links for 2011-03-31

  • "Beauty pageants are all about aesthetics. So when Sandra Dubose-Gibson entered the Mrs. Black North Carolina pageant, many weren’t sure she had a shot at the crown.

    "You see, at 25 Dubose-Gibson began losing her hair due to alopecia. Although alopecia is a common disorder, when she began losing her hair, Dubose-Gibson was depressed. (You know how Black women are about our hair, right?) However, she soon realized that her hair wasn’t what made her beautiful.

    “'I was chosen to carry this burden, and it’s not a burden at all,' Dubose-Gibson said. 'It’s really been a blessing for me.'

    After coming to terms with the loss, Dubose-Gibson started a support group for women with alopecia and even made a documentary about her experience with the disease."

  • "But in the piece [Branaugh] wrote for us as part of our Brit Director's Diary series, he did address the biggest controversy that has attached itself to his film so far: the casting of The Wire's Idris Elba as Norse god Heimdall.

    "'Idris Elba is a fantastic actor – we were lucky to get him. He provides all the characteristics we need from Asgard's gatekeeper, the man who says, 'Thou shalt not pass'. When Idris Elba says that, you know you're gonna have a problem. He's smart, intelligent, handsome and an absolute joy to work with. If you have a chance to have a great actor in the part, everything else is irrelevant.

    "'If you're going to say the colour of his skin matters in a story like this, look at 50 years of Thor comics to see how many ways great artists have bent alleged 'rules'. Look at the Norse myths to see the way they confounded and contradicted themselves. That whole 'controversy' was a surprising – and daft – moment.'"

  • "For two years, Maxima has made some of Indonesia’s most popular domestic films based on a simple premise: that many in Muslim-majority Indonesia will pay to see foreign porn stars perform — clothed — in local films. Just don’t expect Indonesians to own up to it.
  • "'It is usually those iconic places — the big house, the house on the hill, the architecturally significant houses — that are saved, and very few of the places that tell the story of African Americans,' said McGill.

    "'Slave dwellings certainly tell that story,' he added. 'It's not one of those happy stories.'"

  • "'Immigrants as a whole experience worse housing conditions than other New Yorkers,' wrote the authors, Tom Waters and Victor Bach, who based their study on the New York City Housing and Vacancy Survey conducted in 2008. 'They pay a larger share of their income in rent and they are twice as likely to live in crowded conditions.'

    "But the researchers, both housing policy analysts at the Community Service Society, also warned that such generalizations could be misleading because when examined close up, housing conditions differ widely among immigrant groups, reflecting the diversity and complexity of the immigrant experience in the city."

  • "After the spirit bowl I walked to my Spanish class and was appalled that he was sitting in class. His friends were laughing and bragging how funny it was. I then realized I needed to talk to my father as soon as possible. I asked my teacher if I could go to the restroom, took the pass, and when I got outside I called my father. He told me to go to the office immediately and tell someone about my situation. I had no idea he was preparing to join me.
    We all know that racism is a problem and I had heard a series of stories underlying race problems in Utah. I am now convinced that this is true. Who in their right mind would plan to blatantly enforce their hate for others in a large gathering in a public school? How is it a joke? How is that funny?"
  • "Such politics betrays an insecure touchiness about our icons that's out of place in a mature democracy professing to uphold freedom of expression. Ironically, many famous personalities themselves challenged official projections of their image in their own lives."