Friday, December 28, 2007

Forgive the spelling...

Wanna hear something depressing?

I was listening to NPR today, and one of the commenters/hosts/whatever asked the other one what s/he thought about the Jena 6 situation, given that the latter was African-American. I think Host 1 framed it in a "what have y'all been hearing around dinner tables" kind of way. Host 2 answered, and I recall being a) annoyed on Host 2's behalf for being treated like THE speaker for the African-American community and b) surprised at my own reaction to learning Host 2's race.

I guess with radio I really don't think about the person unless they have a non-standard voice or name or both.

Silvia Pugioli (if that's how it's spelled) is one that DOES stand out. I picture her with long, grey-flecked hair, tied back and with a scarf on one shoulder folded in a triangle. She's olive-skinned and doesn't much do makeup. Age 55ish.

There's also a Latina woman who doesn't anglicize the pronunciation of her name. I think she's based in California. I could google it, but that would take too much effort, and effort is one thing I'm lacking right now. I perceive her as younger--30s. (Shit. It bothered me too much. I'm referring to Lourdes Garcia-Navarro).

Diane Rheem (See? Radio makes you illiterate, too! I have no idea how any of these names are written) has a distinctive voice, as does the guy who does The Connection, oops I mean The Story--Dick Gordon, innit? Karl Castle, too.

I have no idea what any of them look like. I felt weird for not knowing that Host 2 was black. I felt bad that I lacking other identifying information I was assuming all of these people were white. (I also picture them as beautiful, despite the phrase a face made for radio). And they almost without exception are in their 50s. Not Karl Castle, he's older. As an aside, I'm purposely NOT looking names up for spelling, in order to make a point, and it will annoy me if you "correct" me. I'll likely look them up myself, to try to alleviate the extra-super annoyance I'm already feeling. (Thanks, Current Strong Bout of Depression!)

I haven't gotten to the depressing part yet. That came when I googleimagesearched Host 2 to see what s/he looked like.

Way too many sites linking to a picture of Host 2 were racist, bigoted, right wing, wackjob outfits. I know NPR is considered lefty among the freaky conservative set, but this host is being attacked mostly just for being black. I know it happens. I guess I just have been successful in avoiding people and places that are so fucked up as to impugn someone based on race. These websites felt purely evil...I wanted to wash my hands afterwards, I felt so dirty.

I just went back to see if my emotional memory of this imagesearch matched with my currently cooler head. It doesn't. In fact, it sounds like this host is pretty much reviled by sectors in both the white and black communities.

I guess my point is that racial issues are weird and people who judge based on race piss me off. And that it pisses me off about myself that I do it, too, in assuming whiteness based on name and voice only. It's a little thing, and I'm not exactly down on myself about it, but it did piss me off about the world.

But then again, I'm either pissed off, overwhelmed, pissing others off, fleeing personal interaction, extremely sensitive, and/or crying these days.