Month: March 2012

March 28, 2012 / / islamophobia
March 28, 2012 / / muslim
March 27, 2012 / / diversity

By Guest Contributor Aymar Jean Christian, cross-posted from Televisual

It’s an old and uninteresting complaint: black characters on TV–and horror movies–get killed or written off too early. Clearly, that is what’s been happening on The Walking Dead with T-Dog. (UPDATE: The arrival of a new character signals a possible shift in season three.).

I’m going to try to push the debate further, past “isn’t it a shame characters of color get short shrift.” The truth is the T-Dog Problem signals broader problems with The Walking Dead and some other prominent dramas. It’s a symptom of an ailment the writers might actually care to remedy, beyond appeasing black viewers.

First, the basics. Earlier this season T-Dog told Dale he was concerned about being black and a weak link in the group. This was an insightful moment from the writers, foregrounding the idea that being different after the apocalypse might be a problem–after all, in times of stress, people stick to their own–and an interesting meta-commentary on the fragility of being a black character on TV. T-Dog was a great candidate for a quick kill. Then T-Dog disappeared. I literally forgot all about him until last week, when he had one line that was almost comically interrupted. This week T-Dog was similarly marginalized, leading Vulture‘s recapper to state: “By this point, the casual dismissal of one of two minority characters…on this show is feeling extremely suspect. The only thing saving it from being full-on offensive is that the same treatment is being given to Hershel’s entire white family.”

The problem isn’t only about a tired debate over representation.

Read the Post The Walking Dead And The Real Diversity Problem On (Some) Ambitious Dramas

March 27, 2012 / / black
Courtesy Los Angeles Times

By Arturo R. García

As you’ll recall, Nerdgasm Noire’s Roxie Moxie shared this column about the problematic reactions to the casting of Lenny Kravitz and Amandla Stenberg in the film adaptation of The Hunger Games, the opening chapter of which has gone on to post an opening weekend take of more than $155 million at the box office.

Here’s a sample of how some fans took the news that Kravitz would be playing Cinna:

That was five months ago. In the wake of the film’s strong opening, the disappointment–and sometimes outright anger–of more fans has been pushed further into the spotlight.
Read the Post Update: Racist Hunger Games Fans Are Still Racist

March 27, 2012 / / Quoted
March 26, 2012 / / black

By Guest Contributor Theresa Runstedtler, cross-posted from her blog

In reflecting on his tumultuous life and storied career, boxing great Sugar Ray Leonard recently told Guardian reporter Donald McRae, “I went through real darkness but the ring was my light. That was the one place I felt safe. I could control what happened in the ring. My heart turned icy” (my emphasis added). In his new autobiography, The Big Fight: My Story, Leonard reveals a painful past hidden behind the headlines of his historic ring victories–one of sexual abuse, a sense of rejection, and struggles with substance abuse.

What does it mean that Sugar Ray had to find safety in the violent confines of the boxing ring? What does it mean that he could only really feel empowered and free when fighting other men? McRae notes that back in the 1980s British boxing writer Hugh McIlvanney “spoke vividly of the hard chip of ice that Leonard stored in his fighting heart.” It seemed as if “Sugar Ray must have endured terrible darkness to fight with such chilling brilliance.” The turmoil of Leonard’s life outside the ring made his career in the ring a matter of financial and spiritual survival.

Yet Sugar Ray’s autobiography is much more than just a personal, singular story. His haunting revelations expose much about the racist society he lived in, and how little that society valued young black men like him in any other setting than the squared circle.

Read the Post ‘The Ring Was The Only Place I Felt Safe’

March 26, 2012 / / activism

By Andrea Plaid

Gina Torres reigns as the current Queen of Sci-Fi and Sci-Fantasy, true. And if it wasn’t  for Nichelle Nichols, we probably wouldn’t be talking about Torres. Or Avery Brooks as Captain Sisko. Or Zoe Saldana as the new Uhura. Or my doing fan-dancing.

 

Courtesy: Emmy TV Legends

Nichols’ iconic status in sci-fi results from a conversation with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Frustrated during her first year on the original Star Trek, she decided to leave the show.

It sounds like you put a lot of thought into the part. Why did you want to quit after the first season?

After the first year, Grace Lee Whitney was let go so it became Bill and Leonard. The rest of us became supporting characters. I decided to leave the show after the first season.

What convinced you to stay on?

I was at a fundraiser and the promoter of the event said there’s somebody that wants to meet you. He is your biggest fan. I stood up and turned to see the beatific face of Dr. Martin Luther King walking towards me with a sparkle in his eye. He took my hand and thanked me for meeting him. He then said I am your greatest fan. All I remember is my mouth opening and shutting.

What was that like?

I thanked him so much and told him how I’d miss it all. He asked what I was talking about, and told me that I can’t leave the show. We talked a long time about what it all meant and what images on television tell us about ourselves.

Read the Post Racialicious Crush Of The Week: Nichelle Nichols