A few things have jumped out at me recently in the news, and they’re not related, but they’re interesting and maybe that’s just a-okay to put them in one post, at least I hope so and actually maybe they are related, at least 1 & 2:
1) Wearing a hoodie apparently makes it okay for someone to shoot you in Florida even if you aren’t armed. Weird guys hang around my neighborhood all the time, doing much more than just walking around in a hoodie with an iced tea in one hand and some skittles, and I never think to follow them, get into a kerfluffle with them and shoot them. There’s a lot of horrible, obvious racism going on here, and I am glad for the outrage, but something that I haven’t heard talked about is just guns guns guns in general. Let’s say Trayvon was actually doing something wrong. Let’s say Zimmerman followed him and they got into an argument. How would that have ended if there hadn’t been a gun involved? Would some people have gotten beaten up, maybe some knifewounds, maybe? It would have been horrible, but in a second, a teenager was shot dead on the street. I’m just too Canadian to believe in the right to own guns because I just don’t get them and their lure and why they’re so important to have. They just seem like a tool to escalate bad situations into deadly ones. You’re in your house, someone’s trying to get in - you don’t own a gun, what’s your instinct? Lock yourself in a room and call the police. Same scenario, you own a gun — in the heat of the moment, do you just go for the gun? People use guns in situations when they’re probably not thinking clearly. I think they stop good problem-solving in situations of crisis. The other thing that’s mentioned but not talked about in Trayvon’s killing, is that he was walking through a gated neighborhood. I don’t understand how he was able to do that, but why are neighborhoods gated anyway? Who chooses to live behind a gate? Exactly the kind of person who would follow an unarmed teenage and shoot him to death. The only reason to have a gate is to separate yourself from others, and as soon as you do that, you’ll always have an ‘us’ vs. ‘the other’ mentality, and as soon as another human is an ‘other’ you can do whatever the hell you want to him (think Holocaust, Rwandan genocide, slavery, you get the idea…).
2) A different race-related item in the news, is that apparently some of the Hunger Games characters in the movie were cast with black actors. This surprised white people who had read the book not very carefully! I thought it actually one of the more heavy-handed parts of the book that the two kids - little wispy Rue and the big guy Thresh - were from the agricultural district and basically treated like slaves (cuz black people used to be slaves, remember?) I was rubbing down the big bump on my head from when the author slapped me over the head with it, but apparently some white people read right over that and were disconcerted that the lovable little wispy innocent girl was black. Because you know, you can’t have a sympathetic innocent black character! Black people aren’t innocent! Even the nice ones are probably up to no good. I think this goes back to the ‘white person as default’ — like you’re white and telling a story, and you say, “you know that guy” and that’s codeword for ‘that white guy’ but if you need to be specific for some reason you say “that black guy”. Without a racial signifier, white people tend to default to white people. So white readers who didn’t catch the ‘her dark-skinned friend’ part of the book, just imagined another little white innocent girl in the part, because white people are default, white girls are innocent, angels are beautiful innocent creatures, black people wear hoodies and are up to no good.
3) Chocolate is good for you! If you eat tons of it like I do, it helps your metabolism. It’s a pretty unscientific study, but points to the fact that calories might not be treated the same in the body. I’ve never understood why sometimes I binge on stuff that’s bad for me and don’t gain weight, but other things make me balloon up like a balloon that’s full of air, except in this case my body is the balloon and what I am full with is na-na-na-nachos! I love chocolate, and if I get to eat that and lay off the soda and candy and that’s the tradeoff I have to make for the sake of my health, I can do that. It’s a small price to pay. Thank you, science!
And if you’re thinking some part of my white person’s mind put two news items about race next to one about chocolate for some subtle racist reason, well you’re wrong. I realize that I did that, but rather than chocolate = brown = brown people, this has more to do with the fact that I just crave sweets every single day of every year and there is a reason my sweetheart’s last name is Sugarfix can you guess what it is?