Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: stereotypes

No, where are you really from?

In reading my stories, I ran across a post on AAM from someone who had a variety of chronic illnesses, some of  which affected her walking. She recently bought a wheelchair that helped on her worst days. The problem was that she worked in residential life and had distant coworkers (not the ones she works with intimately) asking her about it when she first broke it out. One was shockingly rude about it, and she wanted to know the best way to respond. She didn’t mind educating on her good days, but she didn’t have the wherewithal to deal with it on her bad days. Alison made it an ask the readers question, and the comments grew lively and contentious.

It’s not unusual to this topic in that people who are in the majority, in this case, abled people, not understanding that what they consider is benign, well, isn’t. You can’t know what you don’t know. You don’t have the context because it’s not part of your life, and nobody can put themselves in someone else’s shoes 100% of the time. And, if I want to think the best of people, some people truly can’t understand how insidious all kinds of isms are.

Back to the post. It’s difficult because people within the category have different ideas about how to deal with the issue because no group is a monolith. In addition, with the disability issue, there is the additional problem that if someone is on crutches or in a wheelchair as, say, the results of an accident, they want people to inquire about them as a show of care. But, several people with disabilities in the comments said it was delivery, not the actual question itself. “What happened????” was routinely disdained–weirdly, one person who as far as I could tell was not disabled, was firmly invested that this was the way to go–whereas there was more a split on “Are you ok?” Some people said it was fine as long as you accepted the answers. Others said even that was too invasive. They preferred, “How are you doing?” In other words, what you’d ask anyone. Someone else pointed out you can tell when someone is used to using crutches, a cane, or a wheelchair versus a n00b.

Some commenters said that most people didn’t mean to be malicious. Which is true. But intent isn’t magic, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a gentle pushback on what is considered the norm. When I was in college, I  used to get asked quite often where I was from. I would answer my hometown in Minnesota, and they would invariably ask, “No, but where are you really from?” It was annoying as fuck, so I made it a mental game to see how long it would take for that second question to follow the first. And it always did. No one was ever satisfied with my first answer.

One thing Alison of AAM does well is provide scripts to people who need them. Same with Captain Awkward. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I developed scripts to deal with all the nosy parkers who demanded to know my heritage.

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A Criminal Mind is a Thing to Waste

So, in the midst of my sickness, I’ve been watching much videos, so binge-worthy. The last few days, I’ve been watching the current season of Criminal Minds, and, well, it’s not been pretty. The first few seasons were pretty strong, though definitely formulaic and graphic. I don’t remember when it started to slide downhill, but it’s in the mud now. It’s become more graphic and less psychological, and they’re repeating stories (which is almost inevitable after 13 seasons). When I started watching the first episode, they did the recap, and I didn’t remember the big cliffhanger of the previous season. I went back and watched the last few minutes, and I didn’t remember it at all. That shows how much of a impact it had and how much it mattered. The teams were in their SUVs racing to find Mr. Scratch and–wait a minute. I need to talk about Mr. Scratch for a hot second. He was the big nemesis of the tenth season (I think), and I hated him. HATED him. Not because he was a bad man (which he was), but because he was so poorly written. He was supposed to be this psychopath who used drugs to mind control people to do whatever he wanted them to do, and it just…sucked. The psychology was wrong, and more to the point, the character was a complete cipher. They tried to give him a backstory, but it just didn’t stick for me. They invoked the so-called daycare sexual abuse hysteria of the ’80s, and another side note, but they are so ham-handed in their treatment of actual issues.

I had to Google the first case in which he appears, and when I read the synopsis, I remembered how bullshit it was. Anyway, Bodhi Elfman is the actor who portrays Mr. Scratch, and he does a really good job with how little he’s given. When Mr. Scratch emerged last season as a major player again, I sighed in annoyance. In the first episode, he kidnaps Emily after ramming into the teams’ SUVs. Of course the one person who dies isn’t an actual team member because that would be way too gutsy a call. Anyhoooooo. The episode is cringe-worthy, and it ends with Mr. Scratch killing Emily. But, of course, he doesn’t, and really? We get to watch Emily fake-die again? Well, to be clear, she actually died the other time, but came back to life. This time, she was fake-killed and–oh, who the fuck cares? At the end of the episode, Mr. Scratch fell to his death (or jumped? It’s hard to say), and I wanted to make sure he was really dead. To be fair, I haven’t liked any of the nemeses on this show, but Mr. Scratch was the worst.

In another episode, there’s someone targeting game devs/coders. In the beginning of the episode, one of the team members says (about the company, which is called, Ori-Gamey), “They’re cutting edge! They do a lot of VR, and I have a few of their flight simulator games.” I literally rolled my eyes because that’s such a stereotypical and non-gamer statement about what is considered ‘cutting edge’ in gaming. It’s like saying a book is good because it has elegant prose and thoughtful ideas. It’s not necessarily wrong, but could you be any more generic? Later in the episode, another team member commented on the perp (a gamer who became a drone pilot. I think? It doesn’t really matter. He’s some kind of geek). “Someone who lives in his mom’s basement might be shocked by it.” I’m surprised they didn’t add, “eating Cheetos”. The fact that it’s Aisha Tyler who says it (she’s a gamer) only adds to the grossness. Later on, the perp talks about how he was looked down upon by the military guys, and I’m so tired of the ‘poor picked on disturbed geek boy turns violent’ stereotype, I could vomit.

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