Saturday, June 16, 2012

Thanks to Roxane Gay for Adding a Few Years to My Life

(The Rumpus used a very cool abacus,
as illustration. Different clip art,
above, but same concept.)

I suppose if I were to keep a daily accounting of how I spend my time I would be forced to acknowledge hours and hours devoted to FUMING. I get rankled, lots.

For Example.  Recently. My entire cranium, except for portions assigned to personal hygiene and paying nominal attention to cabs steering toward me at crosswalks, has had within it the 84th Academy Awards.  Did you see it?

Did you?  Do you remember?  I do. A humongous auditorium of the beautiful (fair enough) and young (okay, what's new) and all white (what!!!!!!!!!). 

What the Academy, the liberal Hollywood elite, presented, quite accurately given its track record within its gated and red-carpeted community, was the essentially all-white event representing an essentially all-white medium.  Sure, sure, sure.  I celebrated Olivia Spencer's Oscar. I haven't seen The Help but reliable friends tell me was terrific. (I can't imagine any actress better than Viola Davis, but, whatever.) I ha ha ha-ed at Chris Rock. He is very, very funny.

But really. Tell me you didn't see a sea, an ocean, the planet before the seas were parted, of white people.  Tell me t.v. listings don't reveal overwhelming white casting. Tell me movies don't recycle the same white actors over and over. I AM SO TIRED OF THOSE SAME THIRTY-SOMETHING FORTY-SOMETHING SO-CALLED FUNNY GUYS IN EVERY MOVIE I COULD, well, get peeved. Gender inequity is also legion, yup, but my concern here is race.  I am  dumbfounded at Hollywood's racism, support for Obama notwithstanding. (Another topic.)

I don't have high blood pressure but other essential elements of my intimate chemistries are stressed as I, every day, think about my beloved movies so abused.  In fact, I'm ashamed for my country. Hollyqoos sure isn't representing my world or America's world.

So that was the example.  The case-in-point is the New York Times Book Review. I stopped reading it with any regularity a few years back. I didn't want to, over and over, expose myself to its chosen cosmos of over 90 percent white (male) writers.  That's not my cosmos.  Whatever "white" means by the NYT reckoning, it doesn't even represent me (and I'm "white") (I'm even one-quarter "Caucasian").

Writer and professor and generally cool, not to mention astute, social critic Roxane Gay looked at the stats. You can read her critique of the NYT in her The Rumpus article, Where Things Stand.  For instance, to quote Gay:

Of those 742 [books reviewed], 655 were written by Caucasian authors (1 transgender writer, 437 men, and 217 women). Thirty-one were written by Africans or African Americans (21 men, 10 women), 9 were written by Hispanic authors (8 men, 1 woman), 33 by Asian, Asian-American or South Asian writers (19 men, 14 women), 8 by Middle Eastern writers (5 men, 3 women) and 6 were books written by writers whose racial background we were simply unable to identify.
The Internet, by way of access to so many sharp news sources, is robbing The Times of its "paper of record" status. Thank you, Internet. Ho hum, NYT. And thank you, Roxane Gay. Secrets and unspoken truths are unhealthy to body and spirit, corpus and soul. I don't know how efficacious truth is, but without, we get no where new.

No comments:

Post a Comment