Hi there! I’m a new contributor here at Ars Marginal. My pop culture habits are definitely in the nerd demographic, so you can expect posts from me that explore why Martha Jones is awesome or are recommendations for queer-normative fantasy. Being a numbers geek, I’m also fond of doing the math on institutional racism / sexism / other -isms in media, which is useful whenever people tell me I’m either making things up or, alternatively, that it doesn’t matter if the straight-white-male narrative dominates. *stabstab* Yeah.
I also work in Hollywood, and am faced daily with how backward and behind the film industry is. Popular media might be shaping people’s attitudes in fundamental ways (heck, Racebending’s recent review of Red Dawn pointed out that 28 percent of Americans rarely or never interact with people of Asian heritage, leaving movies their only exposure to Asian-American diversity), but that responsibility never even crosses the minds of the majority of writers / directors / casting staff here in Los Angeles.
Anyway, I thought I’d introduce myself by linking to a few posts I’ve written recently on institutional racism:
It pisses me off that Hollywood only allows diversity in families that aren’t the two parents, 2.5-kids-and-a-dog, white picket fence American “ideal”:
But, of course, the family who moves into the alien development, the “normal” human family we’re meant to contrast the aliens against, is all white. Because white is normal. And human. It’s the weird alien family who cry tears of green goo out their ears who have people of color among them; diversity is acceptable there. Why not have had the human family be mixed-race, or Hispanic, or Asian?
John Scalzi is a science fiction writer (and current president of the Science Fiction Writers of America) and runs the popular blog Whatever, where he’s made positive posts before on gender and race. Which meant I was sorely disappointed with his recent Star Trek parody novel Redshirts:
[Y]ou made close copies of exactly the five white men in Star Trek’s main cast—and only them, because for some reason the two crew members you chose to excise were the black woman and the Asian-American man.
How could you possibly think this was okay?
[...] Mr. Scalzi, I’m sorry to say this, but you did worse than a show that was written in the sixties.
Scalzi stops by in the comments to respond and offer his reasoning for doing it, saying that he was going for a commentary by deleting all the diversity. I tell him I do not think it worked.
Anyway, this is already longer than I meant an intro post to be, so hi, thanks for having me, and I’m excited to be here! (And if anyone would like me to put together a post here on anything specific that relates to the math of popular media and/or Hollywood behind-the-scenes, feel free to drop me a comment and let me know!)