Category: race and otakudom

December 16, 2013 / / appropriation

By Arturo R. García

The release of the trailer for the latest Godzilla release spawned a pretty good discussion over at The Mary Sue Wednesday, including this critique from a fan:

It’s too early to tell just how “global” this new Godzilla is, but it would be really nice if it acknowledged that the death of human beings is universal and is no more or less tragic by virtue of location, nationality or ethnic background. I don’t see that happening for the promotional campaign, because the people who make trailers and commercials are frequently different from the actual filmmakers, and tend to be somewhat problematic at the best of times – so I don’t see them doing anything different from the norm.

Because the sad fact is that lots of people are going to look on the deaths of non-Western non-white people in films, even outright disasters, as they do for real life: as sad or upsetting, but not *quite* as upsetting as if it happened to “their” people – even if it takes place in a western city with an ethnic majority. It isn’t cinema’s job to challenge those preconceptions, but cinema is in a strong position to make a difference. Would it really be such a problem for a film to make the “bold” statement that the death of thousands of non-Westerners is just as tragic as the death of thousands of Westerners? Would that really constitute “reverse”-racism? Is that infringing on white people’s representation in the media?

The first trailer doesn’t give us a lot to go on on that score. And even if the film’s IMDB cast list counts at least six people of color involved, what we see here is mostly focused on white characters (starting with the nameless white soldier who jumps into near-certain doom at the beginning). But the only POC featured, Ken Watanabe, will likely be playing a key character in Godzilla canon — Dr. Daisuke Serizawa, the man behind the invention that killed the original Godzilla in the monster’s 1954 eponymous debut.

But a piece of the synopsis has me, at least, hopeful that this film won’t just aspire to be a “reimagined version” of the character’s first appearance, and will show better judgment in picking which parts of Godzilla canon to explore.

SPOILERS UNDER THE CUT
Read the Post Can Gareth Edwards Build A Global Godzilla?

January 27, 2011 / / discrimination

By Guest Contributor Jorge Rivas, cross-posted from Colorlines

Fox News Latino has only been around for a few months, but it’s already become a hotbed of controversy. It’s less than a year old, and was created to target Latino audiences with news from both the U.S. and Central and South America. Yet while the it does the uncomfortable dance of trying to court more Latino viewers, that effort likely gets swallowed by the larger network’s venomous approach to important issues like the DREAM Act and border violence. Now, Media Matters is pushing for the network to make up its mind.

Fox News is the most-watched cable news channel in the country. In 2009-2010 the network surpassed CNN and MSNBC’s weekly viewership. A study released this week by Public Policy Polling found that PBS is the most trusted news outlet the U.S., followed by Fox News. (Fox News is the second-most trusted network, but also the most distrusted one, with 42 percent trusting it and 46 percent not trusting it.)

Last month they ran a story saying Spanish Actress Penélope Cruz was going to give birth to an “anchor baby,” but after some uproar from a group of Latino conservatives Fox News retracted the entire story, and today there is no sign of the story on their site.

Back when the network launched its Latino website, its leadership seemed optimistic.

Read the Post Fox News Can’t Decide Whether to Love or Hate Latinos

February 25, 2010 / / art
July 22, 2009 / / fandom

by Latoya Peterson

While Arturo was gearing up for Comic-Con, and Joe hung out at the Asian American Comic Con, I spent the weekend at Otakon.

Stepping off the bus near the Convention Center, I felt myself involuntarily break into a smile. Neko ears, Naruto headbands and wings galore. For three days, the Baltimore Harbor area transforms into planet anime, and you never really know what you’ll catch out of the corner of your eye.

The locals tend to be amused. As I was walking down the street, a woman rolled down her window and hollered at the boy in front of me. “Excuse me – what’s going on here? Is it a Harry Potter convention?”

“What? No!” he said with a pained voice, pulling his Ichigo Kurosaki costume tighter around his thin brown frame.

I couldn’t help myself. I laughed. Read the Post Notes from a Con [Series Introduction – Race and Otakudom]