Archives for posts with tag: racism

Depending on your level of nerdery, you may have seen the race to be cast as the new Spiderman in the wake of Tobey Maguire vacating the role. The obvious contenders aside, it’s been relatively lacking in anything of note until Donald Glover threw his hat into the ring, reasoning not unreasonably that Spider-man is a character that does not necessarily have to be white. As expected, the hardcore fans have reacted with typical aplomb, stating that No, Really, Peter must be a White Boy because that’s what he is in the comics and it would be racist to change him. Some of the more clever members of this camp have even referred to the matter of the white-washing of the cast of The Last Airbender, painting anyone who disagrees with them as hypocrites. All of which begs the question: does Peter Parker have to be white? Read the rest of this entry »

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After spending a lot of last Summer getting worn down by arguing with people that TRANSFORMERS 2 was a racist, mysogynistic and exceptionally creepy piece of crap – frequently being told in the process that I was being too politically correct – I think that whatever manages to set me off in similar fashion this Summer will have me just directing people to the following.

As suggested by China Miéville.

“The category of Political Correctness is so nebulous that it’s rarely very helpful, particularly because it is often used disgracefully as a stick with which to beat anti-racists or progressives. In the broader sense, I absolutely do think that the implicit politics of our narratives, whether we are consciously “meaning” them or not, matter, and that therefore we should be as thoughtful about them as possible. That doesn’t mean we’ll always succeed in political perspicacity—which doesn’t mean the same thing as tiptoeing —but we should try. So for example: If you have a world in which Orcs are evil, and you depict them as evil, I don’t know how that maps onto the question of “political correctness.” However, the point is not that you’re misrepresenting Orcs (if you invented this world, that’s how Orcs are), but that you have replicated the logic of racism, which is that large groups of people are “defined” by an abstract supposedly essential element called “race,” whatever else you were doing or intended. And that’s not an innocent thing to do. Maybe you have a race of female vampires who destroy men’s strength. They really do operate like that in your world. But I think you’re kidding yourself if you think that that idea just appeared ex nihilo in your head and has nothing to do with the incredibly strong, and incredibly patriarchal, anxiety about the destructive power of women’s sexuality in our very real world. These things are not reducible to our “intent”—we all inherit all kinds of bits and pieces of cultural bumf, plenty of them racist and sexist and homophobic, because that’s how our world works, so how could you avoid it?”

“So I’d suggest that one should be open-eyed about the facts that the categories with which we think and write and read, are not innocent, and that we should do our best not to use them to replicate the worst aspects of the cultural bumf that put them in our heads in the first place. Does that mean being politically correct? If that is deemed to mean being conscious of and careful about the political ramifications of our writing, then surely that’s the only decent way to proceed.”

See also 300, Peter Jackson’s KING KONG, SUPERMAN RETURNS, ad infinitum.