Wake Up, People of Color!
This crossed my desk today and added to my hidden reservoir of “oh no you didn’t.” But I realized this statement was just the tip of an iceberg I have been sitting on for a long time.
The recent Brexit vote has shown a hidden reservoir of racism boiling the UK and with Donald Trump trying to become president, it has emboldened a new crop of crazed racists to bring their rantings to the foreground.
Samantha Bee’s recent video pretty much said everything that needed saying:
So when my desk was hit with this note, I realized I just couldn’t let it wander along without addressing it.
“Why are Black creators often being told, “You gotta go global! Don’t do an all Black cast and cater to such a small group. You have to shoot for the global audience.” And yet:
The Lord of the Rings can do a fantasy epic with an all White cast and be global.
Thailand can bring out Tony Jaa with an all Thai cast and go global.
China can make tons of kung-fu movies with all Chinese casts and go global.
Japanese have samurai movies, ninja films and anime, often with all Japanese casts.
Korean dramas, about romance and everyday life in Korea are all going global.
So why are we being told to push diversity and mix our casts and cater to “everyone”?”
It has been my experience as a writer, that People of Color are often told they cannot create things which feature casts that are all minorities. One of my heroes, Dwayne McDuffie talked about the “Rule of Three.”
Here was a man who had the keys to the kingdom of the DC Universe, and yet felt constrained to keep the number of minorities down. Dwayne McDuffie was one of the most well-respected creators of his time, shaping and defining the heroes of the DC Universe as few other creators of color have ever done.
And he was still constrained by this thinking. Not by his choice to hear him tell it.
Armed with this first-hand knowledge, I say:
African Americans are not a country, but a subgroup. As a subgroup without a clearly defined cultural base, no one wants to acknowledge this group without understanding the forces which place them in this “people without a country” state.
If Black creators were to create something that went global, then the Powers which make every effort to shape the conversation used to define people of color would have to recognize their ability to control that culture would be at an end since worldwide acknowledgement would be recognizing the culture as something independent of the Dominant Subculture which is White America.
White America enjoys the benefits of its Whiteness and its ability to co-opt its subordinate cultures within it, using their cultures, their memes, their ideas, their music, their styles to augment its own.
Thus the notation to NOT have an All-Black cast is part of a structured perspective to continue to fail to acknowledge the Black Ideals which permeate White culture but are not attributed to anyone but the people who have effectively managed to hide the source for their “inspirations.”
Mix it up if you want to.
The days of being told Blacks should wait by the sidelines, sit by the door, drive Miss Daisy, save the White woman, inspire or become the moral conscience of the White male hero, who goes on to save the day, get the girl, get paid and fail to share the wealth ARE OVER. Count on it.
A colossus has awakened.
Things will never go back to the way they were. If that frightens you, good. It means you have lived too long on the largesse of a people who were being exploited. It is easy for those whose opportunities loom large in the overall scheme of things to talk about their genius and how lucky we are to have them. (See: Steve Jobs, Elon Musk)
How often is that genius predicated upon the backs of others who will never be known because the genius has the capacity to use the works of other people to his advantage, without acknowledging them?
“When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.”
If this new time excites you, good. It means you will probably have an opportunity to bring something new into the world, something you believe in, something that can bring value and justice to the community at large and were just waiting for your chance to shine.
My friends, it’s time to get shiny. It is time to bring your visions to life, to challenge the idea there are no new movies, only retreads. There are no new ideas, only those that have come before. That there are no opportunities left for us.
No, no, a thousand times NO!
Here is the truth you are forbidden to hear
The world you live in was made for, by, and about the needs of White men. Their technology will define your future, how they use it, where they use it, who benefits from it and how that technology shall further divide Humanity will be done on the whims of White men.
- Technological immortality shall go to: White men. Artificial intelligence and all of its benefits shall be biased to the needs of White men. They will ensure their world-altering domination of such technology is driven by their perspectives.
- Technologies which shall put people out of work are being directed by White men without any concern for how you are supposed to make it in a consumer-driven society as a member who cannot find work as technology replaces more and more of us.
- Every decision which empowers a corporation to grow fat and wealthy is based on a board of directors powered almost exclusively by White men.
- The decisions which shipped your job overseas did not happen in a ghetto, where poverty runs rampant.
- It did not happen with a group of migrant workers who take their meager earnings and send them back to a poverty-stricken family somewhere else.
- It was engineered by White men who decided it was cheaper to send your job, your good paying job to a third world nation with less safety laws, lower wages and no means of worker protections to fatten their executive wallets further.
- Your global economic crisis? White men. Your savings and loan scandals? White men. Your Great Recession of 2008, which catapulted millions into poverty, lost their homes, their retirements, their lifetimes of savings? Which put 18 million people out of work, and managed to give themselves bonuses after engineering a bailout for their corporations but not for your homes? You guessed it: White men.
Bailed-out banks gave millions in exec bonuses, NY AG report shows
Citigroup, one of the biggest recipients of government bailout money, gave employees $5.33 billion in bonuses for 2008…
And there will be White men who will look at this and say: This isn’t true. This isn’t fair. We aren’t all of those bastards who are raping and pillaging the world.
Maybe not. But you are the only people who can stop them. They have made it impossible for anyone else to even get near them. So if you aren’t stopping them because you are benefiting from the system, you are them — just hoping for some trickle down…
- If what I said offends anyone, I dare you to find the list of the top richest people on Earth, (let me help)
The World's Billionaires
The Forbes World's Billionaires list is the definitive list of the world's wealthiest people, profiling and ranking…
- the top most powerful corporations who control the world’s greatest industries and show me a photo of their CEOs
And tell me I have misspoken.
If you are sick and tired of how things are working out, such that White men continue to grow fat on your efforts, while crushing your creativity, your opportunity, stealing your ideas in meetings and calling them theirs, if all of this is all too familiar to you and you have had enough…
This is your time. There are more women, more minorities (who, technically worldwide, are NOT minorities) and more creative people coming to the surface of the world every day.
We do not have to stand idly by while White men, under the failed guise of economic empowerment, strip mine the world, enslave the populations of entire nations and call it progress.
If they will not hire you: Make your own companies. If they will not do business with you: Do business with each other.
They have nothing without you. They simply don’t ever reveal that secret. Let us find a way to equalize the world, share the wealth, save the planet and get everyone home for supper, no matter where they live.
THIS IS POSSIBLE.
All we have to do is stop listening to what we have been told. Malthus and his logic are dead.
Embrace creativity as the newest truth
Create new ideas
Being poor is not a barrier. It has a capacity to release your greatest gifts. Don’t stop striving because you have nothing. Because some of the world’s greatest minds started there, with nothing.
They transformed a world and you were likely never told of it. Now we have tools to share information around the world in a moment. We can empower each other. We can uplift each other.
We can help each other see a way where there was once NO WAY.
Five of the most pious cultures in the world engaged in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade which lasted centuries. Cognitive dissonance allowed this travesty to happen. The cognitive dissonance which said:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” — 1776
Said chattel slavery continued until 1876…
Unless you’re not the right kind of man…then we can enslave you, demean you, demonize you, undermine your culture and religions and even kill you for profit. But remember that happened a long time ago, it shouldn’t have any bearing on how you think now, right?
If you are a Person of Color, don’t let those people, you know who they are, have one more second of your life’s work. Don’t let their bigotry, their small mindedness, their fear, their hatred, their lack of vision, their lack of appreciation of you as a beautiful, intelligent, capable contributor to the Human experience stop you from being just that.
America is a land of waste. What we waste here, more than anything else, is Human potential.
We imprison Human potential for decades at a time. We starve Human potential in ghettos. We destroy Human potential with systemic classism and racism. America paints the picture that People of Color simply have less to offer the world.
I am here to tell you: I won’t put up with one more minute of that conversation. You don’t like what I have to say? Too bad. Doesn’t make it less true because it is cynical, depressing and all too true.
I don’t have your rosy disposition because I wasn’t eating out of silver spoon all my life. My rose-covered glasses didn’t come with lenses.
I have spent my time face down on the pavement, pinned by a policeman for no reason. I have spent my time up against a wall because I drove through a neighborhood I was considered too poor to afford to BE in. I have feared for my life on the side of the road when I was stopped for a broken tail light, that didn’t get broken until the cop decided it needed to be.
Our worlds are different, so if my perspective is less than ideal, I HAVE MY REASONS. It doesn’t make my perspective any less valid than yours. It doesn’t make me any less of a Human being because I have seen a darker side of this American life than you have.
I am brilliant. I am capable. I am fierce. I am independent. I am generous. I am loving. I am beautiful. I matter.
You won’t hire me. I still matter.
You won’t talk to me. I still matter.
You won’t acknowledge my work. Still matter.
You pretend I don’t have anything to offer the world while you hire idiots who kiss your ass and tell you how great you are while your company tanks? Still matter.
I will always matter.
No one gets to tell me what I am anymore.
Assist me if you can. Teach me if you’re willing. Love me. Guide me. And let me do the same for you.
Otherwise, get the fuck out of my way. Your day is done. Not one more day should anyone support the status quo. What can you do?
- Will you take the reigns where you live and stop voting in candidates who lack the mental acuity to judge a dog-grooming contest?
- Will you challenge your school systems which tell you the best way to ensure your students get educated is to remove their personalities, standardize-their abilities, crush their creativity, and teach to a test which has not proven to improve their abilities a single iota?
- Will you help the schools to promote ethics, music, art, critical thinking, debate, analysis, home economics, civics and other things which spark the fires of our humanity, our relationships to each other and the need to be decent to each other, no matter where we are on the socioeconomic ladder?
- Will you free our students leaving college from onerous debt, a debt so great they will most assuredly spend the rest of their lives paying off their debt to corporations who will, at the same time, refuse to pay them living wages, refuses to pay adequate taxes and will undermine every opportunity for fair wages and adequate taxation by altering the laws of the country with their vast economic and lobbying might?
This isn’t even the scope of the entire problem. The entire problem is too vast for anyone to even begin to address. We must all begin to address it somewhere, in our lives, as close to our homes as we can.
The first best way is to realize we do not walk this world alone. When we create conditions which marginalize others, when we have power, particularly systemic power, which can affect the world invisibly, we have an obligation to be aware of it and to note its affects, like it or not.
Pretending it doesn’t exist doesn’t help.
Unless your mission in life is to have the entirety of the Human race enslaved to sixty-two bastards whose only mission is to convert your efforts, your dreams, your very stuff of life, into the ground upon which they walk.
Because if you don’t rise up, if you don’t wake up, if you don’t become part of the Colossus, they will walk humanity into a perpetually at war, with brown people everywhere, but very comfortable, gadget-filled, media-festooned, sexually-perverted, but oh so pious, world-spanning grave.
Here is your chance to change that. Will you rise up?