joy…

…is Wesley Morris writing for Grantland. I like to think he watches movies so I don’t have to. From Dumber Than Your Average Bear:

MacFarlane doesn’t have a measuring stick long enough to take in the incongruity between a beaten black body and his teddy bear’s narcissism…

In one sense MacFarlane is just making dick and personhood jokes in a commercial comedy that is gleefully marketed to all. But for the people who own those penises, who rarely, in American movies, experience equal personhood, this can sting. That, of course, isn’t all. Part of the Charleston shooter’s pre-massacre statement apparently expressed contempt for black sexuality (“You rape our women”). That contempt is almost as old as this country. But its expression from a 21-year-old unemployed landscaper and a very popular 41-year-old entertainer would seem to suggest that it’s not going anywhere soon.

For people of color, some aspect of friendship with white people involves an awareness that you could be dropped through a trapdoor of racism at any moment, by a slip of the tongue, or at a campus party, or in a legislative campaign. But it’s not always anticipated. You don’t expect the young white man who’s been seated alongside you in a house of worship to take your life because you’re black. Nor do you expect that a movie about an obscene teddy bear would invoke a sexual stereotype forced upon you the way Kunta Kinte was forced to become “Toby.”