Nicola Lauré al-Samarai
Reference text Rainer long
Reference text Rainer short
Yvonne Rainer, 1990
JENNY: Don’t expect me to get it right. Just telling you this story in its barest form took all of my gumption. I’m scared of you now in ways I never was before.
YVONNE W.: I don’t expect you to “get it right”. I guess I’d just like you to put yourself in my shoes so I don’t have to explain everything. I’d like to forget about racism just as much as you. The difference is, you can … and I can’t.
CARLOS: She has an avid curiosity about my sexual endowments. She enjoys imagining the fucking that goes on among blacks and Latinos on this block. She thinks we are “looser” and less inhibited because we come from the steaming tropics. What’s weird is she’s the one who kept her shades up and walked around with no clothes on. […] When you look at me you see a dark continent, something unknown, exciting, frightening, exotic, different.
CARLOS: Like an angel of love, yes? She is my freedom and my bondage. Forbidden to me. Also her building—forbidden to me. Right next door, but I can’t live there. It might as well be Sutton Place. […] The intermingled white, black and tan world of Puerto Rico is foreign to people in the U.S. Puerto Rico is inhabited by people of many colors, and these colors are not associated with different ranks. My friend Stew was always riding me:
STEW: “You fuckin’ yeller-faced bastard! Yuh goddamned Negro with a white man’s itch! Y’all think that bein’ Porto Rican lets you off the hook? Tha’s the trouble. Too damn many you black Porto Ricans got yer eyes closed. Too many goddamned Negroes all over this goddamned world feels like you does. Jus’ ’cause you kin rattle off some different kinda language don’ change your skin one bit. Whatta y’all think? That the only niggers in the world are in this fucked-up country? They is all over this whole damn world. Man, if they’s any black people up on the moon talkin’ that moon talk, they is still Negroes. Git it? Negroes!”
CARLOS: […] In the white world the man of color encounters difficulties in the development of his bodily schema. Consciousness of the body is solely a negating activity. It is a third-person consciousness […] provided for me by the other, the white man, who had woven me out of a thousand details, anecdotes, stories. […] “Look, a Negro!” It was an external stimulus that flicked over me as I passed by. I made a tight smile. […] “Mama, see the Negro. I’m frightened.” […] I moved towards the other … and the evanescent other, hostile but not opaque, transparent, not there, disappeared. […] I was responsible at the same time for my body, for my race, for my ancestors. I subjected myself to an objective examination, I discovered my blackness, my ethnic characteristics, and I was battered down by tom-toms, […] slave ships, cannibalism, intellectual deficiency, fetishism, racial defects, and above all […]: “Sho’ good eatin’.”
DIGNA: Why me and not Carlos? Why me beat up and why me in here? […] Does the way I tweeze my eyebrows make men unable to resist hitting me?
DIGNA: Today religion and moral principles have been replaced by thorazine for the control of the female mind, especially the Latina female mind. Tell me, why are Puerto Rican women in this country more vulnerable to mental illness than the general population? Why do we not flourish here? Psychiatrists have different names for our condition. Most of you would be labeled manic-depressive. Me they call schizophrenic.
Privilege by Yvonne Rainer, 16 mm, color and black & white, 103 min., 1990. In: Yvonne Rainer, A Woman Who …, The Johns Hopkins University Press: Baltimore 1999. The gaps between the selected passages mark large cuts. Quotes: pp. 329, 318, 303, 321-322, 306, 301.
© Yvonne Rainer 1990 (film) & 1999 (script)
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