On Memes and Mermaids: How to Tell If You’re a Good* White Racist (And What Jesus Might Want You To Do About It)

  
Via:  bob-nelson  •  5 months ago  •  11 comments

On Memes and Mermaids: How to Tell If You’re a Good* White Racist (And What Jesus Might Want You To Do About It)
So this post will be one handy-dandy little pit stop to help you figure out if you’re a Good White Racist — and what to do about it — with the help of a ridiculously racist meme, a completely fictional character, and Jesus, who was, eh-hem, not white. Let’s get started.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


It’s been a minute since I posted here, because I’ve been deep into writing a book all about how good people can also be crazy racist ( Good* White Racist is due out in the spring of 2020). Now that I’ve come up for air from that happy little topic, I can see that the world still turns, I still need to get me some coffee and Jesus** every morning, and racism is still a thing in the United States. I know this because good* people I consider to be my friends are still posting racist shit, and white people everywhere are freaking out because a Disney character they all but forgot about is getting a reboot — and she’s black.

So this post will be one handy-dandy little pit stop to help you figure out if you’re a Good White Racist — and what to do about it — with the help of a ridiculously racist meme, a completely fictional character, and Jesus, who was, eh- hem , not white. Let’s get started.

RACIST MEMES, NIKE + THE BETSY ROSS FLAG

We need a little background first. Last week, Nike and Colin Kaepernick drew the ire of conservatives once again when the company decided to pull a shoe bearing an early version of the American flag after the football-player-turned-activist complained about it. The flag most often credited to Betsy Ross — the one with a circle of stars on the field of blue, representing the original 13 colonies — was to appear on the heel of the shoe until Kaepernick had his say.

Cue the right wing frenzy: All those frail liberals are hurting my flag’s feelings!

Now, maybe I can’t blame them for not knowing this — I know I didn’t — but the Betsy Ross flag has been appropriated by explicitly white supremacist organizations. Of course, maybe conservatives did know this, and are perfectly fine with it. But let’s go ahead and give them the benefit of the doubt.

If you’re not sure you buy the relationship between the flag and white supremacy, check out this article in Rolling Stone magazine , which gives lots of links and evidence as to how assholes like the KKK have appropriated your beloved flag. Now you know.

So let’s get to the meme my friend posted. Trigger warning: stupidity, misogyny and blatant racism coming your way.

Here it is:

original

Let’s break it down, shall we? We’ll start with the obvious misogyny. I often find that racism is associated with toxic masculinity and patriarchy, because every good fascist stew needs some solid seasoning. The old, tired trope of somehow associating a man with anything feminine as a way to insult him is classic sexism, incredibly boring and totally not funny. The truth is women are bad asses, and any man should be proud to wear our panties, silk or otherwise.

But to then make a joke out of the horrors of slavery is privileged racist bunkum at its worst. I want to point out to you that “good” people don’t go around making jokes about torture, enslavement, or genocide, and neither should you. You know who does that shit?

Racists . Racists do that.

The thing is, to my knowledge, the person who posted this would never associate themselves with white supremacy. This person is a church-going proud American who considers themselves “good.” And for the most part, they are a good person. The kind of person you could have a beer with. The kind of person who “has black friends.” The kind of person who “knows how to take a joke.”

They are also the kind of person who is so steeped in their own privilege that they can not see their own inherent racism, or the way that this “joke” of a meme is a disgusting example of it. They can’t see how they’ve been distracted by the system of whiteness to demonize the wrong guy — because it’s not Kaepernick they should be pissed at.

The people they should actually be pissed at are the explicitly white supremacists who have appropriated the Betsy Ross flag for their own purposes. While we’re at it, they should also be mad at the system that has blinded them to their own racism.

Of course, there are those who would say the Ross flag was always owned by white supremacists, what with all the colonizing in our great American history and all, and there is certainly fodder for that discussion to be had. But for now, let’s just say it was a nice flag once, and now it is increasingly being associated with racist white supremacist groups.

So now for a little self-reflection: If you’re the type of white person who loves to point out how you have black friends, and you still think this meme is funny, you might want to check yourself: it’s possible you’re a Good* White Racist.

If you’re someone who is more upset that Kaepernick pointed out that white supremacists are using the Betsy Ross flag to promote their racist agenda than you are by the actual white supremacists using the flag to promote their racist agenda, it’s possible that you are a Good* White Racist.

If I thought for a minute that Jesus gives a hoot about flags, I’d tell you who I think Jesus would want you to focus your energies on. I don’t think Jesus cares about flags at all — but I do think Jesus cares about people. And I think Jesus would be pretty disgusted by a so-called joke about generations of people who were whipped, beaten and brutalized so white people could be economically prosperous. But, you know, that’s just me.

Speaking of Jesus and brown skin, let’s talk about mermaids.

BECAUSE FICTIONAL UNDERWATER MYTHOLOGICAL CREATURES CAN BE SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN TO BE BIOLOGICALLY WHITE (and other racist ridiculousness)

Disney recently announced a live-action re-boot of The Little Mermaid in which they’ve cast the super talented black performer Halle Bailey, and pearl-clutching white Twitter went aghast. Seriously, the shock and frailty with which the news was met was nothing short of inspiring, when it comes to making mountains out of molehills and attempting to apply scientific genetic theory to a CARTOON. Given the frenzy, you’d think these people actually, like, had something to lose by a fictional, cartoon character being melaninized. Which makes you wonder what, exactly, about the browning of the ocean are they so scared of?

If the problem really is about being “authentic to the original character” — like so many of the “I’m-not-racist-hashtag-not-my-Ariel” camp say — then why has it been okay for decades for white people to play people of color, with not a contrarian hashtag to be found (see examples here and here )?

Here’s why: because in a system that privileges whiteness, we assume every single character we read about or see is white unless we are explicitly told otherwise. Whiteness is the norm against which we measure everything. And here’s where you’re going to get your knickers really twisted: it’s totally not okay for characters of color to be portrayed by white people, and it’s also not just totally fine but amazingly freaking awesome that the Little Mermaid will be black.

BUT REVERSE RACISM! You want to scream. THAT’S NOT FAIR!

And you know what? You’re right! The system has not been fair for a really freaking long time, and that’s why a black Ariel is exactly what the system needs to set it on the course to being right. For years and years and years blackness has been erased from positive imagery in the media, and it’s time to that to stop. There is nothing in the story of Ariel that insists she must be white, so it’s totally okay to make her black.

If there had been a real Ariel — you know, not a mythological character who was also a cartoon, for Pete’s sake — and in real life she had been black, it would not be cool to white wash her. And making her black might just teach us white folk that hey — human beings, with all our human emotions and problems and situations — we come in a whole bunch of beautiful colors.

Just like God. Just like God, who came down to earth in skin that wasn’t pale and Caucasian, but brown and Middle Eastern. The fact of the matter is if you love you some Jesus, you better be about loving some brown skin while you’re at it.

So you can ease yourself in a bit. Start with the mermaid, and work your way up to Jesus. Maybe by the time you get there, you’ll realize that maybe you have some racist tendencies you might want to check. Maybe it’s time to hitch up those silk panties of yours, admit that it’s time to stop sharing racist memes, and check your frail, whiny-ass privilege at the door (or the shore), and call the KKK and tell them to stop using your flag as a symbol for their hate.

After all, that’s what good people would do.


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Bob Nelson
1  seeder  Bob Nelson    5 months ago
Just like God. Just like God, who came down to earth in skin that wasn’t pale and Caucasian, but brown and Middle Eastern. The fact of the matter is if you love you some Jesus, you better be about loving some brown skin while you’re at it.
 
 
 
Drakkonis
1.1  Drakkonis  replied to  Bob Nelson @1    5 months ago

Don't you ever get tired of this crap? I'd be willing to bet that you can link hot dogs to racism. Bottle caps? The word "and"? 

If you’re not sure you buy the relationship between the flag and white supremacy, check out this article in Rolling Stone magazine, which gives lots of links and evidence as to how assholes like the KKK have appropriated your beloved flag. Now you know.

I see. So, based on this theory, if supremacists incorporate Krispy Kreme doughnuts into their meme, we must now never eat Krispy Kreme doughnuts? What if they go eco and bicycle to all their supremacist events? No more bicycles? 

Cue the right wing frenzy: All those frail liberals are hurting my flag’s feelings!

Okay, fair enough. So what about Kaepernick getting butt hurt over a flag??? Not okay for what you call the right wing but okay for him? Rules for thee but not for me, is that your motto? 

Let’s break it down, shall we?

Okay, let's. 

We’ll start with the obvious misogyny.

Um, what? What's so obvious about it? Oh!!! I know. I have to put on my "there's really no such thing as sex" meme. Right. Forgot. Male and female are just a social construct (we'll just not mention the scientific facts that say there's a difference. It just adds inconvenient truth and who needs that??)

But to then make a joke out of the horrors of slavery is privileged racist bunkum at its worst.

Well, I can see I'm going to make some SJW list of people who need to go into the reeducation camps when they take over, because to me, that picture expresses perfectly what's wrong with Kaepernick's objection to the flag. And nothing about it makes a joke of slavery. That's a red herring. The point was, if you're going to get triggered by every little thing, you're going to have a tough life. Tougher than it needs to be. 

When Betsy Ross sewed that flag, I'd bet any amount of money that she didn't have a single thought of slavery in her head. She didn't make that flag in honor of slavery. If we're going to get triggered over something as stupid as that we may as well start razing every monument, every building, every recorded document and speech all the way up to right this second because the people who built them, said them or wrote them didn't have the SJW certified memes and thoughts in mind when they did them. 

I want to point out to you that “good” people don’t go around making jokes about torture, enslavement, or genocide, and neither should you. You know who does that shit?
Racists. Racists do that.

Complete and absolute SJW bullshit. What the writer did was take the picture, defined it according to their worldview and then insist that we all agree with it. Um....NO! This picture has nothing to do with slavery as the subject. The subject is not about racism but, ultimately, life isn't fair... deal with it. 

If it were not for the incomprehensible amount of death it would cause, I could wish that the Sun put out a flair great enough to destroy the worlds electrical grid. Then, I would get out my lawn chair, take the last ice out of my defunct fridge for my sodas and watch all the SJW's run, looking for their safe spaces. 

The thing is, to my knowledge, the person who posted this would never associate themselves with white supremacy.

That would be because, in and of itself, the picture has nothing to do with white supremacy. She has to add a bunch of crap that isn't included in order to make her point. 

They are also the kind of person who is so steeped in their own privilege that they can not see their own inherent racism, or the way that this “joke” of a meme is a disgusting example of it.

Translation: 

Unless you see this as I do, you are a racist. It doesn't matter if you see this picture as an example of "toughen up, buttercup". It doesn't matter that the flag Kaepernick objects to was actually the start of what we have today. That even though our founders had their problems (unlike SJW's, apparently) they started something that resulted in what we have today. Is today perfect? Hardly. But what other country has what we have? 

I must live in a bubble. My entire life I have been under people of every race. I mean, I've had bosses who were not white, as I am. There was not a fraction of a second where their race was a factor. I never heard any of my co workers mention race as a factor. They either liked or hated the boss because they were either good or bad bosses. I can only recall one person, in my 56 years of life, speak against a woman boss because she was a woman and nobody likes him very much. I've never seen anyone not white not advance as fast as I have advanced. 

In short, I've never seen anyone not white, in my sphere of existence, not get what I got if they did what I did. So, I have to wonder just what this white privilege is? 

The people they should actually be pissed at are the explicitly white supremacists who have appropriated the Betsy Ross flag for their own purposes.

Uh, no. That would be about the same as hating German Shepherds because they have the word German in their name. Like never eating vanilla ice cream again because there was a news article that stated that supremacists overwhelmingly loved vanilla ice cream. 

While we’re at it, they should also be mad at the system that has blinded them to their own racism.

Translation:

If your white, you're a racist. It's genetic. 

So now for a little self-reflection: If you’re the type of white person who loves to point out how you have black friends, and you still think this meme is funny, you might want to check yourself: it’s possible you’re a Good* White Racist.

Alternatively, you could also recognize that life isn't fair and just deal with it. Move on. 

If I thought for a minute that Jesus gives a hoot about flags, I’d tell you who I think Jesus would want you to focus your energies on. I don’t think Jesus cares about flags at all — but I do think Jesus cares about people. And I think Jesus would be pretty disgusted by a so-called joke about generations of people who were whipped, beaten and brutalized so white people could be economically prosperous. But, you know, that’s just me.

Unfortunately, it isn't just her. There are so many sheeple out there who can't think for themselves so they rely on people like this to tell them what to think.

The flag stood for independence from tyranny. It still does. If Kaepernick wants to make a difference, why doesn't he point this out? If supremacists are trying to coopt this flag, then point out what it really stood for. Don't whine about how it makes you feel. 

It is true that Jesus wouldn't give a fig about a flag. Jesus cared about the relationship between the individual and God. Everything else took a very distant second. 

Speaking of Jesus and brown skin,

I don't personally know anyone who cares about what color Jesus is. 

Disney recently announced a live-action re-boot of The Little Mermaid in which they’ve cast the super talented black performer Halle Bailey, and pearl-clutching white Twitter went aghast.

I applaud Disney for this move. Not because I care what color the mermaid was but because it shouldn't matter. 

As far as far as "white Twitter" goes I wonder what percentage of the population actually represents who went "aghast". Also, never having had a Twitter account, I didn't know they had a white Twitter. 

That's all the time I have to waste on this. 

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
1.1.1  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  Drakkonis @1.1    5 months ago
I see. So, based on this theory, if supremacists incorporate Krispy Kreme doughnuts into their meme, we must now never eat Krispy Kreme doughnuts?

No. Based on this theory, Nike would be foolish to pursue a product line that might be misinterpreted.

Rules for thee but not for me, is that your motto?

That is a personal attack.

I have to put on my "there's really no such thing as sex" meme.

The seed says no such thing. You're makin' shit up.

And nothing about it makes a joke of slavery.

"Cotton ones remind me of slavery"

She didn't make that flag in honor of slavery.

Of course not. Read the seed.

That would be because, in and of itself, the picture has nothing to do with white supremacy.

Of course it does. It illustrates the casual racism that underpins White Supremacy.

They are also the kind of person who is so steeped in their own privilege that they can not see their own inherent racism, or the way that this “joke” of a meme is a disgusting example of it.
Translation:  Unless you see this as I do, you are a racist

Exactly. Except that "as I do" is unnecessary and misleading. The OA author's POV is unimportant and irrelevant. It should read, "Unless you see this, you are a racist".

That would be about the same as hating German Shepherds because they have the word German in their name.

No. It would be like resenting those who hijack of Christ's name in service of hate. Your metaphor loses sight of who does what.

While we’re at it, they should also be mad at the system that has blinded them to their own racism.
Translation: If your white, you're a racist. It's genetic. 

No. Not at all. You need to re-read.


I'll stop here.

There are many ways to read and analyze a text. One method is to dissect it line by line, with the intent of counter-arguing. That is what you have done here.

That's a method that has very little chance of enlightening anyone, so I prefer not to participate.

 
 
 
Drakkonis
1.1.2  Drakkonis  replied to  Bob Nelson @1.1.1    5 months ago
No. Based on this theory, Nike would be foolish to pursue a product line that might be misinterpreted.

Um, with people like you, who seem to be able to connect anything at all with what you deem negative, Nike is going to have a pretty tough job in advertising, unless their sole market is people such as yourself. 

That is a personal attack.

Love the pink. Well done!

The seed says no such thing. You're makin' shit up.

Really??? I submit as evidence the following...

We’ll start with the obvious misogyny. I often find that racism is associated with toxic masculinity and patriarchy, because every good fascist stew needs some solid seasoning. The old, tired trope of somehow associating a man with anything feminine as a way to insult him is classic sexism, incredibly boring and totally not funny. The truth is women are bad asses, and any man should be proud to wear our panties, silk or otherwise.

This is obviously a denunciation of masculinity. Rather than glorying in femininity, she denounces males who glory in their masculinity. She calls it toxic, whatever that means. She wishes us to believe there is no difference between the sexes. I'm sure you believe something like that but, hey, that's the beauty of this country. You get to believe whatever you want, even if it's patently stupid.  

"Cotton ones remind me of slavery"

Um, then you don't buy anything cotton? No Qtips, cotton balls, any apparel mad of cotton? Gosh! You've enlightened me. Let's put our scientists to work to develop something that will eradicate cotton from the Earth! From now on, it's only wool! Of course, your going to piss of the PETA folks. So you'll probably reject wool. Okay. So what's left? I know! Animal skins!!! Wait! Nope. PETA again. Let's just go around nekkid. 

Of course not. Read the seed.

I did. Thanks. 

Of course it does. It illustrates the casual racism that underpins White Supremacy.

Um, yeah. How about you post something that actually addresses what I wrote, in a logical point by point basis, rather than just make unsupported statements?

Exactly. Except that "as I do" is unnecessary and misleading. The OA author's POV is unimportant and irrelevant. It should read, "Unless you see this, you are a racist".

This actually made my brain stop working for a moment. In fact, I think even my autonomous functions, such as breathing and heart beat actually stopped for a moment. Congratulations! You killed me for a moment. 

Except that "as I do" is unnecessary and misleading.

In other words, it isn't something anyone needs to think about. It's as axiomatic as gravity. That's what you are trying to sell me. Sorry. Even though you actually killed me for a moment, my brain still works. You, and the person who wrote the seed, believe anyone who disagrees with you, or them, are racist because they don't agree with you, not because they are actually racist. 

No. It would be like resenting those who hijack of Christ's name in service of hate. Your metaphor loses sight of who does what.

Your invoking Christ is sickening. You have no understanding of Christ. In spite of that, it doesn't actually pertain to what I said. Kaepernick objected to the flag because it reminds him, somehow, of slavery. So, based on Kaepernick's objection, it is logical to despise German Shepherds because Germany is the birth place on Nazism. 

That's a method that has very little chance of enlightening anyone, so I prefer not to participate...

… he said, after participating. 

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
1.1.3  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  Drakkonis @1.1.2    5 months ago
I'll stop here.

There are many ways to read and analyze a text. One method is to dissect it line by line, with the intent of counter-arguing. That is what you have done here.

That's a method that has very little chance of enlightening anyone, so I prefer not to participate.

 
 
 
Drakkonis
1.1.4  Drakkonis  replied to  Bob Nelson @1.1.3    5 months ago
There are many ways to read and analyze a text. One method is to dissect it line by line, with the intent of counter-arguing. That is what you have done here.

That's the problem with your propaganda, Bob. It isn't based on reason or logic. It's based on emotion. Therefore, all you are left with is statements like this. Of course I counter-argued, because I think the author of your seed is full of crap.

If Kaepernick feels bad about a flag, that's fine. He get's to feel how he feels. No problem. I may not agree with him but my agreement isn't a necessary component of how he feels. My problem is with Nike. They put that flag on their shoe. I'm pretty friggin sure that they didn't do so for the purpose of communicating a racist message. But because ONE person objected, they folded like a house of cards. In my opinion, they rolled over on their backs and peed themselves not because of any moral consideration, but because they were afraid of the financial impact. How admirable to you think that is?

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
1.1.5  seeder  Bob Nelson  replied to  Drakkonis @1.1.4    5 months ago
I prefer not to participate.
 
 
 
JohnRussell
2  JohnRussell    5 months ago

The top half of the article didnt really impress me. The meme about silk panties and slavery was stupid, but I dont find it particularly offensive. 

The bottom half though, about white people complaining that a cartoon character will be black in the remake , that strikes me as much more troubling. 

Yes the original story takes place in the waters off Norway, but I dont believe the mermaids skin color was ever specified , and anyway it is not a real character, it is pure make-believe. There are no mermaids. 

This is like when Megyn Kelly harped on her belief that Santa Claus is white and has to be white. Santa Claus is an imaginary character, he doesnt have a set in stone skin color.  And even if it could be shown that The Little Mermaid was intended to be white, so what?  For decades there were fictional characters such as American Indian or Asian or Hispanic characters that were played in movies and on stage by Caucasians.  Did other Caucasians complain at that point about how horrible it was to have an Indian played by a white person.  Uh, no. 

 
 
 
Dean Moriarty
2.1  Dean Moriarty  replied to  JohnRussell @2    5 months ago

The little mermaid thing is mostly a nothing burger. Some people and MSN try to make a mountain out of a molehill. 

https://reason.com/2019/07/09/ariel-little-mermaid-backlash-black-halle-bailey/

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
3  Ed-NavDoc    5 months ago

As somebody who is of multiethnic background (my family tree has been known to drive some genealogists to fits) I could really give a rat's behind what ethnic background a character has. To me it is more about the story.

 
 
 
Tacos!
4  Tacos!    5 months ago
How To Tell If You’re A Good* White Racist

Sometimes you just have to marvel at the sanctimonious arrogance of someone who deems themselves fit to tell others whether or not they are racist. The concept here is not only that the reader is racist, but stupid as well.

Now, maybe I can’t blame them for not knowing this — I know I didn’t —

So it's ok if you didn't know, but everyone else should maybe be blamed for not keeping up with white supremacists? Or, for that matter, giving a shit about anything they might do with how they spend their time and energy?

but the Betsy Ross flag has been appropriated by explicitly white supremacist organizations.

Who gives a shit? You think I'm going to let some racist asshole somewhere effect how I celebrate my country?

it’s not Kaepernick they should be pissed at

I don't expect anything from Kaepernick, so I'm not pissed at him. I think he's a little misguided, that's all. I'm disgusted by Nike's response, but it's a free country and football players and corporate sponsors are all free to be dumbasses.

a live-action re-boot of The Little Mermaid in which they’ve cast the super talented black performer Halle Bailey

Makes no difference to me, but as a general matter, I understand why somebody from Denmark might potentially be a little bothered. It's a white culture; one would presume the characters in a Danish story are white. However, in the case of a mermaid, I don't think there is anything about the mermaid's skin color that is relevant to her character or the plot (sometimes there is). Like many stories, you can tell this one without focusing on the location or race of the characters in the original story. It transcends those factors.

why has it been okay for decades for white people to play people of color, with not a contrarian hashtag to be found

It's obviously not true that it has been ok. People have complained about it for decades. This story even links to other articles complaining about it. 

it’s totally not okay for characters of color to be portrayed by white people, and it’s also not just totally fine but amazingly freaking awesome that the Little Mermaid will be black.

No reason is given for what sounds kinda racist to me. Just saying something is bad for white people but ok for black people is - by definition - racism. I would say it is ok for people of color to be portrayed by white people if we're talking about a character where race doesn't matter. i.e., the character is not a historical person or the character and plot development of that character has no connection to race.

There's no particular reason that it should be amazingly freaking awesome for the mermaid to black. What matters is if the actress does a good job and the movie is a well-written story.

 
 
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