Sunday, February 28, 2010

Spock is the new black, and other observations

Sometimes, when I stand in a room of white men, I feel unfeminine and unsexual, no matter the strappy heels, the makeup, the dress. I know there are white men out there who find black women attractive, but you, John Mayer -- the guy down enough to be on"Chappelle's Show," the guy so sensitive he writes love songs -- now represent the ones who don't. Maybe you should think a little bit about that.

I doubt you have any idea what it feels like to be invisible, to come to a party looking for a little sexual validation and have white men look through you like you're wearing sweats. I doubt you know what it's like to feel the weight of cultural expectations every time you stand on a dance floor, knowing that your dance card will be empty since you won't play the freak. I doubt you know what it's like to question everything about yourself -- how you stood, how you dressed, how you smiled, trying to figure out what you did so wrong that men simply stayed away? I'm not ignorant enough to think my color is the only reason men would dismiss me, but when that happens enough times, it's hard to ignore the common factor. Do you know what it's like to be ignored in a roomful of romantic partners your age? Well, multiply that by 300 years of servitude. (La Toya Tooles, “John Mayer: A black woman responds,” Salon, 11 Feb. 2010)

the new crowd

It would take a lot to be convinced that skin color could matter to me. But if I couldn't quite shake that any particular black-skinned woman was inevitably connected to some ginormous cohort of endless suffering, I might step away too. My family is very nuclear -- I've only just recently met an aunt --and you're helping set up being black-skinned as not so much "with me you get my family" but "with me you get my race -- and every passed on ounce of suffering inflicted by people colored just like you."

If it isn't you, and it really is some weird aversion on others' behalf, you've got to be able to find a different crowd. The new Star Trek had Spock and Uhura pair up: AND it was about the two TRULY most sexy pairing up, not the black chick and the whitey -- a step way beyond (and more evolved) than "look who's coming to dinner." That's where most (especially younger) liberals are at, me thinks.

Uhuru was sex

But Patrick--Vulcans? Ewwww. (Jack Sparx, response to post, “John Mayer”)


Nice one, Jack : )

Vulcan is kinda the new black. Uhura is just one of Starfleet -- what distinguishes her is not her color but her strident smartness and sexiness. Kirk wasn't her man, 'cause he is just too pliable, to ultimately step-onable, to be taken seriously. But they do kinda make Spock now a last representative of a blasted Vulcan-kind, and not just the mostly singularly distinguished member of the crew. I'm not suggesting that Uhura's love for him is a sign of liberal guilt -- an "I'm in touch with those who've suffered most." It's not that, but it's a fun enough suggestion for me to have played it out a bit in my mind.

Wait, Spock was half-human half-Vulcan, right?

Half WHITE human?

Wasn't Jane Wyatt (original) Spock's Mom?

So, she was two-timing with Robert Young and a Vulcan?

So, there is a "one-drop" rule for whites too? If they mate with space aliens, we consider their offspring "white"?

It gets so complicated in outer space.

Interracial dating on earth is so much simpler than interspecies dating. We should all just mind meld together and get along. (Jack Sparx, response to post)

Thanks for clarifying Patrick

Before I even asked the question.

We apparently are mind melding.

I thought avatar blue was the new black, but I guess its vulcan. (Jack Sparx)

What reach, Avatar?

Star Trek (Uhura) black is the new white (singular, conquistorial, Kirk-like taste for "aliens"); Avatar blue is the new red-yellow (obvious); Vulcan green is the new black (carries the weight of his heritage within him [Spock]; struggle between duty-to-kind and duty-to-self).

It is getting complicated. No wonder we've moved on from elves and orcses.

I see you, Patrick

I was thinking about what Avatar Blue "represents" while reading the Charlie Chan thread, and I agree that it seems to be yellow/red. BUT, I note that the actors playing the blue are black.

It's interesting, though, in movie biz terms, that we never see the black blue actors as black on screen, but we do see the white blue (avatar) actors as both white and blue.

I guess it's like they say: once you go blue, you never go black. (Jack Sparx, response to post)

Such odd comments

I'm enough of a denizen of the internet to know that it's a place where people often feel comfortable, and even compelled, to give voice to their most negative and vitriolic kneejerk responses to what they read. So I'm not shocked to see the number of people glibly chiming in with assertions/implications that Ms.Tooles is narcissistic and/or has low self-esteem and/or is whining and self-involved and/or is silly for caring about what men might think of her and/or is silly for being affected by the words of a rattle-brained guitar-playing goofball. [. . .]

It also seems that critical reading has also begun to vanish. [. . .] And I'm sorry, but to those who toss off facile boilerplate pseduo-therapeutic comments about how she shouldn't define herself by how men see her or that you yourself are so mature and self-actualized that you find it hard to imagine how comments like this could be hurtful, I can only say this: bullsh*t. (treming930, response to post, “John Mayer”)


Re: “The fact remains that beauty is a cultural construct, and that in our society, the epitome of beauty is defined as young, white, female, thin, etc., etc. etc.”

At least with the color bit, this is naive estimation of what our current over-all cultural construct of beautiful is. Here for the olympics in Vancouver, and noting that Coca-Cola has ads all over the place showing the beautiful exclaiming Olympics 2010 and Coke, with but one white person in the five or six bunch -- the least convincingly enthused (potent), and therefore, perhaps, most replaceable of the lot, one notes as well.

Re: “She's not talking about defining oneself by what the other (or same) sex thinks of you. She's pointing out the obvious: part of being human is to enjoy connecting one another, to enjoy being drawn to others. One way that manifests itself is through sexuality. Married or single, black or white, female or male, young or old . . . all of us like to feel affirmed that we are desirable on some level. That applies to all of us, including every last author of a letter on this thread. Anyone who says they don't feel validated by knowing they are considered attractive or who says they are immune to criticism or insults to their desirability is simply not being honest. Would you necessarily dwell on these feelings long enough or deeply enough to reflect on why you had them and then feel compelled to share them with others? Perhaps not, but that might simply be because you lack the courage to do so.”

Part of being human is connecting with one another -- okay. But so too, amongst many, as you well evidence, is the need to feel self-righteous and the desire to distance yourself (with you, your larger awareness and more considered empathy) from a much-worse-than lot. What not being properly validated offers, is righteous alarm, flight from self-conscious inquiry, and loyalty to -- connection with -- one's "heritage." None of this may be in play here. It may just be a whole lot of white men who find black women physically repellant. If that's the all of it, that would just be awful to experience, and she's just got to find herself amongst a more sane lot. But if you're most interested in our being honest with ourselves, keep the search for what is honest seeming an open, unpredictable, inquiry. You seem yourself so ready to buy in to the most convenient (for you) possibility.

Link: John Mayer: A black woman responds (Salon)

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