Thursday, January 26, 2006

Two Recommendations

As part of my course work, there was an experiential piece to finish during my residential conference, Multiculturalism and The Family. We saw two films that were so powerful as part of our face to face conversation.

The first was The Color of Fear, which extracted critical moments from a two day intensive conversation between men - 2 white, 2 african american, 1 japanese american, 2 latino, 2 chinese american. It was so incredible to watch. Hard, hopeful. Mind blowing to watch someone's paradigm shift. So powerful to be present in the anger, passion, confusion, the blocks.

The second left me feeling so powerless, so small in the world. But in a good way. Yeah right!
Nuyorican Dream follows a family for a period of years, again condescencing what must have been at least 10,000 hours of film. It was particularly poignant for me, the streets were familiar to me, shots of streets that I swore I could smell, as New York City native.

This course left me hypersensitive to how white things can be, therapy, tv, movies, advertising. More than usual. Lucky Girl Friend. How stereotypes, while often based in something resembling truth, are used by all of us to remain blind, to make easy choices.

This morning I am flipping through a book that arrived while I was gone, Hip Knits, by Better Homes and Gardens. Yes, I know, that should have warned me, I should not have been surprised. The Girl Friend and I are going through it, because, well I'm trying to see what she likes with the intention that sometime in the next decade I might knit something for her. Not half way through, I stop, look at her and say, "All the models are white. Really white." She of course is used to these outbursts (though I must say I remained fairly controlled during tonight's repeat of Charmed where Piper is diagnosed with toxemia and gives birth), nods and says, "Yes they are." As we continue through the book, I find one asian model where the text exclaims "Exotic!". The designs are so not exotic, it took enormous self control not to hurl the book across the room.


Ancrene Wiseass said...

It's astonishing, isn't it, once you really pay attention?

I went to a burger place with a Polynesian theme not long ago and irritated my dinner companions by exclaiming repeatedly that every single one of the people on the menus and advertisements was a white guy. 'Cause everybody looks like that in Polynesia?

P.S. My Yahoo avatar looks almost exactly like yours!

Jennie said...

Ugh. Periodically, I sit back and look, really look at the TV shows I watch. So. Very. White.

Like folks who aren't white can't act? I don't THINK so. Ditto fat actors, etc. Could we maybe STRETCH a bit, people?