Thursday, April 26, 2012
NO! No no no. I will continue to do the job that I am obliged to do, and that is to pick the best possible plays, irrespective of gender, irrespective of other issues.

Aww, hey Joe Dowling, Artistic Director of the Guthrie Theater, why do you have a job? Is it because you know the most about theater because you clearly know which plays are the best plays all by yourself?

Can we overload the Guthrie’s mailboxes and inboxes and everything with some educated discussions of privilege, and how it plays out in the arts? Can we bombard the board members of the Guthrie with emails and letters and calls about how this is absolutely terrible? No, really, I am not overreacting, this is actually really backwards.

Can we send Joe Dowling to grad school so he can learn the basis of the past 40 years of scholarship about diversity and education and arts administration?

Can media folk stop reviewing the Guthrie’s mediocre Shakespeare productions (the “best” theater)? Can the selection of upcoming seasons be a board-centered process that includes a diverse board that represents the city, or the world population, which includes women and people of color? Can we write the State Arts Board and Guthrie donors - which surely include women and people of color - and encourage them not to renew funding next year? Can we encourage boycotting? Can we launch a direct mail campaign that rivals the Guthrie’s of awareness?

The Guthrie doesn’t care about your perspective because you haven’t had one throughout history, see, and it’s a historical theater.

Can we get this guy fired? Fuck his noise.

See also: the very amazing Marianne Combs.

Thursday, March 24, 2011
twincitiesrunoff:
Steph explored how Asian restaurants in the Twin Cities market Asianness this week at TCR, and you should look at this essay, because it’s good. Since I got here, the weirdly pretty racist marketing (which often descends into objectification of women because you know how in lawless Asia women are pretty much having sex and being demure and looking hot all the time) of a lot of popular Asian-inspired restaurants has bothered me: billboards like the one above don’t seem to inspire much outrage in people. And, when people do complain about them, the restaurant responds by saying they were being “edgy.”
If you use the word “edgy” to describe something that could possibly be racist and sexist, it is probably still racist and sexist. “Edgy” generally never means “creative” or “engaging”; it usually means “stupid” and “poorly conceived.”
My biggest complaints about the marketing of restaurants, however, involve how complicit local media is in celebrating restaurants that use cheap Alexandra Wallace-esque stereotypes— and in exoticizing even those that don’t. Even though the TC is home to a variety of immigrant and minority cultures, all of which work together to make our city a place of interest, we still
make definitions of what is “American” and what is “Ethnic” by separating the two in our local magazines (btw, are there any Irish pubs in the Ethnic list?).
feel the need to separate an Asian restaurant as “quirky,” in the same category of one that has a zombie theme.
actually write a pretty decent review of two local Thai restaurants but still feel the need to include a throwaway line about what the “Caucasians” might be doing (a sentence that, by the way, doesn’t make any sense, but just talk about what the white people are doing and you may get a laugh).
Those are just this month; it happens all the time. (And don’t even get me started on how the media doesn’t treat “ethnic” restaurants in the same way as, say, 112 Eatery, even though 112 is largely Italian influenced.)
Yes, there is a certain amount of escapism in eating unfamiliar food and going to a tropically decorated restaurant, and that is a good thing. Our country and our cities are made up of a diversity of cultures and a wide variety of people, and we should celebrate that we have these differences; there is no uniform American or uniform restaurant culture. But consistently labeling these establishments as “quirky” or “ethnic” —and especially when those modifiers are applied to people and reinforced by local publications—makes this diversity seem weird or abnormal, when, in reality, it’s really amazing.
We’d love to know your thoughts on this essay and on these questions, especially with this particular type of content. Even though it’s tempting to just yell this, it’s good for all of us to explain and discuss.

twincitiesrunoff:

Steph explored how Asian restaurants in the Twin Cities market Asianness this week at TCR, and you should look at this essay, because it’s good. Since I got here, the weirdly pretty racist marketing (which often descends into objectification of women because you know how in lawless Asia women are pretty much having sex and being demure and looking hot all the time) of a lot of popular Asian-inspired restaurants has bothered me: billboards like the one above don’t seem to inspire much outrage in people. And, when people do complain about them, the restaurant responds by saying they were being “edgy.”

If you use the word “edgy” to describe something that could possibly be racist and sexist, it is probably still racist and sexist. “Edgy” generally never means “creative” or “engaging”; it usually means “stupid” and “poorly conceived.”

My biggest complaints about the marketing of restaurants, however, involve how complicit local media is in celebrating restaurants that use cheap Alexandra Wallace-esque stereotypes— and in exoticizing even those that don’t. Even though the TC is home to a variety of immigrant and minority cultures, all of which work together to make our city a place of interest, we still

  • make definitions of what is “American” and what is “Ethnic” by separating the two in our local magazines (btw, are there any Irish pubs in the Ethnic list?).
  • feel the need to separate an Asian restaurant as “quirky,” in the same category of one that has a zombie theme.
  • actually write a pretty decent review of two local Thai restaurants but still feel the need to include a throwaway line about what the “Caucasians” might be doing (a sentence that, by the way, doesn’t make any sense, but just talk about what the white people are doing and you may get a laugh).

Those are just this month; it happens all the time. (And don’t even get me started on how the media doesn’t treat “ethnic” restaurants in the same way as, say, 112 Eatery, even though 112 is largely Italian influenced.)

Yes, there is a certain amount of escapism in eating unfamiliar food and going to a tropically decorated restaurant, and that is a good thing. Our country and our cities are made up of a diversity of cultures and a wide variety of people, and we should celebrate that we have these differences; there is no uniform American or uniform restaurant culture. But consistently labeling these establishments as “quirky” or “ethnic” —and especially when those modifiers are applied to people and reinforced by local publications—makes this diversity seem weird or abnormal, when, in reality, it’s really amazing.

We’d love to know your thoughts on this essay and on these questions, especially with this particular type of content. Even though it’s tempting to just yell this, it’s good for all of us to explain and discuss.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010
But interestingly enough, the things I think should most upset people and inspire boycotts and Facebook protests, often seem to go relatively unnoticed. Like when Essence conducted a three-part education series this year on the plight of black children falling through the cracks in under-performing schools. Crickets. When we reported on the increase in sex trafficking of young black girls in urban communities? Silence. When our writers investigated the inequities in the health care services black women receive? Deadly silence. When our editors highlighted data from the Closing the Gap Initiative report “Lifting as We Climb: Women of Color, Wealth and America’s Future” that showed that the median net worth of single black women was $5? There went those darn crickets again. When we run pieces on how unemployment is devastating black men? Nada. When we run story after story on how HIV is the leading cause of death for black women age 18-34? Zilch. The things that really are the end of our world apparently aren’t.

Angela Burt-Murray, Editor-In-Chief at Essence on the magazine’s recent hiring of white fashion editor Ellianna Placas. From Clutch magazine.

Although I don’t necessarily agree with Burt-Murray’s hiring decision—Essence is black women’s media, and it’s not that I don’t think that a white woman can represent black women’s fashion, but there are also plenty of qualified black women for that job—I very much agree with her larger point that black women’s media is pretty much ignored by every other media group. Even feminist-oriented outlets like Jezebel don’t use Essence or any other magazine targeting people of color for critique. It’s just Elle and Vogue and Glamour (and this was one of the primary criticisms I wrote about in my MA thesis. Hasn’t changed a year later). While we’re all feminists here, there’s no sense of intersectionality. For more evidence of this, please see Jezebel’s comments section for their post on Essence's decision. Compare this to the comments section at Clutch, where Geneva Thomas originally wrote her post.

Major stories and great work in media for people of color, media for women, and particularly media for women of color are routinely ignored by mainstream media outlets. Here’s a pretty classic example, which might contain some great magazine writing, but also contains six different essays by David Foster Wallace but zero from any magazines for people of color or for women.*

And I’m totally guilty of this. When I was writing my thesis I was all, “No other magazine is as feminist as Jezebel!” and one of my committee members was like, “Uhh, Essence" and she was right. So let’s all pay attention, ok? I’m picking up Essence's September issue alongside my annual purchase of Vogue.

*Link via the always awesome @marathonpacks. There’s only about five magazines represented, and I’m sure they’re great pieces, but you get the point.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Insight on the Kind of Racism You’d Think Would Be Eliminated by Now; OR, the Best Dashboard Coincidence Ever

  • "Racism by Any Other Name Smells Just as Rotten" by Steph Pituc details her less-than-wondrous visit to the new Wanderers Wondrous Azian Kitchen space, rife with sloppy PR, lame stereotypes, and a general lack of cultural understanding.
  • "Shut up, dude. For @joeljohnson." by Channing Kennedy on the fact that there was a Gizmodo post titled “Why I Stalk A Sexy Black Woman on Twitter (And You Should Too!)” (Yeah. I know.)

These posts appeared one right after the other on my Tumblr dashboard last night, and it was a triumphal moment of “Boo racism! Yay Tumblrers who write critical, insightful posts on stupid racist bullshit! Yay dashboard coincidences!”

Keep writing, friends and followers. It makes a difference.

Saturday, February 27, 2010 Wednesday, July 16, 2008

So I was reading Maureen Dowd today instead of doing what I should be doing (I was trying to revisit college, I guess?), and she quoted Jimmy Kimmel saying “There’s a weird reverse racism going on.”

Googling “reverse racism” yields stories from Time, ABC News and CBS News in the top 10 results. It is not a popular term, but neither is it uncommon.

It’s like when men who know I’m a feminist say, “So I experienced reverse sexism the other day.”

No.

You didn’t.

It’s racism. And sexism. There’s no reverse anything.

Yeah, I experienced reverse sexism and reverse racism when I was treated fairly and equally by everyone, all the time.