How can you expect to be taken seriously?

Patrik-Ian Polk - creator of Noah's Arc - has criticised Glee for its lack of black characters. But where was the diversity on his own show?

L
et's get one thing straight before we start: I love Noah's Arc. It's one of my favourite shows, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with a drama about four friends consisting entirely of a monoculture - just as I don't have a problem with Queer As Folk or Seinfeld being about four white friends. Nor do I want to see Noah's Arc have white characters crowbarred in, before we hear cries of "can't we have anything for ourselves?"

Queer As Folk: All white in the hood!
But here's the thing: criticise Queer As Folk for it's Caucasoid-bent all you like, but the guys were often seen to hook up with other ethnicities (even if they were background artists, they were there, and they were visible). Brian was seen hooking up with black guys, and Emmett once had a devastatingly beautiful Japanese boyfriend.

In Noah's Arc, Ricky - the token slut (Brian's equivalent) - only ever hooked up with black or Latino hotties (interchangeable types in that world - see "Blatino" sex parties). The others - Noah, Chance and Alex - are never seen to date "outside of their race".

And that's not a problem - although it leaves us with the conclusion that they're an insular, separatist bunch - because, as I've said time and again, choosing to date one race over another isn't wrong or objectionable. It's just a preference.

Bad white men attack!
The problem arises when you, the producer of a piece lacking diversity, criticise another show for its lack of diversity. Pot, kettle, black, anyone?

Polk said, "They don't have ANY black dudes on Glee?" Why is it always a question of "no black dudes in a white show?" African-Americans who shout the loudest about black visibility never seem to care about the lack of visibility for Asians, or, say, Arabs. Don't they matter? Or is complaining about a lack of black visibility really just a way of proving how anti-white you are? James Earl Hardy, anyone?

One final point. Noah's Arc did once feature a few white characters. They were the straight gay bashers who left Noah fighting for his life.

How's that for negative reinforcement?

11 comments:

Jonathan said...

Someone's gonna get ma-ad... but dammit if it isn't true and honest.

And before I forget, there have been two black characters on "Glee": one of them was in the "Glee" club last season and the other one was (still is? Not too sure) on the football team with Finn and Puck.

mackson said...

I read yur blog tyet Ihardly leave comments. This entry was one of the most fair and honest opinions that I have ever read. It is so easy to play the role of a victim and not see the possibility of what caused the crime.....In this scenarion Mr Polk tried to say something that if cross-examined would make him guilty of the same crime....even though there was no crime committed....unkess being a hypocrie is a crime....

Anonymous said...

....I've never seen Glee.

But Noah's Arc represented the current reality here in Chicago, where segregation (self- and otherwise!) means that 95% of SGL black men only date, socialize with, and have sex with other men of (usually brown) color.

Does Glee purport to represent anything resembling reality?

Liberator Émigré Éire said...

Anon - I've never seen Glee either, but I think that's missing the point. It's about people in glass houses throwing stones.

Also, Noah's Arc was based in LA, not Chicago.

I'd be interested to know where this figure of 95% comes from too - I'd be surprised if that were the case in any major city, even in the States...

Mr. Toddy English said...

This is very true. What's funny is that Noah's Arc was staged in West Hollywood; and you rarely (if ever)saw any white people...LOL.
I understood PIP's motivations though. Before Noah's Arc there had never been a an in depth look at black gay men before.
I am still addicted to it!
If Glee gets a black male cast member he should be substantial...and not thrown in to appease critics.
Oh!
I met Daryl Stephens at the Folsom Street Fair!
He was really nice, just very shy (lol). He was on the sidelines watching the events. I think he was just as freaked as I was...LOL.
I took a picture with him and everything.

Anonymous said...

Noah's Arc was a story about a group of black friends in Los Angeles.

Glee is about about high school kids in an urban city.

There is absolutely no comparison.

Moanerplicity said...

You've made some valid points here, Juicy Jai. And sometimes people need to be reminded of their own stuff.

My only defense, which isn't REALLY a defense as much as it is a Reality: People, writers, artists in general, tend to create best when they depict what they KNOW.

This is simply the truth & it goes far beyond color lines.

I'm a black man. I KNOW black people better & more intimately than I know any other group or minority on the planet. I tend to write about my experiences & what I KNOW. It's not about cunningly EXCLUDING anyone outside of my area of knowledge. Most minorities prolly feel they same way. Point of fact, I have created white characters in my works as well, b/c they DO exist in my world, no matter if they are primarily outside of my immediate orbit.

But the point remains: How would I (or any artist, no matter their ethnicity) create FULLY dimensional, flesh & blood, entirely realized people; give them realistic voices, concerns, issues, joys, pains, dreams, etc, if I'm only an outsider to that world; if I'm only a visitor to someone else's reality looking in? At best, it would be an artistically earnest lie, or an inaccurate reporting.

Sure, many artists/writers have written outside of their scope over the history of lit, w/ varying results & different degrees of success. But trust, I can usually tell when they are OF it, but NOT truly IN it.

If I chose to roll that way, whatever I created, & no matter my intentions, it would most prolly read (to an insider) as false, unrealistic, surface, cardboard. And since art is supposed to mirror reality, anything less than that is not the Truth of Art! It only becomes an an empty representation of it.


So your point is valid. It's just that OTHER artists must realize their essential truth, and they also must consider the truth of others who create. At the same time, everyone must acknowledge their OWN slights, oversights & their own limitations. Until they do, they might wanna chill on the criticism about the lack of inclusion. It's not always a conspiracy.


Smell me?


One.

thegayte-keeper said...

EXACTLY! What is this need to have everyone included? Where does that come from? DAMN!

SGL Café.com said...

No Patric didn't come for GLEE. It's like the hottest show that my BF had to drag me kicking and screaming to watch. Then I fell in love with Kurt at first note. *sigh*

However there is a black guy on GLEE, he's a neanderthal but he's there. lol

Still, Jai is spot on and so is Moanerplicity. Pot, kettle - very accurate; as is the old writer adage "write what you know".

And the when "bad white men attack" is funny becomes I didn't notice that detail 'til you pointed it out. However it is an interesting observation. I guess I was just more disturbed by the attack and not who the perps were.

This is food for thought for us all as we creep ever so slowly toward a more tolerant and diverse world ....

KHRAYZIE said...

MY NAME IS CHRISTOPHER WILSON A BLACK HOMOSEXUAL MALE IN CLEVELAND, OHIO. I FEEL THIS WAS AN UNNECESSARY COMPLAINT. AS IT HAS BEEN SAID BEFORE IT IS SIMPLE POT-KETTLE-BLACK. I LOVE NOAH'S ARC...100% COMPLETELY, BUT NOT BECAUSE THERE WERE BLACK CHARACTERS IN IT OR NO WHITE CHARACTERS IN IT BUT BECAUSE I THINK THE CAST WORKED WELL TOGETHER AND IT WAS FUNNY AND ENGAGING. THE SAME REASONS I LIKE GLEE AND QUEER AS FOLK. IF HE WANTS TO COMPLAIN WHY DID HE LET HIS OWN SHOW GO OFF THE AIR? HE SHOULD HAVE LEAD BY EXAMPLE NOT BY CRITICISM OF A GREAT SHOW. I JUST FEEL IF A SHOW IS GOOD WHY DISECT IT TO FIND THINGS WRONG WITH IT? ESPECIALLY WHEN IT COMES TO TRIVIAL THINGS LIKE THE RACE OF CHARACTERS' ACTORS. JUST MY OPINION

kaos said...

Well said Christopher! :)

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