“Untitled” by Nick Knight [x]
Tikne Romnja - Young Ladies
This is just a short documentary that includes interviews with two young Rromani girls. “Luksuz produkcija” is a group of Kosovar Rromani who make short documentaries primarily in Slovenia.
I wanted to post this because I want people to see what these little girls have to say about being called “tigan”, “czigany” or “gypsy” & what they say about how non-Rromani treat them in school. This is worlds away from the hometowns of many Rromani bloggers in Canada, America or England, but these little girls have the same message as many of us.
These are just little girls & they already are well aware of the racism they will face for the rest of their lives. They know that these words are oppressive & hurtful.
These are just little girls, but it is highly likely that neither will finish school because of discrimination, not because they don’t value their education.
These are just little girls & they want to be called Rromani.
If you won’t listen to us, at least listen to these young girls.
So my school put on Bog of Cats which… okay. It made some valid points about carving out space and creating homes and the like, and it did some interesting stuff about relationships between parents who never married and how that affects their kid, but oooooooh my god can we STOP IT WITH THE MAGICAL ~~~GYPSY WOMAN~~~ TROPE ALREADY JESUS FUCK.
Also the director’s notes in the program jesus H MOTHERFUCKING CHRIST WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?
He attempts to “explain” what gypsies are by first of all calling them gypsies THE ENTIRE TIME (unless he’s calling them Tinkers, and I don’t know if that’s offensive or not because my grandma was from Eastern Europe, not Ireland, so I don’t know quite how that works, but HIS EXISTENCE IS OFFENDING ME AT THIS POINT AND THEREFORE I DO NOT TRUST IT) and refusing to call them Rom or Romani or, you know, WHAT PEOPLE WANT TO BE CALLED INSTEAD OF THE PEJORATIVE the entire rest of the fucking program.
And then he ends with, and I quote:
In the end, we are all really Gypsies, just searching for a place to belong.
BITCH YOU SAY WHAT?
AIN’T NOBODY SEARCHING FOR A PLACE TO BELONG. IF ANYTHING THEY’RE ~~~SEARCHING FOR~~~ A PLACE TO BE LEFT THE FUCK ALONE BY PEOPLE LIKE YOU JESUS H. CHRIST.
YOU ARE NOT A GYPSY. YOU ARE AN OBNOXIOUS OLD WHITE GUY WHO THINKS HE’S SUPER INCLUSIVE BUT IS ACTUALLY STILL A RACIST, ABLIST DICKWAD.
(The ableist thing is from earlier experience with him on ‘diversity committee’ ((WHAT THE HELL IS HIS ASS DOING ON A DIVERSITY COMMITTEE?)) where I was brought in as ‘token disabled person of my college’ in order to explain why EVERYTHING BLOWS AND IS INACCESSIBLE and he spent the ENTIRE FUCKING TIME EXPLAINING TO ME ABOUT HOW THINGS WERE TOO EXPENSIVE AND HE WASN’T BEING MEAN HE WAS JUST BEING REALISTIC and fuck you and your realistic bullshit IT IS REALISTIC FOR ME AS A STUDENT TO EXPECT TO BE ABLE TO GET TO MOTHERFUCKING CLASS)
And he directed a play two years ago that I was in— Twilight: 1992 Los Angeles by Anna Devire Smith— and he cross-ethnicity-cast people? Like I played two white men and a Korean woman, an African-American girl played two African-American women and a Latino, a Latino played a Latino man and an African-American man and white man, an Asian guy played a Korean man, a Korean woman, and an African-American, etc. It was kind of weird? I don’t know, he’s always made super weird choices in directing in terms of casting people in not-their-gender-or-sex-or-race things, and sometimes it’s been for the good, but sometimes… not so much?
Also to “learn about racism” he had us read White Like Me which, uh, that’s cool, but maybe we should be learning about racism from POC and not a white guy? Just an idea?
And we were also talking about whiteness and I was like “okay, so the Jewish and Romani and Adopted-I-Don’t-Know is a thing, but I look white, so I am white” (because FUCKING DUH) and he was like
‘but it does help you look exotic’ and FOR REALS? I have eyeballs so pale that they change color depending on what I’m wearing, white skin with patchy either yellow or blue undertones that tans darker very easily, and hair that is naturally a blah light brown? THE SHIT ABOUT THAT IS ~~EXOTIC~~ ALSO YOU DON’T TALK ABOUT PEOPLE LIKE THAT.
He has also cast homophobic bitches in parts where they have to kiss other ladies, and DIDN’T FEEL IT NECESSARY TO TELL ME THAT I WOULD HAVE TO DEAL WITH HER QUEER-PHOBIC ASS and calm her down about kissing another girl WHICH SHE PUT IN HER AUDITION FORM SHE WAS UNCOMFORTABLE WITH.
Basically what I’m saying here is that I’m ranting about his offensiveness before I write all this up in a formal letter and get it distributed, because fuck you, you don’t get to say shit like that. This is the last goddamn straw.
YOU ARE STILL WHITE IF YOU ARE JEWISH AND YOU ARE WHITE.
YOU ARE STILL A WHITE GIRL IF PEOPLE LOOK AT YOU AND SAY, “Oh, look, a white girl.”
“But I’m 5% Native American-” NO. YOU ARE A WHITE GIRL. A WHITE GIRL WHO DOES NOT KNOW HOW PERCENTAGES WORK IN ANCESTRAL FAMILY TREES.
“But the Irish were super oppressed by the British-” THIS IS AMERICA. AND YOU ARE A WHITE GIRL.
“Sometimes people think I’m not white because I get super tan in the summer.” BUT YOU ARE STILL, IN FACT, A WHITE GIRL.
SHUT THE FUCK UP. YOU ARE WHITE.
A 12.5% Romani, ~Whatever percent adopted Jewish family+6.25% Russian Jewish is~, daughter of an adopted woman from the inner city in the 1960’s who looks sort of Mediterranean-ish(?) WHITE GIRL
I was going to say everything, but, really, it’s just him. This isn’t a new development: I’ve always hated him, but he doesn’t really have the money to be visiting her and he’s doing it anyway, and she’s been looking forward to this since the term fucking started, and I am NOT going to be that bitch who fucks it up for her. I am just fucking NOT.
But I hate him. I seriously fucking hate him. I actually, legitimately hate very few people in my life… maybe five? Including him? But I seriously, honestly do. This is the guy who called me a kike to my face three separate times, who calls his own frat brothers— one of whom has been a friend of mine since we were eleven— the n-word and says all kinds of super fucking rasist shit to them, to their faces, all the time (and his white ass has ZERO right to be doing that, and they can’t retaliate because he’s super popular within the fraternity, so people just fucking LET IT HAPPEN JESUS CHRIST), and who is honestly one of the worst people I have ever had the misfortune to meet.
For example, at our campus variety show, which happens pretty much every other Friday, there are three rules: don’t hurt yourself, the audience, or the space. This douchebag and his friend (who is also on the list of people I hate, because of a) this incident, b) repeated attempts to convert me to Christianity and veganism in the most disrespectful and dumb of ways, and c) laughing along with the dickbag’s jokes and racism) wanted to read jokes. I was on the board of the club who ran the variety show at the time, and we requested the list of jokes, because we know, like everybody else on campus knows, that they are offensive dickwads who would tell some seriously inappropriate jokes.
The list was horrifying. There were jokes about rape, cancer, dead babies, setting your parents on fire, mass murder, the Holocaust, women, racist shit… it was fucking ridiculous, what they thought they would be allowed to say. We trimmed the list, cutting out the jokes that would offend people and hurt people’s feelings, because it isn’t fucking funny if you make someone feel like shit, and sent them the revised list with a very diplomatically worded email, the gist of which was: you deviate from this list, we will pull you off stage.
Fast forward to that night. Hailley and I do a Beowulf retelling— which was hilarious, thank you very much— and a few sets later it’s their turn. They go through the list like they’re supposed to, and then, at the end, they pull out our email and read it. Now, that’s fucking stupid and childish, but it’s not terrible; we said nothing in that email that we, as a club, should be ashamed of. We basically told them “you can’t say mean offensive shit that will hurt people, because that is wrong,” which, apparently, is infringing on their rights as participants in the variety show. It wasn’t; we were protecting the audience abiding by the rules, and being decent fucking humans. Those two, however, aren’t.
So they end their routine with the worst Holocaust joke I have ever heard in my goddamn life.
Now, I went to Catholic school for fourteen years. I’ve gotten shit for having Jewish family all my life; I’ve heard (or thought I had, anyway) pretty much every one in the book. I hadn’t. I am not going to repeat what was said here, but suffice it to say that it was horrible, and we couldn’t do anything about it, because it was the last thing they did before walking off the stage.
And people fucking cheered.
I was gripping my chair so hard that I ended up hurting the tendons in my wrists. My vision went weird, I was so fucking furious. If I hadn’t been headed off by people congratulating me on Hailley’s and my performance, I would have decked both of them, or worse. I didn’t get the chance to find out, because their frat brothers snuck them out the back of the theater.
And now this asshole is in my living space, and he and my roommate are currently cuddling in bed and kissing and it’s fucking disgusting, because I like her, I really like her as a person, but how she can date him is fucking beyond me. And now that he’s here, she’s been talking like him when I’ve been around her, with the same kind of abrasive, “I don’t give a shit” manner, and I’m terrified, I’m fucking terrified about what she’s going to say, because I can’t live like this. I can’t.
I don’t want to fuck this up for her, but he’s in my space. He’s in my fucking room, sleeping not ten feet away from me, and I haven’t done anything but sleep and shower in my own room for four days. I’m so on edge it’s exhausting, and I’ve been so fucking pleasant to him, I’ve smiled and nodded and asked about his day, and it’s killing me, it’s just killing me, because I want to wrap my fingers around his neck and just fucking squeeze.
I don’t gravitate towards stories about perfect people in perfect situations because in real life there is no such thing. Since this is an award for public service I want to say that at the Democratic Convention I expressed a deep respect for our constitution and the rights of We The People to elect our leaders, yet on Scandal— and this is a spoiler alert— Olivia robs her fellow Americans of that very right. Working with V-Day I’ve been part of a global movement to end violence against women and girls, but for Broomhilda von Shaft in Django, such a world is unimaginable because brutality defines her life as a slave.
Human beings are complicated, and flawed, and unique, but we all have a story to tell. Gone are the days when our lead characters can only look like somebody else. Heroes look like all of us. We see ourselves in each other’s stories. We see who we are, we see who we want to be, sometimes we see who we don’t want to be, and through that we have greater understanding of ourselves and acceptance of each other. I consider it an honor to be an advocate for the Arts and to serve on Obama’s committee for the Arts and Humanities because just as we must ensure that We The People includes all Americans regardless of race, class, gender, and sexual orientation—we must also work to ensure that the stories we tell, the movies we make, the television we produce, the theatre we stage, the novels we publish— are inclusive in all those same ways.
I stand here tonight on the shoulders of those who have blazed a path of art and activism. Harry Belafonte, I stand on your shoulders. I stand on your shoulders Diahann. I stand on your shoulders Ben, with gratitude for what you’ve sacrificed so that we can tell the stories that we are all telling. I receive this award with great humility and I hope that I may one day live up to that legacy of service. Not for me, but for us, and for the next generation of story tellers. Thank you.
—Kerry Washington’s acceptance speech for the President’s Award at the 44th NAACP Image Awards
‘The Unwritten Rules’ needs $22000 for their web series to get season 2 started.
This is written by, directed by, produced by and is starring Black women.
I’ve donated my $20 to help a Black woman get her voice heard.
Let’s give Black women a voice and silence Dunham’s.
Donate to this and give Black women a voice.
Everyone else will work to silence us.
It is up to US to speak loud and proud.
She has 40 days to raise $22000.
And a portion of the proceeds will go to charity.
Chimamanda Adichie, why she kicks ass:
- She’s an award-winning author and promoter of African literature.
- She incorporates her experiences as a black feminist Nigerian in her writing and raises awareness about how harmful generalizations can be particularly with issues like racism and sexism.
I love this woman.
Check out her TED talk, “The Danger of a Single Story” (or something like that)