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Popular culture is one of the primary means through which people are socialized into the political and social values of their society. The realm of "the cultural" is so powerful because it is (on the surface) so very innocent and benign. We internalize these values without thinking about them. This is the very definition of culture: a set of beliefs and norms that are not interrogated, reflected upon, or challenged--they simply are the "truth" and are understood to be "normal."

I thoroughly enjoy writing about popular culture and thinking through its relationship to questions of race and representation because the interaction between those concepts is a crucible for the truth.

My recent posts on the TV series The Walking Dead are a reminder of how different members of the public are invested in popular culture, and the various ways that a seemingly benign and "just fun" horror TV show is a mirror for broader attitudes about race and gender. As someone who writes about race and popular culture both for fun and professionally, the intense and spirited reactions I received here at the Daily Kos (more than 300 comments so far) to my two essays on race, gender, and the Walking Dead TV series only served to reinforce a standing premise: popular culture "matters."

Nevertheless, I remain surprised and fascinated by how people invest themselves in popular culture. Some folks dress up and go to conventions. Others, craft a religion around a movie. In the case of The Walking Dead TV series, a great many people have invested themselves in the dystopian playground of a world where the dead eat and kill the living.

Simultaneously, many of these same fans and viewers are unwilling (or unable) to understand how popular culture is actually a representation of the struggles, anxieties, and fears of the present--what is the real world--as opposed to a fictional one on a TV network.

Because people live through popular culture, the latter becomes a site on which they see themselves, and where their own values are projected. The claim that a given TV series (or film) can be racist, racially regressive and conservative, or embody white supremacist norms and values, becomes not a claim about a given show or movie. Rather, such observations become moral statements about the existence of racism (or other types of social inequities).

If said person concedes that racism or sexism exists in popular culture, it may in turn exist in society. From this conclusion, they may then have to ask themselves about their own relationship to bigotry and prejudice. Few folks are willing to take on that difficult task. Denial becomes an easier and more appealing route.

I understand this dynamic on an intellectual level; I am still surprised when I see said processes play out before my eyes.

Racism over-determines life outcomes. This is one of the most well founded and repeated findings in all of the social sciences. Consequently, it would seem clear and logical that if a society is steeped in various types of inequalities of Power--racial, gender, class, sexuality, ability status, etc.--that said dynamics would impact its popular culture. When discussing The Walking Dead over at the Daily Kos, such assumptions would appear moot.

One of the biggest lies of post civil rights America is that racism is a thing of the past. Because racism and white supremacy are now largely structural (as opposed to violent and personal), this has freed up a space in the collective consciousness for what social scientists term "colorblind racism."

This is the fiction of "reverse racism", or when racism is minimized to consist of only KKK members and lynchings--as opposed to daily micro-aggressions or well-documented racial disparities in wealth, income, housing, and the criminal justice system.

In total, the racism of "colorblindness"--and the common refrain by some white folks that "I don't see your color, you are just my friend"--is in many ways as ethically pernicious as the formal white supremacy of Jim and Jane Crow. Both colorblind racism, as well as overt racism, see people of color as somehow defective because they are not white. Each system works through this logic in its own particular way. Consequently, there is much overlap between the two.

Some of the exchanges about The Walking Dead TV series over at the Daily Kos were grounded in well-considered disagreement that took into account questions of race and gender in an honest way, and where we simply arrived at a different conclusion. Some reactions were from those fans of the TV series who are not willing to critically interrogate the objects of their own pleasure.

Fanboys and fangirls are notorious in this regard.

However, there were a great many comments that reflexively recycled the logic of white racism in the post civil rights era. Racism denying exists...even in conversations about the horror genre, and a TV series whose narrative is focused on zombies.

Popular culture is a potent and rich site for discussing politics because folks let down their guard and tell the truth. When the mask is down, we are able to clearly see the racial logic that is largely expressed in private spaces, and which also manifests itself through subconscious and implicit bias.

Conservatives have their own brand of racism and white supremacy. Liberals can also be racist as well. The convergence comes in a deep investment in white privilege, white supremacy and the white racial frame. Seemingly divergent ideologies serve as a template and script for how both sides choose to display what are really an overlapping set of core values about maintaining and securing white privilege in the United States.

Here are a few examples of the types of comments offered up on the Daily Kos about the role of race in the Walking Dead TV series. I have translated these comments into the Lingua Franca of colorblind racism in the Age of Obama.

1. You see racism everywhere, The Walking Dead is just a TV show. Translation. People of color and others who talk about racism are just imagining things. Please stop. It makes us white folks upset. Racism is a figment of your imagination.

2. T-Dog, Michonne, and Oscar are on the show. What is the problem? People of color are present, what is the big deal? Translation. Be happy that we chose to include you.

3. T-Dog may not talk. Oscar may have died when Tyreese showed up. We also learned that T-Dog helped save people before we met him on the show. Michonne is a bad ass who can fight. There were minorities in the first few episodes. The show can't possibly be racist. Translation. Classic cherry picking straw man argument. I can find a few examples of people of color being present and "doing stuff." This undercuts any claims about institutional or societal racism/inequality as revealed in the show.

4. It is a bit weird that when one black guy shows up on The Walking Dead another one has to die. Okay, not cool. But, the show is awesome and get over it! Plus, if you have too many black characters on the show they will be over-represented and the show won't be "realistic." And audiences won't watch it so there won't be any Walking Dead TV show anymore. Is that what you really want? Translation. The show may have some racist elements to it. Get over it. The show is fun. Make your concerns secondary. Don't rock the boat! If white folks don't like The Walking Dead there won't be a TV show. In life "you people" need to compromise because you are the minority anyway. Deal with it.

5. You are exaggerating and complaining. If you don't like The Walking Dead make your own show. Translation.  The reasonable concerns or claims of people of color or others about white racism or sexism really don't matter very much. If you don't like what is going on do your own damn thing and shut up.

6. T-Dog is our favorite character, what is your problem? He isn't depicted in a racist way. We love him. Translation. White folks are the universal "I" and "We." White people are a stand-in for all of people's opinions and sentiments. If we do not see a problem, one does not exist. Go along with the program and be quiet.

7. The writers and directors of The Walking Dead are not racist. Even if things are not perfect from your point of view, they did not mean it that way. Translation. Racism only matters and occurs according to the standards of Whiteness, and those people accused of being racist. If we did not mean it that way, said action can not possibly be "racist." We have the power and are the ultimate decision makers on such matters. Know your place.

8. Okay, the show may be racist or sexist in some ways. Just enjoy it. What do you want? It is just TV! Translation. White racism and white privilege are just inconveniences. If you just overlook it, as opposed to critically engaging it, things will be okay. Ultimately, talking about racism is the real social problem. If you just relaxed, things would be okay.

9. I have black, Hispanic, and Asian friends who like The Walking Dead TV show and never complain about this stuff. There is even a black actor who plays Tyreese who says all this racism talk is silly. Translation. "I have a best friend who is black, brown, Asian, etc." they said what is going on is not racist. Their opinion trumps everyone else's because he or she tells me what I want to hear.

10. The Walking Dead TV show is an accurate depiction of how people would act in a bad situation. This is what I would do. I wouldn't trust anyone at all. Stop all your racism and sexism talk. Racism and sexism would not motivate people in a zombie apocalypse. Translation. Racism and sexism are normal types of behavior from my point of view. In fact, I may deny that these dynamics actually exist in other situations or when questioned. But, I will excuse-make for racism or sexism--and defend such motivations--when I see them in TV shows or movies.

11. Okay, you may be able to talk circles around people on this racism stuff. So what? Who cares? We are right! Translation. The evidence about how this society is structured in inequalities and hierarchies of Power along lines of race and gender may be accurate and true. But, I do not want to hear it. Defer to white authority or I may get angry and have to cry, call you names, or play the victim. Those who talk about racism are the real racists! Shut up!

12. All of the stuff you are talking about regarding racism and sexism in The Walking Dead doesn't bother me. It doesn't bother anyone else. Stop bringing it up. Translation. White privilege 101.

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Comment Preferences

  •  It sounds like... (9+ / 0-)

    ... there is no way for a TV series to escape this sort of critique.  If black characters aren't present, it's exclusionary.  If black tickets don't do anything important, they're tokens.  If they do anything important, they'll inevitably trigger some stereotype, whether it's "violent black man" or "magical negro."  It is literally unwinnable.  I can only imagine what your critique would say if, say, Shane happened to be black.  I choose not to engage in these discussions because they're unhelpful, and I find them the cultural critique equivalent of trying to read entrails.  Recreational if you're into that sort of thing, I guess, but not a window to any sort of useful truth.  

    •  a deep truth. popular culture is one (9+ / 0-)

      of the main ways that society creates and reproduces values. most folks don't want to do the work or challenge themselves. your comment proves my point thought--reasonable criticisms of racism or discussions of it are crazy, impossible, unfair, or we are just "complaining." we "just can't win" with "people like you."

      thanks! good stuff on your part. Liberal racism is a hell of a drug.

      •  you undermine (8+ / 0-)

        ...your points when you put words in people's mouths. dunsel's comment included none of the "quotes" you assigned to it. It doesn't even infer those as far as I can tell...though obviously you can read them into it if you work at it.

        Maybe a better way to engage someone in the dialog and thinking you say you want would be something like, "There's a lot of your comment that shows how ingrained racism is. Discussing it is the only real way to wear away at the stone. I think you can actually get at useful truth from these discussions." Then discuss what about his (her) comment you found to be a problem rather than ending with sarcasm. Firmly shut the door on dialog with dunsel I imagine.

      •  Is there any character on TWD... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pswiderski, SilentBrook

        Pick any non-black character on TWD.  Your choice.  Make them black.  Is there any character for which you couldn't generate an identical critique?  If not, then your tool isn't useful for any sort of analysis.

        The example I raised above:  If they changed nothing about Shane but making him black, then there are several "black" steroetypes he would have triggered along his run in the series.  Does that make his portrayal racist, or just if he's black?  

        •  i am dealing with the text/show as offered up (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Larsstephens

          I am not engaging in counter factuals.

          These types of critiques and textual analysis from a race critical oppositional perspective are pretty common. No biggie. As I said in the previous posts, what I am highlighting is pretty obvious and in keeping with man decades of writing on race and representation in mass culture.

          •  That's too bad. (0+ / 0-)

            dunsel raises a great point.  None of the characters on this show are pure.  Every one of them is flawed and compromised.  They all do bad things and make bad decisions.  My guess is that his suspicion about your critique being identical no matter what is a good one.

            I happen to agree with your initial proposition that the "One Black Man" Rule that the show has appeared to follow so far is problematic and merits discussion.  The issue I have with your argument lies in your pushing beyond that and finding racism in every action taken by every character.  You've started with a good premise, but you've gotten so far away from it at this point that the entire argument falls apart and your overall critique is rendered useless.

            I'm a lawyer and I see this quite often in legal briefs.  Many times a short brief with one or two of your strongest arguments will fare far better than a long brief with every argument you can possibly think of thrown in.  The merits of the good arguments get lost and weakened by the poorly thought out and poorly supported ones.

            In the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.

            by Cixelsyd on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 01:39:03 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  you misunderstand what i am doing then (0+ / 0-)

              i am not finding racism in character's actions. i am also not interested in their motivations.

              i am looking at the context of said behavior and how it is clearly in keeping with many tropes and ideas about race and personhood in this country. that is a subtle but important distinction. that is also a cousin to this post on colorblind racism. many folks are so caught up in a juvenile calculus of if x action is racist or not, and did x agent meant it that way. we should be talking about systems, institutions, and culture instead. we live in a racist society. we live in a sexist society. those concepts are of course reflected in our popular culture.

              as i always say, do offer up an example of where my reading of the racial codes and gender codes in the show are incorrect.

              my ears are wide open.

            •  moreover (0+ / 0-)

              you are free to write what you like. in your own way. i have proven pretty good and successful for the most part here and elsewhere.

              this is not a legal brief.

              "Many times a short brief with one or two of your strongest arguments will fare far better than a long brief with every argument you can possibly think of thrown in."

              "You've started with a good premise, but you've gotten so far away from it at this point that the entire argument falls apart and your overall critique is rendered useless."

              Far from useless. Plus that claim is more proof of the universal I. Useless to who? By what criteria? To whom? White folks? Those invested in Whiteness? People of color? Casual readers? Space aliens? Etc. Etc.

              These posts have circulated online, gotten several thousand readers and you are still commenting so it must have served some purpose. Maybe mine and yours are very different?

              Be careful with generalizing your point of view about the usefulness of something on to other. That is a classic move of arrogant privilege.

      •  You should avoid mocking those who offer a (0+ / 0-)

        differing view, unless your intent is to shout them down. Then mock away.

        Send conservatives to FilthyLiberal.com for re-education.

        by filthyLiberalDOTcom on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 12:23:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  catch 22 (0+ / 0-)

      Send conservatives to FilthyLiberal.com for re-education.

      by filthyLiberalDOTcom on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 12:22:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I tried WD. Didn't like it, didn't keep watching. (5+ / 0-)

    Zombies aren't particularly my thing anyway, though I did like Max Brooks' wonderful World War Z (which has its own bias problems).

    I don't doubt that much of our pop culture reflects unconscious* white privilege, though. It certainly reflects sexism. Ugh.

    *I hope

  •  The really sad thing about the Walking Dead TV (4+ / 0-)

    show...is that the actual comic book did a much better job and handling both racial and gender steriotypes.

    Not a perfect job.  This is after all a zombiepockalypse set in the USA south in 2012.    Should this happen in the real world, races and genders won't be treated equally by real people.

    But the comic was willing to break traditional media tropes quite often, letting characters grow out of their boxes and also to get permanently damaged by their experiences (or outright killed, no matter how important the character seemed to be to the ongoing story)

    The people were just people.  They had race, and it colored how they interacted with each other, but you could not predict their strengths and weaknesses by any of the traditional markers (race, gender, age).  Their true character came out under stress, and that's kind of the fascination of the comics - the toll of the end of the world on survivors and the societies they try to form.

    I may still be blind to some stuff in the comics that a person of color wouldn't miss.  I know my wife has a pet peeve about strong female characters "needing" to be raped to prove they're strong and would be pissed about Michonne's treatment, regardless of the later payback.  The comics aren't perfect.

    But the TV show took the flavor and left out the meat, replacing it with tired tropes and caricatures.

  •  I don't watch the Walking Dead. (0+ / 0-)

    I finally started watching 24 because I was interested in its reflection of our society and culture. Maybe at some point I'll do the same with this show.

  •  The cultural assumptions pushed off (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lgmcp, James Kresnik, Larsstephens

    on people via the "plug-in drug" are the major reason I got rid of my TV almost 12 years ago.  The main assumptions I object to aren't racial or gender exactly although they impact the "minorities" (race and female) more - they're the carefully constructed implications that the watcher is inferior and/or defective and only by purchasing whatever is being marketed or following specific (yes, "white" - and male) cultural norms can the watcher be made almost but never completely OK.  I also don't listen to the radio or take magazines.  I read books and do the best I can with schooling my own imagination.

  •  Why? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larsstephens
    I remain surprised and fascinated by how people invest themselves in popular culture. Some folks dress up and go to conventions. Others, craft a religion around a movie. In the case of The Walking Dead TV series, a great many people have invested themselves in the dystopian playground of a world where the dead eat and kill the living.
    Popular culture is popular culture, same as it ever was.

    I mean, the Flavian Amphitheater (a.k.a. the Roman Colosseum) seated 60,000 and people watched all sorts of "entertainments" there.

    The theatres of Greek antiquity didn't seat as many but on the appropriate festival days, the seats were jam packed

    Nowadays people think that Titus Andronicus was the most horrible play that Shakespeare ever wrote but there, too, the Elizabethians flooded to the theater to see that gory stuff (and a lot of other bloody revenge tragedies)

  •  As a non-TV watcher, I'm not invested (9+ / 0-)

    in that particular cultural vehicle and its racism or lack thereof, so I haven't visited the previous diaries.  However, I recognize and own some of the "just overlook it because dwelling makes us uncomfortable" reaction.  I've felt that when novels, poems, or movies I love are on the dissecting table for their messages about race.   It's pretty challenging not to get defensive and dismissive when one's own privilege and assumptions are under critique.  

    I experience this suppressive reaction from the other side whenever I bring up a point about patriarchy.  By and large, it's just not very socially acceptable to be discussed in this particular decade and country.  Even here at dKos among varying stripes of liberals, mentioning male dominance or gynophobia elicits more discomfort than support.    

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 11:45:52 AM PST

    •  liberal racism, sexism, homophobia are real (6+ / 0-)

      alot of the most hostile reactions are from self-identified "progressives" who don't want to get their own house in order and find it easier to call out conservatives. looking in the mirror is hard...which is why critical self-reflection is so important.

    •  On the subject of patriarchy/misogyny (4+ / 0-)

      I got flamed by my own male gaming friends when I posted an article on Facebook written by a straight white male gamer who had just become the father of a baby girl. In the article, the gamer is talking about how he would like to introduce his daughter to gaming, but that now that he is a father, whenever he plays games online, he hears things he never realized he was hearing before. The disgusting misogyny, the overly sexual language, the anti-gay slurs, and the general sausage-fest state of online gaming appalls him when he thinks about his daughter gaming when she is older (this is a critique of the gaming community NOT the games themselves).

      He suggests that the only way for gaming to be cleaned up is for male gamers to realize what they are doing and stop the bullshit.

      I posted it on Facebook because it was a potent article, and I was suggesting to my gaming friends--90% of which are male--that they should take the message to heart and do their part to stop the misogyny in online gaming chat and such.

      Holy shit. I got flamed SO HARD. By FRIENDS. I was told female gamers needed to "grow a pair," or "grow thicker skin," or "quit whining," because that's just how gaming is and either love it or leave it... "why should girls be treated differently, everyone gets trolled," etc.

      Uggh.

  •  Suerte y al toro (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Prof Haley

    Thanks to demographic changes, white privilege is going the way of Members Only jackets and British Knights shoes.

    What's going to happen when you complain about Univision and Telemundo?

    It's pretty ironic; we Gringos can listen to Allen Hopkins pontificate.   But no one from Colombia, Honduras or Costa Rica makes the cut at Univision.  (Futbol is 90% of the TV I watch.)

  •  thank you for generalizing (0+ / 0-)

    and I view your original post as I view republicans arguments on government...
    I can agree in general with republicans that there is some government spending that is useless, similar to how I can agree with your headline premise that killing T-Dog had race connotations

    but when we get into the specifics (and huge tangents), I disagree with republicans on the specifics of what they want to cut.   I also disagreed with the specific content you noted in your original article.

    I also notice that you took what was said in that prior thread, and turned it into gross 1 line generalizations, twisting other peoples thoughts and words into what you perceive them to be thinking...and mocked it with a delightful "white privilege 101"... maybe you are the one with the privileged thought process... because chances are if people are on dailykos, they have some level of reasoning... and i will take it a step further and say people who watch scifi have good level of reasoning power also...not all though and it seems your words are proving that point

    ---
    if you want to talk about Walking Dead.  I suspect alot of people on this board have shows that tehy follow devotedly and go to those web-boards (i loved farscape and deep space nine and bsg...yeah there is some racial/social/political context to scifi but they are just fun to watch also)...
    you don't have to couch it race terms to talk about that show here.... ha...but feel free to analyze it either way

    what i realized from that last discussion was how much i actually have changed my opinion of carl and think he is a bad-ass.  from being the whiny annoying kid last two seasons (talk about a cliched scif wesley crusher steoretype), to the mature blast away zombies to help michonee and now tyreses group tormented man-child.

    --

    •  do you have any specific examples (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larsstephens

      of where i misrepresented the spirit or substance of what what said?

      "because chances are if people are on dailykos, they have some level of reasoning"

      and your point is. sure they can reason. that is not the claim. many reasonable people come to erroneous conclusions. many reasonable liberals are deeply invested in white privilege and see the world through the white racial frame.

      if you ever want to talk about race, questions of representation in scif fi or popular shows like trek or bsg--shows i have written/lectured about, could be fun.

      here is part of a longer project on black masculinity and trek if you are game.

      http://wearerespectablenegroes.blogspot.com/...

    •  This is about patterns, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wide eyed lib

      mostly unconscious. Not about what we consciously believe or intend or mean.

      and mocked it with a delightful "white privilege 101"... maybe you are the one with the privileged thought process... because chances are if people are on dailykos, they have some level of reasoning...
      I don't see "White Privilege 101" as a mocking statement but as an observation of reality.

      The whole point of majority privilege is that it is mostly invisible to the group that has it. And it's present in people who are absolutely sure they don't have it and in fact are committed to working against it (hence the term "liberal racism").

      So all the "reasoning" by the most well-intentioned people in the world won't reveal privilege if the idea that it's there is too threatening to their self-image. I can't see it unless I make the conscious decision to go looking for it.

      What I find particularly useful is when someone outside of the privilege tells me what they can see that I can't. No matter what tone is used when the message is delivered.

      "Diversity is, in action, the sometimes painful awareness that other people, other races, other voices, other habits of mind have as much integrity of being, as much claim on the world as you do." William Chase

      by Maine Islander on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 09:22:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  You lost me on the underlying meanings of the (0+ / 0-)

    Governor getting stabbed in the eye.  That reminded me of the silly games of "find the symbolism" we would take from our Freshman English Lit class and apply to whatever movie was playing at the theatre that week.

    You've turned what could've been an interesting discussion about popular culture amongst well intentioned and well-meaning progressive democrats into into a very dark game of "out of all the people here is there even one person who is not a flaming sexist racist?"  Sorry if that's over generalizing but you're setting the standard.

    •  huh? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larsstephens

      what do you mean. who is a flaming racist? that is in keeping with the common deflections when colorblind racism is called out. lots of pity party stuff.

      do you have an example? if folks are in denial about the racial codings (and gender as well) in the walking dead or other texts, then they are aiding and abetting a larger system of institutional and social power, one that is very problematic in these regards.

      i was very specific in my claims. if you have some evidence of where I was not, do offer it up.

      •  Thanks for making my point with (0+ / 0-)

        Your second paragraph telling us that we are either for you or agin' you. How very Bush like of you.

        How about considering that for at least some of the people who are scratching their heads over trying to figure how you get all of these other meanings out of the show aren't getting those meanings because they aren't racist or sexist, or at least trying not to be so?  They're just people watching a show about other people.

        Of course there are social connotations in the plot and the writing. What the frickin' frack would a show look like that didn't have connotations?

        We're all products of those who came before us. It's all well and good to explore what that means, as long as you do it with a teaspoon, not a ladle.

        •  there was not much open questioning (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Larsstephens

          there was instead much hostility and apparent immediate dismissal that such a thing was even possible. i try to respond to most comments when possible and appropriate.

          what happened there, and why i wrote this followup, was a classic example of racism denying via claims about popular culture.

          not understanding is one thing and then asking honest questions to better follow through. being unwilling to understand because the very fact that racism and sexism are operative in popular culture--and you simply can't accept such a thing about your favorite show--is an exercise in racism denying.

          "as you do it with a teaspoon, not a ladle."

          again, not interested in hand holding or other silliness. drink at your own pace.

  •  T-Dog short for "Token"? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larsstephens, Oaktown Girl

    In our household we always thought T-Dog was like Token on South Park. And when we finally got another black guy in the tribe they killed T-Dog ... So I guess the new Black guy is Token now.

    Disclaimer: My Wife, our two kids, and I are all "White"

    A mind like a book, has to be open to function properly.

    by falconer520 on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 12:16:13 PM PST

  •  This is awesome (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larsstephens, Oaktown Girl

    I want this on a bingo card for when I engage people on discussions of racial and gender privilege in cult media. Too many geeks (and I self-identify as a geek) form such an intense connection between their favorite series and themselves that they take criticism of the show/comic/movie as criticism of them as a person, and become defensive accordingly. Making them confront their biases is hard, but rewarding.

  •  As a fan of the show (0+ / 0-)

    who has not read the comics, the conclusion I end up drawing from your characterization of the comics vs. the tv show is that it's in the marketing. That the comics were not compromised by mass appeal. The show aims to reach, and has built such a large audience that they seem to make changes intended to make it more palatable to that larger audience.

    I watch the after-shows also, and in the last one Kirkman was explaining some of what they were doing with Michonne. I was left with the impression that her actions and responses were inconsistent and unsatisfying to me. If Andrea betrayed her, why didn't it show at all? If the governor did her so wrong, why didn't she say so? If she wants to fit in with Rick's group, why not explain...that part?

    Anyway, the trouble for me will be if I find that the bad things you cite about the show are why I like it. I may watch the marathon they have planned and try to figure that out. Hopefully it has some redeeming qualities in spite of its faults.

    There is nothing so ridiculous that some philosopher has not said it. -- Cicero

    by tytalus on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 12:44:10 PM PST

  •  This is an (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lgmcp, Utahrd

    interesting post. I haven't watched the Walking Dead, but similar questions do occur to me about some of the shows I like, such as Breaking Bad.

    On that show, the Latino characters are mostly but not entirely 'bad guys' - at least in what I've seen so far; I have been streaming it and am only in the middle of season 2. It is set in New Mexico so the people of color on the show have mostly been Latino. The main recurring characters are all white. Certainly the white characters are not all shown to be good but they are shown with more frequency and complexity than the characters who are of color.

  •  Interesting, if not a little self-righteous (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    enufisenuf, Prof Haley, ConfusedSkyes

    I have never watched WD and probably won't. But I welcome the opportunity to bring unconscious issues of race to the surface. I was torn, for example, when I watched The Wire -- loved the drama; hated the stereotypes of black men and women. I do think those stereotypes are harmful and reinforce cultural beliefs that can lead to real-life tragedies (think Trayvon). That said, there is a tone of condescension in your post that will make it hard for whites to engage. If you really want them to engage, post with respect and non-judgmentalness. If you don't really want them to engage, keep posting condescending screeds. (I'm woman of color, btw, who really would like to see more about race on DKos. But these conversations tend to devolve into "You're a racist!" "No, I'm not.")

    The civil rights, gay rights and women's movements, designed to allow others to reach for power previously grasped only by white men, have made a real difference, and the outlines of 21st century America have emerged. -- Paul West of LA Times

    by LiberalLady on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 01:49:01 PM PST

    •  not interested in being a teacher or a helper (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larsstephens

      too many times poc are asked to teach white folks; they need to get their own house in order. i wish that people took as much care in worrying about how to talk to black and brown folks as they did worrying about how white people feel when confronted with some plain spoke truth.

      as i am fond of saying, Whiteness and white racism are pathologies. There are also many people of color who are overly invested in Whiteness and the approval of white people.

      this is demonstrated, unfortunately, by your comment here:

      that said, there is a tone of condescension in your post that will make it hard for whites to engage. If you really want them to engage, post with respect and non-judgmentalness. If you don't really want them to engage, keep posting condescending screeds. (I'm woman of color, btw, who really would like to see more about race on DKos. But these conversations tend to devolve into "You're a racist!" "No, I'm not.")

      •  no disrespect here (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Larsstephens

        and I hate to disappoint you, but I am here climbing my learning curve in an attempt to further develop skills to confront white privilege and racism in my "neighborhood".
        I follow you here and I have been to WARN, I learn in both places and thank you.
        One of my take-aways today is

         i wish that people took as much care in worrying about how to talk to black and brown folks as they did worrying about how white people feel when confronted with some plain spoke truth

        I try to treat everyone I come in contact with with dignity and respect but will likely place that lower on the to-do list when
        coming up against white priv and racism in the future. That is to say, if I hurt their feelings, tough. I'll take a chance on getting my nose bloodied.
         

        •  wow. good to hear that you go to warn (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Larsstephens

          don't stop being you. if a more kind and patient approach is your thing, do it! that could be your gift and role to play in making the world better.

          i cosign your approach about dignity and respect. if you do it equally you are a saint. but just make sure do it with folks who are deserving. just my 2 cents.

          you have to get used to taking a few shots to the face and elsewhere. once it happens a few times you get used to it...although it still hurts from time to time.

          •  Dignity 'n Respect are my preferred starting point (0+ / 0-)

            with Everyone,even when confronting "untoward behavior".
            if it isn't returned my level of it diminishes, often rapidly.
            I can be pointedly acerbic, or obtuse, and my willingness
            to be patient is situationally determined.

             "you have to get used to taking a few shots to the face and elsewhere..."

            ain't it the truth. Thanks for the first thing in the morning
            guffaw and what I hope will be an all day inner smile and feeling of lightness. I have hit the ground multiple times rapidly for jumping up too fast, but it has been the verbal shots that
            have hurt most.
            A favorite quote is from Kahlil Gibran, "keep me away from the wisdom that does not cry, the philosophy that does not laugh and the greatness that does not bow before children"
            I like Oat Willie too, "Onward, Thru the Fog !"

  •  never saw the show (4+ / 0-)

    but the remarks of "just a tv show" is like i hear about "just a joke" or "just a blog" etc. that ignore that these excuses or rationalizations are of tools that embed/institutionalize sexism and racism. after all, if it's just a joke, for example, then we should laugh. by that laughing is about sexism or racism, which then belittles sexism and racism and thus gives them both more life.

    "It is in the shelter of each other that people live." Irish Proverb

    by Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 02:57:38 PM PST

  •  whew, more food for thought (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larsstephens

    My exposure to media (TV) driven popular culture
    is very limited, my ancient tube is hooked to a VCR .
    Do the zombies eat and then kill the living?
    ( 4th paragraph, last line )
    You and several other diarists here have my utmost respect
    and amazed admiration for your ironclad constitutions
    and the thick skins needed to be able to investigate and comment on subjects like this, Rush L., Dunn type idiocies/travesties...
    I appreciate your work and will read this again.

  •  Hah ! Late again... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larsstephens

    Sorry to miss you

  •  One hundred thousand recommendations (0+ / 0-)

    for this diary. And a thousand thanks for the translation into Colorblind Racism. Maybe that will help crack through some of the barriers of peoples' thinking - at least for those who are open to having that possibly happen.

    And on your previous "Walking Dead" post I want to mention how much I appreciate you not neglecting the sexism aspect, particularly as it relates to Black women. Please don't stop posting (or cross posting) here at DKos.

    If "elitist" just means "not the dumbest motherfucker in the room", I'll be an elitist! - David Rees from "Get Your War On".

    by Oaktown Girl on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 12:51:03 PM PST

    •  how kind, i try (0+ / 0-)

      as i tell folks, i don't post here that often, but almost on a daily basis, sometimes several times a day over at my own site WARN

      http://wearerespectablenegroes.blogspot.com/

      The resistance is always fascinating to me. Very instructive and reveals much about how much work remains to be done in this country on these issues.

      •  Yes. I've had you bookmarked for some time. (0+ / 0-)

        The thing is I don't have much computer time (the 99% has me running constantly just to stay afloat), and there are so many good sites I'd go to every day if I could. I like that you post here because 1) I have you on my DKos stream so I can fine you quickly if you post, and 2) I like that you can get so many eyeballs here, even if the feedback is often resistant.

        If "elitist" just means "not the dumbest motherfucker in the room", I'll be an elitist! - David Rees from "Get Your War On".

        by Oaktown Girl on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 02:56:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  i am glad that you enjoy it. positive energy (0+ / 0-)

          for a holiday surprise to you so that a great new computer and money will magically appear :)

          i will post here more often. i don't because i am unsure if my pragmatic approach to topics and the random things i often talk about would be well received. i will reconsider that.

          •  Thanks. It would be a great service (0+ / 0-)

            if you would continue to post and cross post here. Your voice is desperately needed and appreciated. And remember, there are a lot of people that come to this site who never comment, but read only. You're touching more people than you might imagine.

            If "elitist" just means "not the dumbest motherfucker in the room", I'll be an elitist! - David Rees from "Get Your War On".

            by Oaktown Girl on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 07:30:07 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

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