“Hollywood is anything but liberal. I call them liberal bigots. Hollywood is filled with liberal bigots, and they use the thing of being liberal as a reason for being bigoted, for if they’d listen to themselves talk, and listen to their friends talk, they would find that they tell way too many black jokes, ethnic jokes.”
Yeah… listening is not really a skill required of the Hollywood elite. Talking super-loud in restaurants so everyone will know I’m A Somebody? That’s more on their level.
“I went to a meeting at Warner Bros., with a producer and a director and an exec. I’m sitting there, and I’m a black writer going to write about this black guy. I won’t say what he did, because that’d give away who it was. So before the meeting started, the three white guys started telling towelhead jokes: ‘This towelhead this, this towelhead that.’ And I’m sitting there listening to them tell these towelhead jokes. The Warner Bros. exec started it, and then the producer and this director chimed in on it. I couldn’t believe this was taking place. I didn’t say a word; you know I’m not going to say an N-word joke or tell a towelhead joke because I’m next. So I’m listening to this. Then, afterwards, they then start talking about this black project, which I had no interest in pitching, because I thought, ‘You’re some of the most insincere sons of bitches I ever met in my life’ – motherfuckers is the better word. I had another life before I became a writer, and I’d never heard any shit like this before. I probably gave them one of the most insincere pitches I ever gave in my life because I didn’t want to be a part of [anything with] these three assholes. I couldn’t believe they were doing it. It was totally unnecessary.”
I’m sure this writer was just being oversensitive. Right? /sarcasm
“I remember when I produced my very first movie. I was sitting in a room with a very famous director and his development staff. I was the only female in the room, and I kept making suggestions to cut different scenes, [like] one too many funerals. And I was completely ignored. Cut to this very famous director. He would say the same exact thing that I had said, not even a minute after I said it. And everyone at the meeting would be like, ‘Oh, yes. Good idea. That’s what we should do!’ It was like I never said it. I was invisible. I don’t know if that was sexism, but it sure felt like it. My opinion didn’t matter. Why was I talking?
Sadly, this happens to women outside of film a whole lot, too. The scary thing is, it proves they actually are listening and our opinions actually do matter, except they must be appropriated and reissued by The Man. This is pretty much the apex of narcissistic entitlement.
The sad thing about them is that you’ve experienced bigotry all of your life, and you know bigotry when you see it. But some of them actually feel that they know more about being black than you do. That’s happened on more than one occasion. I was in a meeting, and a question came up about being black and about dealing with racism, and I said, ‘Well, that was always important to me.’ Then one of the execs in the meeting zoomed in, and this is a child of privilege, to try to presume to tell me what it was like to be black: ‘Well, some of my African-American friends…’ which I always find totally amusing, because we’re black. You’re white, we’re black, but they always try to preface it with ‘Some of my African-American friends…’ or ‘Maybe the African-American feels…’ Or the real cheap shot is to try to trivialize it with, ‘Well, I know what it’s like, because I was discriminated against because I had long hair,’ or because of this or that, which is totally different. They can tell what I am two blocks away. If I’m just walking toward people, if I get on the elevator, I don’t have to say a word. Everybody cringes before I can even open my mouth.
But Mr. Honky knows more than anyone about everything! He has demographics and spreadsheets about What It’s Like To Be You.
I can’t tell you how many times Mr. Honky has patiently explained to me how my interpretation of my own life is incorrect, and no one had ever actually been sexist toward me – I was just being all negative and defensive when I imagined that. In truth, the men I thought were being sexist? Probably loved me and admired me, and just didn’t know how to express it! Thanks, Mr. Honky, that makes it all better. And you know what? Those stubs where your legs used to be? I didn’t really just chop them off with a meat cleaver. You’re just looking at life through a fog of defensiveness, like you boys tend to do. I hope you’ll feel better now you realize you were just imagining that I maimed you. Here, take this mop and clean up that blood you got on the floor – it’s kind of disgusting.
When you practice it, when you turn down a meeting about any black project, you’re practicing racism. But you’ll take some stupid black project, and you’re practicing racism, because it fits your stereotype of what we are as a people. But anything that shows us as human, oh, my God: ‘No, this doesn’t ring true to me.’”
This is very like a story an African-American woman once recounted to Gategrrl and me: she had pitched a semi-autobiographical story to an exec, but he didn’t think that sort of thing happened to real people. Because only people he relates to are “real.”
“An African-American executive was interested in doing a project with an African-American writer and an African-American director. She mentioned the project to her boss. She and her boss proceeded to get on a conference call with the African-American director’s agent. The agent answered the phone with such zest, she began talking prior to letting the agent know that there was somebody else on the phone, and proceeded to talk about a high-profile project at the studio, and then he went into mentioning the African-American project and said, ‘We’re not even worried about n—– films.’ Shortly thereafter, the African-American executive resigned. There’s so much racism going on that we’re just used to it. It’s hard to pick out a moment when you’re not discriminated against.”
Had to include that one just in case we still have some Marcia Clarks floating around going, “Like, gosh, wow, I didn’t think people were racist anymore! I’ve never heard that word in my life!”
There is a ton more to read in that article – I’ve only highlighted a few tales.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Was it worse than you expected? About what you expected? Did you find the “Gosh, I don’t think things are bad at all, must just be women don’t like directing” stories that I did not quote here sensible and well-informed, or did you dismiss them as privileged ignorance like I did?