White Man’s Burden

You know what I’m sick of seeing on TV and in movies? Some white dude swooping in to protect and save either women, minorities, or people from a different culture from some thing – be it sexual slavery, rape, themselves, etc. What spurred this rant? This week’s NCIS episode.

Now normally, I love me some NCIS and Leroy Jethro Gibbs. (Mark Harmon just does it for me. I realize this makes me some kind of old, but whatever. Don’t judge me.) But this episode just pissed me off. Why? Because ostensibly, the episode was about smuggling Afghani women who were fleeing arranged marriages or abusive husbands into America. The women came to attention because some Afghani families hired a hitman to find the escaped women in America and “honor kill” them by dumping acid in their face. (Apparently too much hydroflouric acid can cause cardiac arrest. Who says TV doesn’t teach you anything?)

However, mostly the episode just highlighted Gibbs and his guilt over not helping earlier. When an Afghani women’s shelter is threatened with a bombing by the local men, Gibbs goes outside and fights off the mean Afghani men. *eyerolls* The women are just props and background. You never care about them except in a vague “feed the children” kind of way, and the emphasis is only Gibbs, his “bravery” for standing up to those “savages” and how he saves the day.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not pro bombings, abusing women, or marrying teenage girls to old men. But really? FFS, people. White dudes are not the only saviors in this world but time and time again, we get some stoic, no nonsense white guy swooping in (reluctantly, natch) to save these poor victims from whatever trite villainy of the day. It’s really just a prime time version of the After School Special and the Very Special Episode.

It’s contrived and really fucking annoying.

I’m all for shows that truly highlight issues that are ripped from the headlines, but I am NOT for using whole groups of people – especially victims – as gimmicks. They are only present to set up the hero. This objectifies and re-victimizes these people all over again.

Of course, I’m totally screwing up my explanation. I’m rarely very good at explaining issues of privilege in clear, useful language. I’m much more of a ranty “GAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!! THIS SUCKS BALLS!!” type of reactionary writer. For some coherent reasons why this situation is annoying, here are some recent articles I cribbed from Racialicious.

The Problem With Miss Saigon
Malala Yousafzai and the White Savior Complex
War Before Memory
Mighty Whitey (from TV Tropes)

So that’s what you get today for a post. Rantiness. But it can’t be just me who feels this way, right? RIGHT?

*Image courtesy of Racialicious.


Inaugural Post

Every blog has a start date so I just have to bite the bullet and make this my official start date. 🙂 I am super excited to start off a new blog (I’ve been blogging for a good decade or so in various online aliases, etc.) and to share all my pithy (but most likely shallow) thoughts with you, the internets, and beyond!

Please take a look around at my site policies, posting schedule, and various other sorts of stuff. I know, I know. Totally boring first post. Hopefully, that is not a harbinger of what is to come.

However, since it is Whatever Wednesday on Mandarin Mama, I will blather on a little bit more. Other than what you can find on the About page, the only way to really get to know me is to follow along for however long a trial period you would like to give me. (FOREVER!) On the other hand, I can also give you a quick sum up of what interests me in a handy list (obviously, I am interested in other things beyond this list):

– my children (sometimes, other people’s children, but that is highly unlikely)
– ME (because I am a raging narcissist)
– books (particularly SFF, graphic novels of the Batman variety, YA, spies, and Regency Romances)
– cartoons (for ME, not my kids)
– eating (the fattier the better)
– potty humor
– creative usage of swears
– things that piss me off and incur rants/Hulk Smash (from the inane to the profound – but mostly, inane because I am a petty person)
– general geekery
– writing
– TV Shows (particularly USA Network shows)
– things that make me SQUEE (Justin Timberlake, Spike from BtVS, Sark from Alias, Prince Zuko from A:tLA, Damon from The Vampire Diaries, and um, Batman. *blush* Sad how there is only one non-fictional person on this list. Whatever. Don’t judge me.)
– parenthetical conversations and side notes and tangents
– pop-science
– raising kids
– racial, sexual, socio-economic, and cultural issues
– fan fiction (oh yeah, I said it!)

Alright then, now that you know everything about me – go on and introduce yourself in the comments!