Words, words, words, art.

The Blatherings Of A Blitherer

Racism in action


I want you to go to this link, look at the illustrations from this book, and not flinch:


It’s hard, isn’t it? It’s appalling that somebody thought “hey, I know! It’s the 21st century! Let’s have a white character beating up a bunch of insanely stereotypical dark-skinned characters! We can portray the non-whites as savage, half naked, sexualized, violent, animalistic charicatures. It’ll be great!”

There’s been a lot of talk in the feminist blogging community for a long while (years) now about how white feminists just can’t seem to unpack their privilege and, essentially, stop being dicks. Moreover, this is a debate that’s been going on for decades, largely unheard. http://dearwhitefeminists.wordpress.com/update/┬áhas some impassioned, frustrated stuff to say about the ongoing struggle, as does the comments section.

Images, and attitudes, like this are damaging to women as we struggle for equality and are damaging to all of us as human beings. I am sickened and disgusted by the idea that someone thought that images like those were appropriate. I am more sickened and disgusted by the fact that it didn’t occur to anybody involved with the book that those images might, just might, be hateful and wrong. The backpedaling and excuses involved with this book are also really really gross. “Well, they’re IRONIC. That makes it OK.” It’s not ironic, it’s hateful, and it’s diminishing, and it’s wrong and bad.

And this kind of stuff goes on all the time, and that’s hateful and wrong and bad and it should stop. And when people stand up and say “Hey, knock it off, this stuff is wrong and bad and hateful and stop. Just stop.” people need to actively listen to that and knock it off.

Basically, anyone who claims that racism isn’t an issue in the USA needs to look at those images and rethink that claim.

9 Comments to

“Racism in action”

  1. On April 25th, 2008 at 10:32 am Brenna Says:

    Dear God are people stupid.

    Fuck irony, all it does is attempt to cloud people’s true feelings and is used as an excuse.

  2. On April 25th, 2008 at 12:33 pm Matt Says:

    Holy fuck. Yeah, that’s fairly insane. If they wanted to use pulpy, retro images of female empowerment, why not show a pulp heroine beating up on gangsters or Nazis? Or, hell, since apparently the whole “jungle” angle is important, why not just use ANIMALS? Leopards and snakes and such were pretty standard threats in all those old jungle adventure stories, and they’d fit the theme of the environment being the source of danger a lot better than human beings do.

    And, yeah, I ain’t really seeing an “ironic portrayal of racism” thing happening in these images. The irony defense is not by itself illegitimate, but it has zero traction, here.

    Just fuckin CLUELESS. Amazing.

    (Hey, does this thing support [b]BBCode[/b]? Or HTML? I hate using caps for emphasis.)

  3. On April 25th, 2008 at 12:34 pm Matt Says:

    Yay! HTML!

  4. On April 25th, 2008 at 12:36 pm Brigid Says:

    You know, my first thought was also “what about the Nazis?” There were a LOT of other things they could have used that WOULD have been funky and retro but not OMG RACIST.

    Also, the “jungle” angle is apparently important only because of the title of the book.

  5. On April 25th, 2008 at 2:38 pm Brenna Says:

    To base design so heavily on the title and not even reflect the chapter headings is a tetragenic kind of lame.

    Bad design, bad.

  6. On April 25th, 2008 at 2:41 pm It’s A Jungle In Here : Elaine Vigneault Says:

    […] Rebecca, and Feminiocracy. More: Galling Gala, The Rotund, Angry Black Woman, Ottermatic, brigidkeely. addthis_url = ‘http%3A%2F%2Fwww.elainevigneault.com%2Fits-a-jungle-in-here.html’; addthis_title = […]

  7. On April 25th, 2008 at 2:44 pm Elaine Vigneault Says:

    “why not just use ANIMALS?”

    No. Not OK.
    The images are racist and shouldn’t have been used. But there are other problems with the images as well, including the violence against animals. More problems: the hero is a white, blond, beautiful woman in a skimpy outfit. She rescues a white man. The man uses guns. There are LOTS of problems with the images.

  8. On April 25th, 2008 at 3:57 pm Matt Says:

    I would draw a distinction between image choices which are damaging to society and image choices which are merely unpalatable to myself as an individual.

  9. On April 25th, 2008 at 5:01 pm Brigid Says:

    Hi, Elaine! Thanks for joining us over here.

    I’m pretty against hunting in general, however if one is going for a retro jungle hero theme, I would much rather The Wilds Of Untamed Nature were represented by animals instead of human beings who are already marginalized. There’s a lot of stuff wrong with the images used, and frankly, I’m glad you pointed out the violence in general and the implied animal abuse in particular.

    Also, I can totally see the argument that the white, blonde, wasp-waisted, etc woman used is “ironic.” Much as I know feminists who wear frilly aprons or have June Cleaver refrigerator magnets for ironic reasons, I could very well see using a similar image on a feminist book. I mean, you still have the whole white-centric default thing, but still.