Ashamed to admit, I'm just another white middle class gal who loves watching this show.
From HBO's infamous Girls to comedies like Knocked Up, 40-Year-Old Virgin, The Big Sick, Bridesmaids, and dozens of other films, I usually watch and enjoy most things Judd Apatow creates. This includes one of his most recent shows on Netflix entitled Love. I am trying to sift this show through my usual "Real Reel" lens of race, class, and gender, and I realize, my own whiteness and current middle-class privilege is getting slightly in the way…but only slightly.
While the characters on this show do seem to have invisible means, endless amounts of resources unsupported by supposed humble family origins (Mickey the main character is supposed to have come from derelict parents who have left her to fend for herself, yet she doesn't go without designer clothes and regular happy-hours out), they still conjure up a realistic vibe. I'm definitely not the only one to feel this way, as I am sure many straight white 20s and 30s folks relate to the quirky relationship between mouthy Mickey and goody two shoes Gus.
I don't mean to be a sociological downer, but I need to bring back socioeconomic class status into the discussion. I remember being in college and being confused why some of my friends' lives looked so different than mine. Some of them would go out to fancy bistros, "grown-up-dinners" at "grown-up places" and were always up for a shopping trip, or an expensive cab ride. Others of us would disappear on the weekends, especially Saturday and Sunday afternoons to invisible off-campus jobs, cocktail waitressing, Sunday school teaching, restaurant work…whatever paid our rent. But…we never talked about why we needed to work or why we didn't. Everyone was either available to hang out, or they were not. I attended a very academic liberal arts college and people took their education pretty seriously. There were no fraternity or sorority systems, and if you weren't working, than your lack of availability was assumedly studying, volunteering, meeting a friend to work on a project, or doing school work. In a sense we were all "busy." But we were not all busy the same way.
For instance, one day a friend told me she booked an airplane trip "on miles." This was still the early millennium when "miles" were usually only something people's parents and grandparents had, after all I, we were 20 years old… not a lot of work trips racking up reward miles at this point. Somehow my student loans came up, of which I owed thousands of dollars like many students. My friend explained that she pays for everything with her Rewards Card (I do too now…but I'm in my 30s). She suggested this in a "duh" kind of way. That's what she does, why wouldn't I? I felt so dumb! Why wasn't I doing this? I surely had enough debt to earn me a trip to Thailand!
Palm to the forehead moment…because my life is filled with them. She paid her bills on a rewards card because she could afford to pay her credit card bill IN FULL every month. Rewards cards have the highest interest fees, so they only benefit you if you pay them off completely each month (see, I know this now)…but imagine me trying to explain to my mom why we should put 40k of college debt on a rewards card:). How silly we were to be missing out on all these "free trips!"
The point is, yes, I can relate to Netflix's Love, but I wish I didn't. I wish I knew how these characters and many of my friends afforded to live the way they do. Economic status, privilege, and challenges are total conversation stoppers. No rich person wants to hear about your financial troubles, because they will assume you want their help. No rich person can sit down with their poor friend and complain about their "annoying work trip" to their friend on food stamps. Money discussions are still carefully cultivated, contrived, and cautious. Usually we don't have to have them because we only hang out with people in our class bracket, and maybe a single friend who can handle being friends with someone in different circumstances.
I didn't get into the reasons why I love Love beyond a blanket statement that I find some of the characters relatable. I think we have all been the "wild card" in the relationship (Mickey) or the "stable Mable" (Gus). I think we have all tried to make a relationship be more or less than it actually was, and I think we all have done desperate embarrassing things in the name of love… or you know… basic Freudian low self-esteem. Either way, whether I am proud to admit it or not, I really love watching this show.
Keep It Real,
By Rachel Hall, Rachel has a Masters in Cultural Gender Studies, and a BA in Communication & Culture, and works with all kinds of people to improve their ability to work with all kinds of people. She can often be found hiding in her laundry room from her two children. More about her on her website.
POP⚡DUST | Read More…
The quarterback said "I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country." And then he tried to apologize. And only made it worse.
Drew Brees, a man who makes literally millions of dollars for throwing a ball, has come under fire for insensitive comments he made about NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem to protest police brutality.
"I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country," Brees said in the interview with Yahoo Finance. He clarified that this was in part because he envisioned his grandfathers, who fought in World War II, during the National Anthem. He continued, saying, "And is everything right with our country right now? No. It's not. We still have a long way to go. But I think what you do by standing there and showing respect to the flag with your hand over your heart, is it shows unity. It shows that we are all in this together. We can all do better. And that we are all part of the solution."
This isn't the first time Brees made it clear that he cares more for the idea of a make-believe unified America than he does for actual human lives. In 2016, he criticized Colin Kaepernick for kneeling during the anthem, saying it was "disrespectful to the American flag" and "an oxymoron" because the flag gave critics the right to speak out in the first place.
Colin Kaepernick kneeling in protest of racist police brutality
Of course, the flag's alleged ideals have been proven to only be applicable to wealthy, white men—men like Brees. Sure, his grandfathers did a noble thing when they fought under the US flag during WWII, and no one, including Kaepernick, has ever said that sacrifice isn't worth respecting. Thanks to the sacrifices of many people (including the enslaved Black backs upon which this country was built, including the scores of routinely abused Black soldiers who fought for American lives), America has offered opportunity and peace for many, many people. In particular, Ole' Glory has been very kind to men like Brees: rich, white men who still control the majority of the power and the wealth in the United States.
But what about the rest of us, Drew? What about George Floyd whose neck was crushed by a police officer who kneeled on him so casually that he didn't even take his hand out of his pocket? What about Ahmaud Arbery, who was shot for the crime of being Black and going for a jog? What about Breonna Taylor, a black woman who was murdered by police in her home in the middle of the night for a crime that had nothing to do with her? What about Tony McDade, Drew–have you heard his name? Have you heard about the 38-year-old Black trans man who was gunned down in Florida last week? Do you understand why these people's family's may harbor just a bit of disrespect for your precious flag?
Is it possible for you to realize, Drew, that your wish for "unity" is not a wish for progress, but a wish to maintain the status quo? When you call for unity under the American flag, you're talking about your flag, the flag that represents a long, sordid history of racial oppression and violence. There is no unity where there is no justice. When you say that "we are all in this together," what you're saying is that we all have roles to play in the version of society that has served you so well. For your part, you'll be a rich, white man, and for Black people's part, they'll continue to be victims of state-sanctioned murders– but hopefully more quietly, hopefully in a manner that doesn't make you uncomfortable?
When you say, "We can all do better. And that we are all part of the solution," what you mean to say is that POC and their allies are at fault. Sure, you probably agree that Derek Chauvin took it a bit too far, and you probably feel a little self-conscious that he's brought all this "Black rights" stuff up again. But when you say "all," you place blame on the victims who are dying under a broken system. And what, exactly, do you expect POC to do differently, Drew? Ahmaud Arbery was just out jogging, and still he died. George Floyd was just trying to pay a cashier, and still he died. POC and their allies try to peacefully protest by marching in the streets or taking a knee at a football game, and still white people condemn and criticize. Still the police shoot.
After much criticism, Brees did attempt an apology on Instagram, where he posted a hilariously corny stock photo of a Black and white hand clasped together. His caption, though possibly well-intentioned, made it even clearer that his understanding of the movement for Black lives is thoroughly lacking.
Highlights of the "apology" include his immediate attempt to exonerate himself from culpability, claiming that his words were misconstrued, saying of his previous statement: "Those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I am an enemy. This could not be further from the truth, and is not an accurate reflection of my heart or my character." Unfortunately, Drew, white people like you are the "enemy," as you put it, because by default you are at the very least part of the problem. No one is accusing you of being an overt racist, Drew; no one thinks you actively and consciously detest Black people. But your lack of empathy, your apathy, and your unwillingness to unlearn your own biases are precisely what has persisted in the hearts and minds of well-meaning white Americans for centuries.
Next, you say, "I recognize that I am part of the solution and can be a leader for the Black community in this movement." No, Drew. Just no. Black people don't need white people's savior complexes to interfere in their organizing; what they need is for us to shut up and listen. What they need is for us to get our knees off of their necks.
Finally, you say, "I have ALWAYS been an ally, never an enemy." This, Drew, is suspiciously similar to saying, "But I'm one of the good whites!" The fact of the matter is that feeling the need to prove your allyship is not about helping a movement; it's about feeding your own ego. Not only that, but your emphasis on "ALWAYS" does a pretty good job of making it clear that you don't think you have a racist bone in your body and that you have taken great offense at any accusations to the contrary. I have some news for you, Drew: Every white person is racist. Sure, the levels vary, and while you may not be actively and consciously discriminating against POC, you have been brought up in a racist system, and your implicit biases are as strong as any other white person's. Your job now is to unlearn those biases and confront those subtle prejudices in yourself and in other white people. Maybe the first step in doing so is just shutting your f*cking mouth about kneeling at football games. Maybe you should even consider taking a knee yourself.
For other non-BIPOC trying to be better allies, check out one of these 68+ anti-racism resources.
We're glad they're on our side.
The world is up against a seemingly insurmountable threat, but luckily, we've got a crack team of heroes on the case.
Sure, there's already the girl with super strength, the guy who can fly, and the anthropomorphic, trash-talking animal tailor-made for merchandise. But this is a threat of intergalactic proportions, and we're going to need all the help we can get if we want to survive.
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