There’s Nothing Comic About Racism

, , , , | Friendly | February 17, 2021

When I am a teenager, around the year 2000, I start a story and share it through a forum. People love it and say I should make a comic out of it. Alas, I can’t draw digitally and don’t have a scanner, but someone offers to draw the comic for me.

I ask him to draw the main character, an energetic black girl. He draws her in black and white lineart. Using MS Paint, I add colour (very terribly). He then draws her again, using most of my colours.

This all takes place through forum posts.

Me: “She looks great! She does look very pale, though.”

Artist: “Oh, I thought that was a mistake. I thought she was this colour, because she was based on you?”

Me: “No, she’s not. I wish I was as cool as her! But if you could darken her skin, that would be great.”

He darkens her skin to a more olive tint.

Me: “Can you please darken it more?”

Artist: “This is as dark as I can go.” 

Me: “Really? I looked online, and your software should be able to use hex codes, right? Could you use something like [hex code of dark brown]?”

Artist: “No, my software won’t allow me.”

Me: “But you are using [Software], right? It says on this site that you can add hex codes. Maybe if you swap palettes? This tutorial tells you how.”

Artist: “No, not my software.”

At that point, people were calling his BS. I was just confused about why his software didn’t allow him— naive me. Eventually, he lashed out, saying that black people scared him and he flat-out refused to colour her in the colours specified. He was promptly banned from the forum, and rightly so! I was very confused about this — again, naive me — because he showed pictures of himself and he was Hispanic and had dark skin. 

The comic never happened, and looking back at it, it was a terribly thin story. Still, I taught myself how to draw, and now I can draw her myself, making sure she has the right skin tone every time.

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Art Is… Complicated

, , , , , , | Learning | February 17, 2021

I was a physics major, but there were still some general education courses that were required. Although a few had some useful information, most of them were worthless. I went to the first few classes, and if I found that they contained no useful information, I would not read the books or go to the lectures except when needed. One of these courses was called “Survey of the Arts.”

For my midterm essay, I argued that art movements typically have patterns opposing societal change, such as the “Romanticism” art movement standing against increasing industrialization and a decreasing sense of individual dignity.

For my final essay, I argued that art movements typically have patterns reflecting societal change, such as the “Realism” art movement being caused by increasing industrialization and a decreasing sense of individual dignity.

I got good grades on both.

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At Least You’re Not Eating Garbage

, , , , , , | Learning | December 3, 2020

I have to take an art history class that is required for college. One evening, the professor takes note of the sweatshirt I’m wearing.

Professor: “Is that a Keith Haring shirt?”

Me: “Oh, no, but I guess it does kind of look like one, though.”

Professor: “So, what is the design, then?”

I’m embarrassed as h***.

Me: “It’s Danny Devito in his underwear stuck inside a piece of playground equipment.”

Professor: “Oh, I see.”

It’s a reference to “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”

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A Fold In Her New Reality

, , , , , | Right | December 2, 2020

I work in an arts and craft store that does not sell cards. We do sell thick paper that you can make into cards yourself, though.

A day before Father’s Day, these papers are popular with people looking to make their own personalized cards. Everything is going smoothly until one woman enters the store. She clearly speaks English, is middle-aged, and was clearly not born yesterday, so this still perplexes me.

Customer: “Do you sell cards?”

Me: “Not really, but we do sell paper you can fold and make into your own card.”

Customer: “Can you show me?”

I bring her over to all the selections of paper.

Me: “So, if you just fold these in half, you get your own card you can personalize in any way.”

Customer: *Pause* “How do you fold a piece of paper in half?”

Me: “You… fold in it in half?”

I then demonstrated how to fold a paper in half, thinking maybe she didn’t know how to cleanly fold a paper to get a clean edge. But no… this woman is still confused and amazed that I could do this.

I had to show her again how to do this, and when I unfolded it, she just looked so lost and unsure how this card had then turned back into an A4 piece of paper.

Somehow, this woman had gone her entire life never folding any form of paper in half or realizing that a card, unfolded, is just a piece of paper.

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Designer Profits

, , , , , | Right | November 4, 2020

I’m an artist, and I’m making custom laser-printed keychains. I charge anywhere from $4 to $7 per keychain, plus shipping, which depends on how many you order. I get an email from a customer wanting to order.

Customer: “I want [design]. I can send you $3 for it.”

I laugh. The design in question is actually one of my more expensive ones since it’s got a longer print time.

Me: “Hi there! [Design] is actually $7, as well as $3 for shipping.”

A little later, I get a reply.

Customer: “I will only pay $3.”

Me: “I cannot make and ship your order for $3, unfortunately. The shipping cost is what I pay at the post office, which is why it’s charged separately.”

Customer: “You get the wood cheap, anyway. $3 or nothing.”

Me: “I actually pay a fair amount for the wood. Doing any order for the amount you’re wanting to pay would result in a net loss for me.”

Customer: “You’ve lost a sale. That’s bad business.”

I’m not quite sure how doing essentially free work for a stranger is bad business, but at least they left me alone.

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