fiction theory

The artist is not afraid

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Captain Kirk, you failed on your mission. The Oscars still got ruined.
default3, writing!wench
If you don't get what happened surrounding Quvenzhané Wallis you need to go read this post about the matter from author NK Jemisin. If you don't get why it was so bad and why so many people are (rightfully) angry about it - you need to read it twice. Maybe three times.

Just keep reading until you get why it's wrong to be sexualizing a nine-year-old girl in front of a crowd of celebrities (and I cannot imagine how embarrassed or shamed or uncomfortable the poor girl must have felt when that joke got pointed at her, but for MacFarlane it's like she wasn't really a real person and wasn't RIGHT THERE in the audience being at the receiving end of his unfunniest line of the night). Keep reading until you get that this isn't a new thing that us white people have been doing, going after young Black girls and treating them as though they have no right to be considered children and protected as children.

Let's also keep in mind the fact that while no one stood up to defend Quvenzhané Wallis when an unacceptable remark was made about her, one that ought to have had people booing and jeering and telling MacFarlane that he wasn't fucking funny at all, about three guys raced out their chairs to help a white woman up when she stumbled up the stairs on the way to get her Academy Award.

So the message is that a grown up white woman who can damn well pick herself up is deserving of instant aid and support from grown men around her, but a nine-year-old Black girl who just got sexualized and put at the butt of a terrible unjoke deserves none. Got it. Capable white women: totally human and worth it. Black girls: totally not human. (That last bit is sarcasm, which I hope comes across).

And protip to my fellow white women: as someone else said on Tumblr said, now is not the time to have discussions about whether the word "cunt" is okay and how you as a grown and very privileged white woman feel about its usage. Because it's one thing for a grown woman, especially a white woman, to decide that she can be at peace with that word or even like it and reclaim it. It's another and infinitely more heinous thing to hurl it at a nine-year-old child who is in a totally different situation.

Actually, protip to all my fellow white people: be aware of discussions going on that are Not For Us and don't be a big Count Buttinsky with your White Opinion about the matter. Read them if you want, but unless someone specifically invites you to the table, stay out. Be aware and prudent of how you use your voice and what the effect will be. Hell, do this always, every day.

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I yelled at "but it was just a JOKE" and "chill out" and "don't get your knickers in a twist" people in a Facebook conversation - and it seemed to be utterly impossible to GET THROUGH TO THESE ENTITLED WHITE MALE SOBs just WHY I was getting my "knickers in a twist" - one of them sarcastically said that no doubt I would get a personal phone call from that poor kid who was the butt of everyone's "snickersnickerscnickeritissofunnytocallherTHATWORD" attitude last night. The same person who said that also said that if someone had levelled the same word at his own daughter he'd have had that person's balls on a plate. Oh, so your daughter is off limits, dude, and everyone else's is fair game, especially if she happens to be a child of colour, is that it?

How was I NOT to get my "knickers in a twist"?

I was so ANGRY, so damned angry, that I was barely coherent. Maybe that even hurt the things I was saying, I don't know. But I - was- furious. And the thing is I would have been JUST as furious if it HAD been this (presumably white - I don't know) dude's child who'd had the C-word levelled at her with this kind of public fanfare. I don't make a distinction. Girls grow up to become women and women have QUITE enough crap to put up with when they're grown without having to wield it when they are pre-pubescent.

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