So, up until very recently, I followed this blog dedicated to one of my favorite TV shows. They posted nice GIFs and spoilers and things.
Today, they reblogged a post that dealt with a somewhat problematic caption someone had put on a picture. That caption said something to the effect of “It’s not a big deal that there aren’t really any people of minorities in this show, it’s based off of Grimm’s fairy tales, and those are about Europeans, so calm down.” The subsequent posters had really good points about how a lot of those fairy tales actually had origins other places, and so if we were going to get technical, things should be different, blah blah blah. Right. So. Good points. But. Some problems here.
- Just because a folk story originated in one place doesn’t mean that subsequent tellings, adapted for other locations and groups of people, are not also true folk stories. Otherwise NO ONE WOULD HAVE ANY STORIES except like one very creative person.
- Stories with such broad moral stuffs can arise independently and still be very similar. Then when people hear the stories of others, they might add things to their stories or take them away, so you get an interesting fusion, but it is totally viable for multiple people to come up with very similar ideas.
- As an American show, it IS actually based on the traditional fairy tales brought down in the European tradition, and they’re also trying to have some continuity with Disney characters since ABC runs both things. So the point about the stories coming from other traditions, while informative and valuable, is not really…well…the point.
So then the person writing for the blog that I followed mentioned how you cannot be racist against a white person in the United States, it just doesn’t work that way. And he or she has some very, very valid ideas. He (for the sake of something like correctness and brevity, we’ll make that person a male) said that the way the system has worked in the US has made it so that minorities are the unfavored members of society, so racism is typically directed by white people at those other people. I guess he is also acknowledging that minorities can be racist against other minorities, but that was unclear. But his basic premise, that you can’t be racist against a white person because that’s not how the system works, is flawed.
Because “racism” is not a system. Institutional racism, now that can be a system. But racism itself is a belief. That’s all. In its simplest form. It is an -ism. It is the belief that a race has certain definite characteristics that make it intrinsically better or worse than another race.
So this kid (I have to assume he’s a kid, otherwise I don’t want to live on this planet anymore because this is why I hate people) starts getting a bunch of asks (except they’re not asks, he’s disabled actual asks so all you can do is send fan mail, which made me a little grumpy) about how you can actually be racist against white people, how that is a thing. Not super common and not often a problem, but just that his premise was not technically correct. I just wanted him to reword it, or offer some qualifiers. Like, I don’t feel like he properly understands what he’s talking about, and I think he’s a little confused as to what other people are trying to tell him, and I really just everybody to be on the same page and understand how definitions of words work. I don’t care that much about the argument itself, about fairy tales; I think there are a lot of things to that that don’t matter as much to me, but if you feel the need to discuss it a lot, go ahead. But I just hate seeing people being made COMPLETELY wrong by the fact that they won’t concede to being a little bit wrong and a little bit right. Which he was!
Because racism isn’t a system! The SYSTEM of racial discrimination that has prevailed in the United States is in favor of white people. This is so true. And morally wrong, but that’s how things have traditionally gone here. But. White people can be discriminated against here. No one would dispute that. It’s QUITE UNCOMMON on any sort of large scale but it obviously happens. So the system of discrimination doesn’t prevent the discrimination of white people. So his whole “system” argument doesn’t quite line up, but that’s okay.
But then you have the fundamental definition of racism thing. And that can clearly be used against ANY RACE ON THIS PLANET (OR ANY OTHER PLANET. I’VE RECENTLY BEEN WATCHING A LOT OF DOCTOR WHO). If I think I am better than someone who is ethnically Southeast Asian because they are Southeast Asian and I am white, I am racist against Southeast Asians. If I think I’m better than an ethnically African person because they are of some sort of African origin and I am white, I am racist against black people. If someone who is black thinks they are better than someone who is ethnically Middle-Eastern because that person is Middle-Eastern but they are black, that black person is racist against Middle-Easterners. If someone who is ethnically Middle-Eastern thinks they are better than someone who is ethnically Caucasian because that person is white, they are racist against white people. If a black person thinks they are better than a white person because the white person is white and the black person is black, they are racist against white people.
Racism isn’t a thing that’s defined by what country you’re in. The systems of discrimination andinstitutionalracismaredefined by what country or society you are in, but the blogger on this site did not say that and would not use that in his defense of his premise. If he had just used that bit of information, then he would be correct in what he was saying. If he had qualified it, I would still be following him (also, if he hadn’t been acting kind of like an ass about it; if you upset people about something controversial, you should just be like, “Hmm, sorry that upset you, seems there are some differences in opinion here, but it’s unlikely we will actually reach a consensus, so let’s just move on to something else, shall we?” Instead, he was like, “You’re all wrong and stupid. I think it’s funny how wrong and stupid you are and how you’re now attacking me. #lolsuckaz.” He didn’t do the #lolsuckaz thing, to his credit). But he didn’t qualify it, which shows that he doesn’t think he needs to qualify it, which just makes him wrong.
Ugh, I even hate to say that, though! He’s still only wrong-ish in his ideas, but he IS wrong because he thinks he’s completely right. And that is the problem.
Also potentially the lack of ethnic diversity in the show, but there are a bunch of reasons for that and it’s much more complicated than just saying “THAT’S RACIST!”
I just have a lot of opinions on people who won’t compromise at all or even entertain the notion that there could be more to something than just what they think is true. I think it’s the biggest problem in the world and it just makes me very frustrated because I want everyone to have answers that aren’t wrong and be happy.
Is that too much to ask?
Qualifier on my part: The person who was manning that blog at the time and said these things WAS NOT answering other people’s posts rudely, and then stopped answering posts as blog entries but rather answered them privately. That was a classy thing to do. You even replied to my ask, conceding that I had some right ideas but was fundamentally wrong. By this point, you sounded frustrated, but that’s because you had been saying the same thing over and over again to lots of people who were saying the same things to you. Which would be very frustrating if you thought you were right and that your right was the only possible right. So I’m sorry if this has been frustrating for you, but it’s because you need to stop and think that maybe, if so many people responded telling you that you were wrong about something, you might be at least a little bit wrong.
Also, if you are some big-shot sociologist/historian/psychologist who is an expert in this field, you need to tell all the reasonably reliable sources on the internet, as well as the Oxford English Dictionary and the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, that they are just wrong.
Now I’m done. Off to stay with Shaina for the night. I’m being sexiled. But my roommate was very nice about it. She asked, and she asked like three weeks ago. So yeah.