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  1. TomSims
    TomSims March 11, 2013 at 1:28 pm |

    I agree. What The Onion did was disgusting.

  2. pheenobarbidoll
    pheenobarbidoll March 11, 2013 at 1:39 pm |

    That entire thing makes me so mad I can’t even speak. My throat squeezes shut and my stomach churns in anger.

    I read about it in these days right after the Oscars, and to this day it still renders me ragefully speechless.

  3. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub March 11, 2013 at 1:51 pm |

    I was so fucking angry when I heard about that tweet and all the other shit thrown that girl’s way. From the “If I cannot pronounce her name, I am not voting for her” Oscar judge to the McFarlane fail to the squealing over her name to the Onion tweet, I was sickened. And the people defending that shit. . .ugh. It was beyond the pale. She’s not a grown-ass adult. Even if you can’t see the racism in this, for fuck’s sake, she is nine years old.

    And before anyone goes off on her name being long or unusual, I’ll point out that Gaelic names routinely throw people off yet I’ve never heard anyone make fun of them as a matter of course, or complain about those weird names. If a name is coded as white, it’s totally fine and you have to learn to pronounce it and you’re oh-so-cool. If it’s coded as black, well, why bother amirite??

    1. khw
      khw March 12, 2013 at 11:40 am |

      With Gaelic names, I have heard of jokes being made of constant mispronunciations being offered, but largely within the context of white English people making the comments (for example, pronouncing Rosín (Ro-sheen) as ‘Rozin’ and Grainne (GrawÑah) as ‘Grain’).

      Notwithstanding, I should also state that that was a while ago, in a pre-Celtic Tiger universe and also reflected much of the ‘Irish-people-are-stupid’ jokes that I also had to put up with.

      In other words, the clear lack of interest in either pronouncing these names correctly or showing some respect for their holders was subjected to clear perceived power relations and putting the paddies in their place.

      Not too different from this example, then.

      1. khw
        khw March 12, 2013 at 11:46 am |

        To be clear, I am speaking of situations from over 15 years ago.

        With the Celtic Tiger, things did improve.

  4. chataya
    chataya March 11, 2013 at 1:57 pm |

    Instead of being a bunch of condescending assholes, they could have just called her “Ms. Wallis.” The kid’s 9, she is well aware that people have difficulty with her name.

    1. Drahill
      Drahill March 11, 2013 at 2:11 pm |

      Or they could pronounce it right. Correspondents generally have time to prep – is it too hard to learn her name’s pronounciation? Or there’s the added bonus that most correspondents have an earpiece in during the night and an assistant could have been feeding them the correct pronouncation. Saoirse Ronan has a hard to pronounce name, and I don’t recall any of this when she was nominated.

      1. Chataya
        Chataya March 11, 2013 at 11:20 pm |

        Yes, that would be the ideal situation. The blatant refusal to learn how to pronounce her name, despite having the resources that you mentioned, is horrible and racist. A slightly better solution would be to call her “Ms. Wallis,” as that actually contains her name rather than assigning her a horrible made-up nickname like “Little Q” or fucking “Annie*.” It’s cruel and disrespectful.

        *No offense to people named Annie

    2. Marym
      Marym March 11, 2013 at 6:26 pm |

      They had all of the time between her being announced as a nominee and the night of the awards broadcast to learn how to pronounce her name (about a month right?) and they didn’t bother. The only time they should have called her Miss Wallis was after they had already correctly said her name and were using it as way to say “thank you for speaking with us.”

      1. iiii
        iiii March 11, 2013 at 7:29 pm |

        I dunno – I dislike the current practice of reporters talking to famous people as though they’re intimates. That over-familiarity seems even creepier when directed at a little girl. I think it would have made an improvement on their usual standard had they given her the dignity of a title.

        On the other hand, the first name thing is the present custom, and making a special exception in the direction of over-formality is just a different kind of problematic.

        But still – if they couldn’t be bothered to do their jobs and figure out how to say her first name, “Miss Wallis” is a better alternative than making something up.

        1. PrettyAmiable
          PrettyAmiable March 12, 2013 at 9:01 am |

          I dunno – I dislike the current practice of reporters talking to famous people as though they’re intimates.

          If I go to a work meeting, I know the names of the people I’m meeting with. I don’t see how this is different.

        2. closetpuritan
          closetpuritan March 12, 2013 at 3:44 pm |

          Yeah, I think it would be more respectful if they called everyone Ms./Mr./Dr./etc Lastname. Only calling one person “Ms. Wallis” would have made it clear that they just couldn’t be bothered to learn the correct pronunciation, though.

    3. Chataya
      Chataya March 11, 2013 at 11:25 pm |

      The kid’s 9, she is well aware that people have difficulty with her name.

      Oh, yeah, I should probably clear this up a bit. I’m not saying it to dismiss the reporters’ inability to pronounce her name. I was trying to say that there was no need to compound the cruelty of not bothering to learn her name with made-up nicknames.

  5. Drahill
    Drahill March 11, 2013 at 2:07 pm |

    I’m sort of wondering why in the least white feminists would refrain from getting involved when the offenses were so glaringly apparant. I mean, we’re talking about offenses that are on their face, seriously disgusting. Do you really need to refrain from saying it’s messed up that a 9-year old girl was called a sexist slur because of some phantom fear that WOC are just waiting for a white woman to mess up? That sorta surprises me. I do think there are conversations that white feminists are sometimes better served staying out of due to a variety of factors, but what qualifies this as one?

    1. karak
      karak March 11, 2013 at 4:44 pm |

      I’m speaking for Jill here, from my own experience and based on some of the conversations I’ve seen here over the years:

      Other feminists, and feminists of color, did an excellent job with the analysis and the take-down of these events. Jill couldn’t say it as well as they did, and making her own half-flailing post would be like talking over them, and she has gotten flack for making less-nuanced posts on issues that she cares about but doesn’t experience intimately.

      So, my guess is she was like, “better minds than mine have spoken” and over some reflection, and maybe even someone talking to or asking her about it, she realized this didn’t fall under that purview and that she needed to say something.

      1. tmc
        tmc March 11, 2013 at 4:57 pm |

        The silence of white feminists was noted many times, and not in a “We’ve got this, no need for white folks to reiterate” kind of way. Even if that were the mindset (Black feminists already covered it so well! No need for us white folks to come in and fuck it up!) then why wasn’t there at least a roundup here pointing to all of those excellent black feminist blogs? Why wasn’t there a signal boost? Dead fucking silence is just NOT ACCEPTABLE.

        And the fact that there was not a single post for Black History Month on this blog (as well as the fact that the first time a black woman here inquired about the lack of a BHM post, she was ignored and had to repeat herself in order to get an answer) has been noted as well. It’s not a good look.

        1. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune March 11, 2013 at 7:07 pm |

          Wait, who asked about BHM? I noticed no posts went up about it myself…

        2. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune March 11, 2013 at 7:10 pm |

          Damn it, I remember now. Miss S. >.< I meant to answer her, but I wasn't sure if she was asking a mod or just anyone, and didn't.

        3. tigtog
          tigtog March 11, 2013 at 8:48 pm | *

          I remember Miss S. asking the first time, and I didn’t answer her then because I didn’t know the answer. I answered her the second time despite still not having an answer as to why Feministe didn’t have any posts for Black History Month.

          I know why I didn’t blog anything for Black History Month – it’s because I’m Australian and we don’t have Black History Month here. Not only do I feel culturally unequipped to do Black History Month justice, I’m also unaccustomed to being a regular poster here and am still feeling my way in a not fully familiar blogspace. The volume of comments here can be so high/overwhelming that I’m only really comfortable hosting Open Threads right now.

        4. trees
          trees March 11, 2013 at 8:49 pm |

          Other feminists, and feminists of color, did an excellent job with the analysis and the take-down of these events. Jill couldn’t say it as well as they did, and making her own half-flailing post would be like talking over them, and she has gotten flack for making less-nuanced posts on issues that she cares about but doesn’t experience intimately.

          In-eloquent and/or redundancy: is this really such a big deal? Any voice in support of this little black girl would have been better than nothing. Why not just enter the conversation and provide links to the more nuanced analyses? Since there are probably blogs that I haven’t come across, I for one would have really appreciated a blog roundup. It might even have counted as a BHM post.

        5. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune March 11, 2013 at 9:09 pm |

          I know why I didn’t blog anything for Black History Month – it’s because I’m Australian and we don’t have Black History Month here. Not only do I feel culturally unequipped to do Black History Month justice, I’m also unaccustomed to being a regular poster here and am still feeling my way in a not fully familiar blogspace. The volume of comments here can be so high/overwhelming that I’m only really comfortable hosting Open Threads right now.

          Makes sense to me. I’m just wondering why the others haven’t contributed anything either, despite being USian and routinely contributing posts. I mean, I’d get it if a Canada or UK or (like you) Australia-based writer didn’t do anything for BHM, but… yeah. Particularly since Feministe is almost exclusively centred on US issues.

        6. tigtog
          tigtog March 12, 2013 at 2:00 am | *

          P.S. to my first post comment above – I’d like to note that we did have an immediate discussion of the horrendous Onion-Fail re Quvenzhané Wallis on the Oscars Open Thread.

          I know it’s not the same as a dedicated post, but it’s not as if the subject was totally ignored, either – and because that discussion had already happened on that thread it may well have contributed to a lack of urgency here about a separate post.

          I agree that more could have been done about signal boosting some of the commentary/analysis done by other bloggers, and I’ll remember in future to include that in my updates to live-blog posts.

        7. Miss S
          Miss S March 14, 2013 at 2:54 am |

          Thanks for noticing that.

        8. Miss S
          Miss S March 14, 2013 at 3:06 am |

          Tigtog, I do understand why you wouldn’t have written a post on Black History Month.

          Caperton, I appreciate this post and I’m glad you realized that silence isn’t the way to go. I’m glad you wrote this.

          Jill, why didn’t you write anything for Black History Month?

      2. Brennan
        Brennan March 11, 2013 at 6:12 pm |

        In my mind, the thing to do in that case is to write a brief post saying exactly that, along with some links to signal boost for those “better minds.” That would have been appreciated. Would still be appreciated.

        (After rereading the post, I realize she has included some links, but a proper signal boost usually includes a quote or two, not just some blink-and-you-missed-it blue text.)

      3. With Love
        With Love March 11, 2013 at 8:55 pm |

        I’m speaking for Jill here… Jill couldn’t say it as well as they did…

        Caperton wrote this post.

      4. tinfoil hattie
        tinfoil hattie March 11, 2013 at 11:44 pm |

        NB: This particular post was written by Caperton.

  6. Alara Rogers
    Alara Rogers March 11, 2013 at 2:17 pm |

    So much fail on the Onion’s part.

    I am normally a fan of the Onion, so I think I know what they were trying to do… although it failed miserably, for several reasons.

    This is the same organization that wrote news articles like “Death of Homely Girl Upsets No One”. They are in the habit of satirizing the media’s trends, particularly trends involving sexism. They don’t, however, typically satirize racism. I suspect they are mostly, if not entirely, white people, and probably feel, like many white people, like Caperton points out, that it is not their business or their right to satirize racism. This also produces a giant fucking blind spot about racism.

    I think they were trying to satirize the media’s misogyny, by saying something random, pointless and horrible about a female person that *no one* would condone saying that random, pointless, horrible thing about. No adult woman or teen girl is safe from the pointless misogyny of the media; in fact teen girls often get extra doses of mindless hatred. So they chose someone who was a tiny child, a great child actress, and someone who was well poised and conducted herself with perfect propriety, because, I suspect, they felt that people would recognize how utterly horrible the comment was, and thus recognize it as satire of similar pointless and horrible comments made about adult women and teen girls.

    The problem, however, is twofold. First, you can’t satirize something if it’s so close to the reality that no one can tell it’s satire. The mindless vitriol thrown at actresses is *so* vile and pervasive, it is literally impossible to satirize misogyny by saying something nasty about an actress who *obviously* no one would mean to say something nasty about… because the real media is so nasty, who could ever assume they didn’t really mean it? Secondly, they put exactly no thought into the fact that the target of their satirical comment was *black*. Because racism exists, it’s impossible to satirize misogyny by making a comment about a black woman, because you’re bringing race into the mix. (You could satirize misogynistic racism, the specific mixture of poison that’s focused against women of color… but don’t, not if you are the Onion.) It’s also impossible, in a world where Sasha and Malia Obama are routinely attacked by the right wing in horrible ways for being the daughters of the first black President, to say something horrible about a black girl that people would take as “but no one would ever seriously mean that”… because people seriously mean horrible things they say about black little girls every goddamn day.

    This is the only explanation I can think of. The Onion is a satirical organization; their comment was not even conceivably “funny” unless it was intended as a satire of something, because if a horrible person had said such a horrible thing and meant it, the horrible person wouldn’t have intended it as a joke, but as a “truth no one wants to hear”. So I have to assume they were satirizing something, and given their history, I believe they were probably satirizing media misogyny. But also given their history, I suspect they did not think about Quvenzhane’s race, at all, or how it would affect their satire. And I also think that given how vitriolic the media has been, even if they’d aimed it at a white 9 year old actress it would still have been interpreted as a serious (and godawfully nasty) comment.

    Finally, if your satire leads you to say unspeakably awful things about living children who might be, or might have parents who are, reading or going to read your satire… DON’T. An adult can laugh off mockery, particularly if they’re sophisticated enough to recognize that the target of the mockery is misogyny and not themselves. But there’s no way a 9 year old should ever be expected to do that, and no way she should ever have to. What they did was such a thorough failure as a satire that *no* one took it that way, but even if it had been obvious to all the grownups that it was satire, the 9 year old couldn’t have been expected to figure it out, and for that reason even if it had been the most brilliant satire ever it was still wrong.

    I strongly suspect that, while the Onion was not motivated by racism, they have fallen victim to the white liberal “good non-racists don’t even see race” meme, which tells white people that it is embarrassing and borderline racist to even consider race as a factor in anything (which has been shown scientifically to result in more racism… white children raised with no education from their parents about race are more racist than white children raised with an understanding that race exists but should not affect how you think about people or their abilities.) The “I don’t see color” meme is one of the most stealthily destructive I can think of, because it converts people who mean well, the exact people who ought to be trying to be allies, into even more cluelessly privileged people than they would naturally be. (There are obviously more destructive memes, but they’re obvious. “I don’t see color” tells white people “If you are a good white person and not a racist, you should not think about race as it applies to other people at all”… which results in extra racism coming from people who are trying to avoid racism.) By not considering the impact that Quvenzhane’s race would have on their “joke”, they ruined any satirical impact it could possibly have had… and regardless of race it is awful and cruel to target a real young girl like that. The dead girl in “Death of Homely Girl” was a fictional character. The Onion should probably stick to making fun of imaginary people. Some of their presidential stuff has been hilarious, but much of their mockery of celebrities has been really painful, and this was just the most awful of them all.

    1. tomek
      tomek March 11, 2013 at 2:27 pm |

      see alara have said what i try to explain about the satire, but my comment was removed, she not.

      so if the feeling of caperton and commenter here that satire cannot forgive for the hurt which would be cause if quvenzhane wallis read the tweet?

      or is the argument more complicated than this? i am trying to understand this reaction.

    2. Anon21
      Anon21 March 11, 2013 at 2:44 pm |

      I agree that a satire of media misogyny is probably what they were going for, and that they failed horribly. I think part of the problem in addition to the race blindness is just the basic principle that people without much power shouldn’t be used as instruments to make satirical points.

    3. Emolee
      Emolee March 11, 2013 at 2:53 pm |

      Agree that probably they were trying to satirize misogyny, but also that it was a massive fail and that they never considered race or Quvenzhane’s feelings. Quvenzhane was likely not the intended target of the “joke,” but she was certainly the collateral damage. And in what world is that ok? If you have to deeply insult a little girl in a sexualized way to make your “joke,” which is supposed to be social commentary, you are doing it very, very wrong. I’m sorry, Quvenzhane.

    4. closetpuritan
      closetpuritan March 12, 2013 at 4:02 pm |

      Yes, I thought it was fairly obvious that they were going for, if not “satire of media misogyny,” at least, “no one would call a 9-year-old a cunt, it’s funny because it’s ridiculous”! But when you remember the reaction from some Hunger Games fans when they found out Rue was black, it’s no longer seems quite so obvious that that’s what they were going for. I agree with you that the “I don’t see race” attitude is probably why this happened.

    5. kungfulola
      kungfulola March 13, 2013 at 10:31 am |

      Secondly, they put exactly no thought into the fact that the target of their satirical comment was *black*. Because racism exists, it’s impossible to satirize misogyny by making a comment about a black woman, because you’re bringing race into the mix. (You could satirize misogynistic racism, the specific mixture of poison that’s focused against women of color… but don’t, not if you are the Onion.) It’s also impossible, in a world where Sasha and Malia Obama are routinely attacked by the right wing in horrible ways for being the daughters of the first black President, to say something horrible about a black girl that people would take as “but no one would ever seriously mean that”… because people seriously mean horrible things they say about black little girls every goddamn day.

      This is exactly why I think what The Onion said is inexcusable. If Twitter had been around when Anna Paquin won her Oscar, The Onion would have said it about her, and the satire would have been glaringly obvious; “Hahaha she’s an adorable sweetheart! Onion, you are so absurd.” Saying it about a little girl of colour, in a world where people of colour are constantly devalued and marginalized, is just a gut punch. There is no absurdity there, and it’s enraging.

  7. Raging Leftie (@ragingleftie)
    Raging Leftie (@ragingleftie) March 11, 2013 at 2:25 pm |

    This kind of thing makes me so angry.

  8. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil March 11, 2013 at 2:33 pm |

    I had stuff planned out, and then I looked at so many other posts going up that said Holy shit, can you believe that happened? That’s not okay at all in ways far more eloquent than I, and then went on to say far more poignant and intelligent stuff than I’d think to say, and I felt mine was redundant. I thought it had been done better, and that as a white woman, it wouldn’t be my place to comment on the experience of a young black girl.

    That’s a seriously fucked up way of thinking.

    I think it’s a pretty common response though. If I say, “Holy shit, the Onion called Quvenzhané Wallis a [misogynistic slur],” then what? I mean, I don’t consider myself qualified to analyze the racial aspects of that Tweet and the ways in which young black girls are sexualized and oppressed in American society. (Hello, white privilege!) Combine that with all of the times feminist and other progressive blogs have totally screwed up when it comes to discussing racism, and it hardly seems surprising that there’s silence from mainstream feminist blogs.

    (Side note: the resistance to pronouncing Quvenzhané reminds me of when Sonia Sotomayor was nominated to the Supreme Court and all of these conservative commentators complained that it was so hard to pronounce her last name and why wasn’t the emphasis on the first syllable. Other tangent: sports commentators don’t seem to have this problem and they deal with all sorts of names. Apparently male athletes are entitled to respect.)

    1. Anon21
      Anon21 March 11, 2013 at 2:41 pm |

      (Side note: the resistance to pronouncing Quvenzhané reminds me of when Sonia Sotomayor was nominated to the Supreme Court and all of these conservative commentators complained that it was so hard to pronounce her last name and why wasn’t the emphasis on the first syllable. Other tangent: sports commentators don’t seem to have this problem and they deal with all sorts of names. Apparently male athletes are entitled to respect.)

      Not to detract from your point about Sotomayor, but I’d say sports commentators are really a mixed bag on this. A big star like Albert Pujols will have his name consistently pronounced correctly (not that “Pujols” is especially difficult if you know that that’s how “j” is normally pronounced in Spanish), but less-established players may see their names ridiculously butchered, and even worse, mocked by white dudes who aren’t used to pronouncing foreign names.

  9. tmc
    tmc March 11, 2013 at 3:03 pm |

    Starting from age zero is too fucking right. My daughter was a week shy of her first birthday and could barely toddle further than a couple of steps without falling when a random white woman in an IHOP asked my beautiful smiling black child (in a high-pitched singsong voice) if my girl would like to go home with this strange woman to wash her dishes and do her laundry. Before I’d even had a chance to process what had just been said, the woman was out the front door and gone.

    My daughter was none the wiser but I was horrified and hurt. This was during Obama’s first year in office, and we were spending our vacation at a beach in the south, as we do every year. We’d never had a problem in the previous decade that we’d been vacationing there, but that week was full to the brim of microaggressions from white strangers. My entire family was targeted, and not even the youngest of us, my daughter, was spared.

    There is no mercy for black children. None. A black child is as disposable and unwanted as the rest of us. Maybe even moreso since they represent the potential for a future that racist white America does not want.

    I’m particularly sour right now because I just got finished reading a book about the medical atrocities visited upon black folks in the US, and I can’t shake the image of Dr. Marion Sims (the so-called “father of American gynecology”) prying open the skulls of black newborns with a shoemaker’s awl in front of their mothers out of my fucking head.

    1. FashionablyEvil
      FashionablyEvil March 11, 2013 at 3:12 pm |

      My daughter was a week shy of her first birthday and could barely toddle further than a couple of steps without falling when a random white woman in an IHOP asked my beautiful smiling black child (in a high-pitched singsong voice) if my girl would like to go home with this strange woman to wash her dishes and do her laundry.

      Oh my goodness. I can’t even imagine how horrible that must have been for you. (I would want to strangle the person who decided to introduce my child to the horrors and injustices of the world like that.)

      1. tmc
        tmc March 13, 2013 at 9:23 am |

        Yeah. Baby’s First Racist Encounter (that I knew of). One for the scrapbook.

    2. Amelia the Lurker
      Amelia the Lurker March 11, 2013 at 3:48 pm |

      I’m particularly sour right now because I just got finished reading a book about the medical atrocities visited upon black folks in the US, and I can’t shake the image of Dr. Marion Sims (the so-called “father of American gynecology”) prying open the skulls of black newborns with a shoemaker’s awl in front of their mothers out of my fucking head.

      I had to look that up, and I realized that this is the same motherfucker who performed countless (failed) experimental procedures on enslaved women with fistulas and then had the gall to claim that they wanted to undergo them. He did it without anesthesia, too, even though it existed.

      Also, he has a statue in Central Park. You might as well put up a statue of Mengele too.

      I feel sick.

      1. tmc
        tmc March 13, 2013 at 9:21 am |

        Yeah. It technically could be worse, I guess. At least he doesn’t have a bank holiday in his honor (like Columbus).

    3. Cora
      Cora March 11, 2013 at 4:21 pm |

      Was it Medical Apartheid that you’ve been reading? I just started it, and it’s incredibly disturbing.

      1. tmc
        tmc March 11, 2013 at 4:49 pm |

        Yes. I just finished it this morning after slogging through it for a month. There were many times when I had to just put it down, walk away, and come back when I could handle more.

        1. Cora
          Cora March 11, 2013 at 6:43 pm |

          I do that every few pages. It’s slow going, but absolutely necessary reading.

        2. tmc
          tmc March 13, 2013 at 9:20 am |

          Agreed.

    4. igglanova
      igglanova March 11, 2013 at 8:58 pm |

      I’m particularly sour right now because I just got finished reading a book about the medical atrocities visited upon black folks in the US, and I can’t shake the image of Dr. Marion Sims (the so-called “father of American gynecology”) prying open the skulls of black newborns with a shoemaker’s awl in front of their mothers out of my fucking head.

      Oh my fucking god, it’s no wonder it would take a person quite a while to slog through a book like that. Absolutely horrific.

      1. tmc
        tmc March 13, 2013 at 9:19 am |

        It hurt to read. It’s a good and worthwhile read, and I think that everyone (especially white folks and allies) should absolutely read it. But it hurt.

        1. Computer Soldier Porygon
          Computer Soldier Porygon March 13, 2013 at 9:32 am |

          Thanks for the rec. Just added it to my holds.

    5. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune March 11, 2013 at 9:11 pm |

      a random white woman in an IHOP asked my beautiful smiling black child (in a high-pitched singsong voice) if my girl would like to go home with this strange woman to wash her dishes and do her laundry

      Jesus motherfucking christ. How did you manage not to stab her in the eye? You’ve got the patience of a saint.

      1. tmc
        tmc March 13, 2013 at 9:18 am |

        I was just too slow. She was out the door before I even realized what she’d said.

    6. trees
      trees March 11, 2013 at 9:36 pm |

      This reminds me of a story my good friend told me once. When she was just a wee tot sitting in the front of the shopping cart at the grocery store in a predominating white area (accompanied by her mom who is white) when a little white girl pointed to her and said “Look mom, a baby maid!”.

      @tmc
      I’m sorry tmc, that fucking sucks. It’s one thing when it happens to you, a grown woman, but to know that even your little baby girl isn’t safe, well that’s just too much to carry in your heart.

      1. tmc
        tmc March 13, 2013 at 9:18 am |

        Some parents are afraid of when they start having to talk about sex with their kids. That doesn’t bug me; as far as I’m concerned, sex education is an ongoing conversation and we’ve already started – she knows what a vulva and penis and breasts are, and as she gets older we’ll continue to have more details and nuanced discussions about sex and sexuality.

        But I’m terrified of when I’m going to have to tell her what happened to our ancestors, what slavery was, why certain children won’t play with her, why it’s going to be so much harder for her in life than it will be for her white cousin [chosen family], about Mississippi appendectomies, Dr. Sims murdering black babies and butchering black women, stop-and-frisk violations, the prison industrial complex, the war on drugs, Trayvon Martin and Emmett Till, why everyone (including her grandmother) is going to pressure her to straighten her hair, the Tuskegee study, the Hopkins lead study, Henrietta Lacks and how white people are making billions off of the theft of a black woman’s flesh. I’m going to have to tell her that she just isn’t safe and likely never really will be, not in the way that white people are safe.

        Right now she just doesn’t know. And as much as I wish I could keep it that way, I can’t. And it’s terrifying.

        1. miga
          miga March 13, 2013 at 6:04 pm |

          I’m not sure of how old your daughter is, but my parents made it an ongoing conversation as well. They provided a lot of books from different cultures in addition to the standard children’s fare, they made sure to point out racism, sexism, and other inappropriate behavior when it occurred in media (I remember convos specifically about the portrayal of violence as funny and about stereotypes of Native Americans in Peter Pan) and they told us stories about racist things that happened to them growing up. Of course some of that’s going to have to come up when someone says something awful to your child or your child says something awful to someone; then you’ll need a discussion on it. But maybe it helps? My parents were fond of giving me lots of books and letting convos come up naturally.

        2. trees
          trees March 13, 2013 at 6:20 pm |

          @tmc
          Sadly, some of this stuff you’ll probably never have to tell her as it will be her everyday experience. But she’s really lucky to have a mom who is supportive and aware, and knows what it’s like to grow up in a predominately white area. This could make a world of difference. I have friends who were raised by white parents in all-white small towns, and the stories they tell are horrifying. While their parents were completely unable to support them, your baby girl will have the benefit of having you as her mom. Sending you best wishes and hugs.

    7. PrettyAmiable
      PrettyAmiable March 12, 2013 at 1:19 pm |

      My daughter was a week shy of her first birthday and could barely toddle further than a couple of steps without falling when a random white woman in an IHOP asked my beautiful smiling black child (in a high-pitched singsong voice) if my girl would like to go home with this strange woman to wash her dishes and do her laundry.

      I can’t even.

      I am so sorry this happened to you, and it makes me hate humanity. “Post-racial,” FFS.

      1. tmc
        tmc March 13, 2013 at 9:04 am |

        I was hurt and mad, but it wasn’t the worst. The worst is taking her to a children’s gym and watching white child after white child refuse to play with her or even come near her, or to watch white children abandon their toys or games when she tries to join them, apparently deciding that they would rather not play at all than play with my brown-skinned baby.

        I came home in tears after a Halloween party in which it was made pretty clear that not only did the white children did not want to play with my child (who was the only non-white child there), but that their parents expected me to remove her from any play area their children wanted to play in so that they could have the space all to themselves. I got glares and other not-so-subtle hints that I needed to remove her from “their” space. I let her play anyway. I cried and cried about it later, but fuck ‘em. I let her play wherever she wanted.

        That was the worst, so far. And she’s only 3.

        1. EG
          EG March 13, 2013 at 11:04 am |

          I am so, so sorry. That is horrible and disgusting. I wish I could say something to make it better.

        2. Emolee
          Emolee March 13, 2013 at 1:17 pm |

          I am so sorry that this is happening. It makes me very sad and angry.

        3. tigtog
          tigtog March 13, 2013 at 4:22 pm | *

          tmc, I can’t begin to properly imagine what that must be like for you. I’m so sad and sorry for you and your little one.

        4. Hrovitnir
          Hrovitnir March 14, 2013 at 1:52 am |

          That is so awful tmc. So so awful.

    8. (BFing)Sarah
      (BFing)Sarah March 12, 2013 at 4:28 pm |

      [mouth agape] Holy. I just can’t even. To your daughter? What the fuck are people even thinking??! I feel ill just contemplating that. Its really not right that most of the time when stuff like that happens you don’t even have time to respond because you are so shocked.

      I’m telling you, right after The Onion made that appalling comment about Quvenzhané Wallis there was a link on this hair care site I like and there was a woman on there who was arguing that it was no different than when Sarah Palin’s daughter was mistreated by the media and “why does it have to be about race?” This is a (white) woman with a white daughter and a black daughter (adopted) and she thought/thinks that race doesn’t enter into the equation. Somehow, she seemed to think that young black girls are not treated any more badly than young white girls. I was so angry and I really wanted to process it here in a space like this, but there was no post about it so I just fumed and raged about it to myself.

      1. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune March 12, 2013 at 4:59 pm |

        FUcking fuck.

        If you want to discuss it/vent/process, Sarah, I’m more than game for taking it to the spillover thread. I’m wondering how the hell she came to that conclusion. O_O

        1. (BFing)Sarah
          (BFing)Sarah March 12, 2013 at 11:09 pm |

          Thanks–sigh. I’ve had some talks with my SIL and my long suffering spouse, but it really makes me worry about that little girl…that her mother is so clueless about the way the world (still, today) works. Ugh.

      2. tmc
        tmc March 13, 2013 at 8:56 am |

        White folks who try to convince their black children that race doesn’t matter just burn me up. I internalized enough fucked up shit just from going to an all-white school and having teachers regularly handwave the racism I dealt with; at least I could come home to a family and neighborhood that understood. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have a parent dismiss me the way that my teachers and fellow students did.

        1. (BFing)Sarah
          (BFing)Sarah March 13, 2013 at 6:03 pm |

          I know, right? I mean if you don’t have a BASIC understanding of the way that the world works why are you making pronouncements about it? There is a certain group of white people raising black children that seem to think that there is only one way of seeing the world–and, of course, it is the way they see it. They just can’t see how anyone else has had different experiences or would have different views and I really think that they believe that they can just ignore racism away for their kids. Like all the rest of us that live in the real world are just making stuff up and creating problems that don’t really exist just for laughs. Like “Weeeeeeeeeeeeeee!! I just “choose” to see race!”

        2. PeggyLuWho
          PeggyLuWho March 13, 2013 at 9:43 pm |

          Being the only member of my bi-racial (white and native american) family that looks even remotely non-white (and really the majority of the world perceives me as white) was, uh, interesting, to say the least. When I would complain to my white mother about things people would say about my almond shaped eyes, she’d say helpful things like “I don’t think you look like that. You just look like Peggy to me.” Racism from your own mom is pretty…cute.

        3. Donella
          Donella March 14, 2013 at 12:14 pm |

          No dash in biracial. Dash needed in almond-shaped. White and Native American capitalized.

        4. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune March 14, 2013 at 12:34 pm |

          No dash in biracial. Dash needed in almond-shaped. White and Native American capitalized.

          Assholery added.

        5. PeggyLuWho
          PeggyLuWho March 14, 2013 at 12:42 pm |

          Noted.

        6. Donna L
          Donna L March 14, 2013 at 2:19 pm |

          I disagree that “white” requires capitalization. The only people I know of who make a practice of capitalizing that word are Aryan Nation types.

        7. EG
          EG March 14, 2013 at 2:45 pm |

          No dash in biracial. Dash needed in almond-shaped. White and Native American capitalized.

          In your comment, “biracial,” “almond-shaped,” “White,” and “Native American” should be in quotations marks, and I’m quite certain that you mean that the first letters of “White” and “Native American” should be capitalized, not the entire words.

          There. Seen and raised. Now, do you have anything substantive to say to Peggy, or are you just an asshole?

        8. PeggyLuWho
          PeggyLuWho March 14, 2013 at 2:52 pm |

          I suspect that ze is just being particular because I corrected zir when ze misidentified Amandla Stenberg.

          It’s okay. Nothing can bother me today. I love everyone.

        9. EG
          EG March 14, 2013 at 3:00 pm |

          On a thread that is partially about getting Quvenzhané Wallis’s name right? It’s still asshole behavior.

          And, sigh. Why is it one always makes typos when correcting somebody else’s errors? I think it was my unconscious trying to prevent me from stooping to that level.

        10. Mike
          Mike March 17, 2013 at 10:12 pm |

          Only reasons I can think of (as a white male) are 1) the white parents feel guilty on some level that they enjoy white privilege while their children don’t, and so instead of openly acknowledging this, they project that there is in fact no white privilege. 2) The white parents realize that their children of color will be socially expected to pretend the world is color-blind and basically stay quiet about racism (because to do otherwise is self-pity or “playing the race-card”), so the parents try to instill this attitude early by making a policy of just not talking about race. They fear that if they raise children who speak out openly about racism, their children will be accused on “racial entitlement,” “wanting handouts,” “rocking the boat/hating white people,” etc.
          3) The white parents have never experienced racism, so they really are oblivious to it and thus have no idea what to talk about.

          Obviously, I am not saying that any of these are good reasons for parents not to have a conversation about race. They’re not. “Not knowing how to talk about it” or feeling uncomfortable are not good excuses for parents not to have the sex talk with their children, because it is something that the kids simply need to know about. Is race really any less important?

    9. t
      t March 12, 2013 at 5:02 pm |

      You’re a saint just for not punching that woman in the face like I would have.

      1. tmc
        tmc March 13, 2013 at 8:52 am |

        No, not patient, just slow. She was gone before I had even fully registered what had been said.

    10. Mike
      Mike March 17, 2013 at 11:21 pm |

      My daughter was a week shy of her first birthday and could barely toddle further than a couple of steps without falling when a random white woman in an IHOP asked my beautiful smiling black child (in a high-pitched singsong voice) if my girl would like to go home with this strange woman to wash her dishes and do her laundry.

      There are few things I read here that actually surprise me, but seriously wtf that is awful. What kind of person actually says that in public to a baby? I am so sorry that your family’s day was tarnished by this asshat, and I sincerely hope that by the time your daughter is old enough to navigate the world on her own, there is a lot less bigotry in it.

      1. Mike
        Mike March 17, 2013 at 11:21 pm |

        What kind of person actually says that (period)

  10. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla March 11, 2013 at 3:22 pm |

    I’m saddened and outraged at the way Quvenzhané was treated. I’m ashamed to say that saw her name in headlines but didn’t go ahead and read any of the stories until now.

  11. Lauren
    Lauren March 11, 2013 at 5:06 pm |

    I liked Melissa Harris-Perry’s comedy rule, borrowed from The Apollo: Don’t boo the babies.

    Keep kids off limits.

  12. Donella
    Donella March 11, 2013 at 9:00 pm |

    As pointed out by the article writer, blue-eyed blondes Abigail Breslin and Dakota Fanning were spared The Onion’s satire as was Jennifer Lawrence. That The Onion targeted Quvenzhane Wallis (and she was targeted, “satire” is their cover) for vulgar insult is suspect for that reason. Harvey Weinstein would have fallen upon The Onion like a ton of bricks if the staffers had dared to use vulgar language like that against Jennifer Lawrence who just like Wallis exhibited confident exuberance at the Academy Awards. This is White female privilege, the protection of powerful White males. I still remember reading/watching John Grisham’s A Time to Kill when he instructed the White jurors to imagine the Black girl victim of White rapists was also White in order to pull the least amount of compassion and empathy from them on the rape victim’s behalf. Sick. We saw a similar scenario when fans of The Hunger Games tweeted racist, ignorant comments about Amanda Steinberg as Prim when they realized she was Black. Sick. When Rush Limbaugh opened his mouth to call Sandra Fluke a slut, I did not see many people defending that, explaining that, or bragging about having a sense of humor and the ability to “understand the intent of Limbaugh’s joke.” For a grown adult male to sexualize a nine-year-old girl is sick and unacceptable and extremely strange. But attempt to hide this sick, unacceptable, and strange behavior behind a cloak of “satire” is cynical and typical of White men of privilege. The silence of those who refuse to speak against this behavior is consent and also privilege.

    1. PeggyLuWho
      PeggyLuWho March 13, 2013 at 9:48 pm |

      Amanda Steinberg as Prim

      Amandla Stenberg as Rue, not Prim. And you misspelled it.

      1. piny
        piny March 13, 2013 at 10:05 pm |

        Oh, shit, I did too! Thanks. I’ll go fix it. I should have been more careful.

        1. Donella
          Donella March 19, 2013 at 12:50 pm |

          That’s okay, piny. The copyeditors will always be among us. Meanwhile Quvenzhane keeps smiling and winning and that’s what’s important.

  13. EG
    EG March 11, 2013 at 10:47 pm |

    All that is dreadful. I knew about the tweet, but nothing else. Adults who attack or hurt children for any reason whatsoever burn in my personal vision of hell. Those who do so for the sake of racism burn after being soaked in gasoline.

  14. ellid
    ellid March 11, 2013 at 11:12 pm |

    Seth MacFarlane is a disgusting, talentless pig. Cannot STAND him, his shows, or crude, ugly excuse for humor.

  15. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune March 11, 2013 at 11:46 pm |

    Well, in terms of difficult names… I tend to give people passes on my RL name, which is usually mangled except by people with pretty much exactly my own background (Indian, educated in Sanskrit). This includes people in my family, in every country I’ve gone to, etc. (It baffles me, because my name’s phonetic and has only two syllables, but whatever.) But I’ve always hated people who go with “yeah I’ll just call you X”. It’s just profoundly disrespectful and shitty.

    1. EG
      EG March 12, 2013 at 12:04 am |

      Yes, it is. If people want you to call them by a nickname, they will tell you.

      1. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune March 12, 2013 at 12:08 am |

        Yes!!!

        I love a sincere mangler better than a lazy asshole any day.

      2. Donna L
        Donna L March 12, 2013 at 1:24 am |

        I sometimes wish that my own father had followed that policy: in my former incarnation, he was the only person, ever, who called me by a common nickname for my old name. A nickname I disliked intensely. You’d think he would have noticed that I never used it in saying my name to him or anyone else, but no. He never was very observant about things like that. At a certain point, it was just too last to say anything; I was too embarrassed to tell him that I really didn’t like what he’d been calling me for the previous 20 or 30 years. Thank God there’s no available nickname at all for Donna!

        1. Donna L
          Donna L March 12, 2013 at 1:24 am |

          Too late, not “too last,” whatever that means.

    2. miga
      miga March 12, 2013 at 5:01 am |

      Gawd, I hate that. My name is usually mispronounced too, and I usually give people a pass if they stumble the first few times because it’s foreign (e.g. not Western). During my high school years I did competitions a lot, and I knew when people went to announce a name and stalled they probably meant me. My parents have to do this too- the nurse misspelled my mom’s name on her birth certificate, and my mom, aunts, and uncles all had to argue with my great aunts that my grandmother was not “Connie” and shouldn’t be called such out of convenience. And I don’t mind nicknames from people who already know my name and how to pronounce it–those are badges of familiarity and fondness, like adding the ~ita to the end of a name if you’re speaking Spanish, or ~chan for Japanese. I don’t even necessarily mind the questions that come with explaining my name.

      But when people refuse to bother or want a nickname to cover the fact that they can’t bother? That pisses me off. I used to feel badly about this and become too embarrassed or tired to correct people- I had an English teacher (who doubled in phoenetics!) in high school who mispronounced my name the entire semester, though I constantly and politely corrected her. The name she called me sounded like the name of a famous whale, and was really embarrassing. Eventually I just gave up, but the whole class stepped in for me and would correct her. She never did learn to do it.

      It got so bad that sometimes well meaning people would ask me to remind them and I would tell them I didn’t care. These people, most of them black women, would remind me that it was MY name and I had a right to have it pronounced correctly. That I had a right to say no to a nickname given out of convenience. I had really low self-esteem back then and it shocked me, but now I carry it with me.

      1. t
        t March 12, 2013 at 4:58 pm |

        It’s obvious your teacher was doing it on purpose to humiliate you. If your classmates could properly pronounce your name (and correct her on top of it), so could she.

      2. Donna L
        Donna L March 13, 2013 at 1:43 pm |

        I still remember my 8th-grade English teacher making fun of me for allegedly mispronouncing my own name (a fairly common Jewish surname with an atypical spelling), and supposedly not knowing how to pronounce it. (He insisted on giving it a German pronunciation, which nobody in my father’s family has used since they arrived here in 1888. And they weren’t from Germany anyway.) He continued to insist on pronouncing it his way the rest of the year. At some point, I just gave up on correcting him. What made it worse, in my eyes, was that he wasn’t even Jewish. What did he know?

    3. pheenobarbidoll
      pheenobarbidoll March 13, 2013 at 1:27 pm |

      I’d say name mangling has become more common because we’re able to expose ourselves to people from all over the planet now, and we’re no longer restricted to geographical languages. Like, is the first syllable most often stressed or the second? Do you use a long I or A ..etc?

      Take Demi Moore’s name for example. It’s simple by appearances standards. 4 letters, 2 syllables.

      but

      Hear it pronounced over several different locations in the same country and you can get several different pronunciations. And this is between people who share a common language!

      Is it Deh-MEE?
      Is it Dem-ee?
      Is it DUHmee?

      And so on.

      Her name can be considered difficult to pronounce. But you don’t see people refusing to even try, or replacing her name with a nickname they just made up right then, because she’s a white lady and people make an effort for white people.

    4. PeggyLuWho
      PeggyLuWho March 13, 2013 at 10:04 pm |

      My RL given last name is pretty damned unpronounceable, despite that it’s the phonetic English spelling, and not the Gaelic Scottish. I answer to anything that comes close, including if someone just stutters McMcMc a few times. When people see it written, and ask my father how it is pronounced, he says ‘Genstornanswitch’ which he thinks is hilarious.

      And to add insult to injury, the last Scot in the family was about seven generations ago. The damn name just keeps getting passed down.

  16. irieagogo
    irieagogo March 12, 2013 at 1:13 am |

    Ol’ Ben Afleck was clenching his jaw and all red in the face when he said, “I thought the evening was going well but I’m sure you’ll drag it down, Seth” (paraphrased).

    I choose to believe he was thinking ofthe “jokes” at Quvenzhané’s expense. He has daughters.

  17. Angie unduplicated
    Angie unduplicated March 12, 2013 at 9:35 am |

    Am I the only woman on the planet who is disgusted by Assholeywood’s stereotyping of rural African-Americans as “beasts”?
    Why hasn’t the Onion writer been fired (or did I miss this)?
    The comment, and the unsavory fact that copy editors allowed its publication, left me in stunned shock.
    I will swear till I die that the nostalgia for the Confederacy is perpetuated by tiny-peckered Southern semimales seeking prepubescent sex slaves. Now the damyanks have their backs. Disgusting

    1. Angel H.
      Angel H. March 12, 2013 at 10:37 am |

      Am I the only woman on the planet who is disgusted by Assholeywood’s stereotyping of rural African-Americans as “beasts”?

      We in the Black community would like to extend our appreciation of your horror and disgust because apparently, we were all too busy not giving a damn.

      Seriously though, get the fuck over yourself. Since I’m assuming you’re focusing on the title of Quvenzhane’s movie and not the years racist tropes forcing Black actors and actresses to portray thugs, jezebels, and mammies, it would’ve been nice if you’d done so much as wiki the movie to learn that the “beasts” are referring to prehistoric animals.

      1. Donna L
        Donna L March 12, 2013 at 12:04 pm |

        Yes, it’s right there if you look up the movie on Wikipedia. It takes about 60 seconds. It actually never crossed my mind for one second that the word “Beasts” in the title referred to Black people or any other human beings.

        Being pedantic: Aurochs (the ancestors of modern domestic cattle) weren’t exactly prehistoric: there were lots of them in Germany and elsewhere in Central and Eastern Europe back at the time of the Romans, and the last, lonely aurochs died in the Jaktorów Forest, Poland in 1627.

    2. stonebiscuit
      stonebiscuit March 12, 2013 at 11:27 am |

      The Onion tweeter and those responsible were non-specifically disciplined, per the apology.

      1. Donella
        Donella March 13, 2013 at 3:01 pm |

        Until The Onion identifies and then fires the tweeter, they are all pedophiles to me.

        1. tomek
          tomek March 13, 2013 at 3:15 pm |

          the head of a giraffe against a bright blue sky: its mouth is pursed sideways

          [Moderator note: excessively hostile/judgemental remarks toward another commentor deleted. Rephrase your objections.]

        2. tomek
          tomek March 13, 2013 at 5:03 pm |

          i think you are wrong to use the word “pedophile” in this way. many children have been abused by actual pedophile. changing the meaning of word to use agaisnt someone you dont like very much, disrespect them.

    3. jojo
      jojo March 13, 2013 at 11:55 am |

      I’m confused by your wording, Angie. If you’re looking for a critique of the film and its problems, here’s a good one by bell hooks:
      http://newblackman.blogspot.com/2012/09/bell-hooks-no-love-in-wild.html

      1. jojo
        jojo March 13, 2013 at 11:56 am |

        oh oops. posted lower in the thread

      2. Donna L
        Donna L March 13, 2013 at 12:10 pm |

        I guess nobody but me noticed the rather appropriative misuse of the word “transgender” in that review? Not that I should be surprised, given that bell hooks has never shown even the tiniest understanding of trans people or trans issues. (See her well-known review of Paris Is Burning, which most non-trans people seem to think is so amazing and wonderful but which I think is, in many ways, one of the more clueless things I’ve ever read in my life.)

        1. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune March 13, 2013 at 12:52 pm |

          Paris Is Burning, which most non-trans people seem to think is so amazing and wonderful but which I think is, in many ways, one of the more clueless things I’ve ever read in my life

          So, not just me, then. Cool. I thought I was a horrible person.

        2. Donna L
          Donna L March 13, 2013 at 1:35 pm |

          Definitely not just you. I don’t want to get into this too much here because it’s kind of off-topic (and wouldn’t have mentioned it at all if two different people hadn’t posted a link to bell hooks’s recent review without mentioning anything about her misuse of “transgender”), but as valid as her criticisms of Jennie Livingston may be (for being an “outsider” to the community she was documenting, in a racial sense, and not being able to understand it), it’s truly amazing to me how much of Paris is Burning seemed to go right over her head. Like the fact that quite a few of those “men” she keeps talking about were actually trans women, and made that quite clear in the movie itself. Like her approving quotation of someone’s claim that the “effeminacy” of black gay men is some sort of deliberate, unnatural performance that’s imitative of white women. Like her apparent assumption that the late Venus Xtravaganza (an Italian-American trans woman) was a “fair-skinned” black or Latino man. Like her complaint that the movie ignored the families of the people in it — apparently she wasn’t aware that for many of them, the “houses” were their families, and that their biological families wanted nothing to do with them. And so on. Speaking of being a clueless outsider. I know a lot of people seem to assume that because bell hooks had a famous dispute with Mary Daly, that must mean she’s trans-friendly. Ha.

        3. trees
          trees March 13, 2013 at 6:03 pm |

          @DonnaL

          I think I totally missed that when I read the review a few months back. I must have been so focused on her analysis of the father/daughter relationship, and the violence visited upon the little girl, that I didn’t see much beyond that. Thanks for pointing it out. Also thank you for giving your take on hooks’ treatment of transgender issues in general.

        4. Radiant Sophia
          Radiant Sophia March 14, 2013 at 12:21 pm |

          Donna, mac,
          seconded (thirded?)

  18. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune March 12, 2013 at 11:19 am |

    As an aside note, Coursera’s offering a course on black women in the Civil Rights Movement, for any non-black people here who might be interested. (I’m incredibly interested, but it runs across finals week for me and has a fairly heavy courseload, so I can’t do it this time around.)

  19. Angie unduplicated
    Angie unduplicated March 12, 2013 at 11:36 am |

    I sincerely apologize. Wikipedia is not the most accurate source for news, so I only see it on redirects. and I honestly saw no commentary, anywhere, on the subject. As a native Southern white of multiracial ancestry, I’ve heard People of color referred to as beasts and animals all my life, and I still find the title suspicious. I called it the way I saw it, without having the full picture from the people affected.

    1. wembley
      wembley March 12, 2013 at 1:35 pm |

      I mean, I’m sure there are critiques to be made of Beasts Of The Southern Wild… my mom thought the movie was a little Othering and we were kind of suspicious of the director being this young white dude, but we’re both white, too, so what the fuck do we know? Anyway, off-topic for this conversation.

    2. trees
      trees March 12, 2013 at 6:28 pm |

      I cringed my way through that movie. bell hooks’ criticism helped me make sense of my experience: No Love in the Wild

      1. tinfoil hattie
        tinfoil hattie March 12, 2013 at 9:52 pm |

        I didn’t want to see it, because I had a bad feeling about it. From bell hooks’s review, my suspicions were well-founded, and I made the right decision.

        I hated “The Help,” FWIW.

      2. Tamara
        Tamara March 13, 2013 at 3:22 am |

        That was a fascinating review. I saw the film and found it very disturbing and difficult to watch for many of the reasons hooks discusses. I am white but not USian, perhaps that’s why the “romanticism” was lost on me?

      3. wembley
        wembley March 13, 2013 at 8:14 am |

        Sort of relieved by hearing this, tbh!

      4. wembley
        wembley March 13, 2013 at 8:14 am |

        Should have added: “because it means my suspicions weren’t totally crazy.”

  20. wembley
    wembley March 12, 2013 at 1:33 pm |

    Man, that shit was fucked up. I was just thinking about that little girl this morning and how she’s so badass and adorable. I really hope she had no idea about the tweet, and that hopefully, due to being nine years old, the full BLEARGH of McFarlane’s joke went over her head, but nine year olds are young, not stupid, so who knows.

  21. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune March 12, 2013 at 2:58 pm |

    Holy shit that takedown by Pia Glenn was delicious. And amazing. And eloquent. And gloriously goddamn gruesome.

    “I’ve gritted my teeth for too long and they are now fangs.”

    FUCKING PERFECT.

    (sorry, had to squee)

  22. Sharon Cullars
    Sharon Cullars March 12, 2013 at 3:07 pm |

    One thing that needs to be referenced is that some who defended the Onion’s “satire” stated that Quvenzhane’s attitude somehow brought on the slur. I actually had to go to task against someone on another board who when asked why Dakota Fanning had not gone through this type of debasement proceeded to respond, “But did Dakota do anything to warrant it?” The inference is then that Quvenzhane did “do” something. I saw many posts from some adults who said that her “attitude” was unattractive. One couldn’t help think that the word “uppity” applied. Because how dare she correct people on her name, or pump her arms before the cameras, or speak eloquently? Doesn’t she know she’s black?

    1. EG
      EG March 12, 2013 at 4:33 pm |

      That is appalling. How, precisely, is a nine-year-old supposed to be and feel when she’s nominated for a best actress oscar? How high is the bar for not being called names? Oh, I see. It’s not a bar; it’s a color swatch.

    2. (BFing)Sarah
      (BFing)Sarah March 12, 2013 at 4:36 pm |

      Oh yes! People were all over it being her “attitude”! She’s NINE and she’s nominated for an Oscar, but you expect her not to be excited or confident??!!

    3. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune March 12, 2013 at 5:31 pm |

      Nine-year-old acts like nine-year-old, racists act like racists. News at 11.

      (Seriously, though, that’s obscene.)

      1. Lolagirl
        Lolagirl March 14, 2013 at 11:13 am |

        It is seriously obscene.

        I’m not even able to come up with the right words to express how horrible the whole thing is. Quvenzhene is such a poised and talented girl, and the way she has been treated leaves no question of the racism that is behind that poor treatment.

    4. Hrovitnir
      Hrovitnir March 12, 2013 at 9:46 pm |

      Fucking hell. That is an excellent demonstration of why the Onion should NOT have gone there. It seems fairly obvious, since ALL the Onion does is satire, that Quvenzhané was used because she was seen as above reproach.

      Quite apart from how abusing a child like that is NEVER OK, those comments illustrate perfectly how little black girls never get to be above reproach. :(

      It makes me feel so angry and sick.

      1. Amelia the Lurker
        Amelia the Lurker March 13, 2013 at 4:17 am |

        Exactly—they used her as the subject of the tweet because she’s an adorable nine-year-old girl, and thus the last person who would ever be called such a slur…but they might have spoken too soon, given how many idiots actually did have problems with her “attitude.” Better to use someone less vulnerable (if you have to use anyone at all to make a throwaway joke satirizing the vapidity and viciousness of entertainment tabloids).

    5. Donella
      Donella March 13, 2013 at 3:16 pm |

      People who excuse their verbal sexual abuse of a child or make excuses for those who make verbal sexual abuse of a child should really consider rules of socially-appropriate interaction with a child. The Onion staffer who made the inappropriate tweet should be fired and until he is, the CEO’s equally culpable.

  23. t
    t March 12, 2013 at 5:12 pm |

    It’s amazing how the “kids are off limits” rule stops being of importance when it comes to children of color. Fucking disgusting.

    And the reporter telling her she’s going to call her Annie instead? Honestly, fuck her. As if not bothering to learn to pronounce her real name wasn’t disrespectful enough, she prefered to call her an Anglicized name because she just can’t deal with the ethnicness of “Quvenzhané”. That was so blatantly racist.

    1. EG
      EG March 12, 2013 at 5:14 pm |

      And also, the history of white people “renaming” black people because they couldn’t pronounce their actual names is so bound up with slavery and colonialism that invoking that history by being a condescending fuckwit is 100x awful.

      1. t
        t March 12, 2013 at 5:56 pm |

        I totally forgot about that particular aspect. Reminds me of that horrible scene in “Roots”. Just… ugh. I’m even more disgusted now.

  24. Mike
    Mike March 12, 2013 at 8:26 pm |

    I hope that this does not come off sounding like concern-trolling, but I am wondering when posting about this becomes redundant and simply leads to more traffic for the Onion. I have seen several white progressive talk about the Onion tweet recently. They all rightly criticized the Onion and noted that the C-word is both sexist and racist, but beyond that they basically echoed each other and provided no deeper analysis. I don’t think that every liberal blog, or every feminist blog, is “obligated” to dedicate at least one post to this incident. There are far too many important issues out there for every progressive blog to be spending time on the same story, especially a story that has been eloquently covered by many other feminists/progressives. Of course, if everyone thought this, than no one would say anything at all.
    The other reason why I am a bit uncomfortable posting about this is fear that this story will become what defines Quvenzhané Wallis. When googleing “Wallis,” most of the front page results are articles about the Onion’s comments; articles that give little mention to Quvenzhané’s role in “Beasts.” The only links on that first page of search results that mention her work are her Imbd link and a box in the right-hand corner that links to her wikipedia page. I think the best way that we can show support for Quvenzhané Wallis to talk as much as possible about her work and accomplishments, so that she is remembered for that, not as “that girl who got called a slur by the Onion.” However, I came to this discussion from the position of a white male, and I would defer to the opinions of those actually targeted by this slur, namely women and women of color. If feminists of color believe that continuing to signal boost and call out the Onion is productive, then I fully support that.
    On another note, I did not know about Seth McFarlane’s comment or the reporter condescendingly refusing to pronounce her name, which I found more offensive than the Onion tweet itself, given that Oscars themselves are a much more public platform than the Onion. I wish more progressives had talked about those aspects of the story instead of just attacking the Onion.

    1. Donella
      Donella March 13, 2013 at 3:07 pm |

      Sunlight is the best disinfectant. The only way to stop a pattern of ugly, subtle, micro-aggression attacks against little girls of color, specifically African American girls is to expose the pattern and call it what it is–racist misogyny. Until The Onion exposes the perpetrator of this attack on an underage girl who did nothing to deserve it, I consider the entire staff of The Onion and The Onion’s CEO equally culpable for their attack on Quvenzhane Wallis.

  25. piny
    piny March 13, 2013 at 1:46 pm |

    Yes, but–look, I’ve done this myself, but I think this is just conceit masquerading as concern. The reason you don’t help is not because you think you might screw up, not because you think you have nothing to add, but because you realize you can’t be the authoritative voice in this discussion. You’re not the star, you’re not the brilliant one.

    Part of white privilege is the feeling that you can’t participate if you’re not at the center of the discussion or the story. The right thing to do here was to center Quvenzhané as the victim and center a group of women of color as commentators. To remove white perceptions, including one’s own, from the “academy,” and play an uncredited bit part. To quietly shut up and hand off the microphone.

    The reason white feminists didn’t do that was because they still need to feel important. “For me or not for me” is still the most relevant question. And I think we need to understand that “I don’t feel qualified to have this discussion” isn’t just privilege manifesting as helplessness: it’s actually active racism manifesting as active dismissal and silencing. We do have an “X is brilliant; go listen to X” tradition: it shouldn’t even have been an issue here. We have an, “X is brilliant; we should have told you to go listen to X,” tradition. And I gotta say: I think the wealth of brilliant writing by WOC bloggers in response to MacFarlane et al. didn’t inspire awe so much as anxious jealousy.

    And part of getting out of this dynamic also means getting away from the “Yes, I fucked up, here’s why, here’s how I feel about that.” That’s still a lot of I. It’s like we reenter the discussion when it becomes a way to talk about ourselves again.

    Caperton (et al), I really don’t mean to set myself apart from this. I do it too; I have specific memory of doing it on this blog. I just…I hate to ascribe so much selfishness and bad motive to this repeat performance, but I don’t think it’s right to say we don’t “feel qualified.”

    1. tmc
      tmc March 13, 2013 at 6:01 pm |

      Yes.

    2. Denise Winters
      Denise Winters March 14, 2013 at 4:11 am |

      And part of getting out of this dynamic also means getting away from the “Yes, I fucked up, here’s why, here’s how I feel about that.” That’s still a lot of I.

      This, so much this.

  26. a lawyer
    a lawyer March 13, 2013 at 2:46 pm |

    “I don’t feel qualified to have this discussion” isn’t just privilege manifesting as helplessness: it’s actually active racism manifesting as active dismissal and silencing.

    Bollocks.

    First, you’re equating actively bad behavior (active dismissal, seriously?) to inaction.

    Second, you’re equating “silencing” (which means either actively taking a POV that prevents other people from expressing their views, or expressing your own views in a manner that dominates the discussion) to actual silence.

    Silence may be bad–it often is. Inaction may be bad–it often is.

    But silence is not silencing, and inaction is not activity. When you get to that level of doublespeak it gets ridiculous.

    1. piny
      piny March 13, 2013 at 3:09 pm |

      First of all, this exact thing–x racist or WOC-focused thing, silence from prominent white bloggers, belated apology and links to discussion–has happened dozens of times. So much so that it shouldn’t happen anymore, that, “I don’t feel qualified,” should go immediately to, “Oh, I guess I should just put up a link farm and be done with it.” We already know that feeling overwhelmed is a bad idea, that in practice it’s the same as just not giving a fuck.

      And one of the steps in the process is that reaction, “Where are the big bloggers?” so, like, it should take all of a day or so to course-correct and forget about it.

      That’s why I don’t think it’s so simple. We aren’t just feeling helplessness at this point: we aren’t just failing to act. We have had these feelings so often, failed to act so often, had post-mortem discussions of these feelings so often, promised to do better so often, that we no longer have any right to call this process passivity. At this point we are actively choosing helplessness.

      I’m not saying that the jealousy is conscious–I think it isn’t. But I think it’s there. And I think the reason we keep doing this is so that we can keep…not linking to the women of color who scoop and surpass our own writing on the issue. I think this is about not wanting to be upstaged, and I think that’s why it keeps manifesting as a sense of unworthiness, inadequacy.

      But I think it’s really, really important to stop thinking of it as a misguided but still arguably anti-racist intention–“I can’t do a good enough job at attacking racism, so I can’t try.” I don’t think that can be argued any longer.

      It isn’t true that remaining silent is distinct from silencing, not in a medium of collaborative, interlinked dialogue. We’ve had that discussion, too, and come down pretty firmly on the side of speaking as potentially helping others to speak. In fact, the original context of this blog was the polibloggers’ insistence that failing to ever speak to women was totally distinct from effectively silencing them. That was bollocks.

      1. tmc
        tmc March 13, 2013 at 6:02 pm |

        Yes to this too.

    2. piny
      piny March 13, 2013 at 3:13 pm |

      Second, you’re equating “silencing” (which means either actively taking a POV that prevents other people from expressing their views, or expressing your own views in a manner that dominates the discussion) to actual silence.

      I would also categorize this apology as the latter.

  27. AitchCS
    AitchCS March 13, 2013 at 4:34 pm |

    http://www.flickfilosopher.com/blog/2013/02/a_feminist_film_critic_defends.html

    Here is a white feminist film critic’s take on it. I would like to know what folks on here think about it.

    1. Angel H.
      Angel H. March 13, 2013 at 4:46 pm |

      Seriously, why would you even post that here?

      1. AitchCS
        AitchCS March 13, 2013 at 5:25 pm |

        To get opinions if anyone agrees or disagrees with Mary Ann Johnson and why and to create dialogue and discussion.
        Is this unacceptable?

        1. tigtog
          tigtog March 13, 2013 at 5:32 pm | *

          100+ comments in, on a post pointing out the many problems with prioritising the opinions of white women when it comes to what The Onion tweeted? At best it’s tone-deaf obtuse, and at worst it’s deliberately stirring the pot, given that Johnson’s post already sparked a huge storm elsewhere.

        2. Angel H.
          Angel H. March 14, 2013 at 9:54 am |

          Is this unacceptable?

          To post a link to a white woman who basically says that calling a 9 year old Black girl a cunt is not a big deal? Fuck yes, it’s unacceptable.

    2. tigtog
      tigtog March 13, 2013 at 5:00 pm | *

      AitchCS, this is a thread about defending Quvenzhané Wallis, not a thread about defending The Onion. Your link is derail material.

      1. AitchCS
        AitchCS March 13, 2013 at 5:26 pm |

        Ok but if you actually read it Quvenzhane is crucial to her point

        1. tigtog
          tigtog March 13, 2013 at 5:34 pm | *

          Perhaps you shouldn’t assume that I haven’t read it.

    3. tmc
      tmc March 13, 2013 at 6:12 pm |

      Neither the word “race” nor “racism” nor even “black” appears in that post even once, and I’m supposed to take this shit as being in any way fresh or interesting instead of the same old tiring erasing silencing white people’s bullshit?

      Yeah, whatever. Take it someplace else.

    4. baiskeli
      baiskeli March 13, 2013 at 6:38 pm |

      You have to be kidding with that link.

    5. trees
      trees March 13, 2013 at 6:43 pm |

      @AitchCS

      Would mind sharing what you got out of that link? Seems like the same old, same old to me.

      1. AitchCS
        AitchCS March 13, 2013 at 10:15 pm |

        Trees i did write a lengthy response and it still hangs in limbo and don’t know if it will be posted. Do want to thank you for being friendly to me!!! I appreciate.

    6. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune March 13, 2013 at 9:19 pm |

      Look, seriously, it’s like this.

      1) Objectively, calling any woman the C-word is disgusting. You have already, by doing it, failed at life.

      2) Satire hinges on being ridiculous and implausible in the interest of pointing out the ridiculousness and implausibility of life. Dictionary definition (since the -ists love those so much): The use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices.

      IT DOESN’T WORK IF THE SLUR’S APPLICATION IS RIDICULOUS OR IMPLAUSIBLE. No, seriously, there is nothing ridiculous or implausible about a black child being called the C-word. Has it skipped your attention, and everyone’s, that none of the black women here or elsewhere are shocked? Angry, disappointed, sad, in pain, but never shocked.

      Fail. On every level, this apologia is fail.

      And as for you posting this review, Aitch, what were you hoping to do with this exactly? It’s not subtly offensive, doesn’t need hours of analysis.

      1. piny
        piny March 13, 2013 at 9:49 pm |

        Yeah–I mean, she explains the argument against her position: she says that it wouldn’t work as satire to call Kristen Stewart a cunt, because people do that all the time.

        But then she says that of course nobody would ever do that to an adorable little nine-year-old girl….

        Except that’s true when we’re talking about Dakota Fanning. Not when we’re talking about Quvenzhané Wallis. It isn’t really so out there. It does happen all the time. It happened to Amanda Steimberg: suddenly it wasn’t so sad that little Rue/Amanda died a horrible death on camera. That’s pretty vicious, right?

        She also gets the bin Laden joke wrong: that was directed at Zero Dark Thirty, a thoughtful, hard-hitting examination of how fucking awesome we are, and how we think it’s basically a live-action The Fog of War.

      2. AitchCS
        AitchCS March 13, 2013 at 10:00 pm |

        You know what doll? fuhgitaboutit.

        1. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune March 13, 2013 at 10:08 pm |

          To get opinions if anyone agrees or disagrees with Mary Ann Johnson and why and to create dialogue and discussion.
          Is this unacceptable?

          You know what doll? fuhgitaboutit.

          Apparently only unacceptable to you?

        2. AitchCS
          AitchCS March 13, 2013 at 10:11 pm |

          Maybe people like me are coming on this blog to be educated and ask questions, but I can see that it is not likely to happen here.

        3. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune March 13, 2013 at 10:14 pm |

          So…you missed that I answered the question…because you were aching to be educated. So longingly that you…decided to tell the one person interested in actually discussing the article’s offensiveness to “fuhgitaboutit”. Well done! Your dedication to learning would make Plato proud.

        4. igglanova
          igglanova March 13, 2013 at 10:18 pm |

          You know what doll? fuhgitaboutit.

          …christ.

        5. AitchCS
          AitchCS March 13, 2013 at 10:18 pm |

          Bhudda

        6. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune March 13, 2013 at 10:36 pm |

          Bhudda

          In the interest of furthering your education, that’s not how it’s spelled.

        7. Andie
          Andie March 13, 2013 at 10:49 pm |

          Easiest way to educated? Sit back, read the comments section. If someone makes a reference you are unfamiliar with, Google it for better understanding. Take a few or many minutes to absorb and think about what has been said.. What people are actually saying about the subject at hand. That is how you get educated on a site like this.

          JAQing off, on the other hand, is not a way to get educated.

        8. Kerandria
          Kerandria March 14, 2013 at 12:22 am |

          doll

          *gets back on the pedestal like a good, compliant little DOLL*

          I think that politely engaging with these sorts of commenters is more harmful than not because it leads the commenters to feel justified in holding their vile povs. I say that we ought to protect our safe space by telling people that are only coming here to cause harm to piss off.

        9. Kerandria
          Kerandria March 14, 2013 at 12:24 am |

          Commentors like them have the ENTIRE INTERWEBZ for ‘fair&balanced’ discussion.

      3. piny
        piny March 13, 2013 at 10:26 pm |

        Sorry! It should be Amandla Stenberg.

    7. amenfro
      amenfro March 13, 2013 at 10:55 pm |

      You know what? I’ll bite.

      1. The article you linked defends the joke on the basis that Johanson clearly understood that the tweet was brilliant satire, but it failed because people didn’t get the joke. She points herself out as being “attuned to misogyny in pop culture” and then attempts to argue that because of that self-described status, no one else should be offended because she wasn’t offended. It’s the same rhetorical device that people used to defend Daniel Tosh or Bill Maher or Louis CK (after he called Palin a “c**t”). It’s a mansplanation: “I got the joke. I’m usually good about these things. Y u mad?”

      It’s especially rich coming from a White feminist [presumed] second-waver — the message that we should be mad that all women are demeaned by Hollywood, not that this specific Black individual was demeaned, and that because she’s not offended, she’s astonished that anyone else would be offended. It’s just that we don’t get satire, not that something wrong actually happened, even though she’s quick to add that we have the right to be upset if we want to.

      2. The article itself is riddled with problematic statements. First, Johanson makes parallels between what The Onion has said about Kathryn Bigelow and Wallis. There’s a fundamental difference between making fun of Bigelow’s work and what was said about Wallis, ostensibly making fun of entertainment business institutions by talking about her. Hence, the example’s not a good illustration of the point that I think she’s trying to make. Speaking of, that point is pretty condescending. She’s trying to say that satire is outrageous — which we all knew anyway. No one really thinks that the Irish should have eaten their babies.

      Johanson focuses on the experience of women in Hollywood and seems to suggest that the tweet was the strongest way to make a point about sexism in Hollywood. That’s entirely a matter of opinion, not fact; the same point could have been accomplished without applying that word to that little girl. It’s a gendered, sexualized slur used against a little girl in a culture that sexualizes and demeans Black women in particular. It’s also just about the worst word that one could call a woman. Couldn’t “asshole” have served the same purpose, if “satire” was the only goal?

      But to the point, she also talks about what terrible, shitty things have been said about other actresses involved in the Oscars: the boob song, Kristen Stewart, Jennifer Lawrence, etc. Johanson suggests that the joke is more powerful because it’s ridiculous that a little girl could be called a “c**t,” while people call Jennifer Lawrence a “c**t” all the time. But that’s a perspective completely blind to race in America. We live in a culture where little Black and Brown girls aren’t valued and not seen as talented individuals: where Amandla Sternberg isn’t “innocent enough” to be Rue, where Gabby Douglas only won because Jordan Wieber wasn’t there, where the honor of an 11 year-old gang rape victim is impugned by The New York Times, where Malia Obama is a “radical” because she wore braids on vacation in public, where according to the DOJ, Black people are twice as likely as White people to be victims of rape/sexual assault, and where an Oscar nominee has to tell a professional journalist not to rename her and is called “cocky” and “arrogant” for doing so. Do I really need to go on? Only someone who has no interest in or knowledge of intersectional feminism could think that calling a nine year-old Black girl a “c**t” is outrageous satire that could never happen in real life. Little Black girls are demeaned all the fucking time. It’s not so surprising that a mainstream publication like The Onion can’t see that. It’s deeply shocking that many White female allies can’t see that.

      And dude, if your feminism isn’t intersectional . . .

      But more significantly, why do you think a White feminist film critic’s take matters? Do you think it’s representative of White feminists as a monolith or something? Why do you feel this point needs to be made? And why link the article in a post about how failure to defend Wallis is a serious problem?

  28. AitchCS
    AitchCS March 13, 2013 at 10:18 pm |

    You were completely dismissive , condescending and lecturing to me in all your responses. chill–I’m a nice person, not trying to offend anyone.

    1. EG
      EG March 13, 2013 at 10:29 pm |

      I’m a nice person, not trying to offend anyone.

      Clearly, it just comes naturally to you, then.

      Go read the Ta-Nehisi Coates article discussed a little while ago. Being a “nice person” does not make your linking to that piece any less offensive.

      Then understand that education and discussion does not always take the form of politeness and hand-holding, particularly when you have, intentionally or not, done or said something redolent of racism and/or white privilege. Nobody is required to coddle anybody else here, and coddling is not required for learning.

    2. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune March 13, 2013 at 10:35 pm |

      lecturing

      A widely known method of educating.

      1. Librarygoose
        Librarygoose March 13, 2013 at 11:08 pm |

        Totally my favorite way of learning.

    3. tmc
      tmc March 14, 2013 at 12:17 am |

      This thread is not about coddling white people. Take it to spillover or, better yet, shut up and listen, and when you feel like there’s something you wanna add, just shut up and listen some more. Either way, your tearful appeals for POCs and others to do your heavy lifting is not appropriate.

    4. Angel H.
      Angel H. March 14, 2013 at 9:58 am |

      You were completely dismissive , condescending and lecturing to me in all your responses.

      Be grateful that the mods didn’t post my first reply to you.

      chill–I’m a nice person, not trying to offend anyone.

      Try. Harder.

  29. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve March 18, 2013 at 5:58 pm |

    You know, I personally think the Onion tweet was horrible, as were the numerous offences Caperton mentions, and what they say about us as a society.

    However, I feel like no one here remembers what it was like to be nine years old, as not a single person from Caperton on down actually defended Quvenzhane Wallis against the ONE thing that really would have upset her that night. She lost a competition. One in which she was quite unfairly matched against adults and therefore probably shouldn’t have been involved in in the first place. Maybe everyone here won every competition they were ever in as a child or never entered any, but let me tell you, losing hurts- and it hurts far more than being the subject of some joke you don’t understand and probably will never read.

    So, while I agree with the assessment of the ‘jokes’ made at Wallis’s expense as ‘disgusting’ and think they have no place in civil society. I just can’t agree with the angle of arguing that they the were the one thing that might have upset Quvenzhane Wallis during her amazing night of sitting through a boring ceremony then losing.

  30. Three Way Death Match – Episode 4 – Quvenzhané Wallis

    [...] In this episode we cover Quvenzhané Wallis, the tweet heard around the world, and what’s in a name. (Here’s a great post. Here’s another one.) [...]

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