Thursday, September 29, 2016

It's Not Achmed

No, he doesn't actually look like me... 
except for the chromosomes... 
and the pigmentation... 

The Issue At Hand

Again. It's not Achmed I worry about.

And, for the first time, I feel I need to add I'm not worried about Jamaal - I only use that name as it is likely Black/Urban/African-American enough that "not-racist" racists will get the point.

I am worried about the pissed-off white guy who looks like me. The guy who doesn't like the direction the country is headed and worries about "what it's going to be like in 18 years". The mechanic who plans to join a militia and states, in no uncertain terms, there will be a revolution to take the country back when "your patriots overthrow the government" after HRC is elected.

A Faulty Premise

OK, First: Take it from what? Or from whom? No one took anything from you.

You handed it over in a gift-wrapped package when you decided the you wanted to be afraid of a world that didn't look like the one portrayed on Leave It To Beaver, The Andy Griffith Show, Gilligan's Island, or The Brady Bunch.

You tied the bow as soon as you didn't want to acknowledge there was change occurring around you.

The problem with the worlds created for these shows is that they are one-dimensional. I'm not talking about the empty building fronts and thin plots. I am talking about the lack of interaction between people of color and the main characters. Each of these shows creates a false universe from the viewer's perspective. The main characters are all white, straight, and unoffensive.

Few characters smoke or drink and no one has bodily functions beyond eating. Sex is right out. Sexy can be OK, though, but not too much (just ask Ginger). Even those with problematic traits (Otis on Andy Griffith, for example) are seen as lovable comic relief figures and are treated with patience by all.

The Brady Bunch's Peter meets sportsball star Deacon Jones. 
Peter is not frightened because Fox News hasn't begun broadcasting. 
(That and Deacon Jones was forced to wear a cardigan sweater)
 

This artificial world has the camera looking at a specific view - and it is not the view from the other side of the tracks. You know, the side of the tracks where 'they' know 'they' need to stay - because that is where 'their' churches, schools, stores, restaurants, bars, and homes are located. And that world doesn't leave much room for non-white role models. Well, there are the Harlem Globetrotters... but they fall outside of this made-up world. They are part of the real world. The public world.


So, in this artificially produced world, there are a few speaking roles for people who aren't white. There is one in Leave It To Beaver (a maid), one on The Andy Griffith Show (a football coach), three on Gilligan's Island (a Hawaiian cast as a Pacific Islander, an American Indian cast as a Pacific Islander, and a Japanese/Hawaiian cast as an Asian Indian - not counting any of the later one-offs), and three on The Brady Bunch (sportsball star Deacon Jones and two children - Asian- and African-American adoptees). Even I Dream of Jeannie cast a Burmese actor as an Arab. (if I missed any - please let me know!)
Not the minority you were looking for... 
Italian-American Vito Scotti playing a Japanese Sailor on Gilligan

There are minorities if you look hard enough, but they are cast as set dressing with only a handful of speaking parts. There are no interactions outside of crowd scenes (so long as they stay to the back) and occasional nods of recognition. There are no issues with someone trying to drink from the wrong fountain, go to the wrong movie theater, try to get your hair cut at Floyd's, or sit in at the Five and Dime. There is no friction, no protest, no MLK, much less BLM.

At least those hippies on Scooby Doo and The Partridge Family came into contact with minorities... Scooby and the gang encountered minorities as both good guys and bad guys - and as white guys in costumes. The Partridges were really inclusive. They had people of color AND non-Christians... They even showed up in Detroit to help out Lou Gossett and Richard Pryor (with the help of the Black Panthers).

The Times, They Are a'Changing (Maybe)

There are still issues with how television hasn't changed much. For a long time, the minority roles were often the main family portrayed as "all-Americans" - The Cosby Show, The Jeffersons, etc. Not much room for a modern day Chico and the Man or Sanford and Son. There are some outliers with Modern Family, Glee, and others. Surprisingly (or not), the Disney Channel may be one of the best in this area as they recognize the marketing need to be more inclusive. I won't even touch blackface/whitewashing here as others have covered that far better than I could.
Wizened Elder AND Environmental Activist 

Either way, I can't help but think that this mental creation of a pre-racial America can only come from the segregated world of popular TV. In other words, a world in which minorities are seen and not heard. It was a world with no BLM. A world in which American Indians were seen as a lost people, at worst, or wizened elders and environmental activists, at best. A world in which everyone went to the same church.


We all were good citizens. Authority had a purpose. Order was there for a reason. Alphas were better than Betas. In many ways (and as a parent), I see parallels to the Isle of Sodor, a place where anything other than solid, serious, diligent work and putting order first results in "Chaos and Delay."
And how would Sir like his Topham Hatt? 
This is a world in which everyone could be happy and have little in the way of strife and disagreement. A world in which we didn't have to ask, "Can't we all just get along?" Because we were already getting along.

The Reasoned Response... no, wait... the Opposite of That

But just in case we aren't getting along and it appears that someone is trying to change the camera placement, I can think of no better way to fix it..., er, defend the Constitution... than to have an armed insurrection. It's not like there is a mechanism to modify/throw out the Constitution... Oh, wait... that would be Article V...
And maybe that is the thing. By the clarity of the complaints about how "They" are supposedly destroying the Constitution (in ways that the usual suspects can't actually do things), I can only assume that the militia member, the white supremacist, and the sovereign citizen don't recognize that in order to change things, they have to have a SOLID majority. Nationally. Of course, many sovereign citizens don't believe the current form of government is legitimate.
Either way, maybe this is part of why the Bundy Family, the 3%ers, the Oathkeepers, and others feel the only way to affect change is to haul out their AR and act offended. They act offended because they do not understand the US Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and History. They act offended because their view of the world is incorrect, based on a one-dimensional view.

The Future of the Country

As for where the country will be in 18 years, I expect a white guy will be back in the White House. I expect that the Black Lives Matter movement will no longer be active. I expect that activism, in general, will have moved along. Animal rights, nuclear energy, guns, save the [insert animal here], global warming, any variety of human rights issue. I expect that there won't be much protest. It should be nice and quiet. 
(At this point, our mechanic friend in Georgia should stop reading) 
I expect that these protests won't be as active because the problems they are protesting will have greatly gone away as we have progressed as a society. Racial/gender equality is much less of an issue because we are People. Our power is greatly renewable. Guns - while not outlawed - are fewer in number and no longer constitutionally protected. It won't be the world of Demolition Man, but that's a good thing, that is unless you like the idea of Denis Leary running through the streets naked with green Jell-O all over his body reading Playboy magazine...
Denis Leary Ranting because Reasons
The last dregs of the Baby Boomers will be dropping out of power positions.
The Gen Xers in Congress will be the old guard, attempting to work fixes until Gen Y gets in to place.
And Gen Z will be bitching about whatever 20- and 30-somethings will be bitching about in two decades. 
And, of course, I expect the White guy in the White House will be gay. And no one will give a rat's ass. I also expect he will be married to an immigrant from Columbia (or Mexico, or Korea, or maybe even Croatia). 
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