links for 2011-01-27

  • "The actors felt degraded when they were told to 'make noise' by rambling words in their language. The Hmong actors were also left out by their fellow cast members who were white. The cast members excluded them from cast events because they immediately assumed that Hmong actors were exactly like their character counterparts—unable to speak English clearly or to understand anything 'American.'"
  • "Fasthorse was furious over what she heard. 'Immediately my senses went up and I thought this is wrong. This is wrong for them to be making fun of native names.' She says 'It made me mad … It hurt.'

    "A slew of angry listeners took to Magic FM's Facebook account to protest the radio show. Those posts have since been taken off the station's page. Fasthorse says Natives go through sacred ceremonies to receive their spiritual names and those names are very dear to them. 'It's very sacred to us,' she says. 'We don't go and make it public. We don't make fun of that.'"

  • "The head of France’s national railway company, known as the S.N.C.F., on Tuesday made the company’s first formal public apology directly to Holocaust victims. The regrets came just a few months after American lawmakers, survivors and their descendants moved to block the company from winning contracts in the United States if it did not acknowledge its role in the shipping of thousands of Jews to Nazi death camps and make amends."
  • "Soap operas often pull in close to 50 million viewers. Some have attempted to raise awareness of other taboos such as mental illness, drug abuse and alcoholism. 'This is a step forwards,' Julio Moreira, president of the gay rights group Arco-Iris, told the Extra newspaper. 'Gay people have always been portrayed as marginal [characters] or in some negative way. It is important to show diversity and to raise political questions.'"
  • "She says American culture has been fractured for a while. In fact, Burrell Communications was founded on 'the principle that black people are not dark-skinned white people.' She says the agency knew that African-Americans were a separate, viable market. She says there have always been many American cultures. 'But technology has been an enabler,' Ferguson says. 'So now there's a way to get to these smaller groups efficiently.'"