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much older

Going through a stack of my old magazines, I came across this gem of a political cartoon from the October 1971 issue of Playboy.



( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 29th, 2009 10:12 am (UTC)
Hehe. It's true, he'd be ancient.
Nov. 29th, 2009 12:16 pm (UTC)
I've always found those old playboys fascinating .. the combination of liberal politics with erotic objectification. This cartoon comes out of that whole dialogue promoted by the Panthers, the awareness of issues raised by MLK and of course his tragic assassination which continues to reverberate today. As a culture we were reaching for something good then, yet it was also a crazy time, John and Yoko mishmashed all the issues together with their "Woman is the nigger of the world" ...

The painting I was doing in Mississippi focused on race and gender and I was dealing with the idea of collective guilt. I believed in collective guilt, that whites needed to atone for their misdeeds, to take responsibility. But in a way its a white claim on a black issue, its always about our personal feelings .. so the issue is entrenched. No easy answer, but hopefully a slow healing and growing awareness of the common humanity. If I am guilty of the sins of my forefathers, what actions should I take? Ultimately I think we need to become colorblind, to see the person, not the color, which is only a surface issue, in a sense. Yet society often pushes us into camps. The history of racism and its relationship to empire is deeply entrenched, so it will take us awhile to climb out of the trenches, unfortunately.
Nov. 29th, 2009 02:04 pm (UTC)
"Ultimately I think we need to become colorblind, to see the person, not the color, which is only a surface issue, in a sense."

Ultimately I think that the colors (and facial features and hair textures and clothes and all) needs to stop signifying whatever twisted things they signify. As I'm sure you well know from your training in the arts there is nothing intrinsically good or bad with any color in the palette, we human beings and our symbol systems have made them so.
Nov. 29th, 2009 08:32 pm (UTC)
very well put. And sure its not so much about being colorblind as it is about celebrating difference. Like you said, reclaim the colors of the palette.

You might like the paintings of Bob Thompson where the people are all types of colors and everyone feels fine
Nov. 30th, 2009 09:26 am (UTC)
i don't even need a celebration frankly. i think it is about not placing more weight on one difference than another. i mean there is no feeling of unity amongst people with brown hair necessarily and frankly i don't feel any need to give a freckled person or a person with a limp a high five. I am very much in a "End Racism So People Can Be Left Alone" camp rather than the multicultural potluck/drum circle scene.
Nov. 30th, 2009 03:07 pm (UTC)
I am very much in a "End Racism So People Can Be Left Alone" camp rather than the multicultural potluck/drum circle scene.

awesome way of putting it. & great cartoon too. I love Playboy -- not that I have ever really read it, but whenever I see old clips I get why people said they only read it for the articles!
Dec. 2nd, 2009 12:57 pm (UTC)
There's been a bit of a backlash against the concept of 'multiculturalism' in Britain recently. There's a feeling that it has simply served to define people narrowly and racially, and promote sectarianism, rather than recognise complex social realities.
Nov. 30th, 2009 09:13 am (UTC)
Ultimately I think we need to become colorblind
Don't say this to white people, we think this is our way out. I think for most, it's a very dangerous premise for curriculums addressing racism, because it is a means to avoid talking about any of the issues or signifiers.
Nov. 30th, 2009 09:23 am (UTC)
ultimately we need to SEE
well bikerbar is a white person. i would NEVER say that to white people or anyone for that matter because it is tantamount to saying "there IS something wrong with my skin color, but howsabout we not mention it m'kay?" i reject the intrinsic idea, and i also question where and why the "difference" engines are located.
Nov. 30th, 2009 10:43 am (UTC)
Re: ultimately we need to SEE
it is tantamount to saying "there IS something wrong with my skin color

Of course you're right.

I encounter the "colorblind" argument often in the context of interracial and transnational adoption discussions (which I haven't participated in recently, but I'm assuming it hasn't changed much), in which a lot of parents don't see any problems or don't want to do the work involved with being aware of the types of problems their kid might encounter (or they might cause for their kid) that they don't have experience with. I think it's a cop out.

A friend of mine told me something recently that shouldn't have astounded me, but did - when people in Kinshasa find out he's American, they ignore him in restaurants and treat him like crap. He said their reasoning is that he must be the descendant of a slave and they think they're better because they were never enslaved. If he said he were South African, he'd be put on a pedestal. I wouldn't even know how to start unraveling that one.
Nov. 30th, 2009 06:23 pm (UTC)
Re: ultimately we need to SEE
As I have both feet in my mouth, I cant dig myself a deeper hole can I? We'll see... In my experience with my black friends I have felt that there is often a wariness, and understandably. People are often burned when extending themselves.

When I was speaking about being colorblind, I was actually thinking about the perspective of my few black friends, a sort of "you may be some goofy suburban white guy, but we'll let that slide, for now", but as I said, the wariness often remains. Its not that anything is wrong with a persons skin color, be they black or white, but rather the warping of relations due to white privilege and the history of oppression which colors the attempt at dialogue. As I said before, I think white people carry the burden of guilt for that oppression, so if there's any skin color which carries the burden of shame, it is mine.

Yes clearly we need to SEE, rather than speak about some lofty idea of being "blind" to difference. I can understand your rejection of this colorblind approach. Yet in order to move past the circular argument of blame, we need to get past the issue of race, that it is a non-starter. The question I suppose centers on how much our identity is tied to our race. This is different for different people. As a black person, I suppose you are forced to be more aware of your race, and this is a burden. But I take risks when I try to comment on another's experience, so forgive my ignorance if I offend.
Dec. 2nd, 2009 01:03 pm (UTC)
Re: Ultimately I think we need to become colorblind
Colour blindness is a great ideal and I certainly spent part of my childhood in state of colour blindness. However, to pretend colour blindness in adulthood is a useless and probably destructive exercise.
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