April 03, 2006
I was thinking about writing something about this, and saw this post over at Feministe on god and abortion. Here's the thing. It doesn't and shouldn't matter one fucking bit what god, goddess, or trees think about abortion. We do not base laws on religion. Well, we do. But we shouldn't. There's no point arguing about what the bible says about abortion, homosexuality, drinking, or anything. People should certainly feel free to base their personal decisions on whatever the hell they want. The bible, rune stones, numerology, coin-flipping. Don't care. But we're not doing anyone a favor by arguing the point on faith-based grounds. Obviously it helps to have anyone carrying the banner, but contrary to what Will Saletan might think, playing the god game is not the way to go. I dunno. It might be a winning strategy, but I think it will fail in the long-run.
Don't watch it. Read it.
Go check out Reappropriate's fantastic recaps of Black. White. Trust me, this is much better than watching the damn show.
Episode 1: And, as if it wasn’t explicit enough, the show then insists upon some “Passing Lessons” once the families move in together. This consists almost
entirely of bad stereotyping, painful commentary, and ignorant prejudices voiced
by the Wurgel family. From Carmen suggesting that she act Black by high-fiving
people, to the discussion of Bruno’s alterations to his walking, it was nothing
but bad articulations of meaningless stereotypes. All thrown together in a
display suggesting that one can indeed adopt fake mannerisms and expect to
racially pass. Even the Sparks family tried to paint themselves as some gurus of
Blackness by suggesting (painfully) that Bruno "act black" by learning dap and
slouching a lot. As if racial experience can be summed up entirely by adopted
behaviour and some Revlon.
Episode 2: The scene with Rose hanging with her poetry group was basically an
illustration of another stereotype of Blacks: Blacks as the trendsetters,
genetically "cool". At the same time, White girls shouldn't try to rhyme -- if
it's not what you do, it's not what you do. What Rose fails to communicate to
the audience is that just because she has fallen into a group of African
Americans who rhyme, it isn't coded in the DNA of Black people to be good at
rhyming. Again we have an instance of the White characters attempting to emulate
stereotypes in order to pass.
Episode 3: Following the commercial-break-spanning cuss-out of Nick, "Black" Carmen and "Black" Bruno go to a cowboy bar where a Confederate flag is prominently displayed. Of course, we knew this wasn't going to go well, or perhaps it would, because "Black" Carmen noticed the subtle kind of racism that people of colour face daily (because the entirety of America is basically like this cowboy bar).
"Black" Carmen was denied a coffee until the bartender saw her credit card, but
"Black" Bruno felt right at home, seeing no racism because no one tried to lynch
Episode 4: Meanwhile, after Rene explains why she participated in the Black. White.
project, "White" Nick goes to etiquette school. While we all watch the
ridiculousness unfold, I just want to take this minute to ask: since when is
etiquette class a White activity akin to how slam poetry is a Black activity? I
mean, I know a few White folk and I've never even heard of etiquette school
being a common activity. Really, Rose puts it quite well: etiquette school is a
rich person's activity. And, the problem with this particular episode of Black.
White. is that the classism is getting mixed in the racism, but is not getting
addressed. To suggest that White = rich and Black = poor is it's own level of
perpetuating discrimination based not only on race but tying class and potential
for wealth to skin colour, and yet nowhere are the ideas of institutional racism
Oh, and also via the Radical Women of Color Carnival, Angry Black Bitch on the Duke rape case.
Oh yeah, and I realized I meant to add Fetch me my axe to my links a long time ago, but never did it (until today). I suck. I'm sorry. I love you!
The individuals who where at that house on the night of the alleged gang rape
are adults. They are not kids. They are not boys trying to grow into their
social responsibility…they are adults. If a bitch had a dollar for every
motherfucking ‘white boy’ and ‘black man’ reference that pops up in the press my
ass would own Duke. Gang rape is not a youthful indiscretion or a casual
accusation and shame on anyone who stumbles into that pile of bullshit.
And it wouldn't be a post without something about my favorite Bitch's NOT a feminist week.
And yet, and yet, and yet. If logic were sufficient to sway people, it would have done so a long time ago.
Ultimately you have to (one has to) speak to people in the language they understand. If this means that the progressive Christians/religious left are likelier to get through to religious conservatives than "secular humanists," then so be it. So be motherfucking it.
There's more to it than that, but, I'll stop there. I think about this stuff a lot. Like, a lot a lot; and haven't posted much about it thus far.
of course there is a very specific morality/ethic from which the Constitution derives, and it is *not* ripp'd straight from the Bible. It is based on Enlightenment thinking, and on the Founders' own personal experience of just how fucked up things could get when the government merged with the Church. That's *why* they specified the whole Church/State division in the first place (which language almost didn't survive due to bitter infighting amongst the supporters and detractors, someone was telling me; some interesting stuff about the Early Years). This was new. This was important.
As for the Founders' own beliefs, not that it mattered much, at least several of them were Deists; which would no doubt send the RRR into conniptions (pagans and tree-worshippers! the divvil!), were they to take their fingers out of their ears and stop going LALALALALA long enough to know that this was so.
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