The headline is lyrics from Repo! The genetic opera from song 21st Century Cure by Terrance Zdunich.
My brother is right now laughing his guts out. There’s a lot of politically incorrect jokes going on between us, because I told my brother that I still want to buy another Barbie to replace the body of Model Basics 001 corpse-like body. I just needed to rant about how expensive the replacements are, because there are like freakishly few skin tones that actually match and of course he picked it out and has gone on and on about it, always reducing himself to tears. Because I happen to have quite similar skin tone and some time back we talked about the skin color test some kids did, he is enjoying himself fully.
He gets even more curved over by the fact that I refuse to go and just buy play line pivotal off the shelf in local shops, because I can’t stand their hook-like knees and overbaked tan. I am sorry, what is that? I know it might look appealing, but oddly they creep me out.
This doesn’t mean we’re racists. Yes, the ugly word. We are just having a laughs over a matter that I happened to buy a doll that has the lightest skin in Barbie line and am now searching a replacement body for it and that it is quite expensive for a doll and I’m not willing to make a covered-its-head-while-sunbathing type of doll. Doesn’t mean the other Barbie skin tones are ugly either. I just don’t like the overbaked kind that has no personality besides the fact that the rest of the doll’s color palette doesn’t match the skin tone. That’s the worst that can happen to a doll – wrongly matched colors.
But if I’d dare to mention outside my home that I buy a pale Barbie a matching pale body and I happen to have similar pale skin tone, I’d be listed somewhere as a racist!
There was a comic traveling around at some point:
Panel 1: African man: “I’m proud to be black!”
Panel 2: European: “I’m proud to be white!”
Panel 3: Paus
Panel 4: African man: “You’re so racists.”
As much as it is ironical, the fact I feel compelled as a pale skinned to keep my mouth shut each time someone with slightly more pigment shouts it out, has made me think harsh on the situation we are in. As much as I am proud to have light skin, there are less and less ways for me to express it without being automatically told that it’s a racist thought. So I don’t say it anymore and feel growing discomfort for such judgmental views placed upon me just because I’d like to join in and say that I’m proud to be who I am too! I bet there were plenty of those, who found that comic offensive too. You know, for showing African man to be prejudging towards the European.
Odd is, when it comes to religion, I have no taboos left anymore. I’m pagan and it is natural for me. Yet when it comes to expressing my sexuality or skin tone, I’m like tamed puppy. And the more I come in contact with minorities that shout like that, the more I feel the pressure of keeping my mouth shut. I’m white and hetero is like crime sentence.
(the fact that wordpress keeps suggesting me to change hetero word into hero or heater is not helpful)
I don’t think minorities should be shut up for us to feel better. Thanks to unlimited internet I learned things others hadn’t even dreamt of in tender age and I must say it was quite liberating. Try finding words to describe skin tones now and you find yourself in a mist of endless commercials and pointless links. So I need to turn back to 1980s books to find out what skin type is common for what region of the world and what undertones they have.
Why is skin such a bad thing? Biggest organ we have and we go fighting over it. So important what skin tone you are! But behold if you dare to mention it! I don’t understand – we need different skin types to protect us against the Sun. How is that wrong? How is it, it is so important factor? If someone like me (swan white pale pink scandinavian type) goes to visit mediterranean area, I’d get first degree burns! I know, because I’ve gone through that hell and that was in November. Now I knowingly avoid going there in summer, because I can end up totally toasted. There’s no fun being boiled alive. So it is logical that in that area the people are better protected.
But these days it has been turned into a circus (and I knowingly use that word!) and now it matters so much that I’m made to feel wrong even if I have never got involved in racial meddlings. Even buying a freakin’ doll fills me with guilt, because I like her. And why? Because I’m white myself. Odd, isn’t it? If I don’t want to start a fight, I develope a limited vocabulary and even more limited writing style so I can be sure I won’t end up listed as a racist. Because, to be called racist is a death sentence.
Why is this rant so irritating to me right now? Odd how a small problem around doll’s plastic can rise so much unsettled restlessness.
There is a story that I put aside few years back that I really want to write. It has limited characters and serious topic that is still a serious taboo and for a good reason. The problem with that story is that all the characters come from ethnic groups, but to keep it open and keep it from becoming an object of hatred from those ethnical groups, I wish to hide the ethnicity in background. I quickly learned it was easier said than done, because my English vocabulary doesn’t come from being born in it. But when I set myself on task to learn more about the skin tones and types so I can describe them without ethnical labeling, I was faced with the reality of our time – most articles talk about racial problems BETWEEN the groups, but almost none dare to actually explain what the ethnical groups look like!
And by this I know that our world is going in a very wrong direction about all of this. We don’t learn any more. We just ignore or hate, because we are told so. We ignore saying certain things, turning them into taboo topics while advertizing it openly. You are allowed to speak up, yes, but instead of intellectual conversation you can be sure to be put down like an enemy by the opposition.
Happened on a novel about Kenya few days ago. A man stole flour from a shop. But the thief was white man. And why? The writer explained it that he couldn’t make him an african, because he couldn’t sell it otherwise. He was a white man, so if he’d write that the thief was black, the entire story would be undertone by racism.
I was shocked. That’s the world we’ve come to. But the joke was on him, because his over protectiveness produced counter effect. Instead he was labeled racist for pointing out that the thief was white, as to show that he can’t use african man, which therefore MUST mean he is racist after all! Go figure that logic. I had to read the backstory three times to understand the logic there. But why I even bothered searching out more about this writer, was the fact that he had turned something, in a way natural situation into total fiasco by putting the wrong problem in stage light.
But I won’t give up. That doll is important to me. Not because of the skin color, but because I don’t want to see my doll standing stiff on the shelf while I move the other one around. I’m old enough to be bothered that the doll is put together from miss-matched dolls and to give attention to the fact that I don’t want mine to look like that. I like her and I want to involve her more in the action.
That story is important to me, too. Not because it depicts minorities clashing , but because of the characters themselves and what happens to them. But the fear is our companion these days and I know I will always dread the moment someone with more pigment picks me out and starts a witchhunt on me because of that book. Not because of the story, but because of a pigment in the character’s skin and the way they think it is wrong to show someone in certain lights.
Personally, I don’t care about skin tone. I never have. Everyone, who knows me, and even those, who joke about it, can tell you without flip of thought how little it matters to me. It just hurts every now and then, when you feel you need to walk around the bush, because you know how deeply insulting something so simple can get. And it makes me sad that info is filtered or soggied up in such fear. The same fear I feel. But how do you cure a fear if you are kept from information to explain it to you? Because we often fear things only because we don’t understand them.
Then why not learn? Explain that we are different, that it is ok to be different and that difference is what defines us. Instead we are shown like fish swarm – everybody exactly the same, stripping as further more from what makes us unique.
But you know what? Every fish in that swarm is still different.