why do we have to call each other cis or trans. why don’t we just call each other people.
why do we have to call each other woman or man. why don’t we just call each other people.
why do we have to call each other animal or human. why don’t we just call each other sentient beings
why do we have to call each other multi-celled or single-celled organisms. why don’t we just call each other Earth-based lifeforms
why do we have to call each other Earth-based lifeforms or extraterrestrial lifeforms. why don’t we just call each other some living thing existing in the immensity of the universe
Firstly, thank you for taking the time to explain your point of view to me, Worldie. As your friend, I respect that you have your own opinions regarding such issues and your reasons for them as well. I do believe we are talking about relatively different things though, and I’m just going to reply with some thoughts of my own; they’re not challenges or declarations that ‘my way is right, your way is wrong’, but personal opinions that even if you do not agree with, I hope that you could at least understand where I’m coming from with them. I must also apologise if I completely miss or misunderstood any points you have raised, and feel free to correct me again, whether as a reply or a message on Skype.
Yes, I would admit that I would not know firsthand the experiences people of colour living in Europe or America, given that I was born and raised in Singapore, and fortunately (I suppose) I was born into the ethnic majority of the country (the Chinese).
And yes, I am well-aware of the racial biasness in American media. (My diploma is the area of media and the American media is often use as a case example.) I will not be foolish and defend the media, that it isn’t leaning more heavily towards a certain skin colour, but the main point of my original post is how my priorities goes to the values first. (I guess if I have to put it really crassly, I would say that as long as Disney puts forth positive values and morals in their movies, I really can’t care less what’s the colour of the characters’ skin. Growing up, my friends and I barely noticed the colour of the princesses’ skin anyway.)
Personally I feel - you can disagree, of course - that if the main case is about how not showing POC in Disney films would possibly affect the children and implant negative thoughts in the future generation, then we should shift our attention from the media to truthfully, the parents of said future generation.
Okay, here’s something I’ve learnt from my diploma: Limited Effects Theory (LET). It is the theory - theory, not fact, so once again open up to debate - that the media is limited and indirect. People aren’t as easily influenced and manipulated as one might think - this is yet another theory that has been spread so far and wide that people have begun to accept it as a fact. The LET suggests that the media has to work through an opinion leader, someone who the media-goer trusts, to get the message across. The theory is that we humans are more likely to receive and be influenced by people that we know, trust or respect. The media is usually powerless to really shape or influence us, but rather it is the people in our lives and around us who do. We don’t usually start out already troubled by media for the standards they display that we cannot reach, but we usually get troubled because others point out that we should be.
Yes, while I agree that there’s certainly no harm in introducing more POC into Disney films, who are the ones who really influences the kids? Their parents. Their parents are the opinion leaders, their parents are the ones who will have to teach their kids to look beyond the skin colour of the characters - that it should not be the main focus in the first place - but to see beyond that and reflect on their character, their morals, their values. Yes, personality and values and a good storyline shouldn’t just be limited to a white story, I agree wholeheartedly and I would welcome story lines with more cultural and racial diversity, but I would not go as far as to say that the lack of POC is detrimental to the future generation. While the media can show as much films, as many advertisements, construct as many messages and direct them our way as they want, at the end of the day, it is still the parents who will sit down with their children, tell them how they’re not worth any less just because there aren’t as many ‘coloured’ characters on TV, and how they should look beyond their colours anyway, to see someone for the person they choose to be and not the skin and stereotype they are born into.
So all in all, should we have more culturally and racially diverse story lines and characters? Yes, those are definitely welcome! Am I going to start a mini-riot of sorts if that doesn’t happen? No, I won’t because the skin colour never mattered so much to me in the first place. Is the media portrayal - or lack thereof - of people of colour detrimental to society? Depends on which theory you subscribe to. Is the media entirely to blame for whatever happens? No.
Okay so you make several points I want to address piece by piece. (But as a sidenote, using “colored ____ ” is considered archaic and kind of offensive, and since we’re talking about the US here I’d appreciate it if you didn’t use it. “___ of color” is much more preferred. uvu; )
First, on the limited effects theory. I disagree with it. There is a lot of empirical evidence that suggests that media does, in fact, play a huge role in people’s lives. For example, the media influences body image. The media influences people’s perception of Islam (and by extent, other religious creeds, I assume).The media influences the perception of gender roles. Targeting teenagers in ads boosts their risk of smoking. Does this trump the influence of the people involved in one’s life? No, probably not. But media has the advantage of being mass-produced, accessible to everyone, everywhere, whereas personal influences aren’t. Ultimately, this constructs a societal mindset—women need to be skinny, Muslims are terrorists, men are the norm, smoking is cool.
Second, that parents should be responsible for influencing their kids. I feel like this doesn’t address the issue on several levels. One, being the obvious that some parents are just shitheads. Good parents help a lot, but bad parents will perpetuate bad ideas. Then, there’s also the fact that this reduces a societal problem down to a personal problem. There’s a difference between correcting the thought-process of an entire society than just family-by-family—you see what I’m getting at? Change will come individual by individual, but first, there has to be the push of an entire society towards that change. Despite what people like to think, we are hugely influenced by the society around us, and we internalize messages that are given from our policymakers, from our media, from the people who surround us. This is the Cultivation Theory. So yeah, that means media has to change, and it is in fact the media’s responsibility to push for messages for the betterment of the society as a whole (which they do not accomplish, including Disney in this particular regard).
Third, representing minorities is the the bare minimum, actually. To say that Disney is doing an extraordinary thing by introducing films with minorities implies that whiteness is the norm—which is not the case, and certainly not in the U.S. It is a very good and unexpected thing when blockbusters have representation, but that isn’t how it should be. It’s sad that our film industry isn’t performing up-to-scale and that we have to praise them for accomplishing the bare minimum. So I will at least be demanding my bare minimum from Disney.
Fourth, to not change media representation is actually detrimental. Racial stereotyping perpetuated in the media (and not just the film industry) constantly incriminates black boys and encourages racial profiling. Implicit biases run amok in our heads, associating white=good and black=bad. This is an experiment that was conducted in the 1930s, where researchers asked black kids to choose between a white doll and a black doll. Children disproportionately associated good features with the white dolls, while associating bad features with the black dolls. These were black children!! Their self-perception and self-worth was absolutely distorted by the messages they were bombarded with—is this just because their parents weren’t good enough? No. Society wasn’t good enough.
While this all can’t be completely attributed to media, it shows that people’s attitudes towards race really do affect how ethnic minorities view themselves, and media isn’t challenging popular assumption. Thus, when what is mainstream are stereotypes and when they are what get perpetuated, we have a narrative of black and Latin@ criminality, Asian submissiveness, Native American invisibility and white supremacy. And that is detrimental to society. And that is a societal problem. And that is why we need media to actively challenge conventional narratives of whiteness. Not just as something that would be “good to have,” but as an absolute responsibility.
I do not care what others on tumblr say, but I enjoyed and adore Frozen very much. Don’t make me go into a rant about the whole POC issue, but I’ll simply say that for me, an ‘ethnic minority’ (or at least that’s how people on tumblr make Asians sound like as compared to the ‘white oppressors’), I have NO problems seeing ‘white’ princesses or characters on film, not because I’ve been ‘brainwashed’ by the ‘white empire’, but rather I’m more interested in the values behind the films. So long as Disney continues to promote good morals and values, I personally can’t care much for the colour of the characters.
Food for thought though: why do some people seem more attached to the colour of the characters’ skin rather than their personality and the values they stand for?
Okay since you are a friend asking I will try to explain this to you myself.
We, as people of color living in America or Europe, face vastly different experiences than Asians living in Asia or Latin@s in Central and South America or Africans in Africa. We live in a place that is consistently more dominated by white culture and where white privilege is a lot more apparent. One of the ways this reflects is through the media. This is just one article, but it gives statistics on how film portrayals of racial minorities are underrepresented. 4.2% of Hispanics had speaking roles, 10.8% of African-Americans, 5% Asian, and 3.6% other. That makes up for a little over 20% of speaking roles (and note that this is speaking roles so as long as they get a few lines, it counts) whereas the PoC population of the USA now exceeds the white population. This isn’t even to talk about how minorities fare in film awards like Oscars and whatnot, which isn’t very well. This isn’t even touching on the lack of diversity when we get to the directors and writers of films.
But, okay. Do we, as media-goers, really care? Do children really notice this?
Yes. Yes, we really do. Yes, they really notice. I notice that in American-produced media, PoC are overwhelmingly shoe-horned into stereotypical roles. Asian Dragon Lady, random Latino thug, black man with some sort of leadership role. PoC are consistently unable to break through these stereotypes for some reason (like, maybe prejudice???) and they’re never given the variety of roles that our white peers are. Even when PoC play the role of a villain, it’s different than that of a white person, because villains that are complex, and potentially endearing to the viewers are always cast as white. Examples that come to mind are Loki from the Avengers or Moriarty from BBC Sherlock. And even with this underrepresentation, our roles are constantly handed over to white people. Just look at Khan (originally played by an Indian actor) in Star Trek: Into Darkness who was replaced by Benedict. In Cloud Atlas, roles that were written for Koreans were performed by white people in yellowface. For the audition of Katniss Everdeen (described as having darker skin and features), the casting call deliberately excluded anyone who wasn’t white. We can’t even play the roles that were formerly ours, and they decided they just had to cast a white person, even though PoC already have reduced visibility.
The fact that there are so little PoC in television and films is noticed by children. It affects us. There are so many stories of children of color who ask why there aren’t more people like them in film. I’ve struggled with my self-image for years, because I’m not blonde-haired and blue-eyed (thankfully I grew out of that). My roommate feels discouraged in pursuing an acting career because she thinks her chances are worse because she’s dark-skinned with “kinky” hair. Do all PoC necessarily face these problems? No. And they don’t have to. But because there are some out there who haven’t struggled with these issues before doesn’t invalidate the experiences of those who have, and for the sake of the people who definitely have 100% felt the effects of biased media, the film industry needs to diversify. Especially Disney, because their demographic is largely children, who are affected the most by the messages they internalize.
This isn’t about their personality or the values they stand for. I haven’t seen Frozen yet, but I have no doubt the characters stand for excellent values because Disney usually does that. And that’s cool. I’m all for complex personalities and good values, but why can’t I have that with a good character of color? Why is that I can’t see someone like me being locked up in an ice castle? Why can’t I see a Latina fighting her way to become the rightful queen of the throne? The fact is that, though there has been improvement, personality and values tend to be a little mutually exclusive with characters of color right now. So that’s why I’m attached to skin color—because personality and values and a good storyline shouldn’t just be limited to a white story.
japanese vs finnish
Japanese: hai, aisenai - yes, not love
Finnish: hai, ai se nai - shark, oh it’s fucking
japanese vs polish
Japanese: daisuki - I really like you
Polish: daj suki (you say it the same way) - give me a bitch
japanese vs swedish
Japanese: kissa – drinking tea
Swedish: kissa – peeing
Artist: Kate Rusby/Kathryn Roberts
Track: The Queen & The Soldier