Bandwagon Diversity Isn't Real Diversity (360/365)

If a brand or a celebrity has suddenly decided to give a shit about minority rights in a way that is unnatural, then unfortunately they’re jumping on acceptance of everyone as if it’s a fad. For the past few years issues like racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia have been called out openly by enough people for a new standard to be set. Now, some people who want to continue hating on us call the outcry and new expectations the actions of sensitive snowflakes, but I’ve already written about why that is wrong on so many levels so this post will be about those who are lying about their interest in minority rights to be seen in a good light.

I’m all up for people growing and changing don’t get me wrong, but I feel like some brands and influencers/celebrities are jumping on this bandwagon in the hopes that their past silence will suddenly be forgotten about. Look at JK Rowling, someone who (after her books were published and serialised) suddenly spoke about how major characters were gay, when in reality what she should have done was actually include this in the canon.. but then again she might not be the best example as she’s horrificly transphobic.

Makeup brands used to ignore the needs of women of colour with their embarassing shade ranges until Fenty beauty happened and changed the standard. Now, I’m all for makeup brands giving everyone options, but some do it in a way where you can tell they’re jumping on the hype and have no knowledege about darker and deeper skin tones – look at Morphe’s release, it had 60 shades, but over half of those were ashy, grey and even orange. What’s the point in looking like your inclusive if you’re not actually inclusive!

You also see this in celebrities who actively speak about race issues, there are so many activists in their space who do it right… and then you have the rest who will at the most retweet something and then suddenly stay quiet. The worst ones are probably the ones who are silent during election time, they’ll be the loudest one any other time of the year except when it matters… I’m looking at most UK celebrities for this. Not many had the same energy as Stormzy, they stayed silent, and now his words against our racist British culture are being warped by the media!

If a well known name or brand is seeing inclusivity as a trend they won’t do it sincerely, they won’t advocate for anyone and as soon as it’s no longer ‘in trend’ they’ll continue to ignore our needs so fuck them.

Fuck them all and their gaze of seeing our issues as a fashion accessory ready to dispose of.

Weird Shared Experiences of POC in a White Space (220/365)

I don’t know about you, but as a POC I find navigating white spaces have their own struggles that aren’t written about a lot. We see the fun sketches which sort of make it into a joke, but the fact that most people from ethnic backgrounds watch them and relate to them really does say something. Naturally this is inspired by lived experiences as it happens a lot and honestly it’s weird and funny.

Not knowing what to do when white banter happens

If you’re white you might not know what this means, but white banter is a special kind of humour than many people of colour just don’t find funny. Sometimes it’s difficult to pretend it’s funny and I have had many experiences online and IRL of just not knowing how to react. One thing I would say is learn how to have a good fake laugh, because if you’re like me and haven’t got one you’re just left looking very confused.

Listening to privileged conversations

Whether it’s about skiing trips or people refusing to take the bus, there’s a lot of conversations that happens out in the open that are seeped in privilege, and a lot of POC either can’t relate or can’t add anything to them because we’d just bring down the conversation with our lack of privilege. Then they do the thing that they do when they’re awkward about learning how the other side lives – it’s similar to the look they give when any discussion about anything controversial happens.

Being the only person of colour in the room

This is a weird experience in itself and here’s a few reasons why:

  • You get stared at a lot
  • You know for a fact that your inclusion in that room gives the big bosses relief because they’re ‘being diverse’
  • You have to set yourself up for a struggle of having to work 10x harder to gain respect
  • Did I mention the staring?

Honestly it’s just uncomfortable and it really teaches you about the sheer lack of diversity in a lot of spaces.

When you make the mistake of mentioning anything racial

So I just mentioned the weird look, this happens a lot if we talk about anything. It doesn’t even have to be racism, it can be about your home country or even a little joke about seasoning – they’ll get weird, shut down the conversation and really just make you feel like you lowered the tone.

Thinking they can touch your curly/textured hair

I’ve mentioned this before, but I have to mention it again. I don’t know why but these people love to touch hair that’s different to theirs, and they don’t even ask about it. I remember the first time it happened to me and honestly I was shocked, scared and violated – I am also a person who doesn’t like to be touched so that might explain why i felt scared. Honestly, don’t let this shit slide, tell them to keep their hands to themselves!

When they call something racial ‘exotic’…

How do you react to this shit? Because not only is it mildly racist but it’s also very confusing. A lot of the time this is said, it’s said with a lot of confidence and no regrets so it’s hard to call them out because they have a funny way of making you look like an overly sensitive villain.

I could write so many other points about this but I’ll stop here because it’ll just turn into a targeted campaign against specific people but honestly navigating predominantly white spaces is a weird experience. At the age of 25 I still haven’t figured out how to do this efficiently because I can’t assimilate for the life of me – please send help.

Pro’s and Con’s of Our Need for Diversity Becoming a Trend (106/365)

Guess what’s the latest trend – inclusivity and calling out racism. Now you’d think this would be one of the best trends out there, but unfortunately with the good there is bad.

I’m not entirely sure when this started happening, but in the past 3 years, discussions of race and inclusivity has become the standard. In movies we’re starting to criticise the lack of minorities, and when minorities do appear, we discuss how they’re portrayed and whether it’s in a positive or a negative light. Film makers are actually putting in the effort to include a diverse cast and are being held to standards that did not exist 10 years ago.

Annie would never have been cast as a young black girl 10 years ago, and honestly that is so important. I remember when I first watched the film and it hit me that growing up I never saw young girls in films who had my skin tone or hair texture, and now that my sisters can be exposed to that kind of representation, they can feel included in the wider world. Representation is always important, and those who say its not, are the ones being represented!

This has also affected the beauty world, with brands being criticised when they exclude darker skinned people in their adverts and their shade ranges. This is good because brands are being forced to include us, and take into account that there is money in inclusion – the release of Fenty beauty also proved this, since they’re widely successful and really it’s just because the brand has a keen focus on inclusivity.

Where there is good though, there is the bad. The bad tends to be trends hopping on diversity as a trend and because of that they’ll release a foundation with 60 shade ranges, but then ignore our varying undertones (grey is not an undertone). There are also brands that are photoshopping their products to make it look like they’ve used darker skinned models – when in reality they’ve used a light skin person and just darkened their skin.

This form of digital blackface is not only insulting, but some brands forget that black people have light palms – Yes you read that right.

By trying to look inclusive, they’ve forgotten our basic biology – or maybe they’ve honestly never seen a black person in their life, but we don’t have dark palms. You can tell that brands are desperate to be seen as cool and hip and racially inclusive, but they’re not actually using darker models and engaging with their ethnic audience.

We also have influencers with histories of being racist hopping on the band wagon and calling out brands – when in reality a lot of it comes from a place of trying to be relevant. You can tell when someone actually cares about the share range and in a lot of their cases, they just don’t.

So let’s put this all into a fun list, and add some extras since if we said every point, it would become an essay.

Pros

  • Positive conversations surrounding race is now the norm.
  • Movies/Tv now have pressure to be racially inclusive, and this helps audiences finally see themselves in the protagonists they’re routing for.
  • We can now expect makeup brands to cater to our foundation shade.
  • It’s easier to call out people in your day to day life for racism because most people now have a basic knowledge on what’s right and what’s wrong.
  • Big companies are now expected to at least pretend to give a shit about diversity.

Cons

  • A lot of the companies, influencers and brands hopping on the bandwagon really don’t care about us.
  • Brands will now intentionally do racist shit, i.e Guccis Gollywog design, in order to cause an outcry and bring attention to their brands. This then follows a chance for them to redeem themselves and they use this cycle to exploit the hurt racism causes.
  • The general complaints from people who aren’t aware that representation doesn’t hurt – every guy complaining about women leading films, every white person who complains about black/asian people being cast in films.
  • The debates being more open means that as people of colour you’re expected to answer for everyone more, and that’s tiring.

Diversity Is Now The Latest Trend – The J.K Rowling Edition (80/365)

I loved watching Harry Potter as a youngster. Especially since I was the perfect age group as I was roughly the same age as the characters when the films came out. But as much as I adore the series, it’s hard to support Rowling’s sudden need to add diversity in her retellings of the tale. Racial and LGBT representation was absent in the series.

Instead of admitting that diversity was an afterthought in the process Rowling has been trying to say diversity was there all along. As much as I do like that Dumbledore was gay, it’s getting uncomfortable just seeing every tweet about his romantic and sex life because it was never a part of the story.

It’s kind of like she suddenly thought ‘what if just say Dumbledore gay?’ and just ran with it. But not because he actually was, but to keep up with the trend that is diversity. All inclusion is nice, but inclusion without the right intent is just annoying. It’s similar to makeup brands including wider shade ranges because it’s a trend, and not because they see a need to include everyone.

So, the reason I’m even writing this is because of her most recent statement about Dumbledore and Grindewalds’ relationship:

“Their relationship was incredibly intense. It was passionate, and it was a love relationship. But as happens in any relationship, gay or straight or whatever label we want to put on it, one never knows, really, what the other person is feeling. You can’t know, you can believe you know. So I’m less interested in the sexual side—though I believe there is a sexual dimension to this relationship—than I am in the sense of the emotions they felt for each other, which ultimately is the most fascinating thing about all human relationships.”

Next time writers try to diversify their cast, maybe they should consider doing it whilst writing the actual book – let’s leave making racial and LGBT representation as an afterthought in 2018.