10 Dec 2010

kaigou: this is what I do, darling (3 break out of prison)
My previous post on this topic (and the ones before) were working towards a kind of apology, and a kind of working-through on just what/where that apology is due. When I had posted about seeing a Korean actor at a specific angle and mistaking that facial structure for my little sister, I gave none of the context that I've given in these past few posts, so it's possible the post could have been read on several -- totally unintended -- levels.

Without context, a reader might ask... Was I actually implying in some way that a Korean man's face might be so neutral ("all you ___ look alike") that I could impose my sister's facial structure upon him? Was I erasing the distinct features of "Korean-ness" or "Asian-ness" and superimposing "Anglo-ness"?

I would hope that the post directly before this one (in the topic-string) makes it clear that my mistaking one-for-the-other was operating on the level of most prominent (to me) facial details -- cheekbones, jaw, nose, brow. For that matter, the similarity is/was really only significant when the actor is filmed at three-quarter angle, from slightly above. Again, without context of understanding the properties of light and how I'd learned to view faces as a matter of angle and proportion against the light cast, then... yeah, my acknowledgment of seeing facial similarities may have been misleading, and as a result, potentially offensive. For any offense given, I do humbly apologize.

And I think if there was offense given, that my tone within the post may have also been a trigger for that offense -- because I did write bluntly about my own confusion as to how I could be "seeing" these similarities. But again without context -- and, I should note, without addressing or understanding other related issues bubbling underneath -- then even such admittance could be ambiguous.

Was my confusion or seeming dismay at the mistake/overlay because I couldn't see (so to speak) how I could mistake an Asian (implied: not-normal) face for an Anglo (implied: normal) face? I say "implied" not because I meant to imply such, only that in expressing "how could I mistake one for the other" that my reaction might be read as dismay. If you've spent your life with people thinking your face is strange, or not-normal (in contrast to Anglo faces), and so on, then to have someone say, "how could I mistake that for this" (and explain no further), one might conceivably knee-jerk right into: "So, basically, you're saying that you're shocked you might mistake that (not-normal) face for this (normal) face."

In this particular instance, the real surprise for me wasn't the Korean/Anglo aspect; it was the male/female aspect. I'm used to comparing within a sex, but almost never between sexes. (More context: I spent time among drag-queen communities as I came of age, and learned quickly to use other cues -- clothes, hair, speech, walk, etc -- to identify sex. Regardless of strongly so-called 'masculine' features, if someone dresses like a woman, uses the women's bathroom, etc, the person is clearly 'being' a woman, and for all intents and purposes is a woman. Hence, to this day, I'll compare male/female faces but rarely mistake them for each other, not when there are plenty of other cues otherwise; doing otherwise will catch me off-guard because it's going against that ingrained rule.)

Getting back to the point: the fact that I spoke without a double-meaning (ie, to imply that X type of faces are not-normal) doesn't mean that someone else hasn't used the same statement to intentionally imply that negative meaning. The burden isn't on the reader to force the trust that the speaker (me) means no harm. The burden is on me to either avoid the topic and not say such double-meanings (intended or no), or to give careful thought first to whether there might be a better way to express myself. Whether I stay silent or speak, neither absolves me of wrong if I did offend; that remains my responsibility. And if I did offend, I deeply regret it, and apologize most sincerely.

Were the issue underlying these posts only a small matter to me, then silence is the option I would've chosen. But what's going on underneath is of such importance to me, that I need to address this possible failing in myself -- and make amends. )

Because this is getting long, I'll be posting this part now, and posting the rest shortly.


kaigou: this is what I do, darling (Default)
锴 angry fishtrap 狗

to remember

"When you make the finding yourself— even if you're the last person on Earth to see the light— you'll never forget it." —Carl Sagan

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