"Shonda Rhimes, really, is the Only One. She’s certainly the Only One at that level. That’s why this keeps coming up for her. That’s why, with all her power and influence, this is the piece she got in the Times. It’s by having more women and more people of color running shows that you stop having to talk about it all the time, and nobody wants to talk about it all the time. But if you don’t talk about it, nothing changes, and that’s the trap. You discuss it and spend all your time on it and let it become the only thing about you and let other people set the agenda every time they characterize you: You lose. But you don’t respond, don’t say what you think, don’t share what you know, don’t fire back when you’re minimized or put down or mischaracterized: You lose."


QUOTE
Sep 26
12:20 pm
245 notes
heartbrokensammy asked:

Is this a good way to point out that a character is not white without being super obvious; "The white snow provides a high contrast against her russet skin." ?

writingwithcolor:

It’s not that I don’t want people to notice, but I want to describe characters without just putting their description out there. I wanted a good way without going, “They’re not white.”

Ways to Indicate Race

Noting skin color by contrast is perfectly fine, though describing skin color is not necessarily enough to “lock in” the notion that your character is a Person of Color, especially if they happen to be light, white passing, or otherwise.

Even then some people might “miss” or ignore descriptions of even dark brown and tell themselves it’s a White person so that alone tells you extra efforts are at times called for.

  1. Physical descriptions: Along with describing skin color, you can note facial features and/or any cultural or religious garment worn by themselves or family members. Obviously not to say PoC look the same, but there are common features to a race, such as afro hair to Black people, though there’s incredible diversity even within Black hair.
  2. Engage in their culture: If a character and their family is celebrating the Chinese New Year, going into their early memories with the holiday and what it means (or doesn’t mean) to them, we’re likely gonna assume they’re Chinese.
  3. Associations/Club: Maybe they’re in a Black Student Union, or someone attempts to recruit them to an school, club, program or organization that pertains to their race or even a friend/family member encourages them to join.
  4. Use another character(s) to state it. A younger or older character might boldly note the differences in their skin or looks to the character. Someone might make a funny, awkward, exoticizing, racist or insensitive comment or joke.
  5. Use character “voice”: The character might make a quirky or casual statement related to their race.
  6. Racial Grievance: A character making note of a racial grievance and/or facing racism or micro-aggressions can indicate their race.
  7. Just state it. There’s honestly no shame in just stating a character is Black, Indian etc. But it’s like with any story detail; it should fit naturally as it’s odd to just blurt it without cause.

Threading indicators like these, at least early once and then throughout the story at your discretion, should be effective for letting us know the character is x race.

I’d also like to add that only stopping to describe your Characters of Color implies White = default so be sure to describe your White characters as well within your writing.

Hope this was helpful!

~Mod Colette

ASK

ANSWER
Sep 23
12:06 pm
948 notes
Anonymous asked:

Do you believe "race" is important even thought all humans are approximately 99% the same.

youngblackandvegan:

Race is a social structure, not biological. It matters because society makes it matter. It would be great if a person of color could say “but I’m just like you” and they would be treated that way. But we live in a society that treats people differently based on race.
Race shouldn’t matter, but it does

ASK

ANSWER
Jul 14
10:08 am
102 notes
ofmanynames asked:

Serious question: Do you think it's okay for a white writer to have POC as main characters in their stories? I've gotten feedback from teachers and others ranging from "there's no reason to have X be Y race" to "it's disrespectful to write as another race you're not".

medievalpoc:

yndigot:

medievalpoc:

maryrobinette:

medievalpoc:

Read This

May I just jump in on one point, here? When teachers say, “there’s no reason to have X be Y race” what they really mean is “There’s no reason to have X be a race other than white.” 

Which is bullshit.

There’s no reason to have X be white either.

That whole mindset of only having a character of colour if it “means” something or serves some “purpose” in the story is reinforcing the paradigm of white as the default norm and dominent culture. It’s a really easy trap for white writers to fall into to take a character’s race or ethnicity and make it into a story conflict. A “reason” to be Y race.

While a person’s background will affect how a person handles conflict, your teachers are wrong to insist that people who are Y race need a “reason” to be allowed into a story.

^ Reblog for anyone who that might need that pointed out ;)

In my fiction workshop this past spring semester, I wrote a story in which all the main characters were chicano.

Why were they chicano?  Because I set the story in Texas. Because my family is largely chicanos from Texas. The actual story was about two brothers, now teenagers, dealing with their mother’s suicide, which had happened a number of years earlier when they were both young. The characters didn’t need to be chicano for me to tell that story.  

When my story got workshopped, I was asked repeatedly to ‘explore their cultural/ethnic background’ in subsequent drafts. 

One of the other stories was about a family reunion. It was written by a white writer about a white, southern family, and the experience I described was like nothing I had ever experienced with my family.  The food described was like nothing you’d find when my family gets together. The names were often distinctly white, southern US names. But the story was absolutely not about the experience of being white and southern, it was about families keeping secrets, and there was no reason for the family in the story to be white US southerners.  Still the comments that writer received were all about how relatable his story was, how that was exactly the way family reunions were, and no one asked him to spend more time exploring this family’s southern heritage in subsequent drafts.

I couldn’t help feeling that I was either being asked to justify my characters being chicano by making the story about chicano identity (which was never the story I wanted to tell), or that I was being asked to address my story to a white audience that wasn’t expected to be able to understand and identify with a chicano character the way I was expected to understand and identify with white characters.

I didn’t want to write a story where it ‘meant something’ that my characters were chicano. I wanted to write about brothers.  Did my character’s ethnic background inform how they handled trauma in their life?  Of course, in some ways. But the intense focus on the character’s ethnicity during the discussion of my work was distinctly uncomfortable. (I was asked if they were poor, despite it explicitly stating in the story that they lived in a fairly middle class neighborhood.  I was asked about their immigration status (these are fictional teenage boys in a story that was in no way about immigration!). I was asked if they lived on a reservation, presumably because all brown folk in the US southwest live on a reservation? I wasn’t sure what to make of that one.)

It was a weird, frustrating experience that made me very self-conscious about the story I’d chosen to share.  About a quarter of the students in the class were not white. Only one other student in that class wrote a story where the main character was not white.  I wouldn’t be surprised if other people felt uncomfortable having the class comment on stories about POC characters. I also wouldn’t be surprised if they’d simply been conditioned to think of white as the ‘default’ in literature and assumed that to write a character with their own racial or ethnic background, they’d have to justify it or make it a plot point.

^ A perfect and detailed example of how this functions in practice. Thanks for sharing your experience.

ASK

ANSWER
Jul 7
4:04 pm
3,584 notes
  • Me: (after demonstrating a piece of software I had written to be used for quality reporting by Medicare health plans): So that's how it works, any questions?
  • Medicare Official: Wow, it's great. Who is the programmer?
  • Me: I am.
  • Medicare Official: But who actually wrote the code?
  • Me: That would be me...the programmer.
  • Because apparently Black, women programmers don't actually WRITE CODE. 10 years ago, at headquarters in Washington, D.C. I felt irritated at having to explain that yes, I am a REAL programmer.

TAGS:


CHAT
Jun 6
9:40 pm
1,229 notes

PHOTOSET
Apr 18
10:40 am
406 notes

artistically-jasmine:

khaleesibelius:

sapphicnymph:

valleypunx:

knowledgeequalsblackpower:

paisle4n:

prsjon:

The Doll Test

This self hate thing is DEEP

this makes me mad 

This is a compilation of doll tests featuring children of many races.

This is so fucking important

if you ever have to ask why intersectionality is important, direct yourself back to this video

The experience had already been done 60 years prior, and the results were the same.

Absolutely nothing has changed.

Why am I not surprised ?

I feel like I’m going to throw up

(Source: lindsaychrist, via talesofthestarshipregeneration)

TAGS:


VIDEO
Apr 14
11:12 pm
97,890 notes
marxrecords asked:

hi! i think that an important point to consider when talking about race and latin american immigrants in the united states is the fact that the construct of race here in latin america is distinct from the concept of race in the united states.

kyssthis16:

blueklectic:

fyqueerlatinxs:

for instance, you mentioned white mexicans. while in latin america race depends more on skin color and less on ancestry, in anglo america it’s determined mainly by where someone is from and their ancestry. someone born in mexico will never be white in the US, regardless of how light their complexion is. even if they dont speak like a foreigner, they will only pass for white until it’s revealed that theyre from latin america. thoughts?

We definitely agree on the idea that race as a concept is different in Latin America than it is in the US. For one, inequality in Latin America is often talked about in terms of class (often ignoring the fact that those who are poorest are the darkest and most indigenous) while in the US inequality is talked about in terms of race (ignoring how class further oppresses black people and other POCs)

However, we will respectfully disagree on your last statement. You CAN be considered white EVEN when your Latin American heritage has been disclosed.

We will use Alexis Bledel as a prime example.

image

Alexis Bledel identifies as Latina. Her father is Argentinian and her mother was raised in Mexico City. She has done countless articles talking about her “Latin American background.” And she is ALWAYS featured during Latin@ Heritage Month in “[insert number] of [white] celebrities you didn’t know were Latin@” articles.

BUT she is NOT racialized in the same manner that say Jessica Alba is. In fact, in almost all her roles she plays a white woman, DESPITE being completely fluent in Spanish, DESPITE being open about her Latinidad. She is treated as the white person that she is.

Now we know now you’re probably saying her name helps her out. And it’s true. Carlos Irwin Estevez (although technically he’s not Latino, he’s Spanish) changed his name to Charlie Sheen to help him pass as the white man he is. But we have another example of white Latin@s being racialized as white in Frankie Muniz.

image

Another celebrity heavily featured in the ubiquitous Latin@ Heritage [inser number] white Latin@ celebrities we rather feature instead of brown/black celebrities fluff pieces, Frankie Muniz is Puerto Rican. Yet despite his obviously Latin@ last name, he also has not been racialized as non-white. Instead, he consistently plays non-Latin@ white roles.

And last but not least we have Christina Aguilera

image

She is proudly Latina, much like Alexis Bledel. She even has a VERY Latina sounding name. She’s recorded albums in Spanish. BUT even during her Dirrrty phase, she was not hypersexualized in the same manner that other WOC artists are. Instead, her expression of sexuality and its reception were more reminiscent of how Madonna’s overt sexuality was performed and received. In contrast, artists like Nicki Minaj and Rihanna (two black female artists of Caribbean descent) are criticized for their expressions of sexuality and often villainized and their respective crafts dismissed because of how they choose to express their bodies and sexuality.

so tl;dr, No. Sorry, we refuse to accept the lie that White Latin@s are always racialized as ‘other’ in the US upon realization of their Latin American heritage. This is patently not true. Yes, some light-skinned Latin@ have conditional white passing privilege. But to say that no matter how light and bright they get they will never pass as white, I’m sorry but the evidence shows otherwise.

White Latin@s are white. This will never cancel out their Latinidad. But Latinidad can also never cancel their white privilege, so long as white supremacy is rule of the land.

A lot of Latinos get on my nerves with this shit “in Latin America we’re all just Latino!! Nobody notices the difference” man bye with that bullshit.

ALL OF THIS!

ASK

ANSWER
Apr 5
5:43 pm
2,857 notes

racismschool:

Ethnicity vs Race from Diffen.com

Check out the site. It’s really amazing. Even giving an option to compare things to make them easier to understand. Very cool site!

image

(via blueklectic)

TAGS:


PHOTOSET
Mar 26
4:06 pm
3,635 notes
america-wakiewakie:

"She doesn’t look American": Coca Cola & Re-Branding White Supremacy | AmericaWakieWakie
From his lips came the numbing question, “What are you?” I am human, I thought keeping quiet. He pressed onward, “No, I mean what is in you?” as if my insides varied so remarkably from his. “Are you mixed?” My lips are full. Tan skin. Dark curled hair. Brown eyes. I am half Latino. Standing in silence I peeked around him. He was bigger than me, older. The body in front of me stooped, his head titled level to mine. Curiosity left his throat as condescending bass began drumming my ears. He repeated his question, louder — “What are you?”
Growing up in Mississippi’s rural countryside these questions became coldly mechanical. Little surprise then yesterday during Coca Cola’s now controversial exercise in multiculturalism, as a Muslim woman came on screen, did I hear the inbred cousin of “What are you” — aka, “She doesn’t look American.” Both, the question asked of me and the assumption made about this woman, at their core say something else more sinister than the words actually muttered.
With bravado they say: You are not White.  
Such reminders to black and brown people in America have been a constant thread throughout our history. Yet, yesterday’s Coca Cola advert, what amounted to black and brown faces singing ‘America the Beautiful’ in native tongue, and the uproar thereafter, offers a unique lens into understanding how embedded racism truly is within our culture, even if in gross irony. In essence, literally, before us is the depth and ubiquity of America’s white supremacy.
White Supremacy is American as Apple Pie
Let’s be clear: The only reason folks — white people — are being overtly racist in the wake of Coca Cola’s commercial is because the normalized, yet often unarticulated, conception of white supremacy is almost always white. This culture of whiteness derives from itself the racial identities of its participants, its history and mythology, how they operate in the world, and perhaps most of all, it is by this process of normalization that white supremacy finds itself purposefully the dominant cultural phenomenon in America, dictating too the identities of all Others in proximity to it.
Speaking in 1965 on the ubiquity of whiteness, before a packed Cambridge debate, James Baldwin unleashed the fullness of his lived experience:
 “In the case of the American Negro, from the moment you are born every stick and stone, every face, is white. Since you have not yet seen a mirror, you suppose you are, too. It comes as a great shock around the age of 5, 6, or 7 to discover that the flag to which you have pledged allegiance, along with everybody else, has not pledged allegiance to you. It comes as a great shock to see Gary Cooper killing off the Indians, and although you are rooting for Gary Cooper, that the Indians are you.”
Not much has changed. When Coca Cola aired its commercial, black and brown Americans quickly got thousands, if not millions, of reminders that as people of color, we, like Baldwin realized, are not Gary Cooper — that, therefore, we are not constitutive elements of American culture. Visiting Twitter after the game, the visibility of white supremacy repeated itself ad nauseum:




(Photo Credit: Public Shaming @ Tumblr)
The Irony: Racists Are Offended the Ad’s Racism Wasn’t Racist Enough  
Coca Cola’s commercials, like the one aired at the Super Bowl, are propagandized rhetoric, a mouthpiece peddling systemized oppression as liberation. The racist backlash from Coca Cola’s advertisement, therefore, stems from a branding OF white supremacy which deviates from the white-only narrative. 
Building from the picture Baldwin illustrated, sheets of white opacity blanket us daily whereby, for white Americans, any skirmish away from a white dominated narrative — in this case manifested through media — is an abrupt disjoint in reality. Such an inability, or unwillingness, to deviate from the world of white supremacy speaks to a sort of normalcy that has become, in its subserviating power over individuals’ minds, totalitarian. And like all totalitarianism, a system of constant propaganda is needed to keep people in lockstep.
This is called television.
In 2006 the study Out of The Picture: Minority & Female TV Station Ownership in the United States highlighted the racial disparity, and white supremacy, of American television by analyzing the current status and the effects of FCC policy and media consolidation. Findings were as follows:
Minorities comprise 33 percent of the entire U.S. population, but own a total of only 44 stations, or 3.26 percent of all stations.
Hispanics or Latinos comprise 14 percent of the entire U.S. population, but only own a total of 15 stations, or 1.11 percent of all stations.
Blacks or African Americans comprise 13 percent of the entire U.S. population but only own a total of 18 stations, or 1.3 percent of all stations.
Asians comprise 4 percent of the entire U.S. population but only own a total of 6 stations, or 0.44 percent of all stations.
Couple these disparities with the fact that black and brown people in mainstream television often are depicted either as an afterthought, or pandering to racist stereotypes of laziness, self-destructiveness, violence, criminality, and disposability, the paradigm of white conceptions of people of color becomes grossly perverted and hostile. Thus, from within this world looking outward — even in a commercial depicting people of color as the human beings we are —  it registers least of all to the white supremacist that the legal, economic, political, educational, religious, and cultural practices of all Americans might not be those of white Americans.
Economic Imperialism Re-Branded With Black & Brown Faces
"In Guatemala, Coca Cola is a name for murder." 
— Israel Marquez, General Secretary of STEGAC (1979)
Knowing the racial disparities within our culture’s television and the institutions thereof, isn’t Coca Cola just being a good corporate citizen by challenging the white supremacist’s narrative of who ought to or could be considered American? At face value this commercial does seem as if Coca Cola is ‘leading the charge’ toward a post-racial America, but as usual if we use common sense we know corporations are rarely if ever altruistic.
Coca Cola is using the same institutions of white supremacy it has always used to increase market share locally and globally by re-branding its product with black and brown faces, a brand of multiculturalism that to the American mind – especially the white American mind — erases the longstanding history of corporate sponsored repression throughout the world.    
Guatemala has been victim to such erasure. The world’s largest beverage supplier has been bottling in the Central American nation since 1939 through franchise contracts and affiliates, one of which was Embotelladora Guatemalteca S.A., or EGSA (owned by the Flemings, a North American family from Texas). Post the United States backed coup in 1954, Guatemalan unions had been crushed. Union representation plummeted from 27% of the working population to 2%. In this backdrop the Flemings hired John C. Trotter as company President, a feverishly anti-union anti-communist. In the years from 68’ to 87’, under Trotter’s watch EGSA unionists and their families would be marred with intimidation, constant attempts to impede workers’ collaborations, beatings, rape, kidnapping, and murder. 
A booklet titled Soft Drink, Hard Labour published in 1987 by the Latin America Bureau in London, England documents the 1979 casualties between April and July as “an avalanche of killings” where at least 32 EGSA associates are beaten, 4 are kidnapped and disappear, 31 are fired, 4 wounded by gunshot, a daughter of a union lawyer is raped and tortured, and 8 are murdered. In the case of Arnulfo Gomez Segura, his lips were slashed with a razor; his tongue cut from his mouth and placed in his shirt pocket.  
Per the usual corporate scapegoat, Coca Cola maintained that is had no responsibility for its affiliates’ actions. But as a campaign to boycott the Atlanta retailer wrote:
“By allowing EGSA to use your trade mark, to act as your representative in Guatemala and by deriving financial benefits from your agreement with this company, you have committed your company’s image and interest. If your license holder is seen to be directly responsible for murders and other acts of violence, threats and intimidation committed against the members of the union representing the employees of EGSA, continuing cooperation between your company and this license holder constitutes complicity.”
The multinational corporation has not learned its lesson either. KillerCoke.org reported:  
“International Rights Advocates, a non-profit human rights organization, and the Conrad and Scherer law firm filed a new civil lawsuit against The Coca-Cola Company. The case was first filed in the State Supreme Court in New York on February 25, 2010, and in April it was moved to the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York (Case # 10-CIV-03120).
The case involves a campaign of violence that includes rape, attempted murder and murder against two Guatemalan trade unionists and their families. The two trade unionists are Jose Armando Palacios, who was forced to flee to the U.S. in early 2006, and Jose Alberto Vicente Chavez, whose son and nephew were murdered and whose daughter was gang raped on March 1, 2008.”
An old euphemism tried and true says all there is to know of corporate motive — follow the money. In an interview with NPR, Jimmy Smith, Creative Director at TBWA/CHIAT/DAY, inadvertently — but impeccably — put it:
“[A]dvertisers… definitely… understand that more than just white America is buying their products. So they’re trying to reach all cultures and all races, whether it’s Latino, black, Asian or, you know, Native American. It doesn’t matter. They just see that as another opportunity to sell their product.”
With a shallow motive as unabridged profiteering upon the backs of black and brown laborers, Coca Cola is but an extension of America’s white supremacy and purveyor of its economic imperialism. The sort of exploitation in Guatemala has been documented elsewhere too, in China, Columbia, El Salvador, India, Kenya, Mexico, Pakistan, the Philippines, Tanzania, and Turkey.
A House Divided Can Never Stand: Fighting White Supremacy in Global Context
"The reality is even if we took every white person on Earth and put them on a space ship and sent them to outer space white supremacy wouldn’t miss a beat."
— Junot Diaz | Facing Race (2012)
I never answered that hulking kid in front of me. By the fourth school transfer I already knew 14 year old teens cared less about my racial identity than they did figuring out what made me separate. In no time my interrogator had conjured epithets for me — “beaner,” “nacho,” “wetback,” and the most inane, “the Arabian Night-man.” 
Like most multiracial teenagers my “otherness” caused me insecurities. I bought a hair straightener so my hair would appear like the normalized styles around me, long, straight, 70s’ like. School pictures meant sucking in my lips. Dating, no thanks, I just stopped trying. Not until I was 17, away from my legal guardians, starting university, working full time and on my own did I realize never would my identity be founded in what others prescribed me as. I did not know it then, but I was starting to understand what it meant to reject white supremacy, what it meant to be a man of color, even if only partially, in a white supremacist world.
And I began to understand no matter my race I am capable of replicating through my actions and behavior the systemic oppression of white supremacy. In order for us to properly defend ourselves from oppression, we must first wholeheartedly break ourselves from it and support each other in our struggle against it no matter what face it is branded. It is through this lens that we come to understand that our liberation is bound up with the liberation of all oppressed peoples. We cannot separate.

america-wakiewakie:

"She doesn’t look American": Coca Cola & Re-Branding White Supremacy | AmericaWakieWakie

From his lips came the numbing question, “What are you?” I am human, I thought keeping quiet. He pressed onward, “No, I mean what is in you?” as if my insides varied so remarkably from his. “Are you mixed?” My lips are full. Tan skin. Dark curled hair. Brown eyes. I am half Latino. Standing in silence I peeked around him. He was bigger than me, older. The body in front of me stooped, his head titled level to mine. Curiosity left his throat as condescending bass began drumming my ears. He repeated his question, louder — “What are you?”

Growing up in Mississippi’s rural countryside these questions became coldly mechanical. Little surprise then yesterday during Coca Cola’s now controversial exercise in multiculturalism, as a Muslim woman came on screen, did I hear the inbred cousin of “What are you” — aka, “She doesn’t look American.” Both, the question asked of me and the assumption made about this woman, at their core say something else more sinister than the words actually muttered.

With bravado they say: You are not White.  

Such reminders to black and brown people in America have been a constant thread throughout our history. Yet, yesterday’s Coca Cola advert, what amounted to black and brown faces singing ‘America the Beautiful’ in native tongue, and the uproar thereafter, offers a unique lens into understanding how embedded racism truly is within our culture, even if in gross irony. In essence, literally, before us is the depth and ubiquity of America’s white supremacy.

White Supremacy is American as Apple Pie

Let’s be clear: The only reason folks — white people — are being overtly racist in the wake of Coca Cola’s commercial is because the normalized, yet often unarticulated, conception of white supremacy is almost always white. This culture of whiteness derives from itself the racial identities of its participants, its history and mythology, how they operate in the world, and perhaps most of all, it is by this process of normalization that white supremacy finds itself purposefully the dominant cultural phenomenon in America, dictating too the identities of all Others in proximity to it.

Speaking in 1965 on the ubiquity of whiteness, before a packed Cambridge debate, James Baldwin unleashed the fullness of his lived experience:

 “In the case of the American Negro, from the moment you are born every stick and stone, every face, is white. Since you have not yet seen a mirror, you suppose you are, too. It comes as a great shock around the age of 5, 6, or 7 to discover that the flag to which you have pledged allegiance, along with everybody else, has not pledged allegiance to you. It comes as a great shock to see Gary Cooper killing off the Indians, and although you are rooting for Gary Cooper, that the Indians are you.”

Not much has changed. When Coca Cola aired its commercial, black and brown Americans quickly got thousands, if not millions, of reminders that as people of color, we, like Baldwin realized, are not Gary Cooper — that, therefore, we are not constitutive elements of American culture. Visiting Twitter after the game, the visibility of white supremacy repeated itself ad nauseum:

(Photo Credit: Public Shaming @ Tumblr)

The Irony: Racists Are Offended the Ad’s Racism Wasn’t Racist Enough  

Coca Cola’s commercials, like the one aired at the Super Bowl, are propagandized rhetoric, a mouthpiece peddling systemized oppression as liberation. The racist backlash from Coca Cola’s advertisement, therefore, stems from a branding OF white supremacy which deviates from the white-only narrative. 

Building from the picture Baldwin illustrated, sheets of white opacity blanket us daily whereby, for white Americans, any skirmish away from a white dominated narrative — in this case manifested through media — is an abrupt disjoint in reality. Such an inability, or unwillingness, to deviate from the world of white supremacy speaks to a sort of normalcy that has become, in its subserviating power over individuals’ minds, totalitarian. And like all totalitarianism, a system of constant propaganda is needed to keep people in lockstep.

This is called television.

In 2006 the study Out of The Picture: Minority & Female TV Station Ownership in the United States highlighted the racial disparity, and white supremacy, of American television by analyzing the current status and the effects of FCC policy and media consolidation. Findings were as follows:

  • Minorities comprise 33 percent of the entire U.S. population, but own a total of only 44 stations, or 3.26 percent of all stations.
  • Hispanics or Latinos comprise 14 percent of the entire U.S. population, but only own a total of 15 stations, or 1.11 percent of all stations.
  • Blacks or African Americans comprise 13 percent of the entire U.S. population but only own a total of 18 stations, or 1.3 percent of all stations.
  • Asians comprise 4 percent of the entire U.S. population but only own a total of 6 stations, or 0.44 percent of all stations.

Couple these disparities with the fact that black and brown people in mainstream television often are depicted either as an afterthought, or pandering to racist stereotypes of laziness, self-destructiveness, violence, criminality, and disposability, the paradigm of white conceptions of people of color becomes grossly perverted and hostile. Thus, from within this world looking outward — even in a commercial depicting people of color as the human beings we are —  it registers least of all to the white supremacist that the legal, economic, political, educational, religious, and cultural practices of all Americans might not be those of white Americans.

Economic Imperialism Re-Branded With Black & Brown Faces

"In Guatemala, Coca Cola is a name for murder." 

— Israel Marquez, General Secretary of STEGAC (1979)

Knowing the racial disparities within our culture’s television and the institutions thereof, isn’t Coca Cola just being a good corporate citizen by challenging the white supremacist’s narrative of who ought to or could be considered American? At face value this commercial does seem as if Coca Cola is ‘leading the charge’ toward a post-racial America, but as usual if we use common sense we know corporations are rarely if ever altruistic.

Coca Cola is using the same institutions of white supremacy it has always used to increase market share locally and globally by re-branding its product with black and brown faces, a brand of multiculturalism that to the American mind – especially the white American mind — erases the longstanding history of corporate sponsored repression throughout the world.    

Guatemala has been victim to such erasure. The world’s largest beverage supplier has been bottling in the Central American nation since 1939 through franchise contracts and affiliates, one of which was Embotelladora Guatemalteca S.A., or EGSA (owned by the Flemings, a North American family from Texas). Post the United States backed coup in 1954, Guatemalan unions had been crushed. Union representation plummeted from 27% of the working population to 2%. In this backdrop the Flemings hired John C. Trotter as company President, a feverishly anti-union anti-communist. In the years from 68’ to 87’, under Trotter’s watch EGSA unionists and their families would be marred with intimidation, constant attempts to impede workers’ collaborations, beatings, rape, kidnapping, and murder.

A booklet titled Soft Drink, Hard Labour published in 1987 by the Latin America Bureau in London, England documents the 1979 casualties between April and July as “an avalanche of killings” where at least 32 EGSA associates are beaten, 4 are kidnapped and disappear, 31 are fired, 4 wounded by gunshot, a daughter of a union lawyer is raped and tortured, and 8 are murdered. In the case of Arnulfo Gomez Segura, his lips were slashed with a razor; his tongue cut from his mouth and placed in his shirt pocket. 

Per the usual corporate scapegoat, Coca Cola maintained that is had no responsibility for its affiliates’ actions. But as a campaign to boycott the Atlanta retailer wrote:

By allowing EGSA to use your trade mark, to act as your representative in Guatemala and by deriving financial benefits from your agreement with this company, you have committed your company’s image and interest. If your license holder is seen to be directly responsible for murders and other acts of violence, threats and intimidation committed against the members of the union representing the employees of EGSA, continuing cooperation between your company and this license holder constitutes complicity.”

The multinational corporation has not learned its lesson either. KillerCoke.org reported: 

“International Rights Advocates, a non-profit human rights organization, and the Conrad and Scherer law firm filed a new civil lawsuit against The Coca-Cola Company. The case was first filed in the State Supreme Court in New York on February 25, 2010, and in April it was moved to the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York (Case # 10-CIV-03120).

The case involves a campaign of violence that includes rape, attempted murder and murder against two Guatemalan trade unionists and their families. The two trade unionists are Jose Armando Palacios, who was forced to flee to the U.S. in early 2006, and Jose Alberto Vicente Chavez, whose son and nephew were murdered and whose daughter was gang raped on March 1, 2008.”

An old euphemism tried and true says all there is to know of corporate motive — follow the money. In an interview with NPR, Jimmy Smith, Creative Director at TBWA/CHIAT/DAY, inadvertently — but impeccably — put it:

“[A]dvertisers… definitely… understand that more than just white America is buying their products. So they’re trying to reach all cultures and all races, whether it’s Latino, black, Asian or, you know, Native American. It doesn’t matter. They just see that as another opportunity to sell their product.”

With a shallow motive as unabridged profiteering upon the backs of black and brown laborers, Coca Cola is but an extension of America’s white supremacy and purveyor of its economic imperialism. The sort of exploitation in Guatemala has been documented elsewhere too, in China, Columbia, El Salvador, India, Kenya, Mexico, Pakistan, the Philippines, Tanzania, and Turkey.

A House Divided Can Never Stand: Fighting White Supremacy in Global Context

"The reality is even if we took every white person on Earth and put them on a space ship and sent them to outer space white supremacy wouldn’t miss a beat."

— Junot Diaz | Facing Race (2012)

I never answered that hulking kid in front of me. By the fourth school transfer I already knew 14 year old teens cared less about my racial identity than they did figuring out what made me separate. In no time my interrogator had conjured epithets for me — “beaner,” “nacho,” “wetback,” and the most inane, “the Arabian Night-man.”

Like most multiracial teenagers my “otherness” caused me insecurities. I bought a hair straightener so my hair would appear like the normalized styles around me, long, straight, 70s’ like. School pictures meant sucking in my lips. Dating, no thanks, I just stopped trying. Not until I was 17, away from my legal guardians, starting university, working full time and on my own did I realize never would my identity be founded in what others prescribed me as. I did not know it then, but I was starting to understand what it meant to reject white supremacy, what it meant to be a man of color, even if only partially, in a white supremacist world.

And I began to understand no matter my race I am capable of replicating through my actions and behavior the systemic oppression of white supremacy. In order for us to properly defend ourselves from oppression, we must first wholeheartedly break ourselves from it and support each other in our struggle against it no matter what face it is branded. It is through this lens that we come to understand that our liberation is bound up with the liberation of all oppressed peoples. We cannot separate.

(via abagond)

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Peace Love & Afro Puffs...

Here you will find: thoughtful words. beautiful heads of kinky curly hair. things from the various corners of the geekdom universe. vintage images and clothing. cinema talk. and commentary on a variety of topics ... basically the all around randomness that is me. :)