Adventures of a Forced Migrant Contact Me
It’s The Last Samurai in a new Avatar.
Ex-Marine from “jar-head clan” finds himself in a lush and rich planet called Pandora, falls in love with an exotic ‘native’ and becomes one with the ‘good indigenous people’ after warding off the evil humans trying to drill the planet for X natural resource. It all sounds eerily familiar.
Jack Sully, the lead antagonizing protagonist, is just like his surname. Hollywood-esque, most of the characters are reduced to mere caricatures. The scientist is the anti-imperialist, anti-corporate liberal do-gooder whereas the military official takes pleasure in blowing up things and the corporate honchos are only worried about PR and profits.
While perceived as anti-colonial, the entire narrative is still colonial, still about doing the right thing for “those people” from our point of view. The movie can be summed down to good white people vs. bad white people. Why the beautiful Na’vi princess, given all the stereotypical traits of human females, would ever choose to mate with the dull and dud white marine officer escapes all logic. The indigenous population is either put on a pedestal or reduced to some helpless aliens who cannot fight back humans without the heroic, liberal white male yearning to belong somewhere, given his own physical and mental incapacity. Whitey not only assimilates; he becomes their leader! It’s the ultimate white fantasy about race relations. The colonialism continues albeit it is neo-colonialism of white guilt in sci-fi terms.
Still, the movie gives us solid, entertainment value after spending some $300 million. I do wonder how the Na’vi would react to this narrative about them, told from the eyes of someone else.
Now we await the second-life video games enabling us to pick our own Avatars, fall in love with an exotic princess, and escape the horrendous conditions that human beings have created in the world around us. Whiteness is the ultimate privilege here, with the power to construct and refine good and bad, the power to choose sides, and the ultimate power to emerge as the victor.
And while we are at it, capitalism is having a good time as well with the cash registers running.
Around 10 pm last night, when the Prop. 8 votes trickled in, I already knew we had lost this time.
Reason? Los Angeles was struggling quite early on with the ‘No on 8’ losing by more than 7 percentage points. We would never win without Los Angeles.
Los Angeles County ended up in a 50-50 tie, but the hard data gives Yes 21,000 more ticks. WeHo? Silver Lake? What the hell happened down there? Santa Barbara County went for No with 53%! Mendocino, Humboldt, Sonoma, Marin, Alameda, San Mateo and San Francisco counties all topped 60% on the No side, but L.A. couldn’t even get over the 50% mark?!? That’s embarrassing.
Did West Hollywood forget to vote? Or was it too busy out campaigning for Obama in Philadelphia and other battleground states when it should have poured more time and money into the No on 8 campaign?
61% of California voted for the ‘first’ black President but 52% voted to eliminate basic civil rights.
That is a problem.
Don’t get me started on the 75% African-American women, 54% Latino male, 52% Latino female vote in favor of Prop. 8. It hurts when we spend our time fighting for civil and equal rights for ALL, only to not have that ‘favor’ returned. A certain racial gender gap seems to have developing on this issue – 53% of white women voted against the ban whereas 75% of African-American women voted for it. Whether or not that can be attributed to the lies by the ‘Yes on 8’ campaign is uncertain.
There are significant changes from 2000 when majorities of all racial, ethnic and income groups supported the ban.
In 2000, 4,579,386 (61.2%) voted for a gay marriage ban in California while 2,897,689 (38.8%) voted against it.
The numbers are still pouring in but 8 years later, last night, 5,163,908 (52%) voted for the ban whereas 4,760,336 (48%) voted against it.
Mad props to the Asian-American community for giving us a 51% vote against Prop 8. It’s a community that has often disappointed me in the past. Hopefully, I can say that I am proud to be Asian Indian and that we stand against discrimination.
We also won majorly with the first-time (62% against 8 ) and youth voters (61%) and lost majorly among the elderly voters, 61% of whom voted for the Proposition (similar to Prop 22 in 2000). That gives us hope. The arc of justice is bending on our side–a lot of bigots have their one foot in the grave.
The key is education – 60% of post-graduates voted against the ban whereas only 44% of high school graduates (only) and 43% of those in college or dropouts opposed the measure. This also correlates well with income levels — obviously the higher your education level, the more your income. So people earning over 100K were more likely to oppose the ban while low-income voters were more likely to support it.
We can only move forward and hope to change the 2-4% deficit in our favor come the next elections.
I know a lot of progressives, including myself, believe that marriage should be unconstitutional for everyone. But like I have already noted, political ideology is not a reason to deny a particular social group their civil rights. This constitutional ban along with the ones in Arizona and Florida and 26 other states, serves to perpetuate ‘separate but (un)equal’ in American society, and we must ALWAYS vote against that.
This is not over.
Attorney General Jerry Brown insists that the 18,000 couples wedded between May 15 and Nov 4 are still legally married in California and he will fight to keep that intact.