neyronrose (neyronrose) wrote,

online and TV

L. and I continue our discussion.  A lot of our conversation turned out to be about race relations in North America.  I have quite a few thoughts on that.  I am aware that I am given certain privileges through no doing of my own because of my appearance, and am aware of institutionalized racism.  I'm sure I journaled about the time I was really studying linguistics -- not formally at school, just reading a number of books.  I know two dialects very well, American Standard English and African-American Vernacular English.  Linguists point out that they're structured differently, and some words are pronounced differently, but that in linguistics no one dialect or language is "better" than another.  In everyday life, American Standard English is privileged.  It must be glaringly apparent here which one is my first dialect.

(Added: I later had thoughts about Rory and how he's mocked for not speaking American Standard English.  See above "books and TV" entry.)

L. and I started out talking about "isms" and the conversation wandered, but we talked about light-skin privilege, among other things.  We were talking about Glee, so there were a lot of "isms" that the show has covered.  It's clear that homophobia isn't to be approved of, but they're doing a fair amount of talking about racism this season.  Only most of the time it isn't talking directly, but bringing up situations and letting the viewers draw conclusions.  Even Rachel said that Mercedes did a better job with a song than she did, and should have gotten the part of Maria in West Side Story.

Kurt failed to get the part of Tony because the directors knew in "real life" that he didn't pass for straight, which is the exact terminology Kurt used.  Blaine got the part.  Blaine isn't necessarily happy that he can pass for straight, which will be brought up more in future episodes, I'm sure.  I'm not necessarily happy in some situations that I'm assumed to be straight.  I'm quite sure it makes my life easier that I'm not assumed to be a lesbian, and that I come across so femme.

Glee was doing things around effeminophobia, with Sebastian saying slurs about Kurt.  That was obviously completely deliberate.  They're not done examining racism this season.  The show has always been political, in "the personal is political" way, but it's been more obviously political this season.  They're looking at sexism, too, as they have been.  Somebody's read Homophobia: A Weapon of Sexism, or the like.  I thought the show was being sexist in the episode I Kissed a Girl, but now I'm not as sure that the powers that be were being sexist, and wondering whether they presented the situation for viewers to draw conclusions.

If it is that they're presenting situations like that, the only one they're winning on is presenting situations of homophobia.  The powers that be seem to be usually assumed to be being sexist or racist when they're looking at sexism and racism.  Sometimes it depends on the episode, and how obvious it is.  Picking up a subject to examine and then putting it down for a few episodes only to show that it's not something to be approved of in a later episode doesn't seem to work very well for them.

Perhaps it's that with a gay character it's that much more noticeable that they're going against societal assumptions.  It's not as clear that they're challenging racial assumptions, or it isn't in some episodes.  They've done some interesting things challenging assumptions around disability.  They've had mixed reactions there.  I've had mixed reactions to that.  It's immediately clear that Artie shouldn't be bullied, but the other characters still assume a lot about him because he's in a wheelchair.  I wonder how much people assumed about me when I was in a wheelchair or using a walker.  I'm sure I was assumed to be temporarily disabled. 

When Rachel's dads were introduced, I was struck by how comfortable Burt was around a gay couple.  He had had plenty of time to get used to Kurt being gay, though it took him a while to be okay with Kurt dating other boys.  Right away, though, he was treating Hiram and Leroy like he'd treat anybody else.  It wasn't out of love, just out of a common cause.  But love for his son had normalized things for him. 
Tags: rambling, tv

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