Lemon Water


Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Social Commentary category.

Re: AtLA’s Friky Diky Cast

To the guy who commented as “Michael” in my last post

Your attack on me is laughable. First of all, you assumed that I hate white people, and partly because I am not white; I am white. I am so white that when I wear skirts my friends comment on my whiteness. My family is white, a great number of my friends and my social circle is white, and I do not hate them or myself for being white. I do not need to not be white to see racism, nor to fight it. Besides, the colour of one’s skin should not matter or affect the logic of their argument: I simply am more privileged and so less likely to see racism in my everyday life, because I benefit from it and am not affected by it. (You might want to study the dynamics of privilege, since you seem to be soaking in it). Second of all, attacking me instead of the issues and the logic I raise is a logical fallacy known as ad hominem.

(Additionally, I was only using Harry Potter as an example of possible ways of choosing a cast based on talent, in a BIG movie. It really has little relevance compared to the whole weight of the post, but that this is the only thing that sticks in your mind shows how little you understood what I wrote).

Third, yes, I am critiquing a movie and their choice for a cast, because it shows racist undertones and considerations. I have not seen the movie, or most of the actors. Please note that I specifically mentioned that I would refrain from commenting on the acting ability of those cast for Katara and Aang (and even for Sokka) because I don’t know enough from them, apart from their ethnicity (and not even that for Aang).

When you say I am “completely in the dark”, that I “don’t know what the movie is about, have no idea about the storylines, or scripts, or what has been added or subtracted”, I want to laugh. I have seen all the Avatar episodes, do know the storyline, and so have a pretty damn reasonable idea of what the movie will contain (finding Aang, freeing him, Zuko finds him, the chases, Aang has to master waterbending, the comet!!!, are the basic elements), and I am not in the dark. True, I don’t know what specific changes have been made to the script, but I do know the casting, and it is the casting I am critiquing – not the script.

And here I would argue that I do have a reason to hate the cast. And it is here when you completely miss the point of the post. Let me quote rawles, as s(he) probably phrases this better:


“Taking a show where the cultures and the world that the characters all hail from are clear, blatant, confirmed analogues and amalgams of a diverse variety of various Asian cultures, where the characters have Asian names, where their magical martial arts styles that are the expressions of their very souls are Asian martial arts, where every single written word is actually IN CHINESE and then casting white people to play the main characters is offensive.”

Let me point the clueless to this wonderful post by vagabond_sal, because again s(he) says the same thing, and a bit more, better than I can.

I have the right to express my disappointment and provide constructive critique in the hopes of making Paramount Pictures and Avatar the live action movie a more inclusive movie that doesn’t discriminate against race – because racism is wrong, and should be stopped in all of its forms – but rather, welcomes diversity and makes positive of it. I have the right to expect that people of colour are fairly represented in the media, although it is currently not. And since it isn’t, I sure as hell am going to demand for it.

BTW: Batman and Heath Ledger is not an appropriate comparison, because it was a white character being played by a white actor. Please, avoid false comparisons – another logical fallacy. Instead of actually analyzing the logic and the arguments, you are trolling my blog and my person. Who was it that was talking about invulnerable internet tower and hurling insults?

“In the end, one loses an open mind, when they open their mouth.”

PS: Why did people get upset over Heath Ledger as the Joker again? I don’t remember that angst. And please, let it somebody other than Michael that informs me about this.

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This Matters: Avatar the Last Airbender’s Friky Diky Cast (Link Roundup Constantly Being Updated)

You might be aware, if you follow this blog, that I am an EPIC fan of the Nickelodeon Show Avatar the Last Airbender.

So you might understand why I feel rabid at the cast choice for the live action movie.


Two Decades And We’re In The Same Place

I was asking my mother for some feedback on my Internal Assessment, one of the Written Tasks for my Spanish class. I’m writing an article about how advertising in Peru is sexist by using the male gaze and depicting women as sexual objects to get their products bought, and how this just reinforces stereotypes and the negative traditional views of women.

Turns out my mom had written nearly exactly the same article, about 20 years ago.

On the one hand, since after I read and compared both and found they are pretty damn similar (except that my mom writes much better in Spanish than I do), it’s probably going to be easier to get a good grade on my paper.

On the other, it just depresses me that we still have the SAME issue, 20 years later, affecting women in the same magnitude. That it is an issue that has passed down to the next generation, my generation, and that I am picking up exactly where my mom left off, since she told me that she is “tired” of the same thing over and over again, of reading the same thing.

20 years, and we are still slogging through these infuriating and stupid, commonly toted, repeated, rephrased, remade, recycled, harmful views of women? You’d think that this would be a thing of the past now.

Gods, the way feminism or womanism is needed is so obvious for me, it is hard to stay quiet when people dismiss the movements as unnecessary. Or when a friend tells me we already have the rights, so we are just being bitchy*.

(Note: Bitch in and of itself is pretty mysoginistic language. You might want to check on that)


Let’s Talk About Racism and Classism – Peru’s Middle And High Class View of “Disposable Human Beings”

Before I start, I’d like to add that generally, I really like living in Peru.

But this is one of the reasons I would really really like to move out. Peru can be a very oppressive, mean place at times, especially in comparison to a lot of places I have been in. There is a reason why I agree with the saying “Perro de Hortelana” with a lot of Limean psychology, which basically says that “neither will eat or let others eat”. The mind drive is very much “free for all”, “every one for his or herself”, and selfish, selfish, selfish. In general.

Before I turn this into a complaint of Limean society, which is not my purpose, because I have found great people here, both Internationals and Peruvians, and I don’t want to insult my Peruvian friends (but… you’re blind to this because it is what you have lived with all your lives…), I’ll give a bit of the general Latin American history of colonialism and oppression, racism, and the formation of the oligarchies.

As you all know, in the wonderfully gory history of colonialism, Spanish colonialists came down to Latin America began conquering both the advanced and not advanced people here. Yes, there were advanced people in Latin America, please don’t fall to the myth of “primitive savages”, and keep in mind that there has been in fact new discoveries that actually point out that the Americas had the most advanced civilizations, thanks to a few biological factors due to population density, which I will not explain. Before you argue that they can’t have been advanced, since they lost and were destroyed, let me say three magical words:

Guns, Germs, and Steel. Read that book and it will basically fully explain it to you.

Basically, about 90% of the indigenous population was wiped out due to the germs that were imported by the colonists. Part of the reason why they had never developed as much variety in strains of resistance to diseases like the Europeans, is due to the lack of domestic animals. By being closer quarters with domestic animals, Europeans were more exposed to disease, and only those who grew resistant survived. Since this did not happen in Latin America, resistance was not developed.

So basically, 90% of the people died due to disease.

Guns and steel are easy to see – for reasons I will not go through, because already I am going slightly off topic, the Europeans developed the technology and better weapons that overwhelmed the weakened indigenous Latin Americans.

So colonialism occured.

With it, grew the power base of powerful white families, that kept to maintaining their blood “pure” by marrying only white people. As the manner of power changed with governments in time, so did the manner the white descendent’s maintained power, later forming the rich oligarchies whose descendants can be seen in the white children of these families, to which I belong. These families kept the same racist and classist views and old prejudices, working only for their benefit and power. Whenever mestizos (mixing of the race) occurred, which is a lot, as you can see by the features of the people all around, the whiter ones where typically favored. This is a pretty standard pattern around Latin America, and is still in force.

You now have the historic background. Let me tell you the modern situation.

While rich people here still maintain the general power, I am happy to report that more social inclusion is occurring… kind of. There is a strange double standard in place. White people can be prestigious based on actual wealth and status, or previous familial prestige or wealth. Basically, you kind of have a decadent charm to you if you are not rich, but rather middle class, but your family was one of the Big Families. They keep the status and respect, are part still, of the social group. However, I have heard a saying that “cholo para siempre”, basically, “one always stays cholo”. (Cholo is often used as a derogatory term for mestizos or those of darker skin. Some people deny this, and say it really only means to a people of a specific area, but whether that is the actual dictionary definition, the social and popularly used term, which is what I am talking about society, is definitely a derogatory term, racist laden and prejudice driven and – whoops, long sentence.) Basically, the dark skinned, no matter how much wealth they gain, will always be excluded, based on the racial and class based prejudice that there is against them.

But the really bad point that brought me to write this first, to talk about disposable human beings, which is not something that exist, but that some people (or maybe many, I’m not going to pretend to know) here believe. I’m going to talk about an anecdote.

Now, my mother has a childhood friend that lived here until last year. She lived in an apartment complex, middle class, that was right on Javier Prado, a very very busy avenue. Across the street and up two blocks, lies a Wong, which is basically the biggest supermarket chain in Peru. Now, there isn’t a bypass on this avenue, or at least, at all nearby. And crossing the avenue is pretty damn risky and scary- I know because when I first started going to my school, we were staying at this friend’s house, and I’d walk to my school.

That avenue is friggin deadly.

Now, a lot of the middle class people have maids. Middle class families are also usually and in their great majority, Caucasian. Maids are in the great majority (Actually, I would be surprised to find a single white maid, though it is statistically necessary) darker skinned, mestizas. Maids are easy to come by, and pretty cheap – there are many women desperate for jobs, flocking this city, which is huge, and probably accounts for over half the population of the country – and basically every middle class family has one. Now, these maids often have to go shopping for the family they work for, crossing the deadly avenue back and forth.

So, my mom’s friend thinks about this, and decides she ought to appeal to get a bypass built. She does some research, learns she needs to get some signatures or a petition signed by other people who think this is a good idea, and puts up the paper in the notice area of the building complex/building condominium/call it what you will. She keeps this up for about a month, and I think she barely got two signatures in total. Finally, she got very politely told by the gate keeper (also a mestizo) to please take it down. The friend expressed confusion at the few signatures, when a neighboring lady passing by said “But it’s no problem, we can drive across to buy anything we want!”. The friend explained that it was mostly for the maids that she was worrying about. “Oh, don’t worry, one dies, and a million come in her place.”

This was one of the most chilling anecdotes I’ve heard, and one of the first I heard when arriving to Peru.

This lady considers these maids as disposable human beings for her convenience. Why should she bother to protect their life and interests? To her, I must assume, they are less then human. And it is based on this historical prejudice and context of racism and classism, (both are related since the darker skinned races are of the lower and poorer classes, and suffer both), that they are viewed as inhuman, as commodities.

No human is disposable. No human is a commodity. Not for convenience.

That such a mindset, subconscious or conscious, is even possible today, disgusts me.

But hey, I’m just that naive globe trotter. This is condoned here, what can we change? This society accepts it, I mean, why bust your ass or conscience over something you are not guilty of?*

That still does not mean that it isn’t wrong. And because it is unethically wrong, it has to change.

If anybody wants to discuss why the mindset they have is justified, I hope you like teeth.

*Actually, I have a guilty feeling due to heritage. I am a white descendant of the oligarchy. My father’s paternal family owned mines. My father’s maternal family is from Belgium. My mother’s family on both sides, is definitely part of the old families of white supremacy that existed here (NOT going into details). I am one of the highly privileged people in Latin America: I was born into a family that had far better opportunities, gave me these opportunities, a safe life, free of most prejudice, especially that of racism and classism. Because my father’s job made me see the problems, people go through, I felt obliged to help other people – because this isn’t fair. It isn’t my fault, but I also have a privilige that is constantly undermining these people. I don’t want to be part of the problem. I want to be part of the solution.


I Want To Be Able To Speak Out Like That

The Wonderful Kali brings to light (or at least to my sight) two of the fucking most incredible pieces of oral text I have heard that is modern, applies, and that makes we want to go out and make a fucking difference.

Go listen to them. I know I’m in a high from listening to those two videos. I thought my highs only came from awesome music. I just discovered something else that makes my nerves tingle and make me smile inanely.

If I get a chance to make a speech again in English class, I want to see if I can imbue half the passion that these put in it. To hell with peer pressure to not stand out in class- I’ve been fighting it a very long time. This is amazing.

Go watch.


Let’s Talk About Music

Today, I will explain a bit of my personal tastes about music, and about what I don’t like in msuic, both in the style, the subject and content, and the stereotype. And I’ll develop a series of posts later going more indepth about this in individual songs, artists, or even a genre. And I will try to stay open minded, but I will also tell you, straight up, what I dislike. Or maybe, hate.

I love music. I can’t live without music. I have a 4 GB ipod thats a bit broken and scuffed, taht I tak everyday to school despite the fact that my dad told me I was not to, I listen to it when I can, I hum randomly, get songs stuck in my head, you know the usual.

I mostly listen to Rock, Emo, Alternative. That side of the spectrum. Don’t ask me to differentiate very well in that side, because I honestly don’t care, I just usually say Rock. I love it. I tend to only listen to the well known bands because, well, I don’t know other bands, or how to search them. Sometimes, last fm gives me some good bands that I still don’t buy to support because I have $10 in itunes a month, and I tend to use it for one $9.99 album. And I, sadly, don’t write the band’s name down, and it is lost to me… forever and for some time. That is why a few days I gave up and started using limewire.

The genres I “hate” are hip hop, rap, and reggaeton. I say hate with quotation marks, not because I really hate them, but because I hate many aspects that seem to reappear in the music genre, and to me, end up personifying it. If I don’t like it stylishly, I won’t give it much crap- its my opinion, but that style is not necessarily wrong. I respect that other people like the music style. I might disagree, but I won’t bother you about it, unless its teasing.

Unless that music genre that goes with that style has things I find unacceptable.

The most obvious, and really, repetitive, problem I have with these genres, is Sexism. Sexism with a captial S. Sexism in the discrimination against women, of opression.

Because I believe that this music is opressing women and girls, who consciously and subconsciously get these messages, and if young and impressible, will end up believing that the best thing she lives for is to wear skimpy bikinis and dance titillingly for men. Or, like me, who have already formed an opinion about sexism, about women and girl’s place in society and about the opression we go through, howl in our minds that the obscene lyrics and videos are widely accepted.

So. Rap, Hip Hop, and Reggaeton.

I know that not all the songs in these genres are hollow, sexist, demeaning, etc, in these genres. But the great majority are, and by association, I tend to step away from any song from that genre. The possibility that I will hear a guy singing rawdily that he “wants to dance closely and then make love” is much too big that I will risk it for an okay song, even a great song. Stylistically, I also dislike these genres- the beats are the same in Reggaeton and rap, the range of subjects the same, the music too similar.  Actually, maybe I should be a bit more specific with each genre.

Hip Hop

I always think of rap and hip hop as related, no matter what. I tend to like hop hop a lot more stylistically- I have heard some pretty nice ones that I still won’t touch because of the subject- so that in that sense, I wouldn’t bother you. The dancing is fun- at least, the guy’s is. The girls… oh dear. You know what I see in hip hop videos? Men who are so obsessed with sexy women it’s like they are horny teenagers. And I see the women they are obsessed over, and what they want them to do. All I can see in the videos is “SEXUAL OBJECTIFICATION SEXUAL OBJECTIFICATION SEXUAL OBJECTIFICATION”  repeatedly. If you can’t see what is wrong about that, go away. No, seriously, go away. If you think women are meant to be sexual objects, or service objects, you don’t deserve any attention, you aren’t worth my time, or that of any self-respecting person.

Hip hop has sprouted a big following Up North, but I would hate to meet it. It would seem this following goes in gangs, wears the same style of clothes, and is generally black. I don’t believe that black people generally are violent, sex obsessed idiots. I think that maybe there are too many like that because of culture, and that black people are getting bad aspersions on this basis. I do know I would be wary of somebody of a black person wearing hip hop clothing- in a way I would not be of a black person wearing any other type of clothing (Unless you would put something like bondage or normal clothes spattered with clothes, but you get the ideas.) The Black Eyed Peas’ “Where is the love?” is one of the few hip hop songs I listen to. The others are in German thanks to Blacklime, and sound pretty cool in my opinion, and since I have no idea what they are saying, I’m generally happy all around.

Rap

Rap is… to me it is boring. As far as I understand,  rap is spoken in time to the beat of backgrounds music. I do know that there is more to it then this, but my experience with it makes me push it far far away. If you want to know my impression of rap, it is pretty much the same as that of hip hop, only that stylistically I don’t like it. Most of the time.  But a song or two that I have enjoyed, by Eminem- whom I incidentally generally hate, but damn, these songs touched me- are Stan, Toy Soldiers, and Mockingbird. This shows me a side I can respect- not the same side as the one of “I’m gonna fa****ng cum” or whatever it’s name is. (Incidentally, if you ever want me to hit you, just sing that. I WILL hit you, unless you are BlackLime or my brother.) But the other songs- if you want something that touches you so much it’s almost like you have been hit, that’s it.

Reggaeton

I am getting slightly tired, so I’ll try to make this quick. Basically, I only like reggaeton when I dance. So far, to me, it is only good for that. I hate the music stylistically, it always has the same beat, very similar music, same. Fucking. Content. All they talk about is getting laid, sexy women, money, violence, anger, sexy women, drugs, sexy women, money, dancing with sexy women, getting laid. Did I mention how much sexual objectification there is? Go watch a video. I have pretty much the same problems as with all the above, but reggaeton hits closer because I live in Latin America.

I dance to reggaeton when I go out with my friends, and then it is even fun to shout the horrible lyrics. I usually dislike dancing so closely and… suggestively (Suggestively?  I don’t think the word understatement even covers this) to guys I generally don’t know, and even to those I know. But it can be fun, if you do so a bit farther away, or dancing without close contact in a group of girls. No, wait, it rocks. I love those nights.

But I hate the fucking music. Hatehatehatehatehate. Ye Gods, and here I hold my head and moan, why, oh why God, did you give us three versions of the same hateful thing?

Then I remember it was humans who gave it to us, and it makes sense.