Like I mentioned earlier this week, I would be returning to discussions about systemic discrimination and I will today with an important interview of Thandie Newton from Vulture,. First, though, I’d like to share the show of solidarity from MLS players with the Black Lives Matter movement at the start of the MLS is Back tournament from last night.
Ramble of the Day
Yesterday, Vulture published an interview by E. Alex Jung of Thandie Newton, whose most recent well-known credit is Westworld but is obviously known for other work. It is wide-ranging, but it is also very, very honest and layered. Newton has been sexually abused and had racist comments directed towards her during her career and she is quite open about her experiences. I cannot recommend the reading enough, because of the general policy that we must hear the accounts of people who have experienced racism and sexual assault. However, Newton’s honesty is not just her being necessarily critical of the specific people that hurt her, but the culture that enabled it, but is in the end the story of a survivor that is worth reading.
Again, it is all worth reading regardless of your level of understanding on such topics (maybe you feel like a beginner, maybe you don’t). For the purposes of this space, I’ll provide an excerpt from the beginning of the piece that is an example of that honesty. (The bolded is Jung.)
When you were a kid, you said you didn’t feel like you were beautiful, but I think people consider you beautiful. When did things shift?
I think it’s hugely to do with my ethnicity. When I set out in the adult world, I was pretty young — 16 was when I started working in movies. I had no sense of myself. One of the reasons why is because I was not considered anything. There was a lot that people could have been interested in in me when I was young. They didn’t want to express it, because they didn’t want to praise the Black girl.
I had this dance teacher, ’cause ballet was my thing. I came from a very small town. We didn’t have capoeira and this and that. Not even like jazz or fucking modern — that would have been way too ghetto. Year after year, I was a star student. I’d always be given the solo to make the school look good. So at the end of every year, there’d be this big performance we’d all do in this dance school. The dance teacher — and I don’t mean her any ill, I’m not slagging her off, but it’s the truth — at the end of every year, she’d give prizes. She would give this ceramic ballet dancer, like a little kind of Oscar. It was screamingly obvious that I should have been given prizes. She never did. Not once.
I didn’t even think about it. Because, look, this all instilled in me a work ethic and perfectionism. It’s not pride in my work or pride in the perfectionism. It’s If I don’t do this, no one’s going to let me do anything else again, ever. It was out of survival. The last year I was in her school, I remember I didn’t get the prize, and my mom had obviously realized I wasn’t going to get it. We didn’t have much money, but when I got home, she had bought me this beautiful figurine of two dancers. Because she was so proud of me, she wanted to compensate.
We didn’t talk about it at the time, but the damage was so done. It just made me super-vulnerable to predators. That’s the truth. Because there’s so much about not having a sense of my value. I suffered quite badly for a couple of years from anorexia, and it all feeds into this. Just wanting to disappear.
Again, I hope that excerpt provides an introduction to the piece and I encourage you to read it at your earliest convenience.
Links of the Day
Wycombe’s Adebayo Akinfenwa said he was body shamed by a Fleetwood Town representative, and has filed a complaint with the FA.
NWSL expansion side Racing Louisville revealed its name, crest, and colors.
CBS picked up Champions League and Europa League rights in the U.S. ahead of the Champions League’s return in August, more than a year before its original deal.
A longer read: Thiago Rabelo interviews Juninho Pernambucano on racism, the coronavirus pandemic, and the quality of life in his home country of Brazil for The Guardian