[Part 1] [Part 3]
Originally posted 10 September 2016
Alright, I’ve had about a good five days to wane myself off the high that I was on for the first part of this response, and now I’m ready to jump back in. Just to have something to fill up this introductory slot, I’m going to give a quick run down of things to expect in Part 3 of this response. Part 3 will be less a response to the actual video and more of a response to discourse detractors overall. Part 3 will include:
- Links to web series’s and books created by and featuring POC; social media spaces for POC
- Posts about the whitewashing of works created by POC
- Links to sites dedicated to Historic POC
- A Link to a specific vid about the #OscarsSoWhite controversy
- And, of course, my cumulative thoughts and observations about the diversity discourse.
Without further ado…
Presently at the 8 minute 36 second mark, Faucheux makes the wholly incorrect generalization that “every single culture in existence has resisted diversity by means of killing each other, segregating against one another, and saying that it was immoral to even be around one another.”
One particular point that I forgot to mention in Part 1 is that, in conjunction with religious dominion, Faucheux seems to be referencing instances of imperialism as an indicator that no one should be advocating for diversity in the modern day because the empires of yesteryear warred with one another, for varying reasons of course. While, yes, mass killings and segregation did occur in the age of imperialism, it is still deflection from the topic at hand which is that in contemporary times there is no reason for such a vast majority of media in a nation as ethnically diverse as America to be so largely white.
A common rebuttal to this sentiment is that America is a supposed “meritocracy” and that the only reason so much media is so dominated by white people is that “the best actors/writers/directors/artists/applicants get the jobs”; this sort of echoes an idea Faucheux expressed earlier in the video where she first mentions not caring about racial diversity, because the quality of the message [of Vicious] and the moral ambiguity of the work was exemplary.
I always find it interesting how, when conversations about diversity occur, detractors always throw out the “but the quality” argument to excuse a lack of diversity of any kind, and this train of thought is troublesome because it suggests that (1) whiteness is the invisible, universal default and (2) that white people – of the straight, cis, and able-bodied (physically and mentally) variety – are more capable of acute, critical thought in regards to morality and values and social commentary than anyone else, and that any consideration for ethnicity, race, sexuality, ability, etc., dilutes profound thought somehow. Especially when it comes to the “diversity of thought” argument, opponents don’t find it the least bit ironic when they use “diversity of viewpoint” as an excuse for a cast to be made of all white people who originate from pretty much the same backgrounds and share similar life experiences; it also completely disregards the fact that people of color, queer people, or any intersection of “other” identities are not monolithic. We don’t all view the world in one, unanimous way, but the “diversity of viewpoint trumps all” argument suggests that this is false and that the only convincing way to convey opposing opinions is through exclusively white casts, because including people of color would “distract” from the overall point. Unless you genuinely believe that white people are the only people with talent in the arts and therefore it is entirely permissible for them to monopolize media as much as they do and the prospect of being called a racist doesn’t put you off, phrases like these do not need to leave your lips, and thoughts like these do not need to be thought.
Faucheux then goes on to insinuate that since humans tend to find comfort in people that are like them in some fashion it is not racist to only include those people (in this case white people) in your works, whatever art form one pursues. While humans do tend to seek comfort within spheres of familiarity to escape certain pressures and high stress situations, which in and of itself is not racist, what Faucheux is trying to argue as the be-all-end-all leaves out two very important details about the human condition.
The first is the concept of adaptability. As with most other animals, humans have evolved to adapt to changing environments and circumstances in order to survive. For a simple example, when your hands and feet have to come into contact with coarse materials like wood or sandpaper on a regular basis, the skin in those areas becomes thicker as a way to protect all the things that lie underneath and eliminate the sensitive skin that hindered work. We’ve also learned to adapt mentally to constantly changing environments. In a social context, people of color have had to learn to coexist within confined spaces because things like redlining – which I mentioned in part one – hoarded us all together for the express purpose of keeping us away from white people. The effect of that is a greater cooperation and intermixing between non-whites, which is how you have non Middle Eastern people converting to Islam or black and Latinx Americans sharing common vernacular and colloquialisms, just to name some examples; that isn’t to say that we always get along well, it’s just that due to circumstances outside of our control we’ve had to learn to get along.
White people, inversely, have not acclimated to things like race based stress due to quarantining themselves off from others at every possible avenue. The resulting phenomenon, called White Fragility, coined by Robin DiAngelo (a WHITE woman), sees white people react to any amount of race based stress – such as discussions of racial disparity in literature – with “a range of defensive moves…such as [emotions of] anger, fear, and guilt (Schwab’s tweets), and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, [or] leaving the stress-inducing situation.”
Faucheux’s specific use of the word “comfort” as a defense of predominantly white casts is very telling in this context because it leads into the second thing her “comfort” comment overlooks, and that is that “comfort in one’s own” is exactly what the people who are continuing the diversity discourse are looking for, but to Faucheux and other anti-diversity detractors that’s “anti-white” and “racist against white people”. Following that logic, is railing against diversity and inclusiveness not anti-Black? Anti-Muslim? Anti-ethnicity in general?
For most of their adolescent lives children of color, especially Black and Hispanic children, grow up in a society that views them as more criminal, less innocent, and older than they actually are and therefore more in control of their actions and solely responsible for the things that happen to them, meanwhile the improprieties of adult age white people, white men especially, are excused with the same rhetoric used to demonize children of color.
Compare the stories of Tamir Rice and the young girl assaulted at Spring Valley to the Olympic liar and the swimming rapist (maybe we should start draining pools when white folks get in). The former two stories involved children under the age of fifteen, who had violated no laws/rules, being murdered and assaulted, respectively, by adults and never receiving any adequate retribution for the wrongs committed against them, meanwhile two adult aged, white males were caught committing crimes, one in another country, yet had the entirety of the media excusing their actions at every turn and referred them as kids even though both of them were over the age of eighteen when they committed their respective crimes.
In areas heavily populated by blacks and Hispanics, there are police patrolling the hallways of schools and the slightest infraction, like not adhering to the DRESS CODE, is grounds for ARREST AND IMPRISONMENT. The school-to-prison pipeline is a common metaphor used to describe this phenomenon, because zero tolerance policies like the previous mentioned dress code mandates disproportionately affect black students and other children of color, even in areas where there is a substantial mixing of races.
An often quoted letter from a critic of Jane Elliott’s “Blue Eyes-Brown Eyes” experiment reads:
How dare you try this cruel experiment out on white children? Black children grow up accustomed to such behavior, but white children, there’s no way they could possibly understand it. It’s cruel to white children and will cause them great psychological damage.
In essence, the privilege of comfort is rarely, if ever, afforded to people of color.
I’m skipping over the portion of the video where Faucheux critique’s a fellow BookTuber for “shaming” a commenter, because I’ve already deconstructed the “historical accuracy” non-sense.
9:46 – Faucheux reiterates an earlier sentiment about not really caring about race, ethnicity, values/moral diversity because it’s “bullshit designed to degrade and segregate” – even though she just went on and on about “diversity of thought” approximately four to five minutes earlier.
There are different types of diversity. We have diversity of race, diversity of ethnicity, diversity of sexuality, diversity of moral, and diversity of viewpoint…having a widespread diverseness of viewpoint is exactly why fiction…exists. Diversification of viewpoint is a very good thing. (approx. 1:52-2:15)
Okay, but then...
I don’t give a rats ass about diversity of race, diversity of ethnicity, [or] diversity of morals or values. (approx. 9:34-9:52)
So, which is it, Bre?
To the first point: you, Faucheux, as a WHITE PERSON in America, have the luxury of seeing yourself and people who look like you represented as complex, multifaceted characters in a multitude of ways on a regular basis not just in books and movies, but on TV, in commercials, in advertising, in corporate positions of authority, in politics, in law enforcement, in the military, in history, etc., etc., and therefore have the privilege of “not caring” about representation, either positive or negative. This conversation is not about you or how you feel, it never was; sad day for you, I know it’s a surprise to find out everything doesn’t revolve around you and your whiteness.
Secondly, values and morals contribute to a persons viewpoint, which differs based on life experiences, culture, and observations of the world around them. So for Faucheux to say that she doesn’t care about diversity of morals or values is to say that she doesn’t care for diversity of viewpoint; people aren’t born with a specific worldview fully intact, it develops over time, and even then people within the same culture with similar experiences will not always have the same viewpoint, so how exactly can diversity of race or ethnicity “destroy the idea of diverse viewpoints?” Again, there’s this insinuation that white people’s experiences are universal and that there is no “diversity of viewpoint” among people of color, because of course we are a monolith and everything is the same, but white folks are the special snowflakes capable of complex thought and emotions, not anyone the fuck else.
On top of that, Faucheux has now contradicted herself and essentially invalidated everything she’s stated previously about “diversity of thought/viewpoint”, so why is she still talking? Who the fucks knows.
But, I’m gonna keep going.
Faucheux then says that we need to just say what we really mean when we “call out” authors with predominantly white casts: we need fewer white people.
Yeah…y’all already make up 70+% of speaking roles in movies, and approximately the same amount in regards to leading roles in books and TV. In order for people of color to get on equal levels with white people in terms of representation, white people’s portion of the pie has to get smaller.
Faucheux then goes on to employ the second most annoying derailing tactic in the “Stop, White People 2K16” list of Wypipo-isms: referencing MLK.
White people have this ludicrous idea that every black person aspires to be the successor of Dr. King, who they have in their minds was this peaceable protester who loved all the white folks, and they will often reference the infamous “content of character” sentence in his “I Have A Dream” speech as a way to clap back at people whenever they point out White Nonsense. Thanks to the revisionist history being taught in school, they completely gloss over the fact that MLK was a revolutionary who did not kowtow to the white man in the way they like to pretend he did. He tried to reason with white folks and approach civil rights on y’all’s terms, and #YesALLWhitePeople did was beat on him and his people and/or stand back and watch. After a while, King got tired of your shit, including the white liberals that considered themselves “allies” but did little other than tone police:
First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection. (Letter From a Birmingham Jail, 1963)
From 11:47-12:29 Faucheux merely repeats her argument about good themes and such being overlooked because of diversity conversations. Since, I don’t want to repeat myself, just refer back to the beginning three paragraphs of this post as well as the beginning of Part 1.
At around 12:30 – 13:24 (nine minutes left, Jesus) Faucheux brings up The Fault in Our Stars as an example of how diversity discourse only detracts from “profound” novels. She asks: “Is it a lesser story and a lesser theme because the characters in that story…[are] white?” (The ellipsis there was to prevent typing the extra thirteen words that she said before she got to “white”) As with the “N-word” question in part one, it depends.
TFIOS is what is called a “slice of life” contemporary piece; it is about a very small, particular group of people, in a very particular place, experiencing a very particular event in time. Slice of life stories such as TFIOS are understandably exclusive because they aren’t relating the story of large groups of people or a widespread event with widespread consequences. They’re not the same as all-encompassing, expansive fantasy or sci-fi stories like Harry Potter or Mad Max: Fury Road, which feature overwhelmingly white casts and very few identifiable characters of color. Stories that span entire worlds have no reason to be as homogeneous as they tend to be.
While I wouldn’t say that TFIOS and other stories like it are “lesser” because of their all white casts, there is room for improvement. TFIOS is a perfect example of how consideration of race in a story can make what is ultimately a rather generic story even more profound and insightful given that within the medical field there are racial and gender biases that leave many under or misdiagnosed because of the inherent biases of majority white, male doctors. For example, a study found that white medical students genuinely believe that black people felt less pain than white people and believed in other outlandish myths about the black body; another study found that male doctors don’t treat female patients with adequately because they have an unconscious bias that tells them that women exaggerate their symptoms, which leads to preventable illnesses and afflictions getting worse over time, only being recognized as serious once the effects are extreme. Now, imagine how it feels being a woman of color in a society that behaves in this way. Had Green thought to address the disparities within treatment of marginalized people, maybe by jumping between different viewpoints of a number of people battling cancer, instead of primarily centering a generic love story between the same two white protagonists in every other YA story, TFIOS could have garnered even more acclaim than it already has.
“Does John Green really need to examine the inner, deep biases that he may have because the story was mostly white people?” Faucheux asks.
Well, Green’s been writing for about eleven years now, and if his stories’s primary characters are still all white or ambiguous POC, then yes, I would say that he has some sort of bias and he should work on it.
“Is it less of an entertaining novel because blabbity blah?”
Faucheux moves on to the “putting words in peoples mouths and claiming no one’s actually doing work” portion of her video by demonstrating her considerable mind reading powers and claiming that people who call for more diversity are attempting to position themselves as some sort of morally superior group while not actually doing anything to add diversity to the publishing industry.
I’m not even going to address that “moral superiority” part, because I’ve explained well enough in Part 1 that people of color are combating erasure and white ethno-centricity, not claiming that we’re the second coming of Christ.
Writing a novel of any length, and just writing in general, is a very time consuming endeavor and one that cannot be undertaken on a whim; it is also expensive if one chooses to go down the self-publishing route, but I’m sure Faucheux understands all of this since she herself is a self-published writer.
It is supremely ignorant to assume that everyone can do the things that you can because you did it. Writing a novel is no easy feat, it can take years for someone’s work to get picked up by an agent and even longer to actually get published and put on a shelf. One has to have not only a very inflated ego to assume that people that “complain about diversity” can just go write their own stuff like you, but also a general lack of knowledge of how stories by people of color are treated, and Faucheux seems to have the lack of knowledge part down to a science.
There have been multitudes of stories written by and/or about people of color that have been whitewashed when it came time for an adaptation.
- Katniss Everdeen was a mixed race black girl, she was played by Jennifer Lawrence
- Fox from Wanted was a black woman who was played by Angelina-fuckin-Jolie, the queen of Whitelandia
- Irene from Drive, played by Lily white ass Carey Mulligan was a non white Latina, and the story behind how she got the role is truly disgusting and is just one of the many tallies on the “They Don’t Actually Pick the ‘Best Actors’” tally sheet, because this shit was down right atrocious.
You said it, Michael.
There are numerous other examples of works featuring people of color being whitewashed, including fully ethnic characters being played by biracial actors who are somehow always mixed with white. It never fails to amaze me how Hollywood can pull these biracial actors who are half-white out the woodwork to play fully ethnic characters, but they most certainly find a way (because whiteness has to be featured in some capacity in everything).
14:20 – Now she’s at the “you don’t know how this industry works” part of her “rant” where she breaks down how the publishing industry works. It may seem all nice and dandy to say that agents don’t care about the race of a querying author, but they don’t have to know what you look like in order to have certain internalized biases against certain kinds of names. That alone puts writers of color at a disadvantage, especially if they have ethnic names, and you can’t say there isn’t some sort of bias within publishing when such a large majority of the people working within it are white.
At 16:26 – Faucheux is now arguing that race, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, religion etc., nor a mix of any of those things, are what actually helps a community thrive. “Studies have shown”, even though she doesn’t show the viewer any, that common goals are what move a community forward. Common goals…hmmm. You mean like equal rights and protection under the law on par with that of white people? Or maybe equal rights and protection under the law on par with that of straight people? Or maybe equal rights and protection under the law on par with that of cis-gendered people? Or maybe equal rights and protection under the law on par with that of Christians? Or maybe equal pay on par with that of men? Or fighting against systemic, institutional brutality against black and brown bodies? Goals such as those have little to nothing to do with race, gender, ethnicity, etc.? Good to know that intersectionality is not a thing.
I’m extremely exhausted at this point in the video, but there’s like six minutes left.
17:12 – Faucheux has now brought out the “whites will one day become the minority” argument, and my brain nearly exploded. She tries to connect it to her reasoning of why diversity doesn’t matter, because apparently when whites become the minority, the systems that have been in place in the US to keep whites in positions of power will suddenly dissolve and minorities will finally have a chance to run rough shod over white folks like they did us.
This is the state of paranoia that white Americans live in on a daily basis.
She also brought up some shit about Osama bin Laden and tried to connect that to how polygamy is apparently detrimental to children because of some not-even-really-pseudo-science nonsense (but again this is just code for “white people know what’s best and you brownies are just out here wil’in for no reason), but I can’t really talk about that because I’m only listening to about every ninth word because she’s really just repeating herself now.
But, at 19:41, she brings up the ridiculous concept of “virtue signaling” when she talks about a library or librarian who came up with the nice idea to create a display of children’s books that featured a wide variety of characters on the covers. Cute right? Not to Faucheux. She insists that this was not done for the children, but to signal to everyone else how amazing this person thought he or she was. The display could not possibly be to combat the negative portrayals children of color will inevitably see of themselves as they grow up in a racist, capitalist, white supremacist society that tells them that they’re ugly, lazy, entitled shitheads that are never going to be anything in life or that they’ll never be smart enough to actually achieve anything outside of playing a sport or being the sexual fantasy of some lonely, repressed white man who would kill them as soon as they think about rejecting his dating advances.
But yeah, diversity of viewpoints are important, except when those god forsaken “minorities” want to be treated and represented equally to the “majority”, ’cause fuck us. That’s pretty much this entire video. It astounds me that Faucheux is so smug throughout this entire video that she seriously can’t tell that her arguments against diversity in all its forms is a direct contradiction of her advocacy for “diversity of viewpoint”.
‘Cause whiteness is universal, didn’t’ya know?
So, that’s pretty much all I have to say about this asshole (’cause fuck being respectful at this point). I’ve clarified most everything I could. Part 3 is probably going to be less of me talking and explaining and rather me linking to different sources for diverse content and writers and such, for anyone that really doesn’t know where to start
Anyway, feel free to leave a comment letting me know what you thought about this Part 2, or tweet me @Vermillion2K15 and as always have a fantastic day!!! BYE!!!