Life at № 42 by E.M. Coutinho
“… Excellent performances (and performers) like Rothwell as Belinda are wasted as the Black and Hawaiian characters — the ones actually best suited to critique their white oppressors through the lenses of race, class and gender — are sidelined to focus on The Real Story: the humanity of rich and powerful white people. In the characters’ fight for power, the rich white people emerge victorious as ever, the exploited white hotel manager winds up dead, and the Black and Hawaiian characters barely even get to play. This is, after all, a six-episode story about white people for white people, created, written and directed by one white man, (pun inherent) Mike White.”
I think Obie’s text demonstrates the importance of CRT as a concept. Especially in the sense my personal experience and vision of the world don’t allow me to see it from that angle (not naturally, anyway). Historically we’ve praised the teachers and lecturers and artists who have allowed us to see through their eyes, and this is no different. From where some people stand, this is what they see. This is what there is.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t other things there, that there isn’t more, that other forces and struggles aren’t also at play — in fact as I watched I did some introspecting myself after realising I was jumping to Shane’s defence in my mind. He booked the Pineapple Suite, he should get the Pineapple Suite. I could see myself behaving in the same petty, childish way. I can’t be the only person infuriated because the salad with parmesan shavings came with grated parmesan instead. How dare they! That last thing was me, not Shane, so I suppose Shane and I could be friends.
My other reactions to the show were looking up who made the wallpaper design in the opening credits (Mark Bashore and Katrina Crawford of Plains of Yonder), checking if I had light pink chinos, realising I didn’t and then ordering a pair; wondering why no one wore big pony Ralph Lauren polos on the show which means they must be out of style now — and finally reminding myself to buy ingredients for Mai-tais. I love Mai-tais. So Obie’s article makes for uncomfortable reading. My pleasant Sunday evening experience of summer breezes and happy hour is tainted by the reality that it came at a price, much of it paid by other people. Unlike Ms. Obie, I thought the writer of the show was very clever when he said, Obviously imperialism was bad. We shouldn’t kill people, steal their land, and then make them dance <for our entertainment>. Unhappyhourly as it may be, I can’t help but think this CRT affair is necessary. It may at least begin to change everything for the Millennial and Gen Z generations. I hope.
After everything I’ve read on the issue, limited though it may be, I’ve begun writing about my experience of race. The context of that is what it means to not be black in a majority black part of the world — where at the same time the elite is the racial minority. As a European Male, I feel this will explain race structure and relations better than anyone else, obviously 🙂