Saturday, June 7, 2008

Hattie McDaniel "I'd rather play a maid than be one."

My mind went to the mammies and maids in "Gone With the Wind" after seeing "Sex & the City." I realized that Carrie's assistant played by the fierce and gorgeous Jennifer Hudson, is the first and only African-American/African-descent/woman of color in the film. In the series, the only woman of color was Sonia Braga. In keeping with the old European sexist/racist/Orientalist trope: one woman in the pair is fair - Samantha, and the sexually agressive one is racialized "dark" and "exotic." Which is not to say that I didn't find it satisfying to see my fantasy of having sex w/ the incredibly hot Braga played out on screen, but I'm just saying. And is it just me, or did none of them ever date or sleep with a man of color, not African American, nor Latino, or Asian! In two instances was this possibility raised: on the Fleet Week episode, and in the Samantha feeling like she's too old to be player episode where she dates the tragically short man with the massive tool. In the latter, Samantha feels she has hit rock bottom after an Asian bus boy (South Asian?) comes on to her. In the former, Carrie for the only time in the entire series, refuses to go home with, indeed even make out with a gorgeous black man in uniform. Why did she choose this particular instance as the one in which to draw the line? Was inter-racial dating or even an inter-racial one-night-stand considered too risque for Sex & the City? Why were there never any people of color - not even us Latinos (or "Hispanic.....Americans...." as Obama haltingly referred to them, but I digress), appeared in the series. And why are the only two Asians of the female gender my idol Margaret Cho in a genius cameo as the fashion show coordinator the time Carrie falls on the runway, and little Lily (hmm, why not call her Jade or Bamboo?), the Chinese baby adopted by Charlotte? 

CORRECTION: Apparently I missed an episode of Sex & the City - call CNN - and in it, Samantha was dating an African American man but the man's sister vetoed it. How fabulous is it that my shrink is the one who told me? So when I say I had Closure after watching Sex & the City: the Movie, I wasn't joking. And again, it was Samantha who had an interaction with a person of color - another friend reminded me that Lucy Liu, playing herself, was the client that Samantha lost when she used her name to score a Birkin bag. Finally (if any of my lovely handful of readers remembers any more, please comment!) Miranda not only had sex with her very sexy neighbor, an African-American doctor, but she also got helpful advice on how to make her baby stop crying from an African-American neighbor who called her out on never saying hello. (the latter reminds me of the difference between living in lower Manhattan and living in certain parts of Brooklyn: in the latter areas, people are integrated, and people greet each other politely)


1 comment:

John said...

If I recall correctly, Samantha also sleeps with, falls for and is jilted by a hot latin entrepeneur in the first or second season.