I just saw Guardians of the Galaxy last weekend, and despite my high IQ and expansive vocabulary, nearly all I can say about it is “YES YES YES!”
This movie has EVERYTHING. Characters with personalities and development, a plot with a sense of urgency, knee-slapping humour, independent strong female characters with agency, and a truly AWESOME MIX soundtrack that made me feel like I was a kid again.
The film was two hours, but felt too short, perhaps because we didn’t get the 90 minutes of disaster porn I’ve come to expect from comic book movies. It was epic but lighthearted, and I walked out of the theatre in a fantastic mood that’s stayed with me all week long– and when that does wear off, I’ll just go and see it again.
I can’t describe how happy it made me that the leader of planet Xandar was a woman, and that her title was not “princess” nor “empress” nor any other kind of aristocracy ostensibly inherited from a male, but “Prime” That’s right, the female leader’s title was gender neutral, “first among us.” Just one of the many factors that contributed to how easily this film soared to the top of my list of cinematic appreciation. Guardians of the Galaxy is, far and away, my #1 film EVER.
Recently, German football fans donned blackface for Deutschland’s match against Ghana. There’s a big hullabaloo, as many found this to be offensive.
A friend of mine asked, “How can this be racism when we didn’t even know that blackface was a thing?” He wondered how, when Germans largely are unaware of the historical context of blackface, the actions of these particular fans could be construed as racist. My initial response had been that racism is a question of intent, but offensiveness is about the impact of our actions, not the intent. I said that because blackface has a historical context, wearing it is offensive, even if the people doing so do not inherently feel that brown skin is inferior. His response: “…[M]ust we not also separate that when it comes to white people who have no history of enslaving Africans? …how can a German painting his face black be racism when we lack that context absolutely?”
That’s when I had to think harder about the question. And what I realized is that while overt racism is about intent, pervasive racism is subtle and often lacks intent. Much like a straight man who uses the term “gay” as a pejorative does not consciously consider himself to be superior to homosexual males, a white person who mocks Ghanaian citizens by wearing black paint on their face IS participating in racism, regardless of whether they’re familiar with how blackface was used to belittle and stereotype African-Americans.
When you paint your face black, you’re marginalizing Ghanaians, and all dark-skinned peoples, by reducing their cultural identity to the colour of their skin.
In short… yes, it’s racist, even if it wasn’t intended that way, and even if they lacked the historical context with which to understand just how offensive they were.
I’ve been sitting on this domain for almost a decade and a half. Since my dreams of selling it to HBO for bajillions of dollars are now dashed, I might as well use it!
So… I have a blog now. Now I can verbally regurgitate whatever is on my mind, only, I don’t have to spam all my facebook friends with it. Hey, this is actually a great idea! Now if only everyone else on social media would follow suit, the interwebz would be a much quieter place.