Follow posts tagged #media representation, #racism, and #whitewashing in seconds.Sign up
“My father told me, "Don't do anything that would bring shame to the family." I was always mindful of that. When I told him I wanted to pursue a career as an actor, my father said, "Look at what you see on television at the movies, is that what you want to be doing? Do you want to make a life out of that?" And I said, "Daddy, I'm going to change it." It's that image that created the perception that made it easier for the government to incarcerate a whole group of people. At that time, in comic books and radio dramas, we were depicted as cutthroat and coldhearted and cruel—unfeeling—or we were wily or suspicious or the buffoon. That was the general perception of Japanese Americans. We weren't seen as Americans. If someone spoke without an accent, we were exotically Americanized foreigners. My father knew the importance of the image of Asians in the media and how that shapes perceptions. We were complicit in it at that time: We went out there and rented our faces out and played cruel Japanese soldiers or bumbling Chinese waiters.”—
George Takei in an interview with Mother Jones discussing how media representation impacted cultural perceptions of Asian Americans in the United States during World War II, fueling racist attitudes that lead to the Japanese American internment.
Takei is premiering Allegiance: A New American Musical, at the Old Globe Theater in San Diego this month. The show tells the story of a Japanese American family that experiences incarceration in a concentration camp in Wyoming during World War II, and also co-stars Lea Salonga and Telly Leung.
Yes, Brave should have and could have included PoC characters.
First of all, we’re talking about a movie in which humans turn into bears and a witch has a talking raven. I can accept a universe with magic and talking bears, I can sure as hell accept a universe in which there were black people in Scotland by around the 10th century.
Not to mention there WERE NON-WHITE PEOPLE IN EUROPE BY THEN.
Seriously. Black people weren’t just sittin’ around with their thumbs up their asses waiting to be discovered and enslaved by white people.
Let’s have a run down of Non-white people who did have contact with Europe, and could have been in Brave:
- -The Egyptians (many of whom where, yes black. Some of them were more middle eastern in appearance, but many were undisputedly Black as well),
- -the Ghana empire
- -traders and goods from China that traveled along the silk road and Indian Ocean trading routes,
- -The Moors (of Northern Africa) who had sustained contact with Europe, especially after the arrival of Islam into the region, which increased international trade
- -fuck, God damn HANNIBAL with his fucking war elephants marching over the alps and making the Romans piss themselves
- The First Crusade happened in the late 10th Century, and Europeans had been making pilgrimages to the Middle East long before then.
- The entire Arabic world had plenty of contact with Europe through trade.
ALL had contact with Europe by the 10th century.
I know that in school we’re taught that History was made by white people, and the stories and experiences of the rest of the world tend to be systematically ignored until Atlantic Slavery comes along, but this is not reality.
Europeans had contact with non-white people for thousands of fucking years before imperialism began.
—> Another recent movie, called “The Secret of Kells” set in Ireland in the 7th Century had both black AND arabic characters in it.
I ADORED Brave as a movie. I thought that it’s focus on female relationships, instead of the standard heteronormative romance was really refreshing. It’s a movie that I can not wait to show my children growing up. BUT this does not change the fact that the complete and utter erasure of PoC in Europe’s history is still problematic.
So, apparently Liam Hemsworth is being cast to play Ali Baba in "Arabian Nights."
Expect a long rant because I am so angry that I have cried and screamed and I need to channel my anger into something productive. Like Tumblr.
But I think I really need to talk about why it is totally and completely wrong that a WHITE actor like Liam is cast as an obviously non-white character.
Responses to fans from actors and writers
- to Fans of a canon het ship: Whoohoo, we love you guys! Here's some stuff about your ship
- to Fans of a non-canon het ship: Whoohoo, we love you guys! Here's some stuff you can make about your ship. Let's all speculate which of these many pairings CAN and WILL happen.
- to Fans of a crack het ship: Whoohoo, you guys are crazy! Okay, we'll indulge you with a couple of scenes.
- to Fans of a slash ship: Whoohoo, bromance! Which yeah, kinda means gay but we can't say that. So - bros, yeah? Having a bromance? Enjoy.
- to Fans of a femslash ship: *abundance of obviously shippy material* [radio silence] [complete non-acknowledgment] or, just sometimes - OMG THAT WOULD BE HOT. Sex. Wow. Two ladies doing ladysex. Hot. Relationship? Um, this is a family show.
Movies I'm Excited For This Year
That Movie Based on a YA Novel Starring White People that Whitewashed PoC
That Movie Based on a Comic Book Starring White People and a Token PoC
That Movie that Reinvents a Fairytale Starring White People
That Movie Set in a Fantasyland with A Surprising Lack of PoC
That Beautiful Romantic Movie Starring Two White People in Love
That Movie Starring a Scruffy White Guy Who Does Things
That Movie where a White Guy plays Savior to a Native People
That One Very Special Movie about Racism
That Animated Movie in Which PoC’s only voice the Sidekicks
That Movie Where Apparently It’s Okay For a White Guy to play a PoC
That One Movie Where Denzel Washington or Will Smith Die for a White Guy
That One Movie Based on a Foreign Movie Re-Invented with White People
That Movie Set In a New York City where Only White People Exists
I’m really just fed up with these “We all bleed red!”, “I don’t see color!”, “The only race is the human race!”, “Skin color doesn’t define you!”, colorblind posts being churned out from the White Blogosphere because they all come from a place of blind privilege and willful ignorance.
You don’t have to sit and wonder why barely anyone on television looks like you. You don’t have go hunting through the YA section and wonder why your race/ethnicity is not being represented on both the cover and in the storyline itself. You don’t have to go to a completely, different book section just to find books written by authors of your race.
You have absolutely NO right to wag a finger at the people who are asking for representation, and then add insult to injury by saying, “Diversity is great, but-” and go on a self-centered, Kumbayah-colorblind campaign just because you’re “peeved” or “annoyed” or “angry” or “tired” of posts where POCs discuss media representation, or lack thereof.
For once, it would be nice if you (read: white people) didn’t always make this shit about yourselves.
submitted by halelaura
By Daniel Holloway
AUGUST 1, 2012
Three of Hollywood’s hottest young Latino actors are packed into a vinyl-upholstered diner booth, touching each other and giggling.
“Your show is all over the place!” Gina Rodriguez says to Francia Raisa. “My freaking 14-year-old niece was all like, ‘Oh my God, you’re gonna go, and you’re gonna be with her today — oh my God!’ And I was like, ‘I’ll touch her for you.’ ” Rodriguez, star of the indie darling and Sundance smash hit “Filly Brown,” then lays a hand on Raisa, who plays the resident bad girl on ABC Family’s “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” and is sitting to Rodriguez’s right. Raisa in turn reaches across Rodriguez to Tyler Posey, the lead on MTV’s “Teen Wolf.” “I’m going to touch you for my sister,” she says. Posey, undaunted, meets the challenge head-on. “I just wanna get some too,” he says and reaches for Rodriguez and Raisa. The scene dissolves in laughter.
Not long ago, if you wanted to gather three up-and-coming 20-somethings for a conversation on what it means to be young, Latino, and making it onscreen, you would have had a short list from which to choose. But in the last decade, as the 2010 Census taught us, America has become browner. So too has its entertainment. Diversity in TV casting is now, if not the norm, also not the exception. Stars such as Jennifer Lopez and Benicio Del Toro have proved that mainstream — aka white — moviegoers aren’t afraid to buy tickets to a film with a Hispanic name above the title. Posey, Raisa, and Rodriguez aren’t yet on that level, but they already have careers that other actors, no matter their ethnicity, would kill for.
Have there been moments when you’ve been going out on auditions, not hitting anything, and thought, “I’m gonna go do something else”?
Francia Raisa: There are still moments. Even if you’re very successful, you still have to audition. It’s always, always discouraging. I’m very blessed. I’ve been given great opportunities for the short amount of time that I’ve been in this industry, but I still get very discouraged every day.
Gina Rodriguez: To give over is very hard, especially in this industry, where it is very void of truth and honesty and connection. I’m sure you guys have been through that, where you can get discouraged not just by the transparency of the people around you but by the transparency of the industry, where it’s a game that you have to play.
Tyler Posey: The business sucks. That’s what she’s trying to say.
I know people hate those 'THE 90s WERE SO GREAT, NOSTALGIA' posts
But sometimes I go, “FUCK YOU, THE 90s WERE GREAT.”
Because I was a little black girl in the 90s and I grew up on shows that had a large black cast and focused on black families.
And television had a lot more diversity back then and I will never say the 90s were perfect, but that was one thing I really appreciated so. And diversity on TV has gone down the shitter, so yes, I am justified for being nostalgic for the 90s. And I feel awful for the children of color who are growing up on mostly white media and only have like 1 or 2 characters to look at.
So, the 90s were great, bite me~
How to be a fan of problematic things
I like things, and some of those things are problematic. I like Lord of the Rings even though it’s pretty fucked up with regard to women and race (any narrative that says “this whole race is evil” is fucked up, okay). I like A Song of Ice and Fire even though its portrayal of people of colour is problematic, and often I find that its in-text condemnation of patriarchy isn’t obvious enough to justify the sexism displayed. I like the movie Scott Pilgrim vs The World even though it is racist in its portrayal of Matthew Patel, panders to stereotypes in its portrayal of Wallace, and trivialises queer female sexuality in its portrayal of Ramona and Roxy’s relationship. For fuck’s sake, Ramona even says “It was a phase”! How much more cliche and offensive could this movie be? Oh wait, remember how Scott defeats Roxy, his only female adversary, by making her orgasm? Excuse me while I vomit…and then keep watching because I still like the rest of the movie.
Liking problematic things doesn’t make you an asshole. In fact, you can like really problematic things and still be not only a good person, but a good social justice activist (TM)! After all, most texts have some problematic elements in them, because they’re produced by humans, who are well-known to be imperfect. But it can be surprisingly difficult to own up to the problematic things in the media you like, particularly when you feel strongly about it, as many fans do. We need to find a way to enjoy the media we like without hurting other people and marginalised groups. So with that in mind, here are my suggestions for things we should try our darnedest to do as self-confessed fans of problematic stuff.
Firstly, acknowledge that the thing you like is problematic and do not attempt to make excuses for it. It is a unique irritation to encounter a person who point blank refuses to admit that something they like is problematic. Infuriatingly, people will often actually articulate some version of the argument “It can’t be problematic because I like it, and I’m nice”. Alternatively, some fans may find it tempting to argue “Well this media is a realistic portrayal of societies like X, Y, Z”. But when you say that sexism and racism and heterosexism and cissexism have to be in the narrative or the story won’t be realistic, what you are saying is that we humans literally cannot recognise ourselves without systemic prejudice, nor can we connect to characters who are not unrepentant bigots. Um, yikes. YIKES, you guys.
And even if you think that’s true (which scares the hell out of me), I don’t see you arguing for an accurate portrayal of everything in your fiction all the time. For example, most people seem fine without accurate portrayal of what personal hygiene was really like in 1300 CE in their medieval fantasy media. (Newsflash: realistically, Robb Stark and Jon Snow rarely bathed or brushed their teeth or hair). In real life, people have to go to the bathroom. In movies and books, they don’t show that very much, because it’s boring and gross. Well, guess what: bigotry is also boring and gross. But everyone is just dying to keep that in the script.
Especially do not ever suggest that people not take media “so seriously”, or argue that it’s “just” a tv show. The narratives that we surround ourselves with can subtly, subconsciously influence how we think about ourselves and others. That’s why creating imaginary fantasy and sci fi worlds that have more equal societies can be a powerful thing for marginalised people, who mainstream media rarely acknowledges as heroes. But even if you don’t think that media matters, there is still no reason to focus exclusively on unequal or problematic fictional worlds and narratives. If it doesn’t matter, why don’t YOU stop taking your media so seriously and stop fighting us on this? You with your constant demands for your narrow idea of “realism” (which by the way often sounds a lot like “show me naked skinny ciswomen, and gore”). If in your framework tv shows aren’t serious business, why does realism matter? Why can’t you accept that it would be totally cool to have AT LEAST ONE BIG MEDIEVAL FANTASY EPIC WHERE WOMEN AND POC WERE LIKE, EQUAL TO WHITE MEN AND STUFF. STOP TAKING IT SO SERIOUSLY.
Secondly, do not gloss over the issues or derail conversations about the problematic elements. Okay, so you can admit that Dune is problematic. But wait, you’re not done! You need to be willing to engage with people about it! It’s not enough to be like “Ok, I admit that it’s problematic that the major villain is a fat homosexual rapist, but come on, let’s focus on the giant sandworms!”. Shutting people down, ignoring or giving minimal treatment to their concerns, and refusing to fully engage with their issues is a form of oppression. Implicitly, you’re giving the message that this person’s feelings are less important than your own. In fact, in this case you’re saying that their pain is less important than your enjoyment of a book, movie or tv show. So when people raise these concerns, listen respectfully and try to understand the views. Do not change the topic.
Thirdly you must acknowledge other, even less favourable, interpretations of the media you like. Sometimes you still enjoy a movie or book because you read a certain, potentially problematic scene in a certain way – but others read it entirely differently, and found it more problematic. For example, consider the scene in Game of Thrones where Drogo rapes Dany (which he does not do in the books). One of my friends feels that it was portrayed like rape fetish porn, sexualising the act and Dany’s pain. But I feel that the scene focuses on Dany’s pain and tears in a manner that is not fetishising them (though even so the narrative is still totally fucked up because Dany and her rapist then go on to have a good, sexyfuntimes relationship…uh, no, HBO). I don’t agree with my friend’s interpretation but I recognise it as a totally valid reading of the scene.
Also, as a fan of problematic media, you need to respect the fact that others may be so upset or angered by media you love that they don’t want to engage with it at all. In fact, one of my best friends won’t watch HBO’s Game of Thrones because of the racism and misogyny. That’s a completely legitimate and valid response to that tv show, and me trying to convince her to give it another shot would be disrespectful and hurtful. If you badger others to see what you see in something when they are telling you it’s not enjoyable for them, you’re being an entitled jerk. You’re showing yourself to be willing to hurt a real person over a television show. That really is a sign you’re taking things too seriously.
As fans, sometimes we need to remember that the things we like don’t define our worth as people. So there’s no need to defend them from every single criticism or pretend they are perfect. Really loving something means seeing it as it really is, not as you wish it were. You can still be a good fan while acknowledging the problematic elements of the things you love. In fact, that’s the only way to be a good fan of problematic things.
about stories, and not being mean.
Hello! I would like to tell you something important. I used this to help me write it.
We all love stories. Many of us love them so much that we want to make our favorite stories even better. So we write and draw things that add on to the stories, and share them with our friends. But sometimes, people get annoyed about this. They say, “No, you can’t do that to the story! It doesn’t make sense.” This has happened a lot in the past few days, and it has made my friends sad and angry. So I am here to explain why you should not get annoyed when people change stories, and how you hurt us when you do so.
media representation is a hell of lot more complicated than just being there.
Is the character a fully actualized person? Or just a mess of stereotypes thrown together?
Is the character defined solely by one aspect of their identity (i.e. are they the gay one? the Black one? the girl?)
Is the character played by an appropriate actor? (See: Rebecca Romijn playing Alexis Meade, a trans woman on Ugly Betty when there are trans women who could have filled that part)
There’s probably a better checklist somewhere but please don’t just think media representation is about a character BEING there.
Things that are not plot twists in TV shows:
- being Black
- being Romani
- being Asian
- being Jewish
- being Arab
- being Latino
- being a woman
- being a trans* person
- being mentally ill
- being disabled
- being queer
Stop talking about diversity like it’s a gimmick.
We were all so fucking happy with how diverse Elementary is compared to Sherlock. But that doesn’t mean that we should treat media representation like it’s a fucking checklist.
Okay, we got an Asian woman and a couple of Black men—oh and let’s add a transwoman, too. Alright, all done. Now: more white people!
The problem is not Natalie Dormer—any other white actress would cause the same amount of frustration. It’s not about Natalie personally—I love her btw and I think she’ll do an amazing job, but so would Thandie Newton or Naomi Harris.
It’s that representation is so vital—and we white folks are very lucky that we get to see diverse white casts—thin, fat, gay, lesbian, etc. But people of color don’t have people who represent them. They’re lucky if they get the bare minimum in their favorite shows written and produced by white people—the drug dealers who find the body while breaking into a nice, white family’s house (looking at you, NCIS).
I don’t get to see bisexuals on TV much. But at the very least, I am represented in other ways. And people of color—especially queer people/women of color aren’t.
So before you moan about how some people are never happy with what they get, how about you maybe listen to what they’re trying to say?
Because again—it’s NOT an attack on Natalie Dormer. It’s not. You’ve gotta think a bit bigger picture than that.