November 8, 2013

Theoretical

9:25 am in Uncategorized Ulises Farinas

People ask me why i’m so mad, people have told me i come off as an asshole when i talk about racism, people have said to my face, “No one’s gonna think you’re not white and not hire you” Every single time i talk about racism, it’s guaranteed that the number 1 argument i face isn’t HOW racist shit is, but how it’s not that much of a problem. Then you got every kid on the internet, boycotting this and signal boosting that, and what the hell does that get done? And you got your questions about why are all the avengers white? And you got your discussions, debates and analysis. You got your commentators and bloggers saying things are getting better, and asking “What can we change?” We got dudes tweeting about why aren’t there any females heading their own books, all white dudes writing an all black avengers book, dudes writing all of the comics journal, and asking questions about comics criticism and listing a bunch of other dudes. All of this theory, none of this shit is put into practice.

Then you got your own life, when academic questions mean shit next to paying the bills, and you see this:
http://imgur.com/VlmA8ig , and you know that the reality is, that none of these questions make any difference. I saw that today, and my stomach sank. Because it’s easy enough to hear racist shit from assholes you don’t know, its easy enough to hear about questionable politics in someone else’s company, but you don’t think that the dude who’s work is all over your work, is a guy who thinks half your blood is savage blood. And my friend, she said maybe i should speak to him, tell him to keep his politics to himself. But i ain’t about to tell a person to keep their politics to themselves, when i won’t either.

But this is what people don’t get, when they think i’m so mad about something they consider pointless. “It’s just comics” i hear. Another way to tell me its not a problem. But it’s not like this shit is created in a vacuum. I know, because i’m the one MAKING these comics. I say all the time, that if you live in a racist system, to succeed you have to work within those racist constraints, and so i’m stuck with the impossible position of promoting a book, with covers done by a dude who’s first reaction to a women being killed is to be like ‘BUT BLACKS KILL MORE WHITES DONTCHAKNOW!?” You know what the first reaction was to that, “I do love his work, but I don’t want to give money to an ignorant ass. Fuck it, boycott.” And i gotta tell them “No, because i work on that book and thats my livelihood.”

I don’t believe in boycotts, 1. cause i separate the author from his work, 2. because them motherfuckers already done got paid. Its like trying to be Rosa Parks after the dude done pushed you off the seat already. Too late. And so the whole fucking boycott is a nice little slacktivist protest, do nothing and pretend you’re doing nothing. Don’t read a comic thats purely optional to begin with, and pretend that it can change something. I live and work in an industry, where at the end of the day, i gotta shake hands, smile and make nice with everyone, because if truth be told, if skills sold, i’d probably be, lyrically, talib kweli. What makes this shit feel the worst, is i’d love to take a stand, and be that dude who stands by his ethics and demands a boycott too. I’d love to be like “Fuck that comic! Fuck that artist!” But when you’re dealing with dog-whistle politics, and you’re the dog, if you bark too much, no one is gonna throw you a bone.

I see dudes at every con, that i once heard say “My best friend is black” and “It’s really more of a class issue”, and you wonder why cyborg is the only brown dude in the justice league. When i’m not brown enough for people, so i gotta always explain my mixed background as an introduction.  Shit, ain’t nobody telling Cyborg, “But you’re not really black, you’re half robot.” And i tell them that they don’t get it, that they won’t get it, that it’s all just a debate to them, that they can have at their convenience, and i just wish, someone would have a conversation about it and be more worried about how this shit keeps on happening, but instead all i keep hearing is dudes acting like,”NOT ME THOUGH”

Its all theoretical to them, and they care for as long as they can keep doing nothing, and keep drawing and writing the same stories. The same white faces, white places, on white paper, and its the industry thats racist, but none of us. That its institutional and not personal, that its politics not personal, that everything that you are feeling as a person, is not personal. You know why i ‘pass’ for white, because unless you put some ethnic marker before it, Capital-A American is the only real american. I tell a person i’m Cuban-American, nah, doesn’t count. African American, Arab American, Native American, nah, doesn’t count. I can’t just say “I’m American” and not have that mean “I’m White”. Do you know how much it sucks to always have to qualify what type of american you are? And its a funny joke sometimes, but they can’t ever imagine what my experience was, and i guess i can’t ever imagine what it’s like to be a white guy on the internet, who hasn’t found it necessary to update their way of thinking for the last couple hundred years.

Because it’ll never cost them a moment’s discomfort for them to shake my hand, it’ll never cost them a paycheck, it’ll never cost them a professional relationship – cause my angry opinion can never change their mind. Because it’s all theoretical to them.


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