Wednesday, February 11, 2009

someone needs to read Orientalism

this first piece in the Times' Week in Review about 'Racial Epithets in Cultured Accents':

"Chatting as she sat in a BBC green room after recording “The One Show,” a television magazine program, Ms. Thatcher, it later emerged, said something to the effect that the French tennis player Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who has a white French mother and a black Congolese father, reminded her of a golliwog. Several people there complained and word got out to BBC officials, who said the remark was “highly offensive.”
The BBC fired Ms. Thatcher from her slot as a regular contributor to the program after, it said, she dismissed her comment as a “light remark” and failed to make an appropriate apology."

gee, maggie thatcher's daughter sees nothing wrong in calling a person of color a 'golliwog'? what a surprise.

(the Week in Review piece almost comes out and says what i want it to say, but doesn't. the writer can't actually say that being a die-hard imperialist/colonizing asshat and saying shockingly racist things go hand in hand.

instead, it only makes using racial epithets a class marker and not the result of generations of deliberate, specific, political and racial ideology: "Prince Philip, the queen’s husband (and Harry’s grandfather) and the epitome of the old-school upper classes, has a famous history of insulting groups of all kinds around the world, from Scotland to Australia."

wow, a royal with a habit of insulting groups who were colonized by the Brits. how... unheard of.)

anyway, here's something i stumbled on - a series of posts ably taking apart the 'golliwog' and serving as a timely antidote to the ahistorical, chicken shit-ness of the New York Times:

And We Shall March (parts 1-5; it's really worth reading them all, especially if you like Allan Moore and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, if you're interested at all in knowing what you're talking about when you call something 'minstrelsy' - and if you had no idea how Fisk University got their seed funding, like me.)

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