It seems Hollywood has learned nothing from the barrage of criticism for casting straight actor Jared Leto in his (ultimately Oscar-winning) role as a transgender woman in “Dallas Buyers’ Club” or casting Johnny Depp, a white man, as the Native American Tonto in “The Lone Ranger.” Once again, an actor has been cast in a role that could have been more authentically portrayed by someone with the actual experience of the character: Entertainment Weekly confirmed last week that Rooney Mara, who is white, will be Native American princess Tiger Lily in the Peter Pan remake/prequel called “Pan.”
Of course, acting is “acting” and any actor could hypothetically play a character of any race or gender. The problem is that Mara’s casting is an example of Hollywood’s longtime problem with whitewashing — take, for instance, white, blonde Jennifer Lawrence’s casting as olive-skinned, dark-haired Katniss Everdeen in “The Hunger Games.” Hollywood could have easily found a Native American actress to play Tiger Lily. There are numerous Native American actresses who have appeared in other films about Native Americans, including Q’orianka Kilcher, who starred as Pocahontas in “The New World, ” or Irene Bedard, who was in “Smoke Signals” and voiced Pocahontas in the Disney cartoon. Or, since the character of Tiger Lily is supposed to be fairly young, the role could have gone to a new, up-and-coming Native talent. Keep reading »
“I look at shows on TV, and this is going to just seem defensive, but I’m just gonna say it: I’m a fucking Indian woman who has her own fucking network television show, OK? … I have four series regulars that are women on my show, and no one asks any of the shows I adore — and I won’t name them because they’re my friends — why no leads on their shows are women or of color, and I’m the one that gets lobbied about these things. And I’ll answer them, I will. But I know what’s going on here. … It is a little insulting because, I’m like, God, what can I — oh, I’m sitting in it. I have 75 percent of the lines on the show. … And I’m like, oh wait, it’s not like I’m running a country, I’m not a political figure. I’m someone who’s writing a show and I want to use funny people. And it feels like it diminishes the incredibly funny women who do come on my show… I don’t know, it’s a little frustrating.”
This is Mindy Kaling‘s response (as quoted by Flavorwire) when she got asked at a SXSW panel why Mindy is the only female doctor and the only doctor of color on her show, “The Mindy Project,” which she writes, executive produces, and stars in. I don’t blame her for being defensive or feeling frustrated: it is a show written/produced/starring a woman of color with a bunch of female co-stars and yet these types of questions from journalists still insinuate that Kaling not doing enough. Keep reading »
This post is reprinted from The Huffington Post with the permission of its authors.
What’s the biggest myth about street harassment? That men of color comprise the majority of offenders.
It’s a myth as old as this nation: the idea that Black men are more likely to be sexual predators — especially of white women. Consider D.W. Griffith’s “The Birth Of A Nation,” that builds an entire narrative on the idea of the black brute. From the Scottsboro boys to Emmitt Till, history as well as popular culture, the justice system and virtually all other facets of American society still hold the deeply entrenched notion of Black men as people to be feared.
But the myth doesn’t stop with history. In a recent New York Times article, a White woman living in a mostly Caribbean community (Crown Heights, Brooklyn) gets physically assaulted by a Latino man and wonders if it’s her fault, as if moving into a mostly Caribbean community was the city-dwellers equivalent to “asking for it.” A few years ago, a woman, also writing for The New York Times, reported on her experience doing aid work in the Congo and hearing repeatedly from other European aid workers that sexual harassment, violence, and rape in those areas “is cultural,” instead of, as she duly notes, “a tool of war.” The myth that Black and Latino men are innately sexually aggressive is one that extends beyond our national borders. Keep reading »
“I feel like ‘embattled’ or ‘disgraced’ will always follow my name. It’s like that black football player who recently came out. He said, ‘I just want to be known as a football player. I don’t want to be known as a gay football player.’ I know exactly what he’s saying. I’m fighting to get my name back.”
Paula Deen fights to get her name back in this week’s People and loses the battle. Miserably. I wonder if Paula could have chosen another comparison, any other comparison that didn’t include the words “disgraced,” “black” and “gay” in the same breath? At the very least couldn’t she have humanized Michael Sam by using his name? Instead, she only succeeded in further proving her ignorance. Despite her embattled, disgraced existence since her N-word scandal, she still has plenty of bacon in the bank ($75 million form a private investment firm to be exact) and a new restaurant opening near Tennessee’s Dollywood theme park. [DListed]
Today would have been Trayvon Martin’s 19th birthday. Martin, however, is not celebrating that birthday today because he was shot and killed by George Zimmerman nearly two years ago in February 2012. Today is also the day that boxing promoter Damon Feldman has tastelessly and unapologetically chosen to announce that rapper DMX has been selected to fight Zimmerman in a “celebrity” boxing match, the scheduled date for which will be announced next week. But I hope that the whole disgusting affair is canceled before that announcement can be made. Keep reading »
Just in case you were under the assumption “we don’t need feminism anymore”: today brings us an analysis study by Media Matters For America about the demographics of the Sunday morning talk shows during 2013.
You’ll be shocked, shocked to know that white men are still the most common guests for seven of the shows studied. Keep reading »
The subway can be pretty crowded at night, especially coming into Brooklyn from Manhattan. We’re usually packed in like sardines before spilling out onto the platform in little clusters as we head deeper into the bowels of the borough. The scene was no different last Saturday night. After my evening of listening to raucous hip hop at a club, drinking my weight in malt liquor and tagging a few local businesses, I decided to head home. I was on the Brooklyn bound 3 train, ready to tuck into bed after a night of the blackest of black activities, when I saw her step onto the train at the Franklin Ave stop. Read more on The Gloss…
Oh for fuck’s sake, fine, I’ll respond to the click-baiting article about yoga on xoJane. A writer going by the name of Jen Caron (her real name, Jen Polachek, was removed as the byline following the backlash to her article) has written the following essay: “It Happened To Me: There Are No Black People In My Yoga Classes And I’m Suddenly Uncomfortable With It.” Caron is a self-described “skinny white girl” and what “happened to” her is a “fairly heavy black woman” attended her yoga class and seemingly had a difficult time with some of the poses. Obviously, Caron writes, the fat Black woman who isn’t as “good” at yoga must resent her, in all her skinny white yogic glory, and this (utterly imagined) racially-charged tension made Caron uncomfortable. But the discomfort, the ruined yoga class, was worth it because isn’t her essay about it brave and compassionate? Jen Caron cares. Keep reading »