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OK, so, Lana Wachowski…

October 26, 2012

Lana Wachowski, director of The Matrix films, recently got an award from US lobby group HRC (aka the Human Rights Campaign).

(Transcript of speech)

Some thoughts:

1. Her speech was lovely and all, but I can’t help but be a bit cynical about the HRC giving her an award when the HRC’s history is throwing trans people under the bus to make cis LGB rights legislation more palatable to politicians.

2. She’s a rich, white person getting an award for “visibility” from other rich, white people. When you also consider that the HRC, like many LGBT organizations, has little to no leadership by trans women of colour, and that trans women of colour are the predominant target for anti-trans violence, thus probably needing the support of groups like the HRC to ensure they have legal rights, etc… well… you can follow this to its whitewashed conclusion.

3. Cloud Atlas. Yellowface. In 2012. C’mon, there’s no pass on this. We can’t rah rah someone’s story of facing their oppressions if they’re using their considerable privilege to enforce someone else’s oppressions. Lana, wtf?

4. White lady with dreadlocks. Ummn, do we have to travel back in time to 2001 to have this conversation again?

None of this is to say she’s a bad person, or that her speech wasn’t moving, or isn’t deserving of the positive support and commentary I’ve seen all over the web the past few days, but white folks, hey, let’s be aware of this. We can’t just shake the Etch-a-Sketch clean when we want to have a feel-good moment.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. evmaroon permalink
    October 26, 2012 6:48 am

    Reblogged this on Trans/plant/portation and commented:
    Aleisha says it all.

  2. October 26, 2012 1:56 pm

    Sorry to put a downer on you, but Lana’s award had nothing to do with the points you raise. Your comments strike me as petty, mean spirited, and misplaced. Yes, maybe there it would be great if your points were addressed in the MSM, but ultimately there have only been two high profile trans people in the media in the last 12 months (Lana and Chaz Bono), and the award has been for the recognition that Lana has put herself out there as the face of trans people. As for her looks, leave her be, that comment just smacks of pettiness above all else.

    It would be great if there was more diversity in the trans MSM, but until you have a high profile media figure from an ethnic background come out, your points will never be addressed by the MSM.

  3. October 26, 2012 2:26 pm

    @Rachel Saunders: No worries, no downer here, though I’m not really sure you understood my post. I didn’t say the award had anything to do with the points I made.

    Points #1 and #2 were about the HRC and its checkered history of supporting trans people, as well as its lack of representation of women of colour.

    Point #3 is about her film’s use of a historically racist trope, i.e. yellowface. Raising the issue of white privilege and the problematic nature of a filmmaker using white actors in “Asian” makeup has nothing to do with being petty or mean-spirited.

    Finally, regarding her looks I can only assume you mean my comment on her dreadlocks? Again, you kind of whizzed past the point there. I wasn’t insulting her looks at all, I was raising the issue of dreadlocks on white people as cultural appropriation. This issue is relevant specifically in regards to #3, as it further raises questions about her awareness of white privilege.

    I specifically said, too, that this was not about her being a bad person. We can raise issues of privilege without dismissing the person. Not being willing to contextualize people in their privileges as well as their oppressions only allows those privileges to continue having cultural power.

  4. October 26, 2012 2:41 pm

    This post is spot on. Lana is an excellent point in the sky of intersectionality fails we’ve seen with lauded white women this year. Dunham and Moran, other gurrrl-power white women who have been rewarded for their dedicated to white supremacy via white men, still fail to see how throwing woc makes them despicable and antithetical to progress for the rest of us.

  5. spazure permalink
    November 4, 2012 2:11 pm

    Reblogged this on Azure Klein and commented:
    I actually disagree with the original poster’s comments.. but the core of the news article, the HRC actually not being pricks to transwomen for once, is a step in the right direction.

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