White people often bring up “context” in defense of racism.
Miley Cyrus made the “slant-eyed” face but protested that people took it wrong and “out of context!”
The Tribune discontinued running a much “beloved” illustration called “Injun Summer” and noted its “innocence of context.”
A Villa Park council member, Deborah Pauly, was videotaped stirring the racist pot to a boil. When confronted, she said the tape was edited to “completely change the context.”
Murray State University professor Mark Wattier thought two black students were late to his class. His comment: “Do you know why you were late? There’s a theory that a way to protest their master’s treatment was for slaves to be late.” (Click the link to read the students’ version.) What did he say in his own defense? “My comment was inappropriate. I regret having said this out of context and bluntly.”
Screenshot of “Thoroughly Modern Millie” from another high school production on youtube.
Thanks to Mia Wenjen for covering this topic so thoroughly on her blog, I Love Newton.
“Thoroughly Modern Millie” was a musical film from 1967. It included a subplot about a hotel proprietor who dresses in yellowface and two nefarious Chinese henchmen. It was developed into a musical 33 years later, and the racist subplot remained intact.
I was somewhat surprised that anybody would consider a remake of a dated movie to be a good idea, especially given the racism. Of course, we’re only too familiar that white people find a greatdealofentertainmentinracism. The entertainment value is often used as a defense of racism: “But it was only meant in good fun!”
If you do a brief web search, you’ll find that “Thoroughly Modern Millie” is a popular choice for high school theatrical groups. Undoubtedly because it’s so much fun. Newton North High School chose it for its spring production. Newton (MA) is predominately (82%) white, with an 11% Asian American population. And although concerns were voiced before the musical was staged, it proceeded as planned. Although a note about the “stereotypes” was listed in the program guide, apparently. On page 49.
It’s been my general experience that when white people are confronted with their racism, they rarely will completely abandon the racist endeavor. This is because they have too much invested in both the endeavor and the racism.
High-school wrestler Malik Stewart lost the match and the state title. But he knew how much the match meant to his opponent, Mitchell McKee, and McKee’s father, who is fighting cancer. So after the match, he offered his hand and a few words of support to Steve McKee. Continue reading →
Braille printers reportedly can cost around $2,000. Seventh-grader Shubham Banerjee built one for about $350. From Legos. And he’s putting the information out on the internet, so people can access it for free.
Edited to add: Banerjee’s father writes a longer explanation here.