Sunday, February 27, 2011

Clueless white people


Why do so many white people love to take photos like this one???

That's LA Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw and wife with a group of Zambian orphans.

Even worse than the picture are his quotes. On Tosh.O there is a frequent segment called "is this racist"?

“The people, as long as their basic needs are met — they’re not starving and they have shelter — are such a joyful culture,” Kershaw said.

“You come home and you see people striving to get more money, more cars, bigger houses and more possessions, thinking that will make them happier. You go to Zambia, it helps put things in perspective. You realize where happiness comes from, and it’s not from material goods.

Ah yes, Africans are "joyful" and not materialistic. They don't want money, cars or big houses. I guess his evidence for that was that they didn't already have them?

I guess it's good that there are so many poor people in Africa. We need them to teach life lessons to self absorbed moronic celebrities!


emerson said...

Isn't this a little harsh, Angus? Kershaw's statement, while a little tone deaf, was also more or less true. I bet Zambians laugh more, party more, dance more, talk to friends more, have more family meals, and worry less about keepin' up with the Joneses than the average American.

Of course, many of them are also poor. They work harder, get paid less, and have more limited options for spending their free time. Their health care sucks, their lifespan is shorter, etc.

I think Kershaw's point was, "Yes, they're lives have all sorts of problems, poverty chief among them. But they still find time to party, laugh, dance, sit down for a family meal, and just generally make the best of a bad situation. There's something inspiring about that."

Of course, he and his wife also probably gave a boat load of money to that orphanage. So good on Clayton for making an attempt.

And this comes from a Cards fan.

Angus said...

I don't think it's harsh at all, and I don't think his statement is true at all.

I've been to Tanzania, Rwanda, Madagascar and South Africa, and Africans are pretty much like us.

People are people.

With all due respect, when you say "I bet Zambians ........", you are really just perpetuating the same tired stereotype.

emerson said...

Would you say anyone's culture is more joyful than another's? Is Brazilian culture more joyful than Japanese? Is the reverse true? Are they equally joyful? Or are people just people?

Let's assume a person's basic needs are met (job, food, shelter, clothing, etc.). It seems to me that customs, holidays, traditions, street parties, a closely-knit community, family meals-- these kinds of things can allow people (whose basic needs are met!) to live pretty happy lives. Probably happier than lots of Americans. Do you not agree?

Anonymous said...

"People are people." Brilliant. What department at the "Harvard of the South" did you chair?

BR said...

To me at least, "People are people" means everyone gets up in the morning and tries to improve their lot. There's actually a shitton of wisdom in realizing that.

Michael said...

His statement is only true in an extremely unimportant way. Yeah, happiness at its root doesn't come from having the biggest house or the nicest car, unless you think no one was ever happy until sometime this century. If your marriage sucks and your kids don't speak to you then more toys won't fix that. Everyone knows this.

But people in Zambia have their own material concerns and status displays. It's not luxury cars and fancy American houses because they can't afford them. It may be in the clothes they wear, or the fact that your brother just got his wife a beautiful new necklace, and why can't you afford something similar for your wife? It may even be in in the homes they can afford. Stuff can't make you happy - but feeling like a failure because your family gets to watch friends and neighbors enjoy stuff you can't afford can certainly make you unhappy. This is true regardless of whether it's a big new house in America or whatever Zambians are concerned about.

If you talk to them, they'll all be able to tell which of their neighbors are materially better or worse off.

Anonymous said...

My department had a job candidate put up a slide with such a picture during the job talk-with the candidate in the center of everyone. My reaction was also negative in that I thought it was paternalistic and condescending. It didn't help that no one in the photo was smiling.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Kershaw is so "self absorbed" that he went to Zambia to donate his time and money. I've never seen your blog before, but you strike me as the self absorbed one. Kershaw's wife urged him to go with her to Zambia. He's a baseball player who had never been there before and he was speaking sincerely. But, I guess you were making such an important intellectual point that you can just piss on the whole endeavor.