free borderless continent and single currency. A 2010 report about the state of “race relations” in Libya does, however, paint a different picture within his own borders.
According to a United Nations Human Rights statement – “Libya must end its practices of racial discrimination against black Africans, particularly its racial persecution of two million black African migrant workers. There is substantial evidence of Libya’s pattern and practice of racial discrimination against migrant workers”.
The New York Times in the article “New Status in Africa Empowers an Ever-Eccentric Qaddafi” gives a sense of the experiences of black Africans in Libya: “All over this capital city, illegal African immigrants line up along roadways, across bridges and at traffic circles hoping to be selected for menial day jobs that pay about $8. They call the areas where they congregate the hustling grounds, which are always crowded with desperate faces from early morning until well past sundown. Many people in Tripoli said they resented the presence of so many illegal workers. “We don’t like them,” said Moustafa Saleh, 28, who is unemployed, echoing a popular sentiment. “They smuggle themselves through the desert, and the way they deal with us is not good.” In the New York Time’s article a former Libyan minister of economy, trade and investment Ali Abd Alaziz Isawi was quoted as saying that illegal immigrants “are a burden on health care, they spread disease, crime. They are illegal.”
Against such a background it is perhaps reasonable to question the validity of this supposed use of “African” mercenaries by the Gaddafi regime to thwart the efforts of protesters. Given Libya’s relatively large black population, are we to assume or conclude that their presence in Gaddafi’s security forces is that mysterious? If so I wonder why?
Africans in the main have been sympathetic and supportive of the desires of Tunisians and Egyptians in their protests. However, the African media and forums are beginning to ask if the prominence and publicity given to so called African mercenaries running amok amongst Libyan protesters pillaging and raping is beginning to tell a rather interesting story about the motives of some Libyan protesters.
On Sudan.net a question posted by a member of the forum – Is Libya racist? – has generated many emotional responses. Surely, isn’t the first rule of any revouloution is to garner as much international support from all quarters as possible?
T Miles, a writer for the blog – Tamathon.com – in the article Libya’s “African Mercenary” Problem provides perhaps the most comprehensive analysis on this issue and sends an ominous message in his conclusion to Libyans which reads:
“Libyans: your fellow citizens have enabled this regime to oppress you for so many years. You must come to terms with this in the aftermath of this revolution, or it will be no revolution at all.
Gaddafi is killing us with his African mercenaries! « myweku.com
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and the rest of what T Miles says is relevant, too:
“But you have already learned the converse: you have the power to stop this oppression. You are doing it now, and the world, awed by the bravery and audacity in the Arab world this year, stand now amazed by your fearlessness.
But Libyans, you do yourself an injustice with these fears directed at “Africans”. You, in more than one sense, are these Africans. You cannot build a society of justice until you learn this”