“Get Out” Reviewed

This is spoilers light if there’s any at all. I’m mostly going to discuss my feelings about the film, the movie going experience, and the subject matter as it relates to me.

Let me pain the picture: I am running late getting my ticket because it’s raining and the only reliably fun thing to do in this city when it rains is watch a movie. San Antonio is a city built for the outdoors. The Riverwalk, outdoor malls, the downtown market area, Mexican restaurants with patio seating…

It’s our bread and butter. Even then I thought that the crowds would be seeing Logan on it’s opening weekend, but no my theater was almost sold out. I bought one of the last four seats.

Given the obvious racial overtones of the movie I expected it to be mostly black and Hispanic, but the movie was mostly a white audience. I set next to a guy who was about as good ol country boy as they come and his black girlfriend. It was a strange feeling and with the anxiety creeping back in lately I didn’t want to be in a theater full of people to begin with.

I stuck it out and the first thing I will say about this movie directly is that it’s a strange feeling to have your experiences translated to the screen in such a relatable manner. Black people and white people may work in the same buildings and share the same streets and businesses or even neighborhoods, but there’s a certain level of segregation that goes on even today. This creates situations where people don’t know how to act around other races in casual settings. It’s not always the case, but it happens.

And if you’re the only black person at a party or function you can feel like you’re on display. If you’re dating a white woman (or really any woman of another race) it’s a conversation that might come up before you meet their family or friends: “Do they know I’m black?”

Sure, the most organic way to bring this up would be a picture of the two of you. But when you open the door and let it be known you’re dating outside your race you open the door to strange shit. People warning you of things to look out for and offering up all kinds of advice that you honestly didn’t ask for.

Another strange thing that happens sometimes when you’re black around a group of white people who aren’t used to it is they’ll bend over backwards to try and prove how not racist they are. They’d vote for Obama for a third term if they could. They’re jealous of how powerful and beautiful Serena Williams is. Then they’re name dropping black artists or actors or telling you how  articulate you are.

These things aren’t malicious, at least not in the sense of intention, but they still make you feel bad and uncomfortable. They still make you feel like you don’t belong.

“Get Out” frames all of this in that sense. You feel Chris’s status as an outsider from the moment that he arrives. You have to sit through the award dinner conversation about the athleticism of the black body or hear someone wax on about how their father did so much to help blacks in the past.

And that’s the thing, in the later stages “Get Out” makes a great little bit of horror, but the early part of the film sets up the feeling of alienation and it’s shocking how well it’s done and how you could feel the dread in the entire audience.

Movies like this are important. I told a friend over the phone that I had seen movies about racism from a black perspective before  and I had seen black genre movies before, but the two are usually separate. Anything about racism is set in a historical context of slavery or some overwhelming sense of self-determination to overcome adversity. They’re never just set in just suburbia and the few that might be out there weren’t this well polished.

Media plays an important part in normalizing behavior and what people expect. There’s a lot of important stories out there that need to be told. Last year when Donald Glover’s new show “Atlanta” was set to premier he said that he had hired all black writers for the show because there was more to the black experience in America than most people had ever seen on television and that it might surprise people. I don’t know if you have to separate out the writers, but you have to be willing to listen to the experience of others and take them as valid.

And I’d say with the clapping at the end of this movie people did just that.

Scared For The Future of My Country

I’ve been stressed. I stopped by Wendy’s earlier and couldn’t finish a medium meal, which is not normal for me. Sleep is hard to come by and in the mornings I’m awake but don’t want to get up.

I lay in bed on my phone talking to friends and trying to avoid the bad news on sites like Reddit or Facebook. I throw on the MBMBAM podcast, but part of the way through I realized I’ve zoned out and don’t know what they’re laughing at. I missed the entirety of the last goof.

Work is surprising in that it is calming. No one really brings up the outside issues there and not many people really talk to me. I kind of like it that way. But the fact of the matter is it’s an election year and the things coming out of this election are causing me to be really afraid for my country.

Think that a few years ago a statement about binders of women or a weird scream was enough to get you flack. I miss the days of Bush and Romney when I look at the candidate that people have chosen to support.

There’s such an undercurrent of hatred in this election and the odd thing is that the guy stirring it up is somehow saying he’s the victim. He’s calling Mexicans rapists and bragging about sexual assault. He’s saying he wants to bring back unconstitutional stop and frisk laws and that he wants to default on our debt (which puts the world economy at risk). He’s asking why we don’t use nukes more often.

Notice I didn’t cite any of that. Mostly because it doesn’t matter. I’m on a phone and I won’t waste my time making the buggy copy paste system work for people who either know all that already or refuse to believe it. Even though it’s fact. It’s recorded that Trump has said these things; we’ve become anti-fact.

And the thing is what he’s taken advantage of scares me as much as Trump, because it will continue win or lose. There’s not really a chance for a conversation with people who are threatening to commit acts of terror against foreigners or “grab their musket” if they don’t get their way.

I’m thinking maybe America isn’t the place for me and a lot of people seem to not want people like me here. I’m thinking maybe this doesn’t get better after this.

Since people question my personhood still of ponder the idea of women not being able to vote can we really even say that we tried?

Openly Racist

This comment was said on Reddit and I just wanted to save the argument that someone made against it here:

Here is the original comment:

As a brown person, I agree that blacks are now more openly racist than whites.

This reply struck me is exactly the answer that should be given.

It’s about power. Whatever class has less power gets to make fun of the class with more power. This is why it’s funnier to make fun of men versus women, it’s funnier to make fun of white people over black people, and it’s funnier to make fun of rich people then poor people. Society deems it uncouth to make fun of someone who has less social and economic power. The congress is a club for mostly white men. The senate is a club for mostly white men. Any private golf course is a club for mostly white men. White men, while feeling attacked because we are shunned if we are openly racist, still control the country. We also own it. Wanna know how many Black CEOs there are in the fortune 1000?

The people who feel the most cheated are poor whites. Why? They feel like they get screwed on both ends. They do not get to be openly racist, and they do get the privileges of power that wealthy whites get. Blacks do get more leeway when it comes to making fun of other races, anyone will admit that.

I will challenge all of you. Try and imagine what it would be like to wake up in a USA where every single congressman, senator and lawmaker was Black. Would you feel scared? Would you feel unrepresented? Would you feel angry? Would you feel uncertain? Or would you feel just fine.

You have no idea how you would feel. I know I woundn’t. So, until I live 50 years in the shoes of a black person, I am not going to judge them for how they feel. I do not feel guilty for being white, since I have nothing to do with it. I do, however, realize what it feels to live in a country where my heritage was a huge gap in my ability to rise to the top. And that was only 2 years.

That’s all that has to be said about that.

Why Media Matters (but it’s really very little to do with media)

The typical nerd pursuits have seen their universes shaken up a lot over the last few years. It’s not all been bad, but there’s a lot of push back against the changes. The Hugo Awards drama has driven a world between the writing world. Video games have seen a virtual war between a more progressive side and a kind of old guard. Comic books have suffered numerous issues with the inclusion of minorities and women and the hiccups that these changes cause. Media in general has been shaken up when it comes to race, sexual orientation and gender.

Exhibit A: Captain America fucking up the day of some criminals while flying

These aren’t the most important subjects in the world.

Baltimore is has been the stage for riots for the last few days. There’s an election coming over the horizon. The Middle East is still on fire.

And yet I can’t stop coming back to these things because they’re in my life everyday. I’ve grown to appreciate comic books and I grew up with video games and fantasy fiction. They’re a part of who I am, but not who I am. For so many people these things are an integral part of their person and that’s why passionate fights come out of the changes.

This has been written about extensively from both sides of all issues. If your mind is already made up one way or another I’m not going to be able to change it, but I land firmly on the side of the progressive in every case. Companies have realized that appealing to a wider audience can get them the big bucks and doesn’t have to be hokey or pandering. What’s wrong with that?

I’ve been black my whole life. It’s not the kind of thing you can wake up one day and realize or suddenly become, but I haven’t always understood why women had issues with being seen in a sexual light or why gays deserved any rights. When you come from a state like Texas it’s easy to get inundated with the culture. It’s really in all American culture. You don’t understand why the poor don’t just “get a job and work harder” and maybe you think “sexual harassment is something cooked up by women to give them an excuse to get special treatment”.

These things are baked into the clay we’re molded from and it’s hard to chip away at that mindset. A kind of cognitive dissonance is at play too. Being black and thinking that I deserve to be afforded the same rights as anyone else while not thinking the same about women or gays requires a little bit of mental gymnastics. We think of ourselves ahead of others. We consider our own problems first.

We get mad at women because we feel like they owe us their bodies and their time simply because we exist and we’re asking for it. We feel like gays are different or without God and therefore should be looked at as subhuman.

It’s hard to remember when the switch clicked in my head. I remember the steps to get there: reading testimonials by women who had been looked at like juicy steaks their whole lives and felt up by men they trusted. Or getting so angry at a friend who I claimed to be in love with when she didn’t return my affection that I cut her out of my life. Or finding out how many women I cared about and knew for years had stories of sexual assault. Or getting to know gays as people and finding out people I knew were gay and there was nothing wrong with them. It didn’t make me feel any different about or around them.

I’d say it’s maturity and growing up, but then there are those twice my age with the mindset I had at sixteen. And it’s easy to slip back into the old habit of thinking badly about someone solely because they’re different than you.

The culture around us is built on a foundation of cultures from all over the world and attitudes and mores that are centuries old shape the world we live in. Even when you’ve realized the truth, you’re immersed in the lie and it’s hard to keep believing.

That’s where the comic books, video games and other media come in. Media is often our first interactions with some things. We see Asians on television and we figure they must all be like that; it’s easy to think that people are like the races in Lord of the Ring. Well, it’s easy to think that about people who aren’t like you. All blacks are athletic, love watermelon and crime. Asians are bad with women, but good at math and science. Hispanics are somehow both hard working and lazy. Liberals are degenerates who hate America. Conservatives are sexist bigots who love war. Gays are fashionable, nosey and annoying. Women are bad at math and emotional. Feminists are man hating lesbians.

I can go on like this all day.

For a long time we’ve seen these things played out in media. We’ve had them hammered into our heads in print and seen them run their course on the screen. The country has only started to come around from a lot of the older ones in the last one hundred years or so and it’s been a slow battle. The progressive attitude toward characterization of the “other” in media has got to grow up, because it’s where a lot of the kids being born now will get their first taste of the world out there and where a lot of us reinforce our worst fears and best realizations about people.

These groups aren’t homogenized. I know a woman who is a math genius. I know a Conservative guy who let me borrow gas money when I needed and has a teen daughter that he dotes on and used to bring to play Dungeons and Dragons with us. I know a really hood black guy that loves his comics and treats women with the utmost respect. I have a gay cousin that loves him some Jesus and I have women who are among my best friends…the whole point to this rant is that we don’t need to take what people are as who they are or all they are.

Bad people exist in every group, but there’s a lot of good out there and if we just stopped being so quick to judge we’d probably see more of it.

Now, I promise I haven’t smoked anything and I’m not drunk. I’m just as guilty as anyone else of making the mistake of pointing to a whole group as bad as anyone else. And to me this whole battle over media culture is bigger than the characters and fandoms housed inside of that culture. We need to all work for that.

I don’t think I’ll change any minds, but I hope I do.

Stop Telling Black People That Racism Doesn’t Matter

1313178415025When I was in first grade I loved the Ninja Turtles. This is a time slightly before the explosion of Power Rangers and before anyone here really watched anime at a younger age. The US back then largely relied on it’s own animation and guess what cartoon had gone from the small screen to the movie theater recently?

I remember it was cold outside, well, as cold as it gets in Texas. And I remember there were some kids talking about playing Ninja Turtles in this little playground just before you walked onto the soccer field. There were only three of them and I wanted to be Donatello. So I asked.

And the reply came back from one of the kids that the Turtles weren’t black. Sounds like someone should have taught the little fucker his colors. The Turtles were all shades of green. None of them had a “race” the way humans thought of it and it seemed odd that a kid would define something that obviously has no race as “not black” or “white”. Looking back I can totally understand it now. To that kid and a lot of other kids of other races, white is default.

Before I go on, I would like to quote someone off of a forum that I know and what they said in a recent thread.

I’m sick of trying to explain this to white boys on the internet (or whatever inevitable “actually, I’m not white, I’m..” outlier) who fancy themselves Spock bracing against all the “emotional” discontent of minorities.

They don’t get it. And worse than simply not getting it, they think they have a better grasp of “it” than us.” It” being our own experience. And suddenly, we find ourselves in Robot-Logic Land where any argumentation less scrupulous than a Master’s thesis need not apply because human experience is never muddied by anything other than numbers and rationality. This from the same sort of people who sub to some fat fuck nerd on Youtube for “telling it like it is” with nothing but anecdotes and Cheeto-powered rage.

This isn’t to say that whites are evil or that all whites are causing the problem. I don’t have an issue with anyone based on skin color. What I do have issue with, as the quote kind of points out, is the idea that my experiences as a black person and the experiences of someone who is white are the same.

In the same way that two resumes that are identical with just male and female names will be treated differently, being black is going to make people make assumptions about you. Even other black people. It’s going to change how you’re treated in certain situations and how you act. I’ve come to realize that when dealing with people I don’t know I will often try my best to look as nonthreatening as possible, to speak softer than I normally do and the like. It’s not something that was done consciously at first—it just happened. This is the way that garners the most respect or keeps me out of trouble the most. It’s a defense mechanism.

It feels like people react to you as if they’re afraid of you a lot of the time. These attitudes about race, some of them contradictory, are ingrained in the culture of our country from a time starting back from when Columbus landed on a piece of dirt near here and decided that the people there didn’t matter.

And this isn’t just an issue with race, it can be applied to other things. A friend of mine recently posted an article on her Facebook page about street abuse of women and people acted like she was overreacting. When it comes to women everyone suddenly wants to point out how easily they actually have it; like somehow having doors held for you or not having to pay for all your own meals and movies would somehow make up for the cat calling, wage gap and the way that people don’t value your fucking opinions.

I’m tired of people deciding the narrative without listening to the other side of things. I’m tired of it being “too soon” to talk about these things or “me being too sensitive because the issue is too close”. Who better to talk about the experiences I’ve had than me? Why shouldn’t women speak out against guys thinking they have the right to treat them like property?

What the people do this are doing isn’t just avoiding the problem. They’re adding to it, but not addressing what’s there and deflecting discussion of it you’re telling the person who faces the issue that they don’t matter, their pain isn’t important, their experiences aren’t your problem, that the abuses should go on and they should just deal with it.

“That’s just the way things are” right?

Luckily, when I was in first grade the teacher pulled me aside after she heard what had happened with me and the other kids and she talked to me about skin color and how it didn’t matter. The discussion was really brief and simple. I was six, so I couldn’t take much more than brief and simple. The one thing I remember about it was how she told me that we’re different, but it doesn’t matter. It’s what’s inside that counts. It’s corny, but it’s true. Whether you’re brown, black, white or a mutated turtle, it’s what’s inside that counts.  

The White Knight Epidemic

2966791381f46707e1edAll over the internet men are wrongfully defending bitches from being put into their place by the alpha players out there who, despite this attempt to set them back, run the monopoly on pussy (as it should be)!

This is the typical post or point I see held up when it comes to what people call white knighting. The term originates from…I don’t really want to waste the time to look it up, I can define it. It’s the idea that any guy who online or in person defends a woman who’s being treated wrong is doing so only to get sex. You see, to many men women are little more than sex vending machines who only exist to dispense sex in exchange for favors, free meals rides in nice cars, jewelry, and anything else that they can get from “men of status”.

Efforts to defame white knights seem to be more prominent than the actual “problem” that they claim to be trying to combat. I actually wrote a post on a forum where all of this was brought up explaining why I think that is:

The “problem” of men who go out of their way to be nice to women for the sake of getting sex will fix itself without other men or society intervening. Women won’t sleep with you for being nice and no one is obligated to sleep with you because you stood up for them. The men who do that will either grow out of it or they’ll just die virgins. More than likely the former. The vehement way in which other men strike out against men defending women lends me to believe that the problem is more akin to the type of behavior you see from people who claim they’re being judged by someone who goes to a party and doesn’t drink but also doesn’t say anything disapproving of those who do drink.

These men who feel the need to call white knights out and boast about all the sex they have (like member’s name) are probably not having that much sex and are not that confident. When they do have sex they’re probably lying to get it or going after easy game (drunk girls, low self esteem girls). This is also why they feel so threatened, if sleeping with incapacitated girls become rape then one of their only means of sex will be cut off or they’ll branded as rapist. If women of all walks have a boost in self esteem then they won’t have as many bottom of the barrel women to go after and they’ll probably be stuck fighting for scraps or going after girls under eighteen who are all hormonal and don’t know worthless men when they see them.

Or they might actually have to take a look at themselves and see how fucking shitty a person they really are and that their problem isn’t that white knights are wrong, that they might be even partially right and that women might start to realize it and leave their sorry asses alone.

I think that’s all there is to say about that.

The Most Endangered Species on the Planet

antiracisthitlerIn the wake of the George Zimmerman trial I got into a fight about the idea of racism in general. I don’t remember the exact details of the exchange that brought about this topic. That was an eventful week on the Internet for me, to tell the truth. I don’t think I can remember a time where people so blatantly made racist remarks.

Somehow the idea of interracial dating came into question and I posted my thoughts on it. Another person linked me to this video by White Rabbit Radio.

I had never heard of White Rabbit Radio, but that could be because I don’t hang out on racist forums like Stormfront or attend any Klan meetings. What I came across was a lot of things about White Nationalism and a “mantra” of beliefs that I’ve been hearing for years now and never realized were from a single source.

It happens from time to time that we come across something that seems too rehearsed and planned out to just be a coincidence. Like if Aliens were to land in three Catholic Churches in three different countries and hear the Nicene Creed. They would be able to automatically recognize that these people share a common source for their belief. They might not know where that source was instantly, but it’s clear that everyone repeating that, though it might be in different languages is related in faith.

That was how this looked. And to someone who doesn’t realize what they’re reading, it can look like this type od thing is everywhere and it’s engrained in people. This repetition of the mantra not only gives these racists a common goal to work toward. It gives racist non-whites a common enemy and a reason to believe that all whites feel this way. Why else would these simple ideas be so prevalent?

It’s not uncommon to be around non-whites when you’re not white and have them strike up talk about how someone white was racist, even if you witnessed the same event and there’s a far more reasonable explanation. Racist ideologies drive a wedge between races from both sides.

You might have witnessed the mantra yourself in some form. It’s basic main idea is that: “Anti-racist is code word for anti-white.” It goes on to point out that diversity is bad and it’s only ever forced on white people. Most of the text reads like:

“Everybody says there is this race problem. Everybody says this race problem will be solved when the third world pours into every white country and only into white countries. … Everybody says the final solution to this race problem is for every white country and only white countries to ‘assimilate,’ i.e., intermarry, with all those non-whites. … But if I tell that obvious truth about the ongoing program of genocide against my race, the white race, Liberals and respectable conservatives agree that I am a naziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews [sic].”

The idea is almost sound and the man who wrote it, Robert Whitaker, claims to be a genius who worked on Regan’s staff and is partially responsible for the fall of Communism. And these ideas were said to be part of the motivation in some violent crimes, the most noteworthy of which is the shooting perpetrated by Anders Breivik, the Norwegian terrorist who slaughtered 77 people two years ago in his home country.

This article outlines a lot of the things I’ve said here and it goes into the details about the background of the whole situation. On the surface even the video has huge issues that anyone who looks at it with a non-biased eye will see it. For instance, the video seems to think that Israel only has Jews in it. It doesn’t there are Arabs living in Israel peacefully. The other issue is that these arguments seem to make the claim that simply allowing diversity is the death of a race. The only issue is that people will still choose to marry within their own culture and race some of the time. No one is being forced to marry outside of their race.

Other than that the video is downright offensive and the whole thing about the people running the websites and spreading this message let it be known what is really going on here. People are afraid of diversity, even when it’s to the benefit of everyone and even when it’s what some people want. They seem to think their culture is being wiped out when in many cases it’s being spread around the world through mediums like the internet at an alarming rate.

And even if a culture melds into another that’s what things are supposed to do. That’s the natural evolution of things.

Election Eve Observation

For those of you that don’t know I’m not a fan of Shakespeare. I don’t worship him like most writers seem to. Though I will give him where credit is due and I don’t hesitate to use his writing as an example in political debates. this is a short excerpt of a post I made on a forum the other day. I needed to fill my “post something for the day” quota and I felt this might fit here.

A lot of the qualification that is happening seems to be that Romney is “the white guy”. People are saying shit like he looks more presidential, he made that comment about no one needing to ask him for his birth certificate, and the whole election seems like Othello playing out in real life. Here’s this black guy that his enemy can’t even give straight reasons for hating and they keep changing their narrative and at the end of the day the only real reason that he’s hated so much is because he’s the Moor, an outsider, the black guy.

No one wants to be accused of being so openly racist, but there’s a very thin veil over it. Those who don’t realize it and who are weaker willed are bombarded with stories of Obama being an outsider and it really started during the last election. Things are being said that would never be said of a white candidate and really I think that if there was any doubt how much a problem racism is in this country, Obama’s presidency should be proof that it still is.