Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Return of the Knapsack

My next post was supposed to be about how I poured a can of Coke in my toilet to get rid of the ring around the bowl. I got the idea from the Onion's special Mother's Day issue:

Household Tips For Women

Between juggling a career and a social life, today's woman has it harder than ever, we are told. As a service to our lady readers, The Onion would like to lighten their burden by sharing some tips to make things easier around the house...

...When you open yourself to the abundance of the universe, anything is possible... even getting a clean toilet with NO SCRUBBING! Pour a can of Coca-Cola into the toilet, let it sit for one hour, and then flush it clean. You can use that extra sixty minutes of free time to believe, breathe, dream, laugh, or CELEBRATE what makes you UNIQUE!

I still had to spray the inside with Scrubbing Bubbles and clean it with the toilet brush to get the dirt above the water/Coke line.

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Today started off pretty ho-hum. Then I read today's Daily Trade Round-Up at Pajiba, entitled "George Lopez is Cordially Invited to Suck My Pajiba," written by The TV Whore. If the title wasn't enough, here is the passage that made me frown, emphasis mine:

And speaking of putting out fires, can I be the first to piss on George Lopez and put him out? Please. See, Lopez is raging after the cancellation of his show. ABC’s position is that the show would’ve been a money pit for the network, had it been renewed, but Lopez says that’s crap. He feels entitled (entitled!) to another season so the show can wrap up loose storylines. Plus, because his show outperforms “Notes from the Underbelly” (which was renewed) he plays — you guesed it — the race card: “TV just became really, really white again.” (No, George, it just became ever-so-funnier again. Because even if everything new is total crap, crap is funnier than you.) And in reference to (mother fucking) “Cavemen,” Lopez said, “so a Chicano can’t be on TV, but a caveman can? And a Chicano with an audience already?” And here’s the kicker … the clincher … Lopez called his show “an important show.” … … Fuck you buddy. Long and hard. You egotistical, bitter, unfunny twit.

Well. You know I had to say something:

I have never watched The George Lopez Show, nor do I ever plan to watch it, for the same reason that I will never voluntarily watch According to Jim or Still Standing. (Yet I do enjoy The King of Queens. Hmm...)

However, the statement, "TV just became really, really white again" is still valid. Every new show next season has a predominantly, if not exclusively, white cast. Besides the Grey's spinoff, I can't think of any new shows with nonwhite people as the leads. And if there are any new shows next season with nonwhite women as the leads--and not as the token ethnic friend--I might pass out from shock.

I'm not saying that George Lopez isn't a little bitter and quite full of himself. I am saying that his show was important in at least one way: it put a Latino family on the TV screen, in broadcast, no less. As far as I know, there won't be any other shows next season that are centered around a Chicano family, or any Latino families in general. That fact might not be important to you, Seth. But it is important to a growing number of Americans, like me, who are underrepresented on the television screen.

You choose do diminish Mr. Lopez's assertion by accusing him of "playing the race card," which is an judgmental statement in any circumstance, especially coming from someone with color and gender privilege in this society. If Mr. Lopez's show does outperform Notes from the Underbelly and the latter show, with an overwhelmingly white cast, is getting renewed, then I'm not seeing the problem with making a racial comparison. It seems disturbingly easy for you to dismiss Mr. Lopez's claims of racial injustice on network television. Fortunately for you, Seth, I doubt the day will ever come when white males will be underrepresented on TV. Therefore, you personally will never have the opportunity to play the "race card" you seem to loathe.

And? I was not a conversation ender. Other people continued to make comments afterward. Pretty cool, huh?

It's both stunning and disturbing to me how certain white males like The TV Whore are so quick to dismiss any accusation of injustice based on skin color or ethnicity, that is made by a nonwhite member, as "playing the race card." Like they would know. How many times have they been discriminated against based on their color or appearance? I don't know. I wish The TV Whore would tell me. I doubt he has any idea what it's like to go about your daily business wondering if someone treated you unfairly because of their preconceived notions about your race, color, ethnicity and/or gender. For further lack of insight into discrimination in the workplace, against women in particular, see Lance Mannion's initial post and subsequent halfway apology regarding hiring more female engineers.

I had a separate personal incident dealing with this concept today. It's still bothering me. I have talked about the incident with five separate people now, and I'm still not completely better. I'm talented and charming and delightful and insightful. I'm a freaking genius with an ambitious streak that is rarely seen outside the worlds of elite academics and career politicians. Yet for almost every day of my life since I graduated from high school, I have been involuntarily reminded of the knapsack and the things I can rarely do:

1. I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.

2. I can avoid spending time with people whom I was trained to mistrust and who have learned to mistrust my kind or me.

5. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.

6. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.

7. When I am told about our national heritage or about "civilization," I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.

10. I can be pretty sure of having my voice heard in a group in which I am the only member of my race.

19. I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my race on trial.

23. I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior without being seen as a cultural outsider.

24. I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to the "person in charge", I will be facing a person of my race.

27. I can go home from most meetings of organizations I belong to feeling somewhat tied in, rather than isolated, out-of-place, outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance or feared.

28. I can be pretty sure that an argument with a colleague of another race is more likely to jeopardize her/his chances for advancement than to jeopardize mine.

30. If I declare there is a racial issue at hand, or there isn't a racial issue at hand, my race will lend me more credibility for either position than a person of color will have.

31. I can choose to ignore developments in minority writing and minority activist programs, or disparage them, or learn from them, but in any case, I can find ways to be more or less protected from negative consequences of any of these choices.

32. My culture gives me little fear about ignoring the perspectives and powers of people of other races.

34. I can worry about racism without being seen as self-interested or self-seeking.

35. I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having my co-workers on the job suspect that I got it because of my race.

36. If my day, week or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it had racial overtones.

37. I can be pretty sure of finding people who would be willing to talk with me and advise me about my next steps, professionally.

38. I can think over many options, social, political, imaginative or professional, without asking whether a person of my race would be accepted or allowed to do what I want to do.

39. I can be late to a meeting without having the lateness reflect on my race.

42. I can arrange my activities so that I will never have to experience feelings of rejection owing to my race.

44. I can easily find academic courses and institutions which give attention only to people of my race.

45. I can expect figurative language and imagery in all of the arts to testify to experiences of my race.

50. I will feel welcomed and "normal" in the usual walks of public life, institutional and social.


The numbers in bold--1, 2, 6, 24, 28, 32, 36, 42 and 50--all happened today. The rest of those listed above have all happened to me in the past week. This is my life.

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New Presidential candidate video below. I heard about Ron Paul on The Stephanie Miller Show this week, so I had to investigate. The funniest thing about the video? When the camera takes long shots of the stage from the side, I swear the candidates look identical. Not exactly shocking when it comes to the Republican party.

Ron Paul in Debate at Reagan Library (May '07)

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Ooh, one more thing. If you haven't heard the uproar about the latest Mary Jane figurine licensed by Marvel just in time for Spider-Man 3, you can read all about the outrage at When Fangirls Attack: Special "Outrage of the Week!" Edition. Lots of people had lots to say. I stopped counting the blog links at 50.

1 comment:

Stephanie said...
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