The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter


Thursday, July 10, 2008

A little help with sex and violence?

Because a few people have said something to the effect of "most sex scenes in movies are misogynistic" I have to admit to confusion. The dictionary definition of misogyny is: "hatred, dislike, or mistrust of women. "

If I assume that a lot of people feel this way, then clearly I'm missing something, and would seriously like a few questions answered.

Those who feel this way, please answer some questions for me:

1) is this the definition you're using? Or is there another one?

2) Can you PLEASE give me examples of love/sex scenes you did NOT consider misogynistic? If there are some easily avoided traps, I'd like to know them.

3) I have a chain of thought I find unavoidable. Sex in gay porn is more aggressive and dominating (from what I've seen) than typical heterosexual porn. If the level of aggression/domination in heterosexual movies means men hate/dislike/mistrust women, does this mean they also hate/dislike/mistrust men? Or just their sexual partners?

4) Wouldn't that ultimately mean that men hate/dislike/mistrust themselves? Is that what's really being said?

5) Do women like/trust/love men more than men like/trust/love women? Do they like themselves more than men like themselves?

I guess this troubles me because it points to a really pale, ugly view of humanity: everyone mistrusting everyone, and hating themselves. I am truly confused on this one, and wonder if I'm missing something, or a lot. If you feel men hate women more than they hate other men, is it an "out-group" thing? (Hate them because they are the "other"). If so, why have I had to fight so hard to convince people that there might be a "10% disconnect" between white people and black people? Wouldn't the same reasoning lead you to believe that racism is deep, pervasive, and incurable?

I honestly don't get it. And I'm really trying. A little help, please?

###

http://scienceblogs.com/cognitivedaily

/2008/07/police_usually_are_able_to_cur.php

This article, sent by a reader, has to do with racial bias in police shootings, and how they can apparently be trained out by conscious awareness. I am not sufficiently savvy to interpret their data, and would love if readers who are would take a look. It would seem to go along with what I've been saying.

It also helps explain why I am apparently "obsessed" with racial images. Conscious awareness can overcome innate tendency/prior conditioning. If I am the only person who notices the racial stats regarding black male sexuality in film, it would be cowardice of the very worst kind not to continue to beat the drum. I may lose some readers, but you know? I knew the job was dangerous when I took it, George.

42 comments:

Michelle said...

I can only attest to #5 as I don't mind sex in movies and while some scenes are misogynist...not every sex scene is IMO.

I don't think women like themselves more than men...I really thinks it's even. It's some thing you have to learn if you're not taught from birth. Most are not taught.

As for your last comment. You should beat the drum. As long as you allow discussion on the topic I'll probably always be a reader.

Dan Moran said...

You're the only person I've ever met who can sing the entire SuperChicken theme song on demand.

~~~~~

I won't try to quantify it, but surely a lot of the sex scenes in movies are misogynistic.

1. Yep, that's my definition.

2. I gave examples.

3. I suspect it's "sexual partners" in general. The link between desire and agression is strong in men. From early childhood we're taught that when we want something, we're to go get it. It's not just us, though -- rape fantasies are too common (on both sides, though there's a caveat I'll come back to) for there not to be some basis for this that transcends pure socialization. Cavet: the male and female rape fantasies are not the same. I used to think they were, but I've talked to enough men and women on this subject I no longer think so. Huge generalization coming: women fantasize being taken forcefully by a man who they'd have said yes to anyway, if he'd asked nicely. Men fantasize taking a women who'd have said no to them, and making her like it.

4. No, men just want what they want.

5. I don't know.

Frank said...

I don't appreciate sex in films for the same reason I don't peek in people's bedrooms to view them having sex.

For the same reason I wouldn't like people screwing on my front lawn (or theirs) in broad daylight.

Now I don't mind sex in films if the sex is germane to the plot, such as in Fatal Attraction.

But from where I sit, 98% of sex in films is gratuitous and could easily be alluded to rather than be dwelled upon without detracting from the story a single bit.

Christian M. Howell said...

The misogyny in my mind, occurs not during the sex scene but everything around it.

I guess my definition would more so be discriminatory as ofttimes the woman who everyone wants to see gets little recognition.

I don't know if hate or mistrust adequately describe the mentality, though admittedly I don't see a lot of "self-love" in my travels.

As far as gay porn vs hetero porn, I really don't know, but it would seem that it's a "top\bottom" issue rather than a gender issue.

Porn nowadays regularly features "mock strangulation." That tends to imply a "level of strength" issue or perhaps in some cases there may be hostility involved if only sub-consciously.


As far as the comparison between explicit violence and explicit sex, if you look at both using one as a control point, you will see that most people will not be hacking anyone up, but the chances are much greater that a younger person may attempt to "reenact" a sex scene.

As an example, take a horror\slasher film and have a brutal murder at the beginning and think of how to expand just upon that scene. Now take a movie with an explicit sex scene at the beginning and see how it will expand (without becoming a porno movie).


Looking at the racism in police shootings issue, I would say that it's really difficult to blame the cops. I have out and out cursed out police officers in Brooklyn and just got a ticket.

It is strange that so many black men get killed but look at how many who got killed are professionals (ZERO). That's not to say that individuals who don't have college degrees or professional careers are targets, but as a cop, I would shoot first if confronted by someone who appears "thuggish."

Plenty of cops are killed by black men in NYC. There have been several in the few years I've lived here.

Most recently, there was a black man killed in NYC the night before his wedding. The cops fired 51 shots at him.

I, for one, can't contemplate what you would have to do to get that kind of barrage sent your way.

Of course I hate it but if you're being robbed you're going to call a cop.

I have long wondered if it was fear that would cause them to react thus but that doesn't jibe with the knowledge that, as a police officer, you may encounter an armed felon.



Also, believe me when I tell you that I am Mr. Controversy. None of my comments are directed at you but you can't have a conversation about something you don't bring up.


I can admit that I sometimes see things with an eye towards discrimination but I find that anyone with that mentality is so far beneath me in terms of intellectual achievement that it's like water off a duck's back.

Much of the power of racism is in the "worry." If no one sees (reacts to) these "messages" they will start to realize the foolishness of them.


Personally, I think you should come and hang out in Brooklyn for a few months. Guaranteed you will see things a lot differently.


I know I do.

Brian Dunbar said...

This article, sent by a reader, has to do with racial bias in police shootings, and how they can apparently be trained out by conscious awareness.

Interesting - but expected. You can train yourself to do anything, nu?

What the researchers are seeing can also be thought of as better training - perhaps this is two sides of the same coin. I used one of those simulators (once) and I came out of the session with a better sense of who to shoot and who not to shoot.

Shady_Grady said...

Christian: "Looking at the racism in police shootings issue, I would say that it's really difficult to blame the cops. I have out and out cursed out police officers in Brooklyn and just got a ticket.

It is strange that so many black men get killed but look at how many who got killed are professionals (ZERO). That's not to say that individuals who don't have college degrees or professional careers are targets, but as a cop, I would shoot first if confronted by someone who appears "thuggish.""

You can't be serious. If you are then perhaps you are just unfamiliar with many of the cases of police brutality, harassment and murder that have occurred throughout the country.

A few names that come to mind swiftly are Jonny Gammage, who was choked and beaten to death after a traffic stop outside a Pittsburgh suburb. Not that it matters to me (or to the police) but Mr. Gammage was a college graduate and entrepreneur.

Tim Stansbury never got the chance to go to college because police in Brooklyn shot him fatally when he opened a rooftop door.

Joe Morgan, a Hall of Fame baseball player and sportscaster settled a hefty lawsuit against the LAPD for being harassed and assaulted because they assumed he was a drug dealer.

Robert Davis, a retired sixty something teacher (and college graduate) had the shit beat out of him by New Orleans PD and federal agents after he asked about the curfew times. There was the Ron Settles case in Long Beach, California or the Donald Jackson case in the same city. Donald Jackson was himself a police officer who was trying to document brutality.

One of Johnnie Cochran's first cases was that of a Black man who was running red lights to get his pregnant wife to the hospital. The police fatally shot him and claimed they had been threatened with a gun. No gun was found but the police were found not guilty by "justifiable homicide"

The dreary list goes on.
There is a problem and it really doesn't have that much to do with your education or your style of dress.
If you fit the profile (Black man) you are possibly subject to maltreatment. By many police officers the Black man is seen as either a threat or someone who can be abused with no consequence.

JBlue said...

I mentioned not liking sex scenes as much as I've gotten older but I think part of that is due to being a more critical viewer. Another part may be due to the woman's overall role in the film. Is she a key part of the story or is she thrown in for the man to play off of? Maybe I need to see more films or better films.

One thing I dislike is showing to characters kiss, fading out and the next scene they're having post-coital chatter or waking up. Sometimes I feel a little cheated especially if I like the actors/characters.

Other than that, I don't mind it, especially if it's done well. And I don't mind if I get aroused or a little embarrassed while watching. That's just a side effect. I haven't seen anything that's truly made me uncomfortable in awhile.

Shady_Grady said...

I don't really know what would make a scene "misogynistic". I think it depends a lot on the viewer and the context.

There are some ones which I think would be questionable -the Susan George scene in "Straw Dogs" come to mind. Although I enjoy the movie "A Clockwork Orange" ,different women have told me that they found the explicit scenes in that film to be ugly and pointless.

Basically as long as both people appear to be enjoying themselves and the camera is not "leering" I wouldn't find a scene misogynistic.

Christian M. Howell said...

@ Shady_Grady,

I guess I just never hear about those cases or else I would have mentioned them.

Again, I think it is HORRIBLE, but it is what it is. I'm sure that training would make them understand that a gun needs to pulled, aimed and the trigger pulled for there to be a danger of getting shot.

Also, where do you live? I, right now, live in BedStuy Brooklyn and I have to get out. Most people see my well-dressed ass and act like I'm trying to escape from the plantation.


My point is that getting shot by the police takes two sides. I can't imagine what you would need to do to get shot 50 times. If you don't respect a person with a gun and the right to use it, you may be making a mistake.

And to add insult to injury, I saw photos of the Red Carpet for the BET awards and very few of our male "celebrities" even bothered wearing a FRICKIN SHIRT.

Marty S said...

Steve:If you play video games then you know that you get better the more you play any particular. You get much better quickly and then plateau perhaps continuing to slowly improve with time. It seems to me that the tests described are much like a video game and I am not sure they would translate well into the streets. Beyond that I don't think the article lets you conclude much about police bias.

Shady Grady: Your examples prove little about the general situation. Based upon what data I could find on the net I would estimate that there are between 750,000 and 1,000,000 police officers in the U.S. If just a half percent are racially biased you would expect a certain number incidents.

Shady_Grady said...

Christian:"My point is that getting shot by the police takes two sides. I can't imagine what you would need to do to get shot 50 times. If you don't respect a person with a gun and the right to use it, you may be making a mistake."

There's no way I could indicate how strongly I disagree with this statement. Getting shot by the police takes two sides? What mistake did Abner Louima make? Or Amadou Diallo? Tim Stansbury opened a door to a roof and was shot dead instantly.

There have been numerous Black men who have been wrongfully harassed, insulted, beaten or murdered by the police. These folks come from all walks of life. It doesn't have much to do with respecting a person with a gun.

I have family in NY and they see things much differently than you. Anyway crime and police brutality are nationwide problems.

In the case you reference, Sean Bell's friends indicate that the police never identified themselves as such but just started shooting.

Those aren't the sort of people who ought to be given the ability to use deadly force.

Shady_Grady said...

#Your examples prove little about the general situation. Based upon what data I could find on the net I would estimate that there are between 750,000 and 1,000,000 police officers in the U.S. If just a half percent are racially biased you would expect a certain number incidents.#

My point is that these incidents are not caused by or even correlated with a person's education or job status and that it most certainly does not take 2 people to get shot. Read the various NAACP reports or the Human Rights Watch or the Amnesty International reports on police brutality.

Again, my primary point was in rebuttal to the other poster who said that none of the Black men killed were professionals. That's just not true.

Steven Barnes said...

I can't imagine why living in Brooklyn would "change my attitudes." What attitudes? I have nothing against cops. I think that they are high-alphas who have to make instinctive decisions under high pressure. High-alpha territorial types are, I think, more likely to be racist, but only because the ability to differentiate between "us" and "them" is so critical for warriors. I think that the shootings are an expression of innate human tribalism. The fact that more black cops don't shoot white perps is a sign of the life-long programming blacks get that whites are more valuable--as well as the fact that (historically. I'm not certain about current stats) if a black man killed a white man, he was FAR more likely to die or go to prison than the other way around. All this stuff is just human stuff, to me, and has nothing to do with innate differences, and nothing to do with cops being evil and racist.

salina said...

well, i always feel like the little toddler chiming in with the adultslollol. Can something be innate if we weren't born with it? In terms of race, I thought it was fairly well established that racist ideology is the result of socialization and learned behaviors...among other external factors. So as much issue as I have with the abuse and violence of police brutality, I see them as a micro of the macro: another field where the game of White Supremacy plays out...

Anonymous said...

Looking at the two tests, it seems like they contradict one another:
The first test cited indicated a racial bias among Florida officers. However, the second test (the one with the graph in the article) indicated little or no bias among randomly selected officers, and only a slight bias among Denver officers. So ... Florida officers are initially biased?
The main lesson seemed to be that civilians are much more biased than officers from either area - which fits in with the idea that training may reduce bias.
However, the correlation between city cops and bias seems to indicate the obvious, that officers working in large cities encounter a greater diversity of people, and have learned to be biased.
The design of the tests also differs, in that the first test superimposed images onto the suspects, while the second test showed them actually holding random objects. This could effect the way they were perceived by the officers.
Based on the vague memories of my college statistics courses, that

salina said...

Though if the idea of psychic memory being passed on through DNA is valid...perhaps there are some innate traits or characteristics. I just don't accept it, it's TOO dangerous and problematic a notion. Cops, like E'body else, have basically been socialized in a society where the images of Blacks as more violent and dangerous have been perpetuated. This is another issue that goes back 400+ years to the beginning of the enslavement of AFrican peoples...

Anonymous said...

whoops, it posted before I was ready -
It seems like the tests are saying a whole bunch of nothing. Without looking at raw data, you can't compare the two. Also, the "statistics" presented are odd - an "inverse" statistic should be a smaller positive number, not a negative one, and you can't have a correlation of 22; 1 is as high as it will go. I'm assuming the author missed a decimal, and it's r=.22. Again, without looking into the numbers and test design, it's two different people saying two different things.

albatross said...

Just as an aside, it seems like there is a parallel between these two statements:

a. Getting beaten up or shot by the police is something you participate in, by your dress, your actions, your affect.

b. Getting beaten up or shot by thugs is something you participate in, by your dress, your actions, your affect.

Both of these have some truth to them--a lot of victims of crimes were acting stupid, or were not taking sensible precautions. But there's also an element of randomness here. Some people that get shot to death by the police apparently were guilty of nothing more than opening the door with a wallet in their hands. Similarly, some people who get mugged were walking to their car in a safe neighborhood by daylight.

salina said...

bias is being far too benign a word. People must stop dancing around the reality and deal with some historical facts. Race is a man made construct, as is the hierarchy and valuation based on differences. So called scientists, theorists, and lord knows who else (including Dr. Watson or Crick recently) created and perpetuated classifications of people based on skin color, features, and even bone shape and structure. Top of the food chain were Europeans and bottom were the AFricans. The idea that AFricans were inferior intellectually, closer to beasts than human, predisposed for hard labor, and were sexually deviant, and violent has been written about in books, journals, and even NOW is prevalent in pop media and culture. We're talking 400+ years of brainwashing, conditioning, and socializing. Black people were taught to hate themselves, believing themselves to be inferior (the WORLD over), and it is CLEAR that we along with everyone else bought into. That's the reality.

Bennett said...

I don't think 'misogyny' is what you're seeing in movie sex. What you're seeing, often, is women being made into what film students call 'the object of the gaze'. They're often being presented favorably--as sexy, desirable, even powerful--but still objectified. It's this flattening of their character into a mere tool for male pleasure that is the problem. It isn't rooted in fear or mistrust, though, it's more to do with the sometimes-simplistic nature of male sexuality (particularly how visual and uncomplicated our cortex can get when we're in rut).

Remember lads--if you treat women like objects, you'll wind up having to treat objects like women.

As to racial images and beating the drum? Please, please, please do keep it up. I think there's maybe 2% of the time where you're seeing patterns that I don't agree exist (for example, I think it's more Kevin James than Will Smith being emasculated in the Hitch scene, since he's taking the female role in their simulation, and the one foolish enough to keep going with it), but the other 98% is eye-opening for me. Racial images are like any other reflex of habit, and being a hetero white male in the American Southeast, I worry that I have a lot of junk programming to discard or circumvent. But it's like learning a martial art, in a sense. Just because I was conditioned to jerk away from something doesn't mean I can't be trained to take a rational, humane attitude or response instead, once I put my higher brain into gear.

Brian Dunbar said...

It seems to me that the tests described are much like a video game and I am not sure they would translate well into the streets.

The idea is to teach the trainee under what circumstances to use deadly force, when not to, and when it's a good time to pull your gun but not use deadly force.

Little cues that are supposed to soak into your brain, ready to be called up and used at the right time. Like 'pay attention' and 'soda cans look like guns' and 'you can hide a shotgun inside a baby blanket'.

The tech has probably changed some since I used it, twenty years ago. But then it was ...

Trainee has a pistol, faces a large projection screen. Pistol has 'caps' so you know you're shooting. Trainer stands behind at a console.

The videos are short, and repeatable with different scenarios and the actor's play different parts. So one scenario at a traffic stop a woman jumps out of a trunk, gagged and shaking off ropes. Looks like a kidnapping. Or a prank gone awry. Eight scenarios later, it repeats except this time she jumps out with a shotgun. So while the hapless trainee is focusing on the driver yelling about 'something' (just like before!) he gets shot because he saw what wasn't there.

Whoops.

It's not like a video game - it's structured and there are pauses (but not long ones) while the trainer critiques. The idea is to learn something, not slay bad guys with abandon.

Josh Jasper said...

) I have a chain of thought I find unavoidable. Sex in gay porn is more aggressive and dominating (from what I've seen) than typical heterosexual porn. If the level of aggression/domination in heterosexual movies means men hate/dislike/mistrust women, does this mean they also hate/dislike/mistrust men?

I've seen probably more gay porn than you have, and I'm not noticing this at all. Mainstream heterosexual porn is certainly misogynistic in many cases. Slapping and spitting and choking are all getting popular.

What you might have been seeing is gay fetish porn, which includes Sadist/Masochist interaction, but I don't think has the same sense of denigrating someone. There's plenty of good lesbian fetish porn out there too, and the videos I've seen show some activity you might be able to interpret as hateful, except there's always conversation between the two women about how nice things are.

Sex scenes in regular movies are different from porn. The intent isn't always to arouse.

f you feel men hate women more than they hate other men, is it an "out-group" thing? (Hate them because they are the "other"). If so, why have I had to fight so hard to convince people that there might be a "10% disconnect" between white people and black people? Wouldn't the same reasoning lead you to believe that racism is deep, pervasive, and incurable?ᅠI honestly don't get it. And I'm really trying. A little help, please?

One thing is that it might not be hatred, it might be a desire to dominate by fear and violence, and own sexually.

I don't think white people want the sex fro black people, but I think part of the disconnect you're talking about is a desire to keep in charge, a fear of what would happen if a black person was in charge, a fear that black people will try and take charge by violence, and a need to feel superior to black people.

It's not too dissimilar between men and women, except men aren't afraid of women physically dominating them . Despite that, I think there's a cultural encouraged tradition of physically dominating women.

Marty S said...

First after re-reading my last comment, I decided some people might think that I think a half percent of biased police officers is not a problem. I didn't mean to say that. What I was saying was more like anybody who doesn't believe we have some percentage of biased police officers is in lala land and so we shouldn't be surprised at a certain number of newsworthy incidents.
Secondly, my comment about it translating into the streets was based upon the expectation that in many cases no matter how good the training in the classroom, when faced with a threatening situation in real life people tend to react with their instincts rather than their training.

Christian M. Howell said...

I can't imagine why living in Brooklyn would "change my attitudes." What attitudes?

I mean how much you believe is the fault of the majority race.

When I say it looks bad (Brooklyn) you can believe it. I don't know. But anyway, I'd like to talk to you about some of these things offline.

I think we're more alike than it may appear. I just have little to no patience or compassion.

I bet we both feel that somehow we should be "higher on the totem pole."

I bet we both feel that personal choice is the main factor in any person's life.

etc. etc.

Christian M. Howell said...

I have family in NY and they see things much differently than you. Anyway crime and police brutality are nationwide problems.

In the case you reference, Sean Bell's friends indicate that the police never identified themselves as such but just started shooting.




I'm sure they especially see me differently than I see myself.


As far as two people to get shot; it's obvious that you have to do something to make the officer feel like he's in danger.

I'll ask you a question:

If a police officer approaches you with his hand on his pistol and gives you an order, what do you do?


The Sean Bell trial was plastered all over the news and the witnesses corroborated the testimony that a gun was mentioned and that they nearly ran the cops over.

Again, I hate senseless deaths but you are not going to call Abe, Jamal, Biffy or Hassan unless they have on a badge.

We have a bad history with cops, but not racist, merely, "this is the job."

Brian Dunbar said...

Secondly, my comment about it translating into the streets was based upon the expectation that in many cases no matter how good the training in the classroom, when faced with a threatening situation in real life people tend to react with their instincts rather than their training.

Granted. This is why _good_ training smashes the act right into your reflexes.

Example - how to clear a jam in a rifle. The Marines distill that into a five-step process and then drill the snot out of you until you can do it in your sleep.

It's drilled into my brain do deep that on the rifle range I had to take a conscious step not to apply the corrective action - and this is not unusual.

(The reason not to apply immediate action on the range is that if you clear your own weapon you can't make up the missed time. If a range official clears the weapon you get extra time to shoot the rounds that jammed.)

Anyway. The point of 'shoot/don't shoot' is that the actions taken there become instinct.

Shady_Grady said...


As far as two people to get shot; it's obvious that you have to do something to make the officer feel like he's in danger.


If you really believe that God bless you. There's nothing that anyone can do to change your mind. I already gave you the example of the young man Tim Stansbury who opened a door to a roof and was fatally shot by police. Amadou Diallo was shot in his own vestibule and so on. What did Stansbury do wrong?

I'll ask you a question:
If a police officer approaches you with his hand on his pistol and gives you an order, what do you do?

The Sean Bell trial was plastered all over the news and the witnesses corroborated the testimony that a gun was mentioned and that they nearly ran the cops over.


That's a straw man argument. I never said that people should argue with armed police who have
no problem using deadly force.

The question that needs to be asked is why so many Black Americans of both genders and various levels of economic success perceive police brutality, misconduct and harassment as a serious problem.

Blair Underwood and Branford Marsalis have had incidents.

It's real. It happens. It cannot be explained by citizens doing the wrong thing or refusing to obey lawful authority.

The witnesses in the Sean Bell case all testified that the police never identified themselves.

If three or more armed men ran up to you with guns drawn and started shouting as you were leaving a club wouldn't the possibility of a carjacking cross your mind?

salina said...

lollollol and the band plays on lollol

bud said...

My opinion on misogyny in films would be a waste of time, as my sister will testify that I am an unrepentant MCP.

Cops, racist? Certainly, but not as bad as portrayed. I believe that the "a$$hole coefficient" is higher in that population, and this comes off as racist to many.

Somewhat off topic, here's an essay that you might want to comment on, Steven.
http://lhote.blogspot.com/2008/07/race-and-minefield.html

Mike Ralls said...

"The question that needs to be asked is why so many Black Americans of both genders and various levels of economic success perceive police brutality, misconduct and harassment as a serious problem."

I think residual racism plays a role in that, but think of two groups: Group A and Group B. A random member of group B is SEVEN TIMES more likely to murder someone than a random member from group A.* Why would cops, even those cops who are part of group B, _not_ fear a random unknown member of group B more than they fear a random unknown member of group A?

*http://www.benbest.com/lifeext/murder.html

MURDERERS AND VICTIMS
BY RACE AND GENDER
IDENTITY
MURDERERS VICTIMS
Black male 47.9% 42.2%
White male 42.9% 37.3%
White female 5.4% 13.3%
Black female 4.1% 7.2%
Total 100.0% 100.0%

(Whites outnumber blacks roughly 7 - 1, so with blacks being a slightly larger % of murders that means they are roughly 7 times as likely to commit murder on a per capita basis)

salina said...

racism is hardly "residual". I feel like a pink elephant. lolololol

Mike Ralls said...

"racism is hardly "residual"."

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/residual
"an internal aftereffect of experience or activity that influences later behavior"

Culturally, the experience was slavery and white domination over most non-whites. The racism of the US today is very different, less strong and less violent for one thing, from that in 1908, let alone 1808. I stand by calling it residual.

salina said...

slavery and racism are not the same. If you had said residual effects from/of slavery, i'd agree. Racism is racism is racism. The ideology sooothed the cognitive dissonance that may have resulted in the minds of folk with conscience. HOw else would good, church going, democratic folk justify and excuse the treatment of an entire race of human beings? Racism and invariably White Supremacy allowed that. Folk had to believe that Africans were inferior to allay the guilt...

salina said...

though I see what your seeing,i would have used subversive maybe rather than residual. Remember, segregation, another child of racism, has only been "illegal" for 40 years at best. Hence forcing the die-hard proponents of white supremacy and their ideas underground. Based on the current state of affairs, "Obama's Baby Mama" among countless other more nefarious incidents, I can only wonder how subversive it is...or will remain.

mjholt said...

"most sex scenes in movies are misogynistic" I have to admit to confusion.

Steve, I go back to "Body Heat." One of the first scenes in the movie depicts a waitress leaving Ned Racine after they have had sex (OK this is not exactly a sex scene). It sets up opportunity for Matty Walker to exploit Racine, but the scene shows how Racine exploits women, and does not actually like them: he is attracted to the uniform, any uniform, and waitresses are handy, and can hardly get them out of his room fast enough once the act is completed. That is a powerfully negative message for women, for me. I think that is why women like the movie: Racine goes to jail for being a sexual fool, while Matty goes scott free by exploiting him.

I am having a very difficult time thinking of a sex scene that pleased me. I have seen many because I watch films. The only one that readily comes to mind is the alien sex in "The Man Who Fell to Earth" between David Bowie's character, Thomas Jerome Newton, and a woman who is basically anonymous, which actually disgusts me.

In "Murphy's Romance" one of the most romantic scenes is at the end of the movie when Murphy Jones tells Emma Moriarty, who is a generation or more younger than him, not to fool around with him because he is very serious about romance and sex. Still, no sex scene.

I hope this helps you get it.

Anonymous said...

As someone who has feared many things based on statistics I read in newspapers and magazines, I'm skeptical of using statistics to condone fear and the resulting actions.

Even if random members of group B are seven times more likely to commit violent crimes than members of group A, the overwhelming majority of people in group B are still unlikely to commit violent crimes.

So, lets say 1% of the members of group A are violent criminals and 7% of the members of group B are violent criminals. Does that really make it reasonable to fear the 93% of the members of group B who are not committing violent crimes?

Marty S said...

I really have to disagree with the last post by anonymous, at least with respect to police actions. It doesn't really matter even if its .7% of the population versus .1%, if you are in a situation that is potentially life threatening. In most such cases police officers are not dealing with the typical person they are dealing with criminals or people who are highly likely to be criminals.
Lets look at the Sean Bell case from my point of view. There were seven detectives involved. They were not on a picnic in Central Park when a random Black man walked by and they decided he might be armed and shot him. They were involved in a criminal investigation dealing with people who at the least were suspected criminals not random members of the population. As I understand it, Sean Bell himself had been arrested nine times previously. I have no idea whether or not the officers involved knew that specifically, but if they did that would increase their reason to fear him above the rest of the population. Also I ask myself the question, multiple officers seemed to make the same decision, at the same time, which would seem to support that some action triggered the shooting rather than these officers all at the same time decided they didn't like the guy and were going to shoot him.

Marty S said...

I just want to point out that my own logic, in one sense points to a similar conclusion to anonymous's. If we take Mike's data at face value, it maybe true that a police officer responding to a crime in progress can expect to find and be in danger from a black perpetrator more often than a white perpetrator, but nothing in the data says once you arrive at the scene and are dealing with a white criminal, that criminal is less likely to be dangerous than a black criminal.

Lynn Gazis-Sax said...

Also I ask myself the question, multiple officers seemed to make the same decision, at the same time, which would seem to support that some action triggered the shooting rather than these officers all at the same time decided they didn't like the guy and were going to shoot him.

Or some situation ...

Sure, cops aren't going to randomly walk onto a campus and shoot a black university president, or into a boardroom and shoot a black CEO. They shoot when they have some reason or other to be on their guard - maybe it's getting word that an actual criminal is loose in the area, maybe it's a wrong move by a suspect, maybe it's something in their surroundings. And some of the innocent people they shoot will be innocent people who were doing something dumb.

But multiple officers shooting in the same situation could well all be shooting, in part, because they've learned common biases, such that they wouldn't have shot a white person in that same situation. And all of us are in the wrong part of town at some point in our lives, or stopped at some point by a cop who's already on edge; many of us may, at one bad moment, fail to recognize quickly enough that we're dealing with a cop. And of course, you teach your kids, when dealing with a cop, keep your hands visible, move slowly, don't do anything rash, etc. But we all know, between Steve and me, who's more likely to be mistaken for a dangerous criminal if we happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. And who might even be able to get away with doing something really dumb in a cop's presence, due to not looking like what most cops (or civilians) expect to be dangerous (not that I'm planning to risk being really dumb, even so).

Shady_Grady said...

I think residual racism plays a role in that, but think of two groups: Group A and Group B. A random member of group B is SEVEN TIMES more likely to murder someone than a random member from group A.* Why would cops, even those cops who are part of group B, _not_ fear a random unknown member of group B more than they fear a random unknown member of group A?

That sort of thinking could slide into using statistics to justify or reinforce preexisting notions of prejudice and bigotry.

In the first place the overwhelming majority of Black people, Black males included are not in fact murderers or criminals.

Secondly the fact that a disproportionate number of Americans convicted of murder are Black does not give you any meaningful information about a particular Black individual. In fact that statistic is completely irrelevant to a judgment of an individual.

In many of the cases referenced the victims of actual or alleged brutality, harassment, misconduct or killing by the police were not in fact murderers. Why should an individual of a group be responsible for bad behavior by other members?

The Constitution does not allow for blood guilt or guilt by association. If a police officer finds that he or she can't operate in those frameworks they should find (be forced to find) a different line of work.

Marty S said...

Shady Grady: does it occur to you that your arguments are totally inconsistent and you are changing your logic so it always matches your emotions. In one case you argue that statistics don't say anything about the individual and that police officers should not let that affect them in the course of their job. At the same time you will use a small number of prominent cases in which white police officers abused blacks to condemn law enforcement has a whole. Please pick a stance, we can either reason from the few to the many or we can't.

Pagan Topologist said...

The Constitution does not allow for blood guilt or guilt by association.

This is not strictly true. The Constitution only prohibits blood guilt for one crime: Treason.