Month: May 2010

May 27, 2010 / / diversity

Hosted by Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

You know what might’ve made “The Countdown” a little easier to handle? Just one more word in the title:

But seriously, this was your standard “darkest before the dawn” episode, where everybody battled the Determinism blues before next week’s Big Finish. While we’re waiting to see if this follows the finale trend set by BSG and now Lost, the Roundtable focused in on one specific plot thread: the final descent of Demetri.

demdoor1So, you had Demetri finally ‘fessing up to Zoey. Props to John Cho for mustering up the right amount of groveling and contrition for the moment. But it left Dem having to hitch his wagon to Janis and Simon of all people. Your take?
Andrea: I thought Gabrielle Union also brought the right amount of heartbrokenness, incredulousness, indignation, and upset to the scene. All I can say is I’m so happy she dumped Dem’s ass right there then took her freshly done sun-kissed weave and went to Hawaii with her parentals. As for Dem’s infidelity leading to his having to hang with Janis and Simon: Fuck him.
Mahsino: 1.) I hated her highlights, they should’ve been a warmer tone. 2.) I almost felt bad for Demetri. It’s like he got 20 points for fessing up before it’s too late, but -1000 when he cheated in the first place. I do like how she brought up how she risked everything for him, I hadn’t even thought of that.
Diana: I thought it was pretty realistic. Really, it made no sense to him to sleep with someone else because he thought he was going to die? That’s when you hold on to those you love the most. So I’m with you, Andrea, fuck him. Highlights or no, the weave was fresh.
jen*: As much love as I have for Cho, I’m beginning to be ok with Demetri eating it in the finale. He should be in something else, anyway. Read the Post Face The Music: The Racialicious Roundtable For FlashForward 1.21

May 26, 2010 / / Uncategorized
May 26, 2010 / / comics

by Guest Contributor Jenn, originally published at Reappropriate

Ryan Choi

I have to preface this post by saying that I have not been collecting comics lately. Thankfully, a friend of mine, who still keeps his finger to the pulse of the comic world, tipped me off to a major development in the world of comic books that has ramifications for the Asian American community.

Four years ago, after the presumed death of Ray Palmer, DC Comics introduced a new Atom, remarkable because he quickly ascended to being one of the foremost Asian American superheroes in comic-dom. He was one of the few Asian American superheroes to receive their own comic book title — All-New Atom — which was penned by Gail Simone. Simone developed Atom, and his alter ego Ryan Choi, as an Asian-American in virtually every sense of the word; although he was born and raised in Hong Kong, Ryan lived and worked as a professor in an American university. Part of his personal evolution involved struggles between his more Americanized identity with the expectations of his strict, overbearing father.

Now, when Atom first launched, I heavily criticized the book for its persistent dependence on stereotypical Asian/Asian American tropes. Choi was still one-dimensional and his book contained inappropriate racially-charged jokes that seemed out-of-place in a book that should’ve been a landmark for Asian American comic fans. Despite being set in at an academic institution, the series suffered from a bizarre absence of Asian American female characters. To me, All-New Atom was jarring — Ryan Choi had none of the ease in his Asian-American identity that Asian American characters written by Asian American writers do. Unlike the characters of Gene Yang’s American Born Chinese, or even the writing of Greg Pak’s Amadeus Cho in World War Hulk, Gail Simone’s Ryan Choi felt like a character forced into an Asian American skin. His relationship with his Asian-ness seemed fake and inauthentic. All-New Atom felt like a book about Asian Americans written by a non-Asian. Read the Post DC Comics Kills Off Ryan Choi

May 25, 2010 / / appearances

By Deputy Editor Thea Lim

Alicia Keys loves drama – and no, I am not referring to her current lovelife (you’ll have to read a different kind of blog to get that gossip, unfortch), I’m referring to her music videos.  When it comes to star-crossed histrionics, both Keys’ music and videos always deliver the goods. Which I kind of like, most of the time; woman’s got a good set of lungs and a nice scrunchy crying-for-the-camera face.

But her latest video just gets on my nerves.  “Unthinkable” stars Chad Michael Murray as Keys’ white lover, and shows reincarnations of the same interracial couple across several different decades, suggesting that from the 40’s up to today interracial relationships still face prejudice.

While I appreciate the way Keys uses time to show parallels between the racism of the past and the racism of the present, there are a few things about this video that strike me as deeply dishonest.  Broken down for your reading convenience, here are my issues:

1. Only black people hate interracial relationships!

Okay Ms Keys, why do you only have black people showing prejudice in this video?  From the 50’s to 70’s to the 80’s to the 00’s, all we see are black faces looking on at the Murray/Keys pairing with fury and even violence.  Oh no wait, we get a split second of a white cashier looking at black/white flirtation with disgust…and then it’s back to black folks.

A video doesn’t just pop out organically from the brain of its creator: someone makes very specific choices and then very specific casting calls to mark race in a video.  So why did Keys and her team choose to only show black people getting mad about the interracial love in this video?

This seems particularly problematic and dishonest in the “50’s” section of the video, where the optics, if you really look at them, are disquieting: a group of angry, bloodthirsty black men circle a defenseless white man with a puppy dog face.

So not only do we get a very racist portrayal of black people as aggressive and irrational in contrast to a lover-not-a-fighter white man, we get a profoundly skewed version of history.  Anyone with a 101 knowledge of Black History Month knows that in the 50’s it was black men, not white men, whose lives were in danger if they so much as looked at white women.  For some of our readers this will be well-trod ground, but let’s do a refresher just in case: Emmet Till was a 14 year-old black boy who was tortured and murdered for allegedly flirting with a white woman.  And his story was not an anomaly; this happened to many black men.  So much so that an all-white jury took all of 67 minutes to acquit both Till’s accused murderers.  This didn’t happen in 1897, it happened in 1955.

Read the Post Mixed Race Mess: Alicia Keys and Unthinkable Interracial Dating [Mixed Media Watch]

by Guest Contributor Minh-ha, originally published at Threadbared

Antiques Roadshow

This post is inspired by Sarah Scaturro‘s comments to one of my previous posts about the Black Fashion Museum Collection. In her comments, she mentions the Save Our African-American Treasures program, which she describes as “an Antiques Roadshow (minus the price appraisal) type of event” that travels to different cities to discover, preserve, and celebrate the material cultural histories of African Americans.

One of the reasons I was so intrigued by this program is precisely because it doesn’t operate through the heritage capitalist logics of the Antiques Roadshow on PBS. From what I can tell, the Save Our African-American Treasures program is primarily a conservation effort and not a public display of one’s vested interest in the heritage of Americana. It’s the Forest Gump-like display and valorization of what I can only describe as “heritage capitalism” by the predominantly white appraisers and guests that irks me about the Antiques Roadshow. (Why is there so little scholarship on the Antiques Roadshow‘s circuits of commodities, capitalism, and racial citizenship?)

I began watching the Antiques Roadshow on and off just a couple of months ago. What I found amusing about the show is the guests’ reactions to the appraisals of their family heirlooms – you can tell when someone is genuinely surprised or disappointed with the estimate and when they’re feigning surprise. Also funny (to me, at least) are the various stories guests tell about how they or their families acquired these objects. Most are pretty quotidian stories about unexpected discoveries at yard sales, thrift stores, and estate sales but some are really grand narratives about their genetic linkages to American founding fathers, European royalty, and a motley crew of adventure-seeking, risk-taking, fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants, off-the-beaten-path family relatives who acquired Persian rugs, Chinese Ming vases (always Ming era), French antique jewelry, and Native American dolls in their world adventures. I have to admit that I get a little giddy when the appraisers myth-bust these stories. There was an episode devoted to family myth-busting, if I remember correctly.  Actually, Marie Antoinette never owned this hair comb set you inherited from your great-aunt. It’s likely a reproduction made in the 1940s in Watertown, New York.

Other than the human interest aspects of the show, I never found it that interesting. (It’s probably because I wouldn’t know a Biedermeier from an Oscar Meyer, as Martin Crane put it in the Frasier episode featuring the Antiques Roadshow called “A Tsar is Born”.) But my casual disinterest turned into a serious criticism of the show when I caught this recent appraisal of a Tlingit (indigenous people of Alaska) bowl and ladle.

The guest narrates a valiant story about Colonel Charles Erskine Scott Wood (the great-great-grandfather of the guest),who was on a “scientific expedition” to the Sitka area of Alaska in the spring of 1877 when he somehow came upon this bowl and ladle. The guest is unclear on the details: “And I don’t know specifically if he was given these or if he may have bartered something.” (That these objects might have been stolen is not a possibility imagined by the guest but one that I immediately considered.)

(Note the partial image of Colonel Charles Erskine Scott Wood decked out in classic imperialist garb.) Read the Post More Native Appropriations, Heritage Capitalism, and Fashion on Antiques Roadshow

May 25, 2010 / / LGBTQ
May 24, 2010 / / Uncategorized