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21-Jul-2013: The White Matrix 2
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merest



Joined: 15 May 2011
Posts: 325

PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 3:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rune wrote:
merest wrote:
Rune wrote:
purplepolkadottedpiranha wrote:
merest wrote:
A decent Sunday strip. Not being American, I hadn't known who Harriet Tubman was until I consulted google. Really, I had always wondered whether Mr. Ishida would move on to racism; for it was once a controversial topic within feminism itself, with some 70s feminists assuming that all women were white and of some particular class.

It's a thorny question whether Marilyn Monroe counts as white. She was a Caucasian icon, sure - but she also converted to Judaism, and Jews have an almost unique status in Western culture. The entire 'a part of but separate' thing, with race, religion and identity being ambiguously combined. I say this being Jewish myself, and occasionally being subjected to some, er, telling assumptions because of it. But I admit that I only hesitate here because of my personal viewpoint, and that most people would consider her white without a second thought.

So, yes, a charming strip. Note that how Mr. Ishida is holding the pen makes it look like he is flipping the bird to the viewer.


That is interesting. I had no idea she had converted to Judaism.

Though it does have so ethics elements to it. Like if I remember correctly you can be born into Judaism and even though maybe later in life you decide you don't want to follow the religion anymore you are still considered Jewish. So maybe because she wasn't born Jewish he treated it solely religion based instead of taking as the race elements?

I don't know that's my guess on it feel free to correct me if I got something wrong about anything above. I don't know a whole lot on Jewish people and culture to be honest


Neither does merest.

Of course Marilyn was white, merest, you dodo. Changing religion did not change her race. "White," whatever the unwashed hordes of fundie conservatism would have you think, is not a religion.


Being Jewish, I don't know much about Jewish people and culture? Goodness gracious. An audacious way of invalidating someone's life and experiences. But I am not easily offended.

I didn't say that white-ness was a religion. As you say, it isn't. Judaism is harder to pin down because of the strange notion of a 'chosen people', which many cultures have had a lot of trouble with, and have sometimes interpreted in ways that make a hash (almost uniquely) of clean distinctions between race, religion, and cultural identity. You will find different opinions on this subject (among them the one you just voiced), but choosing one of them and saying the others don't exist is ill-advised.


That was a joke aimed at your ridiculous claim. I retracted it when I realized it wouldn't read that way. But come on, you're not exactly demonstrating a perspective of value by trying to claim that Marilyn Monroe was a Person of Color because she changed religions.

I'm sure there are all kinds of valuable discussions to be had about lineage and that intersection, and about prejudice against Jews.

But, dude, it does NOT make Marilyn a Person of Color. That means something else entirely. It does not mean that she had the life and experiences of a person of color, and it does not mean that she did not experience white privilege. It could be that she gave up other privilege by converting. But she did not suddenly become a person of color.


If you look at my original post, you will find that I called it a 'thorny question'. In my second post, I said that, given the place of Jews in Western culture, the question is 'harder to pin down'. I did not argue that Marilyn Monroe was non-white. Frankly, I hesitate over the question, and do not support either side of it.

Re-reading, though, I concede that my second post may have been insufficient clear. So I clarify.
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Rune



Joined: 08 Oct 2011
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 3:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Uh, no. Not hard to pin down. She's white.

Just like if I adopted a black child, that child would be part of my family while still remaining black, (and it would be racist, cruel, and stupid to claim or teach him/her otherwise,) Marilyn was still white after conversion. There's nothing to call into question there. There's nothing hard to pin down about her not having lost her whiteness.

She may have gained a Jewish identity on top of that (I don't know her personal level of observance or how her religious community viewed and accepted her, and that may very well be a thorny issue,) but she remained, without question or doubt, white as she ever was. She's white. As are a lot of Eastern European and American Jews. And a lot of Hispanics, for that matter.
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merest



Joined: 15 May 2011
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 4:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rune wrote:
Uh, no. Not hard to pin down. She's white.

Just like if I adopted a black child, that child would be part of my family while still remaining black, (and it would be racist, cruel, and stupid to claim or teach him/her otherwise,) Marilyn was still white after conversion. There's nothing to call into question there. There's nothing hard to pin down about her not having lost her whiteness.

She may have gained a Jewish identity on top of that (I don't know her personal level of observance or how her religious community viewed and accepted her, and that may very well be a thorny issue,) but she remained, without question or doubt, white as she ever was. She's white. As are a lot of Eastern European and American Jews. And a lot of Hispanics, for that matter.


Your opinion is cogent. (Googling 'white Jew' informs me that in American vernacular, the phrase denotes an honest businessman. Great.)

For the record, I believe Marilyn Monroe is buried in a Jewish cemetery.
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Valerie



Joined: 02 Apr 2013
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 4:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

merest wrote:
Rune wrote:
Uh, no. Not hard to pin down. She's white.

Just like if I adopted a black child, that child would be part of my family while still remaining black, (and it would be racist, cruel, and stupid to claim or teach him/her otherwise,) Marilyn was still white after conversion. There's nothing to call into question there. There's nothing hard to pin down about her not having lost her whiteness.

She may have gained a Jewish identity on top of that (I don't know her personal level of observance or how her religious community viewed and accepted her, and that may very well be a thorny issue,) but she remained, without question or doubt, white as she ever was. She's white. As are a lot of Eastern European and American Jews. And a lot of Hispanics, for that matter.


Your opinion is cogent. (Googling 'white Jew' informs me that in American vernacular, the phrase denotes an honest businessman. Great.)

For the record, I believe Marilyn Monroe is buried in a Jewish cemetery.


Jewish as a race and Jewish as a religion are two different things, I think is the point here.
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Rune



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 4:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Look, I'll make it simple. Even asking the question in the first place (whether or not Marilyn's counts as white because of her conversion to Judaism) presupposes that one's religious conversion can have any effect whatsoever on their race.

I get that there are a lot of complicated internal questions of lineage and faith within Judaism and the Jewish identity, I get there is a separatism and history of prejudice and all that. I get that. And the group is entirely within its own rights to have its own definitions and determinations as to who does and doesn't count as a Jew. That's not my business.

But none of that means that someone can change their race--skin color, hair color, facial features, genealogy, past heritage, etc.--by changing their religion. The one just does not, cannot ever, affect the other. One does not "convert" from being white, or black, or whatever. Not to any degree.

An individual's religious conversion cannot affect their race. Asking whether or not it has is not a "thorny question." It's a fat, laughing, NO.
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locuas



Joined: 18 Jul 2013
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 4:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mindslicer wrote:
How racially diverse was Krypton before it kerploded?

according to man of steel...not very much...
but if we go with the comics...it is never explained, but the most likely answer would be the same as with vulcan in star trek: as diverse as earth, but we see a part of the planet that just happen to have mostly white people.
in fact, there is a one-shot comic that focus in a universe where the heroes are racially diverse, with superman and supergirl as a black married couple. i personally don't like because it is supposed to be one of the universes destroyed by the anti-monitor during crisis of inifnite earths, so it feels just like a huge waste to me.

but depending of the moment we are talking about, then supergirl is not from krypton, but an angel in a physical body... or a shape-shifting..thing......and everyone of you do not know what the hell i'm talking about, right?
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merest



Joined: 15 May 2011
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 5:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rune wrote:
Look, I'll make it simple. Even asking the question in the first place (whether or not Marilyn's counts as white because of her conversion to Judaism) presupposes that one's religious conversion can have any effect whatsoever on their race.

I get that there are a lot of complicated internal questions of lineage and faith within Judaism and the Jewish identity, I get there is a separatism and history of prejudice and all that. I get that. And the group is entirely within its own rights to have its own definitions and determinations as to who does and doesn't count as a Jew. That's not my business.

But none of that means that someone can change their race--skin color, hair color, facial features, genealogy, past heritage, etc.--by changing their religion. The one just does not, cannot ever, affect the other. One does not "convert" from being white, or black, or whatever. Not to any degree.

An individual's religious conversion cannot affect their race. Asking whether or not it has is not a "thorny question." It's a fat, laughing, NO.


If I understand: you strictly distinguish between race and social identity, and think that race is in no way socially constructed, but is a biological absolute. You also consider that how the concept of a 'chosen people' has been interpreted over the centuries does not, despite any real and persistent implications, change the facts of the matter. That, in effect, a white woman cannot change her ethnicity.

I would reply to this that the concepts of race and social identity are mixed both in Jewish culture, and in how Jews are perceived. You are right that Marilyn Monroe cannot change her DNA. But because of her conversion _to Judaism specifically,_ she may no longer be perceived as white by _some_ people. That would not be the case with Hinduism, or Taoism, or whatever, but with Judaism, it is a possibility. This is a cultural thing that ( I don't mean this in an insulting way, just as a possibility) you may not have observed, or, if you have, that you think of dismissively.

I agree with you on one level, but on another prefer to reserve judgement.


Last edited by merest on Mon Jul 22, 2013 5:29 am; edited 2 times in total
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Samsally



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 5:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

locuas wrote:
but depending of the moment we are talking about, then supergirl is not from krypton, but an angel in a physical body... or a shape-shifting..thing......and everyone of you do not know what the hell i'm talking about, right?


Not per se but I'm familiar enough with the world of comics to totally believe you none the less.

I read a truly hysterical breakdown of the alternate universes in marvel at one point. Not surprised DC is just as complicated.
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lostinube



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 6:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ironically, every DC shake-up (CoIE, Final Crisis, the New 52) is supposed to help "clean up" continuity.

Matrix was a shape-shifting thing that became an angel and then later became something else after it split from it's human host. Or something like that.

I believe that someone mentioned him already, but there is currently a black Superman "active" as of Final Crisis (and going on into the New 52 skidoo).

http://superman.wikia.com/wiki/Calvin_Ellis

Linda Danvers Supergirl was by far my favorite version of the character, especially the white top costume phase (based on the one from the cartoon).
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Yrvani



Joined: 01 Apr 2013
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 7:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rune wrote:
Look, I'll make it simple. Even asking the question in the first place (whether or not Marilyn's counts as white because of her conversion to Judaism) presupposes that one's religious conversion can have any effect whatsoever on their race.

I get that there are a lot of complicated internal questions of lineage and faith within Judaism and the Jewish identity, I get there is a separatism and history of prejudice and all that. I get that. And the group is entirely within its own rights to have its own definitions and determinations as to who does and doesn't count as a Jew. That's not my business.

But none of that means that someone can change their race--skin color, hair color, facial features, genealogy, past heritage, etc.--by changing their religion. The one just does not, cannot ever, affect the other. One does not "convert" from being white, or black, or whatever. Not to any degree.

An individual's religious conversion cannot affect their race. Asking whether or not it has is not a "thorny question." It's a fat, laughing, NO.


You may think this. An antisemitist may not. A convertee would be treated to the same amount of discrimination, danger and harassment from a nazi as a born jewish person would be. Especially a woman, marrying and adopting a tell tale surname.
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wobster109



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 7:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm really glad to see this strip.

I remember being a young child who liked to play outside, just like any other child. My mother would berate me when I became tanned from afternoons in the sun. She'd talk about how "dark" I'd become, disapprovingly, scrunching up her nose and furrowing her brow and saying ayouuuuuuuuuuu, like it pained her to see me.

I did not go outside much during the winter. I'd become pale from staying indoors. She'd tell me how beautiful I was because my skin was so white. She wasn't an exceptionally mean or racist person either, merely someone who had grown up in a certain culture.

Of course, being a PoC, I was never actually white. But I learned that white was good and clean and beautiful.

I remember being small enough to sort people into groups: black and white. At that age, all I could distinguish was black and white. I am ashamed to remember ranking them in a hierarchy of how "good" they were, shaped by my early racism. White was "good". Black was dark, therefore "bad". I didn't want to play with certain kids in my class, didn't want to talk to them, avoided them for no reason other than the color of their skin.

Twenty years later, a man with a gun held the same racist and mistaken views as my child self.

Racism is still alive, still a plague and a stain upon our society. Please keep fighting for a better tomorrow.
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cleocatra



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wobster109 wrote:
I'm really glad to see this strip.

I remember being a young child who liked to play outside, just like any other child. My mother would berate me when I became tanned from afternoons in the sun. She'd talk about how "dark" I'd become, disapprovingly, scrunching up her nose and furrowing her brow and saying ayouuuuuuuuuuu, like it pained her to see me.

I did not go outside much during the winter. I'd become pale from staying indoors. She'd tell me how beautiful I was because my skin was so white. She wasn't an exceptionally mean or racist person either, merely someone who had grown up in a certain culture.

Of course, being a PoC, I was never actually white. But I learned that white was good and clean and beautiful.

I remember being small enough to sort people into groups: black and white. At that age, all I could distinguish was black and white. I am ashamed to remember ranking them in a hierarchy of how "good" they were, shaped by my early racism. White was "good". Black was dark, therefore "bad". I didn't want to play with certain kids in my class, didn't want to talk to them, avoided them for no reason other than the color of their skin.

Twenty years later, a man with a gun held the same racist and mistaken views as my child self.

Racism is still alive, still a plague and a stain upon our society. Please keep fighting for a better tomorrow.


I've never personally noticed as big a racist culture in the UK than in the US, though we still have racist people of course. And racist happenings.

But http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOVwrcTzRBs racism gets ingrained from a young age, and people really have to embrace other cultures and acknowledge differences to combat racism in all of it's subtle ways.

And I hate the fact that some people feel a need to use skin bleaching powders. I'm glad my mum has never said anything bad about us tanning (apart from getting us to wear loads of suntan lotion, but that's more of a protective measure vs. ageing and skin cancers)

Also in my school it was a multitude of loads of different people, so I've grown up with people from all over the place Very Happy there's still inherent racist thoughts which are spread through all of society such as "be afraid of black men" and "white women are pure" which you have to mentally combat.
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Yinello



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The whole "be afraid of colored men" hangs pretty heavy here and I hate it so much. You can tell when no one wants to sit next to the big black guy in a crowded train. Even I find myself nervous sitting next to him despite the fact that there's no reason to. I hate that it's in my brain (I still sat down next to him just to tell my brain to STFU).
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Rune



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yrvani wrote:
Rune wrote:
Look, I'll make it simple. Even asking the question in the first place (whether or not Marilyn's counts as white because of her conversion to Judaism) presupposes that one's religious conversion can have any effect whatsoever on their race.

I get that there are a lot of complicated internal questions of lineage and faith within Judaism and the Jewish identity, I get there is a separatism and history of prejudice and all that. I get that. And the group is entirely within its own rights to have its own definitions and determinations as to who does and doesn't count as a Jew. That's not my business.

But none of that means that someone can change their race--skin color, hair color, facial features, genealogy, past heritage, etc.--by changing their religion. The one just does not, cannot ever, affect the other. One does not "convert" from being white, or black, or whatever. Not to any degree.

An individual's religious conversion cannot affect their race. Asking whether or not it has is not a "thorny question." It's a fat, laughing, NO.


You may think this. An antisemitist may not. A convertee would be treated to the same amount of discrimination, danger and harassment from a nazi as a born jewish person would be. Especially a woman, marrying and adopting a tell tale surname.


And that's anti-semitism. And race plays into that, but that still does not mean that Marilyn's race changed. More that she was adopted into the family.
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Rune



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 4:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

merest wrote:
Rune wrote:
Look, I'll make it simple. Even asking the question in the first place (whether or not Marilyn's counts as white because of her conversion to Judaism) presupposes that one's religious conversion can have any effect whatsoever on their race.

I get that there are a lot of complicated internal questions of lineage and faith within Judaism and the Jewish identity, I get there is a separatism and history of prejudice and all that. I get that. And the group is entirely within its own rights to have its own definitions and determinations as to who does and doesn't count as a Jew. That's not my business.

But none of that means that someone can change their race--skin color, hair color, facial features, genealogy, past heritage, etc.--by changing their religion. The one just does not, cannot ever, affect the other. One does not "convert" from being white, or black, or whatever. Not to any degree.

An individual's religious conversion cannot affect their race. Asking whether or not it has is not a "thorny question." It's a fat, laughing, NO.


If I understand: you strictly distinguish between race and social identity, and think that race is in no way socially constructed, but is a biological absolute. You also consider that how the concept of a 'chosen people' has been interpreted over the centuries does not, despite any real and persistent implications, change the facts of the matter. That, in effect, a white woman cannot change her ethnicity.

I would reply to this that the concepts of race and social identity are mixed both in Jewish culture, and in how Jews are perceived. You are right that Marilyn Monroe cannot change her DNA. But because of her conversion _to Judaism specifically,_ she may no longer be perceived as white by _some_ people. That would not be the case with Hinduism, or Taoism, or whatever, but with Judaism, it is a possibility. This is a cultural thing that ( I don't mean this in an insulting way, just as a possibility) you may not have observed, or, if you have, that you think of dismissively.

I agree with you on one level, but on another prefer to reserve judgement.


You're right, I do differentiate. Race, family, heritage, and culture are all linked, and I've already acknowledged that lineage and identity are more mixed and complicated in Jewish culture. I get that. I do not diminish it. That is the right of the culture. Those things are linked more strongly, sometimes interchangeably. That's -fine-.

But it does not mean that the terms lose their individual definitions, and refusing to acknowledge that does a disservice to both sides of the conversation, -especially- where broader matters of race and racism are concerned.

There's a reason I used the adoption metaphor.

A white child adopted into a black family may well suffer abuse from other white people who hate black people. That does not mean that child is black. Nor does their not being black mean that they are not absolutely a part of their adopted family.

A convert may very well gain a new family, heritage, and culture, and be accepted, and accept their new identity, to the point that their race is sublimated to it as far as personal and community identity goes. (And the religion can even define it as literal, and I have no problem with that.) That identity and association may well subject them to hatred from anti-semites and the like, some of it even racially related because they may be associating with a race that some are bigoted against.

But it is not useful or accurate to claim that their race actually changed in a secular or "social justice" sense. It obscures the layers and different kinds of bigotry involved makes them more difficult to address and combat, and in fact does a disservice to those experiencing different kinds of bigotry and discrimination. Again, I understand they get kind of tangled up in antisemitism, but just because they get conflated there, (and it's good to know that they do,) does not mean that the individual definitions are no longer valid, or that the distinct (if related) definitions should be ignored, especially in a discussion about racism and the visibility of people of color.
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