Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Tailwind

I came home from PR Weekend San Francisco and realized that I didn't take any photos. Must have been all those fabric fumes. I did shop at Fabrix (twice!), Britex and Stone Mountain and Daughter. I had an enjoyable time at Lacis and will definitely go back when I need something special that only they stock. But for right now, my sewing room is overflowing and it is back to my regularly scheduled life.

I carpooled with Raye Ann and we talked about people who roll through stop signs. My husband, a white male, insists that it is OK to slowly roll through stop signs as long as you could stop in time if someone else is already at the intersection and has the right of way.

 I beg to differ. Some (if not most) don't have the reaction time or braking distance to stop in time. Plus, little kids and critters are down low, where you don't notice them until you are on top of them. So, no. It's not just the law; it's a good idea.

So how did a guy reach 40 with such a selective interpretation of the law? I call it driving while white. I have seen so many blacks and latinos (and some Asians) pulled over for driving like my husband. Yet, he's sure that the way he drives is fine because he's never been pulled over for his rolling "California stops".

When you come from a position of privilege, it's easy to think that everyone has it as easy.  You don't think you are lucky; you think that you are just good.

It's like having a tailwind through life.

When viewed on the global scale, I also live a privileged life.

For example, I read that if you asked people around the world where they would most like to visit (if money and visas were no object), San Francisco is at the top of the list and Santa Fe is not far behind.  In the month of April, I spent long weekends in both.

Here I am, taking a break from art gallery hopping with my husband on Sante Fe's Canyon Road while wearing Butterick 5816.
Food fetishism is another hallmark of privilege.  I enjoyed the most amazing BLT at Cafe Pasqual's in Santa Fe.  It shares a plate with cold beet soup and kale salad.  Yum.  We managed to eat three meals (2 lunches and one dinner) there in one weekend.
Shifting topics, I want to show you the kind of picture I can't take because I am an Asian woman.  This picture comes from Marcy Tilton's blog, but I'm not saying that she hasn't earned her success.  This is just a convenient example of a privilege that is denied me by racism.

Many blogs feature photos of store windows while on travel.  Marcy posted some lovely photos of Parisian store windows from her recent trip of digitally-printed flower images on clothing.
When I traveled in France and Italy, store personnel would literally run out of their stores and push my camera down whenever I tried to take a picture.  This happened even when I was merely trying to take a "cute kid street scene abroad" picture of my daughter.  The stores worried that I was going to rip off their designs and mass-produce it in factories in China.

The way the store personnel treated me was just plain racism.

If a knock-off manufacturer wanted to rip off the designs, they would send a well-dressed white person to take the pictures or to even go into the dressing rooms with the clothes for a more detailed look.  Actually, rather than to wait for the clothes to hit the stores, they would use runway pictures, which appear right after fashion shows.

Storefront photos abroad are conspicuously absent from my photo album.  Instead of flower images on clothing, I have flower images period.  BTW, the roses were in glorious full bloom at the South Coast Botanic Garden yesterday.
If you want to learn how to replicate those cute three-dimensional flower appliqués in Prada's Spring 2013 RTW collection, you need only purchase an used copy of Kumido Sudo's Fabled Flowers book, published in 1996.  Although I've only made one project from the book, it's chock-full of techniques to create all manner of three-dimensional flora embellishments in fabric.
People are always looking and appropriating, consciously or not. Those designers trying to prevent me from taking photos stole got their ideas from somewhere (and sometimes from Asian women!).  Trying to stop the flow of ideas harms society as a whole.

9 comments:

  1. Perhaps your husband, a white male, rolls slowly through stop signs because he has been an avid biker for many years and his biking habits have seeped into his driving habits.

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  2. @Brent That's a good point. But that doesn't explain why he thinks it is OK to drive exactly 10 MPH above the speed limit.

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  3. My husband (who grew up a child of privilege in South Laguna) drives the same way! I've been stopped from taking pictures by really rude salespeople. They should be ashamed of themselves.

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  4. Your description of your husbands attitude reminds me of this post:

    http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/05/15/straight-white-male-the-lowest-difficulty-setting-there-is/

    I have to say, though, we have it the other way around. Although I'm not from the US, most people can't tell because I'm white and my accent isn't noticeable, he's american but not white. In his presence I've been treated ways that I simply couldn't understand until he shook his head and explained to me what was going on. We have actually been told that a restaurant had closed by the valet, when he was actively parking cars for others!

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  5. @ Ms McCall Thanks for the link! John Scalzi is always worth a read, especially when a post generates 800 comments in one day.

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  6. oh, sheesh. people are fools. and your story makes me so spiteful.

    i am followed around like a common thief everywhere in Europe. my sister and i got stopped by some rude, angry police in Paris just because we existed. they kept asking us if we were from this place or that place. showing our US passports earned hushed apologies from them. so strange. so very strange.

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  9. @Cauchy Your story brings up some bad memories of going shopping for sundries in Berkeley with one of my roommates. She was black and store security would tail us as soon as we entered.

    Professors would also assume she was stupid, when she is not. There were real reasons to discriminate against her; her dad was a professor at our arch-rival, Stanfurd. ;-)

    Seriously, though. France was the worst country I had ever visited in terms of racism. My white husband didn't even notice unless I pointed instances out. Even then, he said that the problem was in my head half the time.

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