Oh life, isn’t it complicated?
My spring semester started this week, so I’ve had less time to dedicate to this blog. In getting back to posting, I wanted to write about film and television, media representation, or something similar, but I kept being drawn in a different direction. I have so much I’d like to write about in the coming weeks, but for now I just want to ramble about what’s currently on my mind, with no necessary destination mapped out.
So back to that whole ‘life is complicated’ statement. This week my head has been flooded with so many thoughts and questions. I’m still flabbergasted that Donald Trump is relevant – let alone the GOP frontrunner – but I’m more upset by the fact that his popularity is not as surprising as it should be. I’m starting to recognize what an open and progressive upbringing I had, and that most of the country doesn’t necessarily think like me or my peers.
Yesterday I overheard a white woman asking a black woman where she came from. Her answer? America. The white woman then went on to clarify: “Oh well I mean ethnically – like, where are your parents from?” I couldn’t hear the rest of the conversation, but I cringed at the awkwardness of it all. She was perky in a phony, highly condescending way, and I wanted to go over and ask her, “Hey lady, where are you from, ethnically?” but I didn’t have the chance nor the courage.
Speaking of “ethnic”, I think that word has got to go. So does “ghetto.”
And now that I’m on the subject of “ghetto,” it’s the perfect time to discuss the enigma that is Quentin Tarantino. I would absolutely consider myself a fan of Tarantino’s work, but I do think that people have a right to take issue with his approach to storytelling. His films are highly provocative and often deal with issues of racism, and because he takes it upon himself to tell these stories, I think it was irresponsible of him to use a racialized term such as “ghetto” when he was accepting Ennio Morricone’s award at the Golden Globes. Although ghetto originated as an Italian word that signified the quarter where Jews were forced to live in cities such as Venice, Rome, Prague, and Frankfurt during the 16th and 17th centuries, what it has come to mean in the U.S. is entirely different. Ethnic, ghetto, and thug are all coded to mean “not-white,” which creates a system of “othering.” And by othering those who are not white, we are contributing to a culture and society that is structured by white supremacy.
So I guess my rant of the day has led me here: choose your words wisely.
Oh, and stick it to the man!