Womanist Musings & The Unbearable Whiteness of Being

January 27, 2011

Womanist Musings has a damn good post on The Unbearable Whiteness of Being, dealing in part with romance, but also with fantasy in general:

If one purpose of fantasy is providing escapism from a flawed world, it is absolutely necessary that everyone has tools to construct a fantasy world where they can be affirmed for everything they are, including their race. As we walk through a world where whiteness, thinness and cis-genderism is worshipped, for many of us, fantasizing about a better life where we are whiter, thinner, and more ‘normal’ is the insidious deepening of psychic wounds that eventually catch up with us.

The power of storytelling and imagination is great – it is the ceiling of possibility for many- what you cannot even imagine, you cannot aim for. The problem of internalized racism is for many, it’s impossible to imagine success or happiness without whiteness. This is the end result of constant bombardment of the white normative (and, really, white supremacy as a normalized ideal).

The flip side of this, when we look at media creators and publishers, is the inability to come to terms with what they’re making and why. When challenged on it, the two big excuses are either “We’re targeting our market!” or “We’re only making what we know!”

Given that many Western countries are multicultural these days, who is their market again? Is it, indeed, solely decided by skin color, and if so, what does that say? Or, if they only know living in segregation, a world without us, or us as horrible stereotypes, what does that say as well?

It’s like watching a 5 year old kid make excuses for bad behavior, but the excuses only dig a deeper hole.

(See previously –Debunking White Fantasy)

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