Something that we discussed in class was the differences in races and how they identify themselves. The example that was brought up was how Indian people may move to Australia for example and identify as Australian however it is completely different the other way around. Part of the reason I believe that this happens is that the nationality of many Asian countries can be identified by appearance however this is not the case for white people. Someone from Australia, America or England may look the exact same but have a different identity. This has pushed me to think about how we identify ourselves and our race and what may be the reasons that someone might identify as a different race? That being said, I also recognise my bias in this subject, being from two privileged countries as a white female so may not understand their background/ reasoning for preferring a different race.
This is an advertisement for a diamond company with the words ‘and she thought these things only happened in movies’. In this ad, the phrase is meant to express the excitement she experiences from receiving a diamond, as it ‘only happen[s] in the movies’. The phrase does, however, has an unintended meaning. The use of the word ‘she’ belittles the woman in this scenario and the plain background with the diamonds on top provides the impression that ‘she’ is only interested in diamonds. Additionally, the comparison to a movie fantasy demonstrates the importance of a diamond in this woman’s life, implying that it is the role of the woman to love jewellery and appreciate gifts from their husbands. The company that makes these advertisements, develops their ads to strictly male audiences in order to convince them to buy their wives a diamond. In that case, by referring to the woman as ‘she’ and implying they are to solely love diamonds, the company is creating a culture of men that believe they must buy diamonds for their little wife.
The use of the word ‘she’ can also influence one’s interpretation of the phrase. It could be understood that the ‘things’ that ‘only happen in movies’ could refer to the belittlement of women. Unintentionally, it has the meaning that she thought a woman being treated this way only happened in movies, however in receiving the gift of the diamond she understands that it is a reality.
Ta Nehisi Coates argues that there are certain words that belong to certain groups and shouldn’t necessarily be used openly or freely by those that are not associated with that group. One of the references he made was to the n-word and how it is not appropriate for a white person to use it in order to mock or associate themselves with the black community. I agree with this statement as it is a relationship and community that white people have no connection to this, they should not be allowed to use that word. Additionally, it is part of a mentality that certain white people believe they are entitled to what they wish, for example, they are entitled to the use of such a word. In a way, the fact that this word is taboo to those that are not black, it creates a social divide in which black people have the power over white people, contradicting history, and potentially the reason so many racist white people misuse this word.
The comparison of such is not extended to solely race, but many different groups have words that are ‘off-limits’ to those not within the group. For example, Coates mentioned that his wife and her friends refer to each other as ‘bitch’ but that it would not be correct for him to do the same. Historically, derogatory words such as ‘bitch’ were more widely accepted but it is interesting how people cannot grasp that the same avoidance of words such as ‘bitch’ should be extended to the n-word.