Category Archives: tv

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Who-mogeneous: If Doctor Who Doesn’t Diversify, Will It Last Another 50 Years?

By Guest Contributor Anoosh Jorjorian

When I was 13 years old, my best friend introduced me to Doctor Who. Growing up as a brown girl in a predominantly white neighborhood in Sacramento, people would ask me, “What are you?” When I explained that my family came from Armenia and the Philippines, I might as well have said they were, like the Doctor, from the planet Gallifrey in the constellation of Kasterborous. The show played perfectly to my fantasies of escape into wider possibilities. Yes, funny smart man with your English accent, please whisk me away in your blue box as far in space and time as I can get from 1980s Northern California.

Nearly two decades have passed since I first watched the show, but on the occasion of its 50th anniversary, to my eyes, the show looked a bit… like 1980s Northern California. “The Day of the Doctor,” the episode marking the special occasion, was simulcast globally in 94 countries, an official Guinness World Record. So why was so little of the world in it? I had expected the diversity of the audience to be reflected on the screen, but instead the episode seemed Anglo in every dimension.

I monitored #DoctorWho50th on Twitter but couldn’t find many people of color livetweeting the simulcast. The few that did seemed to have “the feels” like everyone else. No one mentioned race. With Matt Smith’s tenure in the title role ending on Wednesday, I turned to Facebook to find more Whovians: friends, friends-of-friends, and strangers, mostly Americans, mostly people of color. What did they think about the whitewashed “Day of the Doctor”?

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‘Murican Idol: Here’s What Didn’t Get Phil Robertson Suspended from Duck Dynasty

By Arturo R. García

Phil Robertson of “Duck Dynasty.” Image via Facebook.

By now you’ve no doubt heard that reality “star” Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty “fame” was suspended from the show — or, in snake-oil TV-speak, placed on “indefinite hiatus” — after glibly engaging in some concern-trolling homophobia in a GQ interview while painting his show and his family’s public embrace of its Christian faith as some sort of antidote for whatever it believes ails America.

But what hasn’t been reported nearly as widely is the amount of outright racially prejudiced statements Robertson also lets fly in the piece, which points to a bigger problem for A&E. The network has been all too happy to trade on Robertson and his family’s “good ol’ boy” brand. Now it has to deal with the consequences.
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‘But Everybody On TV Is White And All The Nice People Are Blonde’

By Guest Contributor Hana Riaz, cross-posted from Media Diversified

Participants in the upcoming exhibition, ‘A Different Mirror.’ Images and video by Martyna Przybysz.

Earlier this summer, my beautiful then five-year-old Nepali nieces sat with me in our garden enjoying the warm and easy sun. What started as a conversation about what happens to melanin when it finds home in all that glorious vitamin d, looking at our skin browner than it’s winter shade, turned into a difficult conversation about race, gender and diaspora.

One of them began to talk about wanting white skin and blonde hair, and what she would do if she had it. Whilst her twin sister disagreed, responding fervently that she actually liked her brown skin and her black hair, I needed to know what exactly had triggered the other’s denigrated thinking. Her answers, however, were unsurprising – a consequence of not only the (gendered) shadeism (and anti-blackness) that holds dominance in Asian communities but her experiences as a brown girl in a white supremacist society.

Upon my questioning, she responded with a resolute and yet strangely logical answer:

but everybody on TV is white and all the nice people are blonde. Nobody wants to be brown.

There was nowhere she could really see herself.
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Open Thread: Scandal S03 E09: ‘YOLO’

By Arturo R. García

Olivia (Kerry Washington) contemplates her next move — if she can even find one.

As Scandal heads into its winter break, we saw just about everybody snatch defeat from the jaws of victory — and sure enough, one apparent fatality, just an unforeseen one.

SPOILERS UNDER THE CUT
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Open Thread: Scandal S03 E08: ‘Vermont is for Lovers, Too’

By Arturo R. García

Olivia (Kerry Washington) and Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) indulge in a shared future for one night.

Score this round for the (relatively) good guys.

In the last episode before the winter finale, we saw the pieces begin to move. While Olivia and Fitz’s dalliance in the house revealed just how far Fitz’s obsession flame went — not to mention how badly he seems to want out of politics — the duo also came to an understanding, if not an outright alliance. Each would do what they had to do to unravel Eli and B613.

And now the wildest card of all has landed on Olivia’s doorstep.
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Open Thread: Scandal S03E05: ‘More Cattle, Less Bull’

By Arturo R. García

The Road to the White House now appears to literally go through Olivia (Kerry Washington) on “Scandal.”

Give writer Jenna Bans credit: “More Cattle, Less Bull” justified its’ rather fast clip by successfully showing why this show’s distaff circles have no choice but to stick around each other. It also delivers a major reversal of fortune for Olivia’s career, just in time for what will probably instigate the final battle with her father.
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Open Thread: Scandal S03E04: ‘Say Hello To My Little Friend’

By Arturo R. García

Jake (Scott Foley) reclaims his #WhiteBoo status on “Scandal.”

After getting its Homeland on last week, Scandal took a dip in the Law & Order case pool, in a story about connections that also pushed the season’s big story further along much quicker than expected.
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Silence and Spectacle: How the Sports Media Sanctions Racist Mascots

By Guest Contributors C. Richard King and David J. Leonard

Image by Keith Allison via Flickr Creative Commons.

One would hope sport media outlets might take their civic duty to foster critical thinking, public engagement, and informed debated seriously. Their approach to the representations in Native Americans in sport suggest otherwise. Under the veil of fairness and balance, they opt to speak for, to be silent and to silence as preferred pathways.

When ESPN columnist Rick Reilly offered a defense of Native American mascots because the American Indians he knew did not have a problem with them. Flouting his whiteness and playing his privilege with little regard, he spoke for Native Americas. His word – his whiteness, his platform – made their words meaningful. His editors neither batted an eye nor cleared a space for Native Americans to express themselves.

In fact, Reilly misrepresented his key source, his father-in-law, who wrote a lengthy retort in Indian Country Today that noted he found the name of Washington D.C.’s National Football League team to be objectionable. Reilly still stood by his piece and neither he nor his publisher have offered a correction or an apology.
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