Friday, October 29, 2010

While Breast Cancers Needs a Cure, Western Media Makes Aryan Whiteness into Middle Eastern Experience

image of book cover is from, here
What do we see when we look into media and literature through the lenses of children? How do children register messages--subtle and overt--that whitenes and lightness is good and blackness and darkness is bad. Do we assume it makes lighter-skinned people feel better than darker-skinned people? We do know, from decades-apart studies using "white" dolls and "black" dolls that African American girls, regardless of what shade of brown their skin was, would prefer to have a white doll over any browner-skinned doll. Where do you think girls get those messages? From genes? From God? Or from society? My hunch is the messages come from society.

Breast cancer is a particularly prevalent and deadly disease in some regions in the Middle East. I hope that various struggles to assist with finding a cure for breast cancer succeed. And maybe along the way, other life threatening conditions--like patriarchy, like warfare, like racism, like white het male supremacy--find ways out of our lives as well.

Please note that the story above takes place in the Middle East, where, not surprisingly, many Middle Eastern women live: and unless they've relocated from Europe, most women there are far from fair-skinned and blond-haired, while also thin and young. There is a kind of female person the Western media loves to "show off" in exploitive and also in racist ways--the hidden messages are that this is what women ought to look like; whiteness and lightness is good; darkness is not so good or even bad. This Western culturally imperialistic and genocidal narrative finds its way into a story about breast cancer in a place where very, very few people of the region have very blond hair, pale skin, and non-brown eyes. Wouldn't you know, though: NBC News finds one such woman to focus their story on, even while noting that breast cancer impacts the lives of so many women in the region of different religions and ethnicities. Because, well, a darker-skinned Palestinian woman's story just wouldn't have given white heterosexist male supremacy the same media boost it routinely requires. And the U.S. has a financial and military stake in maintaining white heteropatriarchal standards and practices there in Israel. For one thing, the more lighter people there are there--sort of Christian European-looking, the more likely anti-Semitic and racist U.S.ers are to feel supportive of Israel.

I wouldn't necessarily make the claim that Western news media specifically close this woman who is a whiter-shade-of-pale. I would make the claim that in the white supremacist West, and in countries that are increasingly white dominated, such as Israel, the media will "naturally" gravitate to telling the stories of the women they most want to see survive. The oppressive mistreatment and terroristic mass murder of women of color across the globe by white men, including women of color in the West and in the Middle East, is one sign that white men don't hold much regard for women who aren't light. They don't hold white women in very high regard so you know white men's behavior is going to be especially ugly when it comes to invading places where darker people to live: hence we invade darker people's countries, displace the citizens, harass them, relocate the residents, rape them, and  murder them not so much with suicide bombers, but with military jet bombers and other weapons of mass destruction, so "our" people don't necessarily have to die in the process.

There was a Bounty paper towel ad with white-gloved hands showing us that those curiously brown spills are presented as nasty and also get cleaned up nicely with bleached white paper towels. And, Brian Williams also informed/warned/alarmed the U.S. public with this report, noting that for the first time, the most common newborn boys' name in England is one of several spellings of Mohammed. Xenophobia and racism find their way into practically every story.