Tag Archives: race

New post ideas

I wanted to write a clever post on why I don’t update so often. It’s not like I don’t have time for my site, and it’s not like I’m not interested in jefflion.net anymore. And it’s not like I don’t have ideas: I have tons of ideas.

I just… Can’t. It happens to me when I’m depressed, or anxious, or when I worry. I become so fucking unproductive in those situations. I also suffer from insomnia. I can’t sleep at night. I just can’t.

But to make this post somewhat positive, here are some post ideas:

Race & yours truly (race blogs, racism, and what’s in it for me, because I’m white and I’m non-Westerner, so it’s not an issue that usually affects people in my part of the world. Unlike, you know, almost all the other issues you can think of).
Movie reviews (I love doing movie reviews, and I don’t even care if a movie is new or not. I’ve been planning on doing a review for In Bruges for so long, and there are also some new films I’m interested in: new Sherlock Holmes or Tin Tin, or just some little independent movie I watched and loved).
Stereotypes about Eastern Europeans (that are actually true).
Novel writing (How to and How Not To)
Vampires and the Balkans (and the way popular representations of vampires, based on stories about Dracula, were actually formed as cautionary tales about the wild Balkans, a dangerous region that can corrupt the West – yes, that’s right kids, there’s an ugly story behind this).

Anyway, this song always makes me feel better for some reason:

A privilege game

Here’s a “step forward/step back” game of privilege. I found it on tumblr.com.

Simply count how many forward steps you have and how many back steps you have, and that’s your result. What your result means, however, is another story. (More about it later)

(Refresh if image refuses do load).

Step forward, step back

My result is 10 steps forward, 8 back.

The first thing I have to note about this list is that it reeks of US (Western) privilege. Many of the stuff listed can’t apply to the rest of the world, and there ARE people in the rest of the world, thankyouverymuch. For example, the fact I didn’t go to a private school is a perfectly expectable in my country, since private schools/universities appeared only in the past decade or so, and they all suck a big time. Plus, education was (is?) free here. And that’s just one thing.

Another thing to note is, while this sort of lists are a good for discussing privilege, they should not be taken literally- for example, the fact I was never discriminated based on my gender doesn’t mean women, in general, are not discriminated. Also, the list can be taken as a source for the dangerous, yet, popular sport, called “oppression Olympics”, which is never a good thing.

My result in details

+ means it applies to me, – that it doesn’t. f is for step forward, b for step back.

1f. My family owned their own home. +
1b. They both graduated from university and my father was a PhD. –

2f. None in my family was a doctor or a lawyer, but we’re all professionals. +
2b. Home state… You mean country? I didn’t. +

3f. There were no people of colour or working class people working for my family. –
3b. I am not black, Latina, Middle Eastern, Asian, Indian, Arab or Native American. –

4f. I did study history and culture of my ethnic group in school. +
4b. I was never denied a job or paid less because of my gender. –

5f. I’ve never written such a letter. –
5b. No incest, etc. –

6f. I am not a man. –
6b. I was raised by my mother. –

7f. I’ve never worked in a job with non-whites. –
7b. There was a problem of alcohol abuse in my family. +

8f. We had more than 50 books. +
8b. It did happen (for both personal and non-personal reasons) +

9f. They did tell me this. +
9b. No. –

10f. They did take me to galleries, museums, etc. +
10b. Yes. +

11f. No private schools. –
11b. I was taught that I police were someone to be feared. +

12f. I didn’t grow up thinking my family would pay for college because college was free. Plus, I had to work while in University. –
12b. No. (Though I didn’t understand why this is on the step back side). –

13f. I don’t believe police would help. –
13b. I was never hungry or worried as a child. –

14f. Yes. +
14b. No. –

15f. No. –
15b. Yes. +

16f. Since only white people live here, the answer is yes: all of my friends are white. If we forget about race and put “ethnicity” then no, most of my friends are not of the same ethnicity as I am. –
16b. No. –

17f. If we’re talking about race, then yes. +
17b. Eh… yes and no. I wasn’t sure what to put here: I never lived in a dangerous neighbourhood, but where I lived was hardly safe at times, so let’s put “+” here. +

18f. Let’s say yes- people on TV are of the same race as I am. +
18b. Yes, I was often hesitant to reveal my family’s religious beliefs. +

19f. They did take me to museums, etc. I thought there was another similar question. +
19b. I am heterosexual. -

Hate emails I get

My blog is not a popular one, and not many people know about this website. So I don’t have much of a reason to complain about hate emails and comments, or even spam.

But I do get some hate emails from time to time, and I notice they are either about song or a movie I “trashed” or about race/interracial relationships.

This is a bit confusing, because I don’t remember trashing many songs, films or novels apart from “Twilight”- and nobody complained about that. Even people who like “Twilight” like Twilight spittings, or at least don’t complain about them.

But I got one angry email concerning my not-so-favorable review of Avatar, and some people complained about my reviews of other movies, albums and novels- even if I stated I liked them. That’s right. An angry Pearl Jam fan, for example, advised me to “get back to Britney Spears” if I “can’t stand Eddie Vedder and his band”, despite the fact a) Pearl Jam is one of my favourite bands b) I like Eddie’s voice, lyrics and songs, c) it’s not really “his” band- it’s disrespectful to call it like that.

Also, some people thought I had problem with Toni Morrison (even though I said she’s one of my favourite authors), or “House M.D.” series (because I “dislike British actors (wtf?!?) or white women/black men interracial relationships”).

Which brings us to another issue: race. Race is often an issue, but the thing is, I don’t write about it. I simply don’t know much about race dynamics or have any experience with it to write about it. I did state my opinions here and there, but I never wrote about it. Yet, there are people who think I’m “siding with the enemy” (whatever that means), who think I should mind my own business, those who dislike my support for interracial relationships (or those who are angry because they think I’m against interracial relationships), and, most often, those who believe nobody should write about racism because it’s a no-issue anymore.

What is interesting about hate mail of this sort is that these people often get my gender and race wrong (which makes any of their arguments pointless), but they also often remind me I should STFU because I have no experience with race relations (well guess what- I don’t blog about it!) So I guess it has a lot to do with my involvement on other blogs that deal with race relations and racism.

What is interesting to note here is that these trolls are different than people you regularly meet online, so I guess they make a small percentage of Internet users. Still, I don’t understand why they bother, or how they (like those who think I’m trashing movies I actually like) always manage to miss the point. Completely.

Another interesting thing about authors of angry mails is that they often use contact form or find my email address without a problem, while my other visitors ignore them and post comments instead. Haters rarely comment (not that I complain), and general visitors don’t use contact form or emails. So I do find that interesting.

Who should play an Ancient Greek? (Vote!)

In thinking about race in the ancient societies, one can go way too far. Suddenly, this issue seems like a very important one, due to several historical and political reasons.

When it comes to media representation, we all know Hollywood (and media in general) tend to influence people’s opinion. Speaking of which, a friend and I had an argument about whether Brad Pitt “looked like Ancient Greek” and if he was a right choice to play a Greek character. Race was also an issue there. It was very interesting to hear his opinion, so I’m asking for more.

What do you think, what kind of look (you can read that as “race”) is required to realistically portray an Ancient Greek character?

Our models are:

Brad Pitt Gerard Butler Djimon Hounsou

So, all things being equal (acting talent, paycheck, personal sympathies), who do you find the most appropriate to play an Ancient Greek?

We all have our ideas about ancient societies. What is yours? You may use any source to base your opinion (Greek pottery, written sources, what you learned in school, etc).

Note: This is not a trick question… more or less. So yes, I am asking for your opinion. (But I won’t deny I already have an answer and I think I am sure is the right one :D).

So, I force IR relationships…

As you probably know, I am planning on writing my novel.

This is nothing new- I’ve been planning (and planning) for quite some time now. I don’t usually reveal much about it to people in casual conversations, but some people know about bits and pieces of it.

And while many say they like the idea (maybe they’re just being nice?) those who know about the relationships in the story are often not so crazy about them.

The thing is- almost all of them are interracial.

Some people don’t pay any attention to this fact, but others- especially Americans- do. All the time. They say it’s unrealistic and forced. Almost “too politically correct to be true”.

And I despise political correctness. So naturally, I take this as an insult.

But the thing is- my story is not set on Earth. Characters in my story are humans, but “race” as a category doesn’t exist in their world. That’s right. Race (as we know it) is a social construct and not biological fact. There were cultures who never had race as a category. People in my story belong to such a culture.

Of course, you might say, if there aren’t races, there aren’t interracial romances. Fair enough. But my (potential) readers are humans from Earth, and if I say, for example, that one character has dark skin and kinky hair and another white (light) skin and yellow hair- that’s going to be perceived as an interracial romance.

Most of the relationships in my story are between people who don’t share the same skin colour, hair texture, or eye colour. It’s not so much of an issue for them- it’s like brown haired guy dating a blonde girl in our world. So why do people tell me relationships in the story are “forced”?

Like I said, I don’t reveal much of the plot, so there are all various and logical questions people could ask about my story, even if it’s only about relationships. For example:
– If interracial marriage is the norm in their world, how come not everyone is mixed race?

Which is a good question. To which I have a logical answer. But no, people don’t ask this. All they read is blue eyed guy kissing dark skinned girl, and another example of a couple whose skin shade doesn’t match, and they say it’s “forced”. (Also, people often assume that because I am white, so are my characters, if not mentioned otherwise. Who said, btw, that blue eyed guy must be white?) But even if we forget about this- am I right to feel angry because people perceive relationships in my story as “forced”? (And no, it’s not a romance novel, and it’s not really about who’s dating who, and race is not an issue). And it is “forced”? In a world that is not our own?!?

And just a note- no, I don’t have any personal experience with race issues. But this just makes my position as a writer better in a way: it is much easier for me to write. Without many stereotypes, without learned idea of what’s good and what’s bad when it comes to interracial dating, without shame and guilt (why is always, to some degree, about shame and guilt?)- it is much, much easier for me to write about interracial relationships. Maybe that’s because it’s easier for me to see them as something “normal”, not controversial or unusual.