We’re now in year six of sunny post-racial America, and things are going great, right!?! We have a biracial president, and, uh…Halle Berry won an Oscar that time…and…a vocal contingent of Americans will eagerly whip themselves into a racist frenzy over a kid having a white mom and a black dad in a fucking Cheerios commercial. Up top, people-who-say-racism-is-over!
I’m not generally a fan of posting Jezebel articles, but this one makes a good point.
Usually I like to throw Jezebel articles into a fire, burn them and let the flames warm the cockles of my heart, this one isn’t really that different. While the author does say that having interracial couples on TV does not mean that America is a post-racial society and that having representation in the media does not mean that the struggle is over. Overall the whole article gives me a weird colourblind/ “my half black boyfriend is my accessory”/ I’m refuting the “racism is over” claim while somehow claiming that we can end racism by showing more diversity on TV vibe.
She calls her half white half Nigerian boyfriend the “product” of an interracial relationship and treats him like an accessory. I am so sick and tired of white people using us as a cute little add-on to their lives. Through his existence she creates a way to claim authority on the topic of interracial relationships. Quite frankly, I would have rather read an article from her boyfriend than from her, actually I would much rather have their article be written by a mixed race POC or any POC or just not a white lady really. Especially not one who’s only understanding of interracial relationships comes from her current relationship. She does this weird colourblind thing where she calls her interracial relationship a “relationship.” As she says: “or, as I like to call it…a relationship” like oh okay just relationship then right because the interracial part has absolutely no influence on your relationship okay yeah sure whatever. She says that as a couple they get looks on the street but attributes those looks to their different levels of conventional attractiveness. Is there a reason why it can’t be both? Maybe both of these things come together to affect how people perceive you as a couple? (REVOLUTIONARY!?!?!?!?? Wow who would have ever thought of that concept before, things coming together to influence the way the world interacts with you *heavy side eye*) By the way did you know Jezebel writer that beauty standards are heavily connected to race?
What this writer says is by no means revolutionary, a million POC and mixed race POC have said it before. Heck, I’ve said it before, the other mods have said it before, most of the people who read this blog have probably said it before.
I love having representation but representation does not mean that we’ve won, seeing people who look like me or families who look like mine does not mean racism is over and I wish more shitty moderate liberals and neo-liberals would recognize this. The reaction to the Cheerios commercial should be evidence enough that America is not post-racial.
West’s proposal for “extreme overexposure to “nontraditional” families” as the solution to the hegemony of the white hetero nuclear family is so wrong I can’t even handle it. First of all i don’t think there can really be any “overexposure” of “nontradtional” families. You know what gets overexposed? White heteronormative nuclear families. If every single family on TV was “nontradtional” (in West’s words) it still wouldn’t be overexposure, it would be perfect, it would be a totally accurate representation of families (it would be the greatest and I would start watching TV again). What West proposes still treats those of us with families who are not white hetereonormative and nuclear as marginal, the idea that “overexposure” to “different” families will make people accept that there can be all kinds of families is false. Portraying us in this way actually just makes it easier for the normative to be visible. We, as the “marginal”, create the frame through which the normative can be easily identified. The “overexposure” that West proposes is not going to correct systematic imbalances as she claims. We need to correct the entire structure of the system to fix these imbalances, this is not something representation alone is going to fix. If it was, we all wouldn’t be working so hard against inequality. If all that was required to get people to acknowledge diversity, stop being racist bigots and for the system to stop being inherently racist was to show people and policy makers thousands of pictures of POC existing, then the posters about diversity with one POC and a bunch of white kids that were posted in my elementary school hallway would have done the job. So West, if you want to help our cause I’m going to need you to: 1. stop pretending that race has nothing to do with your interracial relationship and 2. stop treating your mixed POC boyfriend as an accessory and a buy into the conversation about interracial relationships, families and representation and 3. stop pretending that that representation alone will somehow stop people from being racist.
Jfc I hate Jezebel. They are the pinnacle of commericialized white feminism. I am not surprised by this article in the least. —Veronica