That’s not Racism you morons!

Pretend for a moment there’s no such thing as racism and never has been. Take a look at the picture on the left. What do you really see?

FHM Philipines have pulled the cover of their March edition because anti-racist idiots say it’s racist. I’m shocked that public sensitivity has reached such stupid heights and that knee jerk reactions by small-minded morons are taken seriously.

I’m not racist. I don’t see the point. I understand what the term means and how it should be taken seriously when necessary. However, even before I read any of the news stories or video footage of Bella Padilla (in the centre of the photo) apologising for the shot, I saw the cover as a simple photo shoot. A glamorous and glossy photo. Nothing more.

The magazine was using light skin set against dark skin to emphasis one person. And one question that come to mind is this:

If it was a black-skinned model surrounded by white skinned models, would the reaction be the same?

Nope. It wouldn’t. And this is because people are taking racism way too seriously. According to London’s The Telegraph, one Twitter user wrote: “DISGUSTING representation of #colorism and #racism in the Philippines!”

No it isn’t! Just because someone thinks that way it doesn’t mean that’s how it really is. I watched a news clip on BBC where the news caster (sorry, I don’t know her name) asks Bella Padilla that when she saw the picture with the models why alarm bells didn’t start ringing? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-17196449

Why would they? Why should they?

Alarm bells should really only start ringing when you see that photo if you are in fact overly sensitive about racism. It’s just a fucking photo!!! I’m very angry that BBC news reporter has an accusatory tone of voice, and she makes it sound like everyone else on the planet can see the photo is racist except FHM and Bella Padilla. The reporter then asks Bella that when she was surrounded by black models, it might have given her a clue as to how it might end up looking.

WTF? We don’t all spend every waking moment worrying if what they’re doing MIGHT be considered racist. Because we have better things to do. For many people racism doesn’t cross their minds because for them it isn’t an issue.

FHM were doing a photo shoot!! It’s plainly obvious to anyone with half a brain that racism was not intended. And the caption “Stepping out of the shadows” isn’t racist either. I didn’t read it like that at all and I’m sure plenty of other people didn’t.

Anti-Racists need to climb down off their holier-than-thou bullshit perches and get a fucking clue for just a second. This has been blown way out of proportion by a few idiots at first and then joined by other idiots who don’t have an opinion of their own. Only hours after the cover was revealed, over 300 turds signed a petition at Change.org for FHM to dump the shot and make a cry baby apology.

You know who those 300 people are? People who’ve got nothing going on. I wonder if I made a petition entitled: “Keep FHM Philipines March Cover The Way It Is Because It Simply Ain’t Racist” how many people would sign it? More than 300 I’m sure.

It’s just art!!

So, after my mini rant I’d like you, dear blog reader, to take a look at some of the photos below and tell me if they’re racist. If the consensus is to be believed about the FHM Philipines March cover then any other photograph taken showing black and white skinned people together MUST also be considered racist.

Is this photo racist? It looks virtually the same doesn’t it? I don’t see it as racist. I see a slender model being supported by quite muscular men. Their partial nudity appears to have been used in order to enhance or highlight their physique, lending to the idea of strength. The main thing I see here is a shiny swimming costume, all the rest is unimportant. Yes the contrast between dark and light is very obvious but the reason isn’t racist.

Again, if this image were reversed, a black-skinned lady, or man, supported by white skinned men or women, would there be a similar reaction? It bloody well shouldn’t because it’s JUST A PHOTO!!

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with comparing skin colour or using it to show a contrast. It’s only the dick heads of the world who say it’s wrong. We should be celebrating our vast richness of colour around the world not reacting to a set of rules imposed on us by society or what experts say. No one colour is better than another. Period.

Is this a racist photo? Why? Why not?

And how about this photo? Do you see any racism there? I don’t. I see a couple enjoying the sun. Naturally the anti-racists out there will scoff at this, I suspect, but in the end it’s just a photo! You read whatever you want to into it, and a lot of how you judge things like racism is due to what society tells you and conditioning from birth.

If there was a magical pill that erased every last memory about racism for every person on the planet the world would be a very different place the next day. There’s a lot of harm that comes from racism but equally harm can come from pathetic over reactions like this. My advice is to check your head before you rant about something. I did. I spent a few hours mulling over this post before I started writing so it wasn’t a knee jerk reaction.

That’s it. My rant is over.

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32 thoughts on “That’s not Racism you morons!

  1. “For many people racism doesn’t cross their minds because for them it isn’t an issue.”
    That is very true, which is why a lot of the time racist advertisements, etc. have to be pointed out specifically before people notice. It’s the same thing as when men don’t often notice sexism; it’s not that it’s not present, but rather that if it doesn’t personally affect a viewer, they aren’t as likely to be attuned to it.

    “…any other photograph taken showing black and white skinned people together MUST also be considered racist.”
    False. Any other photograph featuring black and white people together, in which the black people are specifically serving as the background – thus making them into an object (“the shadows”) for the white person’s subject would qualify as racist. There is definitely a difference.

    • but, what about all those campaign photos where several models serve as background to bring atention to an specific person, regardless of skincolor of any of them? actually i saw the pic and came into this site to see what was the issue with the photo, and i still don’t see it… i think some people are being way hypersensitive.

      • Yep, that’s a the word indeed, hypersensitive. I’ve said before that it’s all down to how you view the world. Some don’t see colour as any kind of issue, whereas others get all riled up because they think that’s what is expected of them. They have to make a big song and dance about something because it’s the politically correct thing to do. People need to dial it down a notch or two and stop acting so weird. It is just a photo!

  2. Sorry, posted before I was done.

    “If there was a magical pill that erased every last memory about racism for every person on the planet the world would be a very different place the next day.”
    That is also true. Unfortunately, since racism -does- exist and its effects and processes and biases are ingrained into everyone, whether we accept and admit that or not, whether we want it to be true or not, things have to be looked at with an eye towards unintentional racism (and sexism, and homophobia, and other forms of marginalization).

    • Interesting comments and thank you for giving me something to think about. I kinda agree with you but where you say:

      “Any other photograph featuring black and white people together, in which the black people are specifically serving as the background – thus making them into an object (“the shadows”) for the white person’s subject would qualify as racist.”

      Then surely if the colour was reversed it should also be considered racist by those who are easily offended. I personally don’t see there is a difference because I don’t take much or any notice of skin colour.

  3. I don’t see people’s skin colour, just people.

    I wondered what an earth you were talking about when I read the title of your post and skipped past the photograph. I seriously thought the zombies had taken you. Perhaps the real Zombies are the PC activists who look for racism when none exists.

    I thought you were going to have a good old rant about the guy who was asked to remove his scarf going through security control (was it Gatwick airport) when the woman in front of him went through in a burka and was not asked to show her face, even privately. (I think this was reported in the daily mail) When the guy complained he was told his remarks were racist.

    I would like to know why racism only works one way? And what’s all this nonsense about positive descrimination. Geesh, good job I don’t live in the UK the bloody lunies have taken over the assylum! LOl…you could not write this script…

    • So we’re not the only ones who don’t see skin colour. This sort of thing is ingrained into our society and it sucks. It causes more harm than good and serves to separate people more and more.

      I’ve been the victim of racist abuse, often quite severely, because I’m white and used to live in a rough neighbourhood that was predominantly made up of anything other than white skinned people. For the most part it was a great place to live, very lively and colourful shops etc, but a section of the community made life hard for other people and from I saw this was due to the colour of their skin, being white.

      Skin colour means nothing to me. The way I see it is an arsehole is an arsehole regardless of colour, sex, religion etc.

  4. Pingback: FHM Philippines Magazine – Bela Padilla Sorry for ‘Racist’ Magazine Cover… « FilipinoFestival.com

  5. I haven’t seen and read the exact article inside this particular issue of FHM and why they used such concept on the shoot and that caption on the cover. So my opinion is based on the cover alone.

    I think the reaction of people would be different if Bella Padilla is surrounded by dark-skin men than women. It would give emphasis on the character Bella portraying and less on the comparison of the main character against the supporting characters.

    I think people react on this probably because the cover gives an impression of the definition of beauty and somehow put emphasis on light skin against dark-skin beauty.

    In addition, I think it also gives the impression of superiority and dominance based on the gestures/posing of the other women against the strong pose/gesture of Bella Padilla.

    Personally, I don’t see any racism in the picture maybe because I, myself see equality in everyone regardless of color, nationality etc. It was well done technically(lighting, framing etc). Overall, it was a good picture.

    The pictures you presented are great… it gives sensuality, passion and love However, the cover of FHM magazine is not JUST a picture. It has caption and it tells a story (which again I haven’t read yet). But definitely the cover tells something more than just being a picture or a cover of a magazine. Maybe, that gives the people the idea that it of something. Whether it is beauty, power or equality.

    I find it interesting… I might grab a copy and read the article and know why did they really shoot the cover on that concept! But for now, whether it is racism or not. I dunno. But it definitely says a lot.

  6. I don’t see racism in those pics at all but there are some folks that are “overly sensitive” and would see the white girl being superior to those in the background. I’ve heard it all, trust me. But I don’t see it that way. It’s truly sad

  7. I couldn’t agree more – I don’t think it is racist at all – even less so when my eye caught the cover headline of stepping out of the shadows. I think it made the point brilliant with just a picture – when someone walks out of the shadow into the full sunshine… that is exactly what it looks like – like in the photo. Imagine pushing a person back into the shade merely because they stand out because of the sun. “No, no, if everything can’t be in the sun, then everything should be in the shadows.” I completely agree; don’t know why anyone would waste time even making a big deal about it. I also think that, if the girls in the background felt like it was racist they were free to choose not to be part of such a shoot – not to be associated with it at all. You can reject a job, can you not? And if they agreed to be in the photo shoot and felt that it was a problem afterwards, they (I think) should be the ones to raise the issue, don’t you think. I don’t see anyone else in that photo. They should have asked the “shadows” their thoughts, not the one coming out of it into the sun. If is after all THEM who is said to have been “offended”, not so?

    I think it is so sad that some people’s whole person and existence is defined by the color of their skin. I think it affects everything about them and it highlights it to everyone else who didn’t give a damn to begin with. Sometimes it is only an issue because they made it one; and then suddenly everyone is guilty and “he/she was right; it is racist”.

    I used to work with an African man – what does that mean, anyway? I have white skin, but am I not also African? Anyway, just not to use the word “black”, I suppose… I was very frustrated with him one day because I know that he is smart but he had a “monkey see, monkey do” approach to his work. I used the expression – which means something as figure of speech of course, and he insisted that I said that he was a monkey. I had weeks of hassles about that.

    However, when it comes to the Cradle of Mankind exhibition/museum or whatever near where I live, they show the whole path of the “big bang theory and how people “evolved” from apes. There, the whole place – wherever they show an ape evolve into a human, it is a black human. HEY! WHAT ABOUT US WHITEYS?!! So you associate yourself with apes for fame and fortune and tourism but when it doesn’t suit you then it is offensive. I laugh at that – I think it is so ironic. That is a tell-tale sign that it has nothing to do with skin colour but rather the person’s over-absorption with SELF: I – I – I – – how sad 😦

    Then of course there are those who say it is culture to pass on the history of your people and so they pass on their bitterness, unforgiveness, and hatred over things that never even happened to them – in some cases – and now you have a fourth generation on a murder spree because their great, great, great grandfather lived in the era of slavery. It doesn’t matter that the fourth generation has been to university, drives a Merc and lives in a three story house… “I am previously disadvantaged”… and so they choose to live in the past because they’re not prepared to take responsibility for themselves or a better future in the present. Passing that crap along is not “culture”, man, it is bondage.

    This whole thing just breaks my heart 😦 Really? (I’m sure this discussion could carry on for hours…)

    • how can you not think its racist. the title clearly says “stepping out of the shadows”, the black girls are the shadows, and for what reason do they have to be the shadows. im a white women and i can see the underline message brought out on the cover. the lightest skined in the middle while the black people sourrounding in background. why cant people just be treated equaly

      • People should be treated equally but they’re not and that’s the world we live in. I just don’t see that cover as racist. If it was then everything black and white would be racist – shadows, chess, bowling, black tie events, penguins, zebras, and so on. I think we see what we want to see. If the photographers had painted some girls green and others pink, the racist card would still be played because of the comparison between colours.

  8. In one of Arthur C. Clarke’s novel (I think it was ‘Childhood’s End’ he surmises that all the humans on the planet will end up with coffee-coloured skin one day in the future.

  9. Why does it always come down to the race card?? I am so sick and tired of people saying this is racist or that’s racist. Things like this magazine cover. I don’t see it as racist, from an artistic point of view it’s light and dark a balance of colors. People are way waaayyy too hyper-sensitive about race issues these days when there’s no justification for them. Every time something involves two races it’s automatically thrown into the racist pile. A black teen gets shot by someone who’s half-Mexican/half-white there’s racism involved. A white model poses with black models and it’s a racist photo. Always when it involves black and white, or half white, in the context of white superiority is the racist term thrown around. There’s always the supposed underlying message that white is trying to keep down black. You never hear someone claiming that a black guy who doesn’t offer his seat to an elderly white lady is being racist. If a Hispanic shoots an Asian you don’t hear anyone saying that was racist.

    I could see if the models were chained down, then I’d say okay that photo is racist. But people feel the need to insert things where they don’t exist. It’s bad enough we still have to fight against racism today, but let’s not overreact about every little thing.

    • Bionicdee, I honestly couldn’t have put it better myself. There’s plenty of stuff for the human race to get all bent out of shape over, poverty, global warming (if such a thing exists) people starving, genocide, pollution, over population, sanitation…and so on. Racism should be the least of our worries!

  10. As an artist, I don’t like the comment that it’s “just art”. Art leads culture and creates visual messages digested quickly and subconsciously to all viewers– including young people. Racism does exist. Americans have mostly figured out that they should cover up their prejudice with claims like “I don’t see color”, but ignoring discrimination does not make it go away. White people have a responsibility to reflect on their privilege, and artists have a responsibility to consider the message of their work. This photo treats the black models as less than the white star in a very obvious manner. If I were a black adolescent, I would read this image as, “light is beautiful, dark is nothing.” Can you imagine how hard it is to grow up in a popular culture that devalues your group? Try meditating on that for a while, and you may begin to understand why the people you call hyper-sensitive feel the need to protect younger generations from the insidious racism of visual culture. Despite the fact that I completely disagree with your rant, I do applaud your courage in opening the dialogue as a white person. The more discussion we have, the more whites will understand how far we have to go to achieve true equality. Please don’t pretend to be color-blind. Unless you’re blind, you experience the visual difference of skin color. Try replacing that claim with, “I try to judge people on their actions instead of their appearance.” It’s much more honest.

    • “Can you imagine how hard it is to grow up in a popular culture that devalues your group?”

      That;s a but presumptuous. When I was younger I lived in a place where “my group” was the minority, and aside from being aware I was one of the few white people in that community, I didn’t feel devalued in the least.

      I do agree with you that younger generations should be protected from racism in what is becoming an ever visually based culture. It pisses me off that racism is still rife when it shouldn’t make the slightest difference on our tiny little planet.

      I’m not blind. I see racism is still very much alive and kicking, yet I personally don’t see it as an issue in my life. I guess because of that I assume no one else does, or should either. That’s probably a nit of a naive thing to say. I understand how it could be taken that way.

      I like that last part you said.

      “I try to judge people on their actions instead of their appearance.”

      If more people were like that we’d have less of a problem. Thanks for your comments. Constructive and worthy of reflection. It’s always nice to hear from someone who, whilst they might not agree with me, are at least able to put forward their thoughts and arguments in a clear manner.

  11. I love when members of a group who have been the exclusive beneficiaries of racism, say that others exaggerate it’s damaging effects. How would they know? I came here looking for a photo of Giselle being carried by several black men (from a Google Image Search), which is undoubtedly symbolic racism, as is Ms. Padilla’s, but in a lesser way. Racist symbolism shows the power dynamic between an oppressed group, and that group’s oppressor. So black men carrying the white woman around is redolent of some Cleopatra fantasy, with Nubian slaves carrying her sedan chair. In the photo above, Ms. Padilla’s hands are resting on the black women, and some of them are beneath her. Once again, the imagery of a disadvantaged group providing support to one more favored by the exported, culturally imperialist, Eurocentric beauty standards of even a lighter-complexioned Asian woman being more favored.

    Also, I think you know EXACTLY why the magazine cover is problematic, and that your response is disingenuous. In your photos of black and white people together, there is no overt or implied power relationship between the two people. The topmost one is even romantic in it’s subject matter, and the lower one shows two people who are peers to each other, in a friendly setting, friends or also possibly lovers. You know perfectly that the magazine cover is summoning images of exploitation. This is the only way you go and choose two other photos without that.

    One last thing: Simply because other people can see things that I can’t, I don’t automatically assume that they’re “overly sensitive”. Sometimes, it’s because my vision is defective.

  12. Let’s not be soft on anti-racists. They are simply idiots. Why? Because they focus on the race issue, when the race issue is already dismissed as a scientific notion, having very low taxonomic validity in establishing racial categories. Would a biotic system be more advantaged in ventilating heat in a hot air environment if it had bigger exhaust pipes/nostrils? Yes, phenotype is real and observable and in direct correlation with environmental conditions but categorizing human populations by skin color is no more useful than using hair color or hair texture, or eye color, or nose size, lip size, or height. Instead, analyzing human genotypic and phenotypic variation is better interpreted in terms of populations and clines. In ages past it served explorers relate to the ever growing diversity of physiological traits encountered in the various indigenous populations. It helped them relate to the other unknown in a very simplistic, imprecise, arbitrary and customary way. It spoke more of fear. Later it served ideology. It’s condemnable but no less harmful than social liberal view of global miscegenation. To call for such a thing is a clear sign of immaturity. They are willing to dismiss diversity just so that their fears of dissent is finally put to rest. What of a pure ebony face, a pure snow white face? Diversity is beautiful. This world is beautiful in it’s countless colors and scents. In their ignorance, this so called bearers of equity, kill the beauty of this world, steal the air we breath.

  13. Marvellous rants from both alkh3myst and Radu Andrei. I do agree with Radu’s point about diversity being beautiful, and by ignoring those differences we may have a tendency to become blind to those differences that make this planet a fabulous place to live.

    However, I can’t help what I see, and that’s a glamorous photo shoot, far from cries of racism it prompted. I just don’t see the point of joining the ranks of racist chanters, adding fuel to a fire that doesn’t need to be there, or indeed serve a purpose in many respects.

    But still, it was interesting to read both your points of view, and I thank you for taking time to leave your comments.

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