Wednesday, July 14, 2010

...Speaking of Whoopi

Admittedly, I have to sometimes take breaks from technology and the news in order to keep myself from going crazy. I have an intense (sometimes read: serious) personality a lot of times, and that doesn't make me unhappy. I care about issues to the point of exhaust; and it's because I also act on these issues. I get so mentally involved in issues, and for that reason, a joke - that is parody and not satire - at the interest in any of the issues and injustices that I am so involved in protesting is more damaging, in my opinion, than the humor that may be in it.

At any rate, in an effort to work on my zen and create an ambiance, I'm goofing off on facebook for a bit yesterday - just after reacting to Whoopi Goldberg's "he-has-black-friends-so-he-isnt-racist" defense - and noticed that good friend of mine made an inappropriate joke in reference to the situation. And the joke made it to facebook, twitter, and eventually a variation of it made the blog. Ready?

C'mon Whoopi, sure Mel Gibson isn't racist; you don't have to worry about being raped by a pack of niggers; you look like a man.

Well, okay. I realize that the comment was meant to be taken lightly but my problem with these comments is this: of the many issues with sexual abuse and domestic violence, major issues that many victims deal with are feelings of guilt (like they may have perpetuated the assault) and feelings of low self-worth which could stem from a number of things, including physical appearance. Moreover, the comment speaks to standards of beauty and maintains the myth that rape is about sexual attraction and desire.

I would not be true to my character if I didn't say anything, even to my good friend and mentor (smile). I'm not into blog-wars as I don't have enough readers for that anyway, so I don't want people to get me wrong and believe that that's the point of any of this.

While the joke was at the expense of Whoopi, the words of the joke say something to people who believe that people who "look like a man" (or unattractive people, or people who have been told they are physically worthless and have internalized that abuse) cannot or have not been abused. It appears to support a myth of people who are ill-informed and do not know better - even if it is a joke. Having worked on the side of victims, this is a trend that is seriously furthered by law enforcement, nurses, and anybody who isn't fully aware and sympathetic to the dynamics of rape. Period. (Ironically, this theme is illustrated to perfection in "The Color Purple")

And while I understand that there has to be a silver lining, and there has to be some sort of light in this sick, sad, dark world of ours, I'm not entirely certain that any joke sending that sort of message (about the rape of a woman who "looks like a man", not the pack of niggers) is the something that I can take lightly. This isn't about an individual, but those comments and attitudes have to die. Seriously.

Would it be Whoopi Goldberg-esque of me to point out that this person doesn't hate women, ugly people, or rape victims, but that it was a stupid comment? Shrug. This isn't to defend Whoopi's disillusionment, but one has to wonder how to defend the character of a person who makes stupid comments. I'm not taking it personally, again this isn't about a person, but an idea. A whole set of ideas that need to end.

Be righteous.

It was also kind of a jackass thing to add a faux apology in small print, too..#justsayin.

1 comment:

  1. i came across your blog [via jay smooth] and i must say after checking out a couple of other posts i'm impressed! i'll be visiting the site regularly from now on :-)