a comment on seeing yourself in the media
Whilst still in his teens my father was sent to the UK to finish his alevels and after that go to university. At the time, during the late 50s, a turban wearing sikh boy was a rarity even in london. Utterly unsure of himself on arrival in a very very different place to Kenya the only reassurance he felt, the only thing that made him feel that everything would workout was the sight as he was driven to his lodgings of another turban wearing sikh boy walking down the street.
The only abiding memory he is left with of his arrival, the only thing that mattered in the long term was the relief and joy at seeing someone who was like him. Someone had already been on the path he was on, someone had already blazed a trail. He wasn’t entirely alone.
It is very difficult to describe to someone who isn’t an immigrant, or a decendant of immigrants, or a person of colour just how alienating life can be. We may not strive to see a face like ours whilst walking on the street but that same exictment, that same exhileration at someone like us appearing on the TV or in the cinema still exists. My siblings and i still shush everyone and point when a sikh appears on tv. Theres no rational reason for it really, we don’t feel discriminated against in our day to day lives, we aren’t persecuted by anyone.
But still. Theres one of US!. On the actual TV. Someone made it.
Our parents cling to their past by watching satellite tv channels from ‘back home’. We stare at the tv channels in the country we consider our home and point at the british programmes when someone who looks like us appears on them. Its one more step to acceptance. One further step towards belonging.
Thats why its all the more heartbreaking when we’re reduced, in the countries we consider our home, to mere backdrops. Hip ethnic enclaves where white heteronormative storylines can be played out. The problem i have with Girls is similar to the problem i (and many others) had with the movie Notting Hill. Its very location was chosen because, bluntly, its ‘real life’ ethnic mix provided an area that was/is considered fashionable and as such attaching what was a pretty straighforward lovestory to a ‘trendy location’ was commercially attractive.
Archaeologists have unearthed remnants of what they believe is a 1,000-year-old village on a jungle-covered mountaintop in the Philippines with limestone coffins of a type never before found in this Southeast Asian nation, officials said Thursday….
The discovery of the rectangular tombs, which were carved into limestone outcrops jutting from the forest ground, is important because it is the first indication that Filipinos at that time practiced a more advanced burial ritual than previously thought and that they used metal tools to carve the coffins.
This is some heady archaeological stuff. I mean, just absolutely amazing. I hope this gets a lot of play in our media, this needs to be prominently touted.
Discoveries like this basically rewrite what we understand about our archipelagic history. They are important in uncovering who we are and where we came from. The fact that there were hitherto unknown techniques in use is astonishing. Looking forward to the published study of the find.
The exciting part is, there is much more to be find throughout the country. We are an archaeological treasure trove, we just need the institutional support to explore.
The sad part of the story is the mention that most of our discovered archaeological sites are being destroyed by grave robbers and looters. These sites form an integral part of our national patrimony, they belong to every Filipino and help deepen our understanding of our heritage.
And it’s just fucking cool.
Whoah! All the Philippine history learned through the years will have to be unlearned and updated. I agree, this will radically change our understanding of our past, particularly the pre-Spanish period.
This reminds me of a long discussion back then on what parts of the Philippines might have been before the Spanish expeditions came. Sadly though, I cannot seem to find those exchanges in my archives anymore.
Anyway, like what we agreed on, historical records from our neighboring countries might reinforce knowledge derived from digs like this. But, before the research comes the funding… I wonder if there are Congressmen or Senators willing to spend on Philippine history…
"television taught me to see “white” as simply the default for “human.”"
my hair is brown.
my eyes are brown.
my skin is a wheatish brown.
i was born brown.
does this make my soul
are the rights i have brown?
is the voice emanating out of my
lined with brown?
i am a coloured person.
my essence is fleeting
i can’t be thrown into
i am not to be measured
in nanometers and wavelengths
i am a woman, a sister, an aunt, someone’s lover.
not just brown
"i’m really tired of people calling identities ‘labels’ and acting like its so laborious to acknowledge marked identities. anyone who talks about the need to erase identity ‘labels’ as if that would somehow equalize everything is kidding themselves. language is constantly changing already so what’s the problem with creating new words to describe non normative identities?"
Ethnic Stereotyping in the Porn Industry:
I was having a discussion with several people on Twitter (mostly men and a few women) on how porn is not just dedicated to sexual gratification but a lot more than that. Little do viewers realize that the porn industry is notorious for its power in reinforcing ethnic stereotypes. A specific ethnic identity is limited and chained to a set of ‘traits’ and ‘characteristics.’ Asian women are shown as weak, easily dominated while Latina women are shown in roles of ‘spicy’ women with little control over their libido. In some clips, I have also seen Latina women portrayed typically as “illegal immigrants” in jail, indulging in sex with white police officers.
For an average man, the porn industry is simply about getting off to a few minutes of romping around in bed. For him, it is never about a women’s identity or control over her sexuality. It is never about ethnic stereotypes and reinforcement of racial images. But if you look closer, you’ll find financed racism in the porn industry where identities are toyed with and abused.
I remember viewing a clip shared by a friend once on how a white producer created a plot for a porn clip in which an “Iraqi” girl (read: a Latina girl wrapped in a hijab) had to “give her body” to a “brave” American soldier. It was beyond sickening.
You should read Darrell Hamamoto’s strong take on ethnic stereotyping in the porn industry. Here are excerpts of racial identities depicted typically in porn flicks:Latinos and Hispanics
Pornography tends to stereotype Hispanic women as feisty, “hot and spicy Latinas”, sexy Señoritas, with a high sex drive and low impulse control. Many are portrayed as maids, illegal immigrants to the United States, or unfaithful wives. Since Latinos and Hispanics can be of any race (many are white Hispanic Americans, Mestizos etc.), cultural characteristics are sometimes portrayed via iconic items like South and Central American national costumes, sombreros, maracas, or Mexican dresses.Asian women
Are viewed as sexually willing or submissive. Asian men are hardly portrayed in pairing with white women and not as common compared to white men with asian women porn. Asian women are mainly portrayed as the: “Dragon Ladies”, as servile “Lotus Blossom Babies”, “Innocent School Girls” in private school uniforms, “China dolls”, “Geisha girls”, war brides, or prostitutes. Japanese media have also at times sensationalistically promoted the stereotype of Japanese women overseas as “yellow cabs”.
Large penis size in Black men is consistently emphasized in pornography, often by exclusively casting actors with larger than average penises such as Lexington Steele, Kid Bengala, Jack Napier and Mandingo. Men are often treated to stereotypes of gang affiliation, working class labor, and are overrepresented in gang rape fetish films. Also, they are represented as overly aggressive and demanding, and are performing with white women. Similarly, black women are often portrayed with large breast and buttocks, or ‘booty’. They normally play a submissive role while performing with a white male.
Homi Bhabha refers to this phenomena as racial fetishism as a fixation on other races being not different, but lesser or “mutilated” versions of the white male. Similarly, in her book “Racy Sex, Sexy Racism”, Gail Dines argues that “women of color are generally relegated to gonzo–a porn genre lacking any plot–which provides little glamour, security or status.”
A creation story of the lesbian blue star tattoo, from Elizabeth Lapovsky Kennedy and Madeline D. Davis, Boots of leather, slippers of gold: the history of a lesbian community (New York: Psychology Press, 1993), pp. 189-190. (via)