Monday, December 2, 2013

Racism is Everywhere (and it's not cute)

Okay, I'm pretty sure we're all tired of seeing this shirt by now. A little backstory; Mastodon recently put out this shirt. It's stupid and racist but they don't want to say that because that would make them sound like dumb racists. Even MetalSucks is on this shit, defending the t-shirt from the perspective of a white person who has probably never had to live the life of a native American person.

Okay, let me take a step back. Is the t-shirt stupid and racist? Absolutely. Is Mastodon a bunch of KKK members who want to purge America of indigenous peoples? No. What they are is a bunch of dudes who have no idea what it's like to be an indigenous American. Or even a brown person. Mastodon is made up of four white dudes. Is there anything wrong with being a white dude? Of course not! I love white dudes! Being white is cool, but you have to realize that you, as a white person, have a vastly different life experience than someone who is not white. You can't understand what it's like as a brown person to see brown people depicted in these ways and maybe that's why they thought it would be okay to make this t-shirt. Mastodon even came out and said:

Regarding our thanks giving shirt, whether you choose to believe or not, (who doesn't believe this??) the American Indians were massacred by the white settlers who became the Americans we are today.

This shirt represents this atrocity and celebrating in the face of this atrocity is chilling. (I wasn't aware that we celebrated this during Thanksgiving.. am I doing it wrong?)

We may have a sick sense of humor, but we are far from being “Racist” as some of you who might not get it are calling us.

I personally don't believe they are racist. What I believe is that Mastodon doesn't understand what they did or why it offended people, and that happens a lot. It doesn't make them racist, it just makes their opinions the product of certain racist elements that are readily accepted in society. We see them every day and we've learned to live with them, especially in regards to Native Americans. Thankfully, we have (for the most part) put a lot of really horrible Black stereotypes to rest in this country, because duh, Black people aren't too keen on seeing stuff like this in the media. So they spoke up and people realized how stupid they were being. I'm sure there were plenty of people saying that those uppety Black folks should stop complaining and know their place, but they didn't listen. They fought against racism and are continuing an upward battle against it, today. And that's something to be proud of. So why do people get pissy when native peoples do the same?

Because they don't see them as actual people. The image of a native woman on her knees is every bit as racist as the "atrocity" that Mastodon is trying to educate us on. The idea that they feel we should be educated is even more insulting; please, tell me, who in America doesn't realize that the native people here were screwed during European colonization? I learned that in elementary school. Are some kids not learning that? I'm sure you can educate them way better than with a t-shirt.

And next time you want to bring attention to the plight of another group of people, you might want to try asking their opinion first.