ten things tagged “racism”

Candyman (2021) IMDb B+

Saw with BE and NN. Eh. Clear messages about creatives’ struggles and temptations, and the importance of continuing to tell past and present stories of horrific pain and suffering.

I suppose I just lazily wanted to watch a well-made scary movie without actively engaging with it, without searching for the clever and occasionally deep symbolism that has come to characterize a movie with Jordan Peele’s name on it. It was adequately scary.

The title of Anthony’s piece [“Say His Name”] also is recognizable as a play on the Say Her Name slogan meant to memorialize victims of anti-Black violence and police brutality such as Breonna Taylor and Sandra Bland. The recognition of that inference is the only point of connection to it.

Beyond that, little about the plot makes a statement about over-policing or the socio-economic violence that gentrification creates by destroying and displacing low-income communities. Its characters blithely discuss these concerns over drinks or Brianna’s well-appointed living room, but only as part of a litany of urban ills. The sequences are the film’s ways of throwing a message that’s on-brand for 2021 behind a horror movie meant to speak to an audience that supports protests against racial injustice and biased policing in principle without having any actual skin in the game.

To those impacted in a real way by these issues or savvy enough to recognize when they’re being used as mechanisms to impart a sense of relevance, they come across as didactic nonsense. All that noise strangles the twin melodies that make up the Candyman character’s siren song: seduction and legacy.

Melanie McFarland, “No sweets for the sweet in new “Candyman,” which neglects the legend’s seductively scary legacy”, Salon

Speaking of these “twin melodies”: I haven’t seen the 1992 original and it’s on my list. Didn’t know that Philip Glass did the score for the movie.

On Spite

In his book Dying of Whiteness, Metzl told of the case of a forty-one-year-old white taxi driver who was suffering from an inflamed liver that threatened the man’s life. Because the Tennessee legislature had neither taken up the Affordable Care Act nor expanded Medicaid coverage, the man was not able to get the expensive, lifesaving treatment that would have been available to him had he lived just across the border in Kentucky. As he approached death, he stood by the conviction that he did not want the government involved. “No way I want my tax dollars paying for Mexicans or welfare queens,” the man told Metzl. “Ain’t no way I would ever support Obamacare or sign up for it. I would rather die.” And sadly, so he would.

Isabel Wilkerson, “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents

Now,

You might wish to let that simmer for a few minutes. With his health as shaky as a Jenga tower, with his very life ebbing away, Trevor’s greater concern – his greater fear – was of undeserving “Mexicans or welfare queens” benefiting from his taxes, however much that might be on the wages of a used-to-be cab driver eking out his last days in a low-income housing facility.

If that’s sad and ridiculous – and it is both – it is also predictable. From the beginning, white fear has been a great, unspoken driver of this nation’s sins against difference. So Trevor is just a link in an unbroken line that binds Lincoln fretting about retribution from newly freed slaves, to Roosevelt worrying about treachery from Americans of Japanese heritage, to Trump seeing terrorism in brown-skinned toddlers on the southern border.

Decade after decade, election after election, so much of the white conservative appeal is an implicit promise to defend whiteness from blacks and browns. Metzl argues that white people themselves have borne and are bearing a terrific cost for this “defense,” that they are, in effect, killing themselves.

Leonard Pitts, “Dying of Whiteness

Paraphrasing a comment I read on Instagram: “You will let your Orange Highness shit on your head if it means that the liberal standing next to you has to smell it.”

The Diabetic Racist

Matt Rowan is a family man, a Christian, and a former youth pastor (so we’re off to a fantastic start.) At a high school basketball game, this pillar of the community called children “f****** n******s” for that grave sin of actually kneeling during the national anthem.

On the video, Rowan is heard to refer to the players as “f****** n******.” He added, "I hope Norman gets their ass kicked,” and then "I hope they lose. C’mon Midwest City. They’re gonna kneel like that? Hell no.”

Brian D. King, “Local man apologizes for racist remarks caught on hot mic at basketball game”, Tahlequah Daily Press

Now in what has to be the most shameless excuse for reprehensible behaviour I’ve read to date, he blames his MAGA1 outburst on his blood sugar!

I will state that I suffer Type 1 Diabetes, and during the game, my sugar was spiking. While not excusing my remarks, it is not unusual when my sugar spikes that I become disoriented and often say things that are not appropriate, as well as hurtful. I do not believe that I would have made such horrible statements absent my sugar spiking.

He helpfully adds:

While the comments I made would certainly seem to indicate that I am racist, I am not, I have never considered myself to be racist, and in short cannot explain why I made these comments.

I think most reasonable people would have a simple one-word explanation. And to quote Conservative Hannibal Lecter: “While the body parts in the fridge would certainly seem to indicate that I am a psychopathic murderer, I have never considered myself to be one.”

No word has been issued as far as repercussions for the Hulbert employee.

In Rowan’s statement, he said he believed the microphone to be off, but “that is no excuse; such comments should have never been uttered.”

Like almost all this-is-really-not-who-I-am people, he’s only sorry he got caught.

  1. One guess as to who Mr. Rowan voted for. ↩︎

Dorothy Counts

04 September, 1957

Dorothy Counts, the first and at the time only black student to enroll in the newly desegregated Harry Harding High School in Charlotte (NC), is mocked by protestors on her first day of school. Bystanders threw rocks and screamed at Dorothy to go back to where she came from.

The man walking beside her is probably Dr. Edwin Tompkins, a friend of the family and a professor at the black college Johnson C. Smith University. After a string of abuses, Dorothy’s family withdrew her from the school after only four days. Children had been enrolling for the new school year and tension was particularly high in the south for districts trying to comply with the US Supreme Court’s ruling that states should desegregate their schools with deliberate speed.

World Press Photo

I cannot imagine what she must have felt.

“There was unutterable pride, tension and anguish in that girl’s face as she approached the halls of learning, with history jeering at her back,” he later said. “It made me furious. It filled me with both hatred and pity. And it made me ashamed. Some one of us should have been there with her.”

Michael Graff, quoting James Baldwin, “This picture signaled an end to segregation. Why has so little changed?”, The Guardian

Photos by Douglas Martin.

Dorothy Counts by Douglas Martin
Dorothy Counts by Douglas Martin
Dorothy Counts by Douglas Martin
Dorothy Counts by Douglas Martin

Schrodinger’s Douchebag

One who makes douchebag statements, particularly sexist, racist or otherwise bigoted ones, then decides whether they were “just joking” or dead serious based on whether other people in the group approve or not.

Urban Dictionary

They’re always “just joking.” About pandemic response, about requesting foreign interference in their country’s elections, injecting disinfectants to treat disease, asking for more police brutality, mocking the disabled, treason, dangling pardons like a mob boss, asking foreign governments to investigate political opponents, calling onself “The Chosen One”, calling a former president the founder of a terrorist organization, or condoning violence against journalists. Just look at your face, bro 😆

And then there’s Schrodinger’s Asshole:

A person who decides whether or not they’re full of shit by the reactions of those around them.

Via Mark.