Hosted by Thea Lim, featuring Tami Winfrey Harris, Joseph Lamour, Latoya Peterson, Andrea Plaid
Thea: So to start with the moment that had your faithful Racialicious True Blood team scratching their heads, what was with Franklin telling Tara that she could take being bitten and tied up because “she was tough”? Apart from the fact that that seems like textbook abusive behaviour (abuse, then flatter, or simultaneously abuse and flatter?) telling a black woman that she is “tough” and can take it, falls in step with oh so many bone-wearying stereotypes. Did that line spring out of the racial imagination of the TB writers, or are we reading a racial moment where there isn’t one?
Andrea: For some really strange reason, the abusive behavior isn’t cultivating a racial analysis…yet. Yes, this is a white man abusing a Black woman, but I’m not getting the weight of the white race/white privilege/white supremacy on Franklin and the weight of the Black race/Black oppression on Tara. I’m not jumping up with a “that’s so racist!” because it feels so singular in that it’s Franklin and Tara, and Franklin has proven to terrorize younger women (I’m thinking of the time Franklin freaks out Jessica here). So, my initial thought is, “This is some misogynistic/sexually violent shit!” I think I may have to look at the ep again for a racial reality check.
Joe: The “white” Tara (from the books) went through the same thing that the show Tara is going through so I’m not sure the whole concept of her being in an abusive relationship is racial (I’m hoping that doesn’t give anything away, future book readers) however, after the episode all I could think about is that Sojourner Truth getup Tara is wearing in the preview for next week. (see picture above)
Joe (continued): Does Franklin think he’s dating Celie from The Color Purple? What is with that outfit?!
Latoya: Joe, you wrong! But I have to admit, I thought the same thing when I saw her running across the field. I was on the couch like “run, Tara, run to FREEDOM!”
Andrea: I think Prince sums up my feelings about that outfit…
Joe, I haven’t read the books, so you didn’t ruin a thing for me.:-) But I think you may helped me with my racial analysis regarding Tara/Franklin. It goes back to my question that I asked on the last thread: even those this particular storyline is following the book rather closely (which I find interesting because I wonder how many other storylines are adhering to the book), doesn’t casting a Black actor color (no pun intended) some of what we’re viewing? Example: when Franklin is kidnapping Tara and driving her to Jackson, he tells her that she’s “tough” because he “could taste it in her blood.” If he would have said that to a white woman playing Tara, some white feminists would have been applauding and striking riot-grrl poses and typing riot-grrl posts. But he said it to Tara, played by a dark-skinned Black woman, which would get an “of course” from several white feminists and maybe a mixed reading from feminists of color, from the excoriation of the “Strong Black Woman” stereotype to the rah-rah-ing of same stereotype. And with a white guy saying it, it just falls into that corner of “liberal racism” in which some white people who sleep with PoCs think they can manifest it to us ‘coz consensual sex is, in their heads, license to say all sorts of assy things. Perhaps this is a case where “colorblind” casting goes awry?