Tuesday, March 04, 2014

You are not a green screen

inspired by some movies.  (still need to make it sound good but this is a good rough sketch)
update:  after reading at open mic -- first edits!!

by claudia alick 2014

Let me paint you a picture
You are not a green screen
These hose are not nude
Those crayons from 1962 are not flesh colored
And your body is not a neutral canvas for art
You are always present
Like a background noise
Or embedded image

When a white female plays a character based on a real person of color
When a cisgen male plays a transgender woman
when a white actor voices a POC Cartoon Character
When an able bodied actor plays a paraplegic
When a hearing actor plays a deaf person
We applaud the virtuosity
The talent
The research
Their heroic humanity that eclipses ethnicity, identity, authenticity

To the members of the privileged class who play those from under represented communities
to the story tellers who use culture as aesthetic seasoning
to the creatives who sample from real peoples lives
You are not a gateway drug
You are not a safety net
You are not a guiding hand
You are not part of the solution
You are not a green screen
Our experience is not something you can map onto yourself like you are invisible
You are always present
Like a background noise
Or embedded image
And some of us are tired of always having you in our pictures

I’m done applauding masquerades
I’m done ignoring inaccuracies
Forgiving the necessities of the business
I used to be grateful for simply having a piece of our story on a screen
It was progress that our existence was even acknowledged
and play a caricature of her own people 
but she was in the room

It is not enough
We deserve more
There are barely any roles out there in the first place
And we fill them with the bankable
Those with the social capital
And ultimately it isn’t helping my people
 I could direct this to producers
Writers, Casting directors
Even the audience who pays and enjoys and tacitly approves
But this however is directed to the actors
In all their sincerity
In all their virtuosity
who need the money
Who want the challenge
Who take the job
because they can
You are not a green screen
And yellow face is still a thing
If someone offers you the role
If the script makes you feel uncomfortable
if you're taking a gig from a person of color
Maybe you should say no

Your ethnicity is not neutral
Your body is not neutral
Your gender is not neutral
Your choices are not neutral
You are not a green screen
You are not a blue screen

And for some of us
These pictures matter