Monday, May 25, 2009

Racists, carbon monoxide, and other unpleasantness

The powers that be clearly, clearly do not want me to ever finish up my last semester of coursework. I'm a few edits away from done with my last term project of grad school, so of course the jury duty gods should pick this as the time to drag me to downtown Brooklyn. Which isn't so bad. What is so bad is the mysterious carbon monoxide presence in my apartment. Dashing firefighters aside, not fun.

There was going to be a weekend roundup of crazy racists reported about in the Times - the segregated prom in Georgia (in which white racists worry about whatever might happen if their pure, innocent daughters - some of whom look remarkably like Vegas showgirls - were permitted to attend a formal dance with black male classmates) and the American Girl Jewish doll that has to have light brown rather than dark brown hair because apparently to give a Jewish doll dark brown hair is akin to posing it hunched over, grasping for a coin with a claw-like hand, so harmful and stereotyping it is to depict an Ashkenazi Jew with the coloring they themselves admit is typical of Ashkenazi Jewry... but that's all the roundup I can muster. People=big racists. My apartment=bad news. Jury duty=at least near some good grocery shopping.


Matt said...

But perhaps that would be too typical, too predictable, failing to show girls there is not one color that represents all Jewish immigrants.My god- why not just make it green, then. Or fire-engine red. That would be a typical enough color for a Russian (though not particularly Russian Jew) today. I hope I'm not wrong in thinking that even young girls are not as dumb as the makers seem to think they are.

PG said...

Pat Conroy wrote in 1972 about the concerns white parents continued to have after desegregation: "There are very few school dances because of that omnipresent southern fear that a sinister black male with an elongated, elephantine gland might approach a honey-vaginaed white maiden with a twinkle in his eye."

Kind of a grotesque way to put it, but probably an accurate description of that mental swamp.

Phoebe Maltz Bovy said...


Despite it's catch-all name, American Girl is not something all American girls find appealing. The dolls cost ridiculous amounts of money, not counting things like a dresser for the doll that costs more than many a decent dresser for an actual person. But unfortunately, the notion that it is an insult rather than a value-neutral statement to say someone, particularly someone female, looks Jewish, in America, where that means 'looks Ashkenazi', is pretty common.


Yes, that does seem to be the fear. Which, aside from being racist and ridiculous and all that, is especially absurd on a purely visual level when you see the photos, in which, as is always the case with high school seniors, many of the girls (of all races) look to be 35, and all the boys (again, of all races) to be 15.

Ralph Gerth said...

You've been in NY too long sweetie.