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The decision to introduce us to Offred as a member of an interracial family revealed an obvious break from the overwhelmingly white world of the novel and movie.
But sadly, bodies of color alone do not a liberatory racial narrative make. The camera focuses on mother and child, frantically, desperately running through the bleak landscape… until we hear the stark sound of a gunshot in the distance. That her beloved has been killed by the insurgents, that he has in fact sacrificed himself in order for his family to live cue sardonic groan of all viewers of color at this point, maybe three minutes into the first episode.
Indeed, the frequency with which characters of color are killed off early in movies and films so that the deserving white people they love so much can live, has become something of a running joke. Of course, Luke reappears in the numerous flashbacks peppered throughout the series, giving characters texture and depth via their lives pre-Gilead, and I know that legions of viewers of color are thrilled that actor O-T Fagbenle will still get work this year, even though his character is ostensibly dead.
But the point remains that, narratively speaking, his role in the series as its lone sacrificial and very-much-dead black man, is suspect.
I was thinking, in that first episode: While I was happy to see the series attempting to accurately represent contemporary America, racially and otherwise, I was let down when I realized they were attempting to do so via yet another tried and true stereotype Hollywood and white folks love to perpetuate about black folks: Which brings us to the decision to include people of color into the television series world of Gilead at all.
Atwood dedicated the book to Perry Miller who taught her the history of Puritan theocracy in New England, and has repeatedly said in interviews that every incident had historical precedent.
A television show about racists can critically examine the nature and power dynamics of the race-based hierarchy portrayed on screen, thus unhinging it for the viewer. In a recent Think Progress pieceMiller says: When fertility becomes an issue, racism starts to fall because people adopt kids from Ethiopia and Asian countries and from everywhere.
That is, the process by which a country or society with more power ostensibly rapes, pillages, and reaps the natural resources one of which is children of a less powerful society or country, in order to gain more power and resources? Talk to transracial adoptees, and you will learn very quickly that our adoption into majority white cultures in the Global North does not necessarily or even often mean they are instantly welcoming or open to the presence of non-white bodies in their midst.
And these fissures are unfortunately echoed in the series itself. After all, as Glosswitch explains in The New Statesmanit is already happening: The choice of wealthy white couples to implant embryos in the bodies of brown women is seen, not as colonialist exploitation, but as a neutral consumer choice.
But is the distinction so clear? If Offred refuses to work as a handmaid, she may be sent to the Colonies, where life expectancy is short. Yet even this is a choice of sorts.
Why would I make myself go through this pain? And I, for one, appreciate that the producers have not sugar-coated this truth, or made it in any way easier for viewers to digest. I also appreciate that they have opted to show how women ourselves are some of the most vicious perpetrators of violence on other women, and how this in turn keeps the whole system of patriarchy working.
That a television series, just four episodes in, should provoke such impassioned responses, and outpouring of critique and analysis, shows that it is doing some very important work. This work could be even more powerful, however, with a more complex racial lens.
Lori Askeland loves beautiful writing that engages political ideas head on, especially speculative fiction and life writing of all sorts — memoir, personal essays, journals.Keep it civil and stay on topic.
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Comments that violate the above will be removed. See No Color is a great book by Shannon Gibney. This book is Nonfiction, but it’s not a true story, so it's realistic fiction. The topic of this book is about being adopted and how you feel about certain things and some of the things you have to through with being an adoptee/5.
Shannon teaches writing and African diasporic topics at Minneapolis Community & Technical College, and her award-winning Young Adult novel, See No Color, was released in (Carolrhoda Lab).
Her critical and creative work regularly appear in a variety of venues. Shannon Gibney. Abstract: Alex has always identified herself as a baseball player, the daughter of a winning coach, but when she realizes that is not enough she begins to .
See No Color by Shannon Gibney "Transracial adoption is never oversimplified, airbrushed, or sentimentalized, but instead, it's portrayed with bracing honesty as the messy institution it is: rearranging families, blending cultural and biological DNA, loss and joy.4/5(1).
The Controversial Topic of Race in the Book See No Color by Shannon Gibney. words.
1 page. The Empowerment of Femininity Through Sexuality in the Short Story The Company of Wolves by Angela Carter. 1, words. 4 pages.
The Theme of Coming of Age in the Short Stories Flood by Daniel Alarcon and My Parents' Bedroom by Uwen Akpan.