Friday, 12 September 2014

Just A Nice, Friendly Game Of "Guess Who?" Or As We Like to Call It, Sexist Racial Profiling.

My son BEGGED me to buy him a game of Guess Who. At thirty bucks, it wasn't cheap. But when he came home with TWO merit awards in two consecutive weeks, a reward was definitely in order. This guy tries so hard at everything he does! He obviously got that from his dad, I'm a completely half-arsed kind of person. My very first sponsor in recovery told me that if a thing's worth doing, it's worth doing badly. I love my recovery people.

So we played Guess Who. I remember way back in the eighties when it first came back and I'd play it with Cam, it was one of his favourites. However, after about the seventeenth game with my son, I noticed something.

Harmless and cute, huh? NOT REALLY. Because when you actually play the game and look at all of the different people, check out the "diversity."

There are just five women, out of twenty-four people. Two of those women have crazy hats on, two have glasses, with just Megan left being discreet. Because quickly, both Rocco and I realised that to win the game, you choose a character as discreet as possible. Invisible - somebody who you wouldn't give a second glance too, walking down the street.

There are five people of colour in the game - no Asian people, no Indian people, no Arabic or other various ethnicities I can think of. And it is so, so disconcerting when you're sitting down with your kid and he says,

"Mum are you black?"


"Um, yes."

And when the other person knows you have chosen a person of colour, or a female, or a person with glasses - snap snap snap go down all of the other players and you're just left there hanging with your balls swaying gently in the breeze, with all your identifying characteristics. So the next time you play? You choose somebody nice and beige. See Matt up there? If you choose Matt, you're likely to win. Matt wins the game because he's an older white man who is most likely a banker or a politician. Matt's probably a millionaire. Matt would never get shot at by the police if he's already down on the ground with his hands in the air, he'd most likely never be date-raped if he had a few drinks. I sincerely doubt that Matt has ever mopped the kitchen floors of a fast-food outlet.

I hate Guess Who, but I keep playing it because my kid loves it. But he got so used to the both of us picking invisible, hard-to-guess characters that I'd start picking people like Sarah just to fuck him up.

Or as I like to call her, Oprah Winfrey. When I picked her, Rocco did not even guess for a second who I was because how could a woman of colour win the whole game?

There were a few uncomfortable conversations, because when Rocco asked if I was black after I'd chosen Tyler, I didn't know what to say.

Tyler looks Mexican and my first thought was, "Man I bet Tyler could make a mean burrito." And then my brain said "DON'T BE RACIST" and I was all, "I'm NOT I just like Mexican food! Shit am I a racist? Jesus Eden, Tyler could be a banker too." And he could, people of all walks of life can achieve things. I was confused, wrestling with myself, and hungry.

Again Rocco asked if I was black so I said yes but in the end he flipped me down because he didn't classify Tyler as being black but I did so we had to have an official agreeance upon who was black and who wasn't.

Am I supposed to teach my kid to say "coloured" instead of "black?" Just the word "black" seems insulting, derogatory, and really triggers my white white guilt. In 1977 I was five years old and spent a year living and going to school in Fiji. There were only a few white kids in my class. I was so white that the other kids would call me "pinky."

So. This game. Do not even get me started on Chris. Chris looks like a drug dealer who wears dirty jeans and still lives with his mum. This game turns me into a judgemental monster.

Rocco asked if I had a moustache and I said yes but it turns out that Chris does NOT have a moustache so I won the game and Rocco was so mad and I said mate, if you can't play this game properly you can go to your bedroom. And he was seething, told me to look closer so I did - and Chris does not actually have a moustache, it's just the shadow of his nose.


But we keep playing, and Max plays too sometimes so we had to clue him in on who was black, who was white, who was in-between and that Chris does NOT have a moustache.

I snapped the first photo up the top of this post quickly before school this morning, told Rocco I needed to take a photo of him pretending to play the game because I wanted to write about it today.

"Why do you want to write about it mum?"

"Because it makes me cranky."


"Because there's hardly any girls on there sweetheart. And not many ... different people. You know how when we go to Sydney, the streets are full of different people? I think the game should be more like that."

Rocco counted up the girls, and realised consciously how few there were. He said that he liked different people. I said I liked different people too, I told him that a lot of people have a good life by standing out.

"You don't always have to blend in."

He nodded sagely, eating Nutella straight from the jar.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Write to be understood, speak to be heard. - Lawrence Powell

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...