“Why the search, the interrogation, the dogs, the bomb squad, and the injured man’s name tweeted out, attached to the word “suspect”? After the bombs went off, people were running in every direction—so was the young man. Many, like him, were hurt badly; many of them were saved by the unflinching kindness of strangers, who carried them or stopped the bleeding with their own hands and improvised tourniquets. “Exhausted runners who kept running to the nearest hospital to give blood,” President Obama said. “They helped one another, consoled one another,” Carmen Ortiz, the U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts, said. In the midst of that, according to a CBS News report, a bystander saw the young man running, badly hurt, rushed to him, and then “tackled” him, bringing him down. People thought he looked suspicious. What made them suspect him? He was running—so was everyone. The police reportedly thought he smelled like explosives; his wounds might have suggested why. He said something about thinking there would be a second bomb—as there was, and often is, to target responders. If that was the reason he gave for running, it was a sensible one. He asked if anyone was dead—a question people were screaming. And he was from Saudi Arabia, which is around where the logic stops. Was it just the way he looked, or did he, in the chaos, maybe call for God with a name that someone found strange?”—Excerpt from “The Saudi Marathon Man”, Amy Davidson [The New Yorker]
The trouble I have with most ~POC moving up~ narratives is that “moving up” entails nothing more than inclusion in and integration into a white supremacist, capitalist system. “Do the Right Thing” comes to mind — why fight to post an image of our PoC faces on a wall of building that is going to burn down?
No, actually, I don’t want to see more Latin@s in “empowering” roles in Hollywood. Certainly there have been films that expanded my consciousness, but the exceptions prove the rule. Hollywood is a propaganda machine, and that is not just a meaningless claim. Film itself is a medium to produce and reproduce mass culture to be consumed within the United States to pacify us and exported outside of the United States to establish white hegemony. (Camera film itself was created to bring out the tones of european skin). Why spend all of our time on the liberal goal of inclusion when we can instead create alternatives in which we will reclaim our humanity?
Becoming white will not humanize us. Internalizing white values will not humanize us. White people tore their indigenous identities from themselves, effectively erasing their own humanity to become a part of, and create, empire.
When I say I am against whiteness, I mean that I am against empire. Our liberation will not be an intellectual debate at the academy in which we are the victors. Our liberation will not be the reward of a place at the pinnacle of the ivory tower. Our liberation is not possible without total liberation from all empire. And that involves the dismantling of the media institutions we pacify ourselves with. Liberal identity politics, as opposed to a revolutionary identity politics, will only lead us to become complicit with empire.
A conversation between MLK Harry Belafonte: “I said, ‘What’s the matter, Martin? You seem very agitated.’ He said, ‘Well, I am, because I’ve come upon a thought that I don’t know how to deal with at this moment.’ I said, ‘Well, what is it?’ He said, ‘We’ve fought long for integration. It looks like we’re gonna get it. I think we’ll get the laws… But I’m afraid that I’ve come upon something that I don’t know quite what to do with. I’m afraid that we’re integrating into a burning house.’”
- This is why that conversation between Mercedes, Tina, and Rachel during “Acafellas” is the most heartbreaking conversation Glee has ever had for me, because we’re watching this fat, black girl essentially “settle” for someone she knows, deep inside, isn’t checking for her like that; but because he’s one of the few boys to pay any kind, nice attention to her, she lets Quinn and Santana convince her Kurt likes her and entertains the possibility she can be liked by a guy…one day…
- This is why the Quinncedes friendship will forever be dear to me (even if I never see it on my screen again), because Quinn (and Sam) is the only person who was able to see beyond the front Mercedes had and was there for her.
- This is why her “relationship” with Puck was probably eye-opening not just for Puck, but for her, too, as she made him step up for her - something I don’t think anyone had ever done up until then. She made him listen to what she had to say; made him be chivalrous to her; made him acknowledge her worth as a woman (even if the relationship was for show) and act accordingly. Without Mercedes, there would’ve never been a Pizes - his longest and deepest relationship to date.
- This is why I consider that conversation between Rachel and Mercedes in Mercedes’ truck during “Night of Neglect” as the single most rage-inducing conversation Glee has ever done, and that’s a doozy of an accomplishment for this show.
- This is why I completely understand why Mercedes waited a whole year after that and had a secret relationship with Sam - Sam, who is probably one of the most conventionally attractive white boys at that school, and having had a dating history of the two most popular and attractive girls at that school among his girlfriends, and neither of whom are black - to just have this relationship be for her and her alone without it being judged or mocked because he’s “slumming” and “they don’t go together” and “what does he see in her” with no regard that Sam (obviously, canonically) thought it was he who’d hit the girlfriend jackpot and it was probably she who could do so much better than a poor homeless boy.
- This is why Mercedes joining Shelby after being kicked out of New Directions, which had been a club that was sucking out her soul and her self-esteem, wasn’t selfish, but essential to her survival. Why the hell should she stifle her talent and remain in a situation where she’s not appreciated? What kind of craziness is that? Why should she ask for crumbs when she deserves the whole cake?
- This is why watching Sam fight for her and her struggle between him and Shane was thrilling, because how often is the black woman the drive for a love story? Even though it wasn’t clean and she made mistakes and ugly teas were shed by all, it was important to see and to recognize she could drive a man to compromise his morals for the love of her. That’s what great romances are made of, aren’t they?
- This is why Mr. Schue saying Mercedes didn’t have drive was ridiculous, because he never asked her anything; never mentored her; never encouraged her; never nurtured her in a way that would suit her needs. She is a fat black woman, Mr. Schue, you can’t build her up the same way you can a Rachel or a Finn. She’s going to deal with barriers you can’t even fathom, and your paltry, pathetic advice after she slayed “Disco Inferno” was further proof of that.
- This is why Mercedes (and Mike) only getting brief expositions of what their lives are like is offensive.
- This is why Mercedes being the only graduated senior with no family and/or no home is offensive.
- This is why Brittany confusing Mercedes for Wade (twice) is offensive.
- This is why Artie telling Mercedes to “get over” not being Maria (or, in fact, being double cast even though, narratively, she gave the better audition) was insensitive, at best, and insidious nevertheless.
Roles…stories…they’re important. They inform possibilities, expand them or shrink them - not just in the ficiton, but in the real world too. That Amber tearfully expresses how limited she is - not because of her skill, but because of her appearance (one she cannot change and one she shouldn’t have to) - and people are blithely okay with this; and then how that translates with the character that got her the biggest break of her career and why that character has a mafia….these are examples as to why.
FOR THE LANNNNNDDDDDDD OFFFF THE FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
- private trials
- indefinite detention
- militarization of police
- suspension of habeus corpus
- racist cops, racist judges, racist prison guards
- private prisons
- corporate tyranny
- two-party system
- PATRIOT Act
- secret drone strikes on civilians
- continual occupation of the world via the US Military
and the HOOOOMEEEEEEEEEEE OF THE BRAVEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE