selenak: (Tourists by Kathyh)
[personal profile] selenak
In the last three days, British historian Mary Beard has been relentlessly attacked on and off twitter for pointing out that the Roman Empire wasn't populated exclusively by white people; this particular round of racism, misogyny and general vileness was started by, of all things, a five minutes BBC cartoon for children featuring some poc Romans. It would be ridiculous if it weren't so outrageous and depressingly a symptom for our present, especially considering current Trump Administration employee and long time racist nutter Alex Jones has also commented. Detailed articles on the subject here and here.

(Incidentally, if I weren't there already, such events would completely sway me to the "representation matters" side when it comes to tv and movie casting.)

Date: 8 Aug 2017 13:37 (UTC)
lilysea: Serious (Default)
From: [personal profile] lilysea
In the last three days, British historian Mary Beard has been relentlessly attacked on and off twitter for pointing out that the Roman Empire wasn't populated exclusively by white people

Okay, I misread that as

"In the last three days, British politician Theresa May has been relentlessly attacked on and off twitter for pointing out that the Roman Empire wasn't populated exclusively by white people"

and went, wait, what?

I think my brain has just gotten used to seeing the letters M, a, y close together and going argh! quick, run away!

Date: 8 Aug 2017 15:41 (UTC)
chelseagirl: Alice -- Tenniel (Default)
From: [personal profile] chelseagirl
Want to comment. Too depressing to come up with something pithy to say.

Date: 9 Aug 2017 00:32 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zahrawithaz.livejournal.com
Mary Beard's own response in TLS is well-worth reading: https://www.the-tls.co.uk/roman-britain-black-white/

Among other things, I love her point that the borders of the Roman Empire were extremely porous and the zone of Romanization more extensive than traditional maps of the Empire (which project our own misleading and anachronistic notions of nation-states onto the past) show.

Date: 19 Aug 2017 02:02 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zahrawithaz.livejournal.com
Re the Anglo-American white supremacist fondness for the Roman Empire, at least the American part likely comes directly from the fact that US slave-owners heavily identified with the Romans because of their economic dependence on large-scale agricultural labor, and consciously created parallels. See most famously the prevalence of US slave names drawn from Roman history (Caesar, Vergil, et cetera ad naseum--these names were often an especially nasty form of dehumanizing the enslaved people) and the use of classical motifs in US plantation architecture.

Now historians often make a distinction between "slave societies" (in which the entire economy was built on slavey) and "societies with slaves" (where slavery existed but wasn't economically vital). Very few societies meet the criteria for the first category, with most historians arguing there are only 5: ancient Greece, ancient Rome, the antebellum US South, and the Caribbean and Brazil during the same era. (The second category is basically everyone else.) So the connection wasn't without some historical basis, but probably got a big boost because European colonialism also used the Romans as models and it was a way for pro-slavery people to add historical respectability to their defense mechanism.

That said, Rome did wind up creating an incredibly diverse empire and ultimately expanding citizens' rights to virtually everyone within their borders. The Romans were ruthlessly pragmatic that way, and notoriously open to assimilating other cultures. So the comparison looks ever more absurd.

Date: 9 Aug 2017 11:39 (UTC)
vilakins: (hurley)
From: [personal profile] vilakins
Mary Beard rocks, and people are depressingly stupid.

A cartoon started it? I saw a little on FB and assumed it was the Doctor Who ep about the Ninth Legion which started it.

Profile

selenak: (Default)
selenak

October 2017

S M T W T F S
1 2 3456 7
89 1011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031    

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated 19 October 2017 20:00
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios