Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Is This Racist?

I am trying to heighten my bias awareness, to the point of being sensitive about magazine cartoons. Even if they come from magazines founded by black women.

Here is a question about a popular holiday topic (Re-Gifting Etiquette) accompanied by a cartoon that depicts the situation.

Why is the woman with the buying power Asian? Why is the employer of the dog walker white? Most importantly, why is the dog walker shorter and heavier--and why does she have curly hair, wear ridiculously large sunglasses and have a cheesy grin?

Her hat says, "Italia". Is she Italian? She seems to bear features of a darker-skinned culture. Is it a souvenir from her last employer's trip to Italy? It can't be the gift in question because that would be the outdated, black frock the white woman is holding.

I guess you could call this classist instead of racist, but I can't ignore the stark differences in appearance among the women. The artist chose to employ diversity among her/his subjects in the worst way.

Question: What should you do when you give someone a present and they immediately ask, "Did you get a receipt?" or "Gee, that's not really my color--do you mind if I give it to my dog walker?"

Answer: You look to the ground with shame, for you have dishonored your culture, Asian woman! You have several options: you may do her nails, teach her how to use chopsticks or offer for your son to fix her computer. She may have a gym membership, but her hairstyle says Socialite, so instead of encouraging her anorexic side, why don't you appeal to her vanity and compliment her Harry Winston earrings? As for you, Dog walker, keep being sassy you playful, lovable, old confidante!


Jerell said...

If Tyra Banks read this, her ego would explode.

Abbi said...

I know. And I wasn't even wearing a fat suit when I wrote it.