Re: Rissa

Date: 2017-04-20 06:15 pm (UTC)
>>>Like it wouldn't be as personal, but I'd be just as uncomfortable with what was supposed to be positive representation of somebody who's schizophrenic where their biggest flaw was racism to the point where it is almost like they're using a person with a mental illness to make a point about racism. I'm not saying that can't be done well, I'm saying it's super shaky ground, especially when there's other ways to show a character is an asshole?

Can I jump in? Because I thought this was something that the author did in a very interesting way! Millie's racist in the way of white liberals who think they're not, but one of the many things the author did that I really admired is that she didn't make a point of Millie's racism. It zips by so quickly that if you're not attuned to that particular brand of racism, it would be easy to miss. Like -- it's not a major part of the story, I don't think? Ira talks about it a lot in this post because they found it to be an interesting aspect of the book (I did too), but I would say that the real estate it occupies in the book isn't huge. I liked that because I think that's the case for MOST WHITE PEOPLE: the mental real estate we're devoting to racism tends to be pretty small, and we skate past mistakes we make around racism because we have the privilege to be able to do that. Baker does a wonderful job depicting that privileged tendency without condoning it, if that makes any sense.

Let me know if I'm wrong, but it sounds like you're possibly concerned that the book makes a point of Millie's racism as a kind of "Kick the Dog" mechanism -- to let us know that she's Bad. The author includes this kind of racism (the kind that's very very typical for white ladies from film school) to show instead that Millie's COMPLICATED. She's not Good, she's not Bad, and most of her character traits, very much especially including the ones that arise from her BPD, are strengths at some points and weaknesses at other points. And I think the author does a very good job of flagging for the reader what elements of Millie's behavior and responses are due to BPD -- so if Millie's not saying "this thought pattern is a thing that happens with borderlines," the text isn't encouraging the reader to say "borderlines are like X."

I don't know if that helps at all!!
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