Links – 2009-01-27

Compiled by Latoya Peterson and Fatemeh Fakhraie

On Amreeka, a Sundance film that examines the lives of Arab Americans.

What distinguishes the film from others is its sense of humor. Laughter, not tragedy is the watershed of Munah’s life. “I wanted to tell a story that’s lighthearted,” Dabis said. “There’s a side to the experience that’s funny, that’s all about family. The film is really about the larger struggle for belonging that applies to everyone. It’s about a woman who is trying to start a new life and a kid who desperately wants to fit in and distance himself from his family.”

The International Herald Tribune describes Kabul’s growing interest in skateboarding:

Among those who look forward to his visits is Maro, an elfin 9-year-old girl who was terrified of skateboarding at first.

“It gives me courage, and once I start skating, I completely forget about my fears,” she said.

Maro’s glittery Mickey Mouse shirt indicated middle-class status. She stood out from the street children in muddied clothes who shared the skate space. Because the sport is so new and unusual here, Percovich said, it may help mend the country’s deep social and ethnic divisions. Continue reading

The Pathetic White Women of Grey’s Anatomy

by Guest Contributor Melissa Silverstein, originally published at Women and Hollywood

The thing that I love about Grey’s Anatomy is how great the women of color are. Strong, decisive, smart…awesome. Sandra Oh, Sara Ramirez, Loretta Devine. My favorite character is Miranda Bailey played by Chandra Wilson. No one even comes close to my love and respect for her.

But as I was reading this past weekend about some lame comments from ABC Chief Stephen McPherson at the Television Critics Association gathering about how they (ABC) just didn’t like Brooke Smith’s character Erica Hahn on Grey’s, — “the character was not working for us, and the dynamic with the relationship was just not working for us…” — I realized that all of Grey’s Anatomy’s white women are pathetic.

Think about it. The strong ones — Addison Montgomery was spun off to her own show in LA and seems to have lost her compass, and Erica Hahn was fired because her chemistry with Callie just wasn’t good enough, and maybe she just came off as a bit too strong. Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) has always been one step from pathetic. She holds the story together, but she is no pillar of strength. Izzie (Katherine Heigl) has gone over the deep end this season appearing in a bad version of the “I See My Dead Husband” Sally Field, Jeff Bridges and James Caan 80s romance Kiss Me Goodbye. Sadie the sadist is gone as of February and she never did anything of note except almost kill herself. Lexie is shagging Mark and who knows where that one is going. And now they’ve brought in Jessica Capshaw as pediatric surgeon Arizona Robbins to supposedly be the new girlfriend of Sara Ramirez’ Callie. First and second impressions have not been good. She pretty much comes off as a bubbly idiot and even Miranda looked like she wanted to belt her.

While it’s so unprecedented that the women of color are written so well and strong on Grey’s (cause they hardly exist of most others shows), I don’t think it should or will diminish from those characters if we pump some strength into the white women.

I think it will make the show better.

Brutal Attack on Sikh Teen

by Guest Contributor Angry Asian Man, originally published at Angry Asian Man

Last weekend in Queens, a young Sikh man was attacked and beaten so badly he may lose his left eye: Brutal Attack Has NYC Sikh Community In Uproar.

18-year-old Jasmir Singh was walking on the street early Sunday morning when he was approached by three men who demanded his money. Then they began to taunt him because of his turban, touching his hair and threatening to cut it. When he tried to run away, they beat him.

This appears to be hate crime, plain and simple. They targeted and taunted Singh because of his turban and beard — an important part of his Sikh faith. But the police and the Queens district attorney have simply classified it as a robbery and an assault. What’s up with that?

But here’s the part that kills me. That same night, police arrested two of the three suspects, described as “16-year-old Asian Pacific male and a 21-year-old Latino.” Ack. You freaking hateful idiots. That’s racist!

You’d think as people of color, as racial minorities, these two idiots would know what it’s like to be targeted and violated like this. Maybe they do. But I guess we know that ignorance and hate extends across all color. Police are still searching for the third suspect.

Spotting the Stereotypes: He’s Just Not That Into You

by Latoya Peterson

Around New Year’s Eve, I started seeing commercials for He’s Just Not That Into You. I was amused at first – until the last five seconds of the clip. After carefully showing the tortured romantic lives of Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Scarlett Johansson, Kevin Connolly, and Ginnifer Goodwin, the camera cuts to two heavyset black women sitting on a bench.

One woman looks dead at the camera and says (to some unknown listener) “Girl, you better get yourself some ribs and some ice cream because you’ve been dumped!”

The first time the commercial aired, one of my friends from Houston flipping channels while we were waiting to go out. After watching the trailer, I noticed we had the same “WTF” face after that clip aired. I sighed. She sighed.

“They always do that to us, don’t they?”

She said this as more of a statement than a question. Continue reading

Blog Scandal in San Francisco Public Defender’s Office

by Guest Contributor Angry Asian Man, originally published at Angry Asian Man

Some intriguing news out of the San Francisco public defender’s office… A MySpace blog entry written by former intern Carrie Wiplinger has prompted the superior court and Public Defender Jeff Adachi to investigate whether a lawyer in Adachi’s office was once told to keep Asians off a jury: Intern Blog Alleges Juror Racial Bias.

In the blog entry, posted September 3, Wipplinger wrote about a case involving a drunken man whom authorities found receiving oral sex in a car:

“I got to listen in on a conference regarding jury selection,” she wrote. “My bosses gave the following advice to the lawyer …don’t pick any Asian jurors, because (and I quote): ‘Asians don’t drink, they love Jesus, and they’re creeped out by everything.‘”

She wrote that the lawyer followed that advice, and the client was acquitted. But the attorneys who worked her deny making such a comment, and say Wipplinger got several other facts wrong: the jury hung and the defendant was not acquitted; there was no testimony or evidence that the man was drunk; and there were at least one or two people of Asian descent on the jury.

Adachi said the deputy public defender assigned to the case, Lateef Gray, and his supervisor, Kwixuan Maloof, both denied that they or anyone else made the statement about Asians. Well, of course they denied it. The question is whether or not the blog’s claims, even if she got some of the facts wrong, is based on something that actually happened, or if she just made the whole thing up.

One thing is probably for sure. Everyone involved, including the intern, is not happy that this damn MySpace blog has suddenly received so much attention. And if what she says happened is indeed true, and the lawyer did give this advice, well… that’s racist!

Did Darwin Have a Different Motivation For Creating the Theory of Evolution?

by Latoya Peterson

Reader Elton sent in an intriguing article from The UK’s Telegraph. The headline says it all:

    Charles Darwin’s research to prove evolution was motivated by his desire to end slavery.

The piece explains:

Science historians Adrian Desmond and James Moore have compiled compelling new evidence which reveals Darwin was passionately opposed to slavery and this was the moral impetus behind his work.

Private notes and letters uncovered by the pair reveal that Darwin’s opinions on slavery were far stronger than had previously been believed.

Notebooks from his five year voyage on HMS Beagle, during which Darwin first began to form his famous theories on natural selection, detail his revulsion at the slavery he witnessed in South America.

The historians have also discovered letters written by Darwin’s sisters, cousins and aunts that reveal the family as highly active abolitionists. Darwin’s grandfather and uncles were also key members of the anti-slavery movement.

The pair claim in a new book that Darwin partly chose to highlight the common descent of man from apes to show that all races were equal, as a rebuttal to those who insisted black people were a different, and inferior, species from those with white skin.

When Elton sent in the link, he noted:

    A big theory of mine is that the whole “intelligent design”/natural selection debate is deeply rooted in the struggle between those who would seek to extend the white Christian hegemony and those who would seek to dismantle it through science. Unfortunately, the media always portrays it as some dense philosophical debate, without any implications for social power structures.

Thoughts?

Director Danny Boyle Offered Lady Vengeance Remake

by Guest Contributor Angry Asian Man, originally published at Angry Asian Man

With the huge breakout success of Slumdog Millionaire, director Danny Boyle is crazy hot right now. Not that he wasn’t already a great director — I’ve been a fan for years. But I just came across this very interesting bit of news… Boyle recently revealed in an interview that he’s been asked to direct a remake of Park Chan-wook’s Lady Vengeance: Danny Boyle Asked to Direct Lady Vengeance.

Whaaaaaaa? I had heard a remake of the South Korean revenge thriller was in the works, with Charlize Theron’s name thrown out as a possible star. But Danny Boyle as director… that would be really interesting. However, the interview doesn’t give any indication whether or not he’s actually going to do it. Just the offer.

If this remake has to happen (and in Hollywood, you can probably count on it sooner or later), I’d definitely prefer this combo (Boyle/Theron) over Steven Spielberg and Will Smith doing the Oldboy remake that was announced a few months back. In the meantime, I recommend checking out the cool, creepy original Korean version starring Lee Young-Ae.

Quoted: Van Hunt on Barack Obama

Excerpted by Latoya Peterson


I would like to congratulate Barack Obama on ascending to the pinnacle of American politics and public stature. Now, a friend asked if I was watching the parade for the new president. I told him “sentimentality and symbolism are not my favorite things, so I don’t enjoy watching them on full blast.” I’m sure some would say that I am negative or without hope, but, in my experience, hope is the excitement that accompanies opportunity, preparation, intelligence and a good plan. I don’t need Barack Obama to represent “hope” for me; but, I do want him to make it easier for me to have hope.

—Van Hunt, on his MySpace blog