It’s hard to believe, but…
…it still amazes me how incredibly tone-deaf people are.
A friend who works as a stage manager was working a local dance competition recently, and one of the school groups competing did a Disney-esque Pocahontas romancey thing.
He, as a Metis/First Nations man, as tactfully as he was able, pointed out to the choreographer /artistic director of the group, how incredibly offensive this was to First Nations people. How Pocahontas, as far as academia can ascertain, was 11 years old when she was raped by a white adult colonial, then kidnapped and taken from her home, and anyway, it’s not even a story little white girls in stereotyped “Injun” war-paint and feathers should be doing, here in this day and age, in a Canada trying to come to grips with a centuries-old racist and genocidal past, and that they maybe should have given more thought to this.
I was pretty flabbergasted when he told me about this. I mean, this person running the group was a teacher, out their molding young minds, and preparing these kids for the future, and she had apparently given not even a single thought to any of this. In fact, among her many defensive rebuttals, she said that she wasn’t even aware that Pocahontas might have been a real person.
This morning, on Twitter, I was greeted by the advert for an indie novel that struck me as so incredibly offensive that I am perilously close to outing the author and the title – but I won’t. If you have even the tiniest suspicion that it might be you, well, time for some self-reflection, probably. Let me just say that Rudyard Kipling did this less offensively.
It was, in every way possible, a “white man’s burden/white savior” trope of the most egregious nature. The title alone proclaimed its bias: that the poor beknighted savages of some backward nation required a white man to not only rule them with the wisdom and compassion that their own culture so conspicuously lacked, but that only he could save them from colonialistic disasters.
Yes, maybe there’s a market for this shit. Maybe there are people who live to see their great-grandparents’ values to return, so they can openly revile and oppress anyone they don’t like. So that othering everyone who isn’t white, male, and heterosexual isn’t something to be embarrassed about, just like you could back when.
I would like to believe people like that are few and far between, but I strongly suspect that the comments and unfollows that will result from this post will prove me unbelievably wrong.