Tag: diversity

May 18, 2009 / / diversity

Hosted by Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

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You didn’t think we’d forgotten, did you?

Actually, this is the perfect time to revisit Heroes, since Monday marked the efforts of Fens Of Color United, an effort to bring to light sci-fi’s continuing struggle with positive POC characters. (Props to Roundtable member Erica for the tip.) Here’s more about it from The Angry Black Woman:

As RaceFail 09[*] continues, it has become clear that there are those who are hellbent on marginalizing and silencing people of color. In the past few months, minorities have been denigrated by bigoted authors and publishers who have also asserted that Fen of Color are rare and pratically non-existent. Despite numerous discussions and attempts to enlighten on the fact that POCs are fans, writers, artists and just as integral to this genre as our white counterparts, we are continuously dismissed.

On Monday May 18, 2009, we are asking anyone who identifies as a POC/non-white to post this banner, their speculative short stories, artwork, poetry or simply write a post on their favorite fandom on their blogs as an act of protest to show we will not be silent or invisible. The day of protest is entitled Fen Of Color United or more aptly, FOC_U.

White allies can also show solidarity for this event by posting this banner and expressing the need for diversity and speaking out against the bigotry in the genre, through posts and/or their creative work as well.

With that in mind, we join our Friendly Neighbourhood Roundtable’s season-ending chat, already in progress …

Diana: Oooh, I hate the stanky leg
Andrea: speaking of stanky … shall we talk Heroes?
erica: nice tie-in
arturo: brilliant segue!
jen*: sho nuff
Diana: ok
mahsino: if we must
Andrea: i try, y’all. i try.

arturo: Well, let’s start at the beginning: what’d everybody think of the ep?
erica: bleah
Diana: C-
Andrea: zzzzzzzz.
erica: D+
mahsino: i’ve become so acclimated to the bad, i just don’t know anymore
jen*: i’m just mad about fake Nate.
arturo: how come?
Andrea: i feel you, jen. Go first.
erica: I was mad that they got my hopes up by actually stabbing him dead … and then couldn’t leave him dead for more than five minutes.
mahsino: that was frustrating
jen*: I hoped so long. It was my great wish for the finale.
arturo: but Nate *is* dead
mahsino: called it
arturo: yes you did

sylar_and_nathanerica: The logic for resurrecting Sylar into Nathan was pretty weak.
Diana: That was a weird story twist. Does that mean we won’t see Quinto anymore?
arturo: depends; when does Star Trek 2 start filming? ha
erica: it hasn’t started filming yet?
Andrea: well, according to Entertainment Weekly he’s in the franchise for 2 more films.
mahsino: and yet they had the foresight to plan for his replacement
jen*: yes – but bewitching Sy for this – eh. It’s so obviously his Trek-out.
arturo: actually, E! reported that we *will* see Sylar next year — kind of a Fight Club thing, if you saw that flick
Diana: He can do both. Really he’s one of the few I like to see.
Andrea: I have to disagree, Diana. He bores me.
Diana: So they are going to do a dual personality thingy?
arturo: I imagine so — Sylar struggling to reclaim dominance and such.
mahsino: They’ve overworked Sylar
erica: I like to see Sylar in moderation.
Andrea: And Sylar’s gonna ooze out of Nathan. Already the man’s changing clocks.
Diana: I like it when he is really bad. They wasted time changing his personality.
arturo: Erica, I must say, I bought Noah’s rationale — if Sylar became a news story, metahumans would definitely be in the crosshairs. Read the Post Unfinished Business: The Racialicious Roundtable For Heroes 4.12

May 18, 2009 / / diversity

By Guest Contributor Catherine, originally posted at Hyphen Blog

obama
The New York Times commemorated President Obama’s 100th day in office last week with some optimistic reportage of race relations in the United States. Citing a recent New York Times/CBS News poll, the article asserted that Obama is positively influencing public perception of race relations, stating that

Two-thirds of Americans now say race relations are generally good, and the percentage of blacks who say so has doubled since last July….

If only the public’s perception of “progress” were motivated by actual progress. Even a cursory examination of the state of race relations in the US will reveal that we are still a very racially divided nation, in some ways even more so than before Obama’s election. The Southern Poverty Law Center, for example, just released a report which found that the number of hate groups in the US has increased by more than 50 percent since 2000, and by 5 percent since last year. SPLC attributes the increase, in part, to growing anti-immigrant sentiment — a key point to remember, as Obama’s rise seems to have us thinking about race relations exclusively in black and white. Read the Post Obama, and the Birth of the (Above-)Racist

May 4, 2009 / / diversity

By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García
Also Posted At The Instant Callback

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WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

A note about this week’s especially tardy report: Monday morning I had to undergo an emergency wisdom tooth extraction. The procedure required more than the usual amount of local anesthetic to prep me, because for most of the previous 10 hours, I’d felt like the tooth had grown flaming tendrils designed to stream shards of glass down my jaw and up my temples, despite my efforts to contain the pain; literally, I was popping antibiotics and pain relievers at a rate that would give Hollywood starlets pause, and it didn’t help.

I tell you all this because the experience was less frustrating than the latest season finale for Heroes.

True, “An Invisible Thread” did give us a pair of sincere OHMYGOD moments. But even when it’s good, this series can leave you dissatisfied. Why all the filler between the killer? The best and worst aspect of the episode was, it made stuff like 1961 look even more pointless in retrospect. And it brings other uncomfortable questions to mind:

1. Will less episodes mean more good episodes? Read the Post Up In Smoke: The Racialicious Review of ‘Heroes’ 4.12

May 1, 2009 / / diversity

by Guest Contributor Nina, originally published at Threshold of Your Own Mind

Last year during Christmas, ABC had the genius idea to cancel Eli Stone. And by cancel, I mean completely phase out mid-season. The show was in the primetime line up and it aired before Boston Legal.

Eli Stone was set in a San Francisco law firm. It was cleverly written and extremely progressive. Like San Francisco, it had a gamut of diversity. It featured Black and Asian actors cast in roles of doctors and lawyers. The lawyers handled cases with gay, lesbian and trans issues. There was a strong social activist element to the firm where ethics and humanity were prevalent in the all too cut-throat world of lawyers.

Most importantly, the show dealt with issues of spirituality & alternative medicine. Eli Stone, the man for which the show was named, was a prophet who was struggling with the gift of sight. He saw the future and his third eye chakra was off the chains.

His gift was nurtured by a Chinese acupuncturist herbalist who studied and expounded on Ancient Chinese healing practices. He had to adopt the stereotypical “ching-chong” accent to get his white customers to believe his practice was legit, which only added to the cleverness of the show. The Chinese acupuncturist turned the stereotype on it’s head by adapting the voice of what “someone like him” should sound like. Read the Post Ethnocentrism Rears Its Ugly Head in the Cancellation of ABC’s “Eli Stone”

April 28, 2009 / / diversity

Hosted by Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

FunnyMo

One episode left in Heroes’ season, and the major players are coming together again in order to … uh, save the country from themselves. Or something. We’ve got villains riffing on the Obama campaign, a family pledging to work together for about two minutes, and one brave Roundtable willing to make sense of it all for you. So here we go!

Forget saving the country; with Tim Kring writing the closer, can the Heroes even salvage their season?
Mahsino: No. It’s like we aren’t jumpin’ sharks anymore, we’re jumping humpback whales. This show half-past ridiculous, how many times can we say “this changes everything” in one episode?
Jen*: I don’t see Kring saving anything. An hour’s not long enough, anyway. Something Arturo said was on my mind as well though – every series doesn’t have 10 sucky ep’s to have 2 good ones – why is Heroes like this?
Andrea: Ever since Kring went on his blame-the-fans campaign, I felt he lost interest in saving this show, and this season was another example of his neglect. I’m surprised NBC let him get away with this, considering how rough network TV’s having it these days.
Diana: There’s nothing to save. They didn’t even keep with the theme of this chapter. It’s just been a hodge-podge of crap all season.
Erica: The only possible salvation is that overused classic — it turns out it was all a dream and we can ignore it all!

dankoknifeLet’s talk terminal! Who do you see getting offed and why?
Mahsino: Nate’s getting offed. This show isn’t big enough for both Nathan and Sylar’s eyebrows.
Jen*: If wishes came true. I’ll take the obvious choice: Danko.
Mahsino: Somehow I manage to forget about his presence as soon as he’s not in the shot. I second that recommendation.
Diana: I’m with Jen on this one. Once Sylar pulled that knife out of his head, my thought was, “Danko the troll is gonna get it now.”
Erica: Yeah, Danko goes bye-bye. Sadly, much as I wish Nathan would finally give up the ghost, he’ll be sticking around to give Peter somebody to whine at.
Andrea: What? As much as we carry on about her, no one wants Claire offed? Or better yet, the show’s wigmaker? (The former ’cause she has to be about the most useless main character, and the latter…well, look at what zie’s been putting on the former’s head.)
Mahsino: Much as I might wish it to be so, I just don’t see her biting the bullet- that would just make too much sense. Read the Post The Racialicious Roundtable For Heroes 4.11

April 22, 2009 / / diversity

By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García, also Posted at The Instant Callback

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WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

Give credit where it’s due: writers Adam Armus and Kay Foster took a premise that could have imploded big-time – Sylar coming unraveled – and turned “I Am Sylar” into a taut, capable lead-in to next week’s season finale.

Tying it all together, of course, was the Big Bad’s stumbling all over his new power. The story starts 18 hours before the final shot of “1961,” as we see the implausible occur: the Man with the Plan losing himself so badly in his new shape-shifting power, he wakes up wearing the face of a recent victim. Things get so bad for him he actually takes advice from Danko, who wants nothing more than for his heaviest hitter to keep racking up the metahuman notches.

MicahSylarAlong the way, though, an equally unlikely voice emerges on Gabriel’s other shoulder: the much-missed Micah. Whereas maybe even a few weeks ago, Sylar would have shredded Micah like so much confetti, his state of confusion allows the kid to urge him toward something better. That appeal gets Micah a reprieve and an assist from Gabriel, but it opens up a whole other can of worms. Read the Post Conversations With Dead People: The Racialicious Review for Heroes 4.11

April 21, 2009 / / diversity

by Latoya Peterson

Arturo sent me an email a few days ago, asking me to add this to the links. But when I looked at the source material, I knew I had to do a post.

In an article called Minority Report: Hollywood’s Dirty Little Secret, Fade In Magazine pulls anonymous quotes from professionals working in the film industry about their jobs. Fifty percent of Fade In’s readers are in the industry and from what I can tell, the magazine appears have the qualities of both a mainstream glossy magazine and a trade magazine. The mag has been in publication since 1994, so it appears to be credible. And if they are credible, and all the sources they quote are who they say they are, it is one of the most illuminating piece I’ve ever read on racism in Hollywood.

In addition to the graphic above, which accompanied the article, check out some of the major quotes:

Screenwriter “Hollywood’s not liberal. That is such an oxymoron; such a joke. There are so many things… I don’t even know where to begin, because it’s so pinned up, because you have to control it. One of the things that Hollywood, along with society, has successfully done is blame the victim. You’re the victim of racism, but they blame you if you say anything. You will never be able to get behind a computer again in your life.

“Hollywood is anything but liberal. I call them liberal bigots. Hollywood is filled with liberal bigots, and they use the thing of being liberal as a reason for being bigoted, for if they’d listen to themselves talk, and listen to their friends talk, they would find that they tell way too many black jokes, ethnic jokes.”

Screenwriter “I wrote a very celebrated movie. I busted my ass, worked hard. I would meet with the director from nine o’clock in the morning – to talk, not to write – until about twelve or one o’clock in the morning. Now, it took that long, because he was on the phone, all of the time, chitchatting with his friends. It should have been a shorter meeting. Then I would write until two or three o’clock in the morning. I finish the script and do all of this work, and then him and another white guy lie and say they wrote it! And white Hollywood believed them over me. I couldn’t fight it, because if I tried to fight it, if I were to scream racism, I’m done. He did something on the set that pushed me to the point as a man where I could have kicked his ass. Then what would have happened is the owners would have been on me: ‘Violent black writer loses his temper and beats up white director.’ Even though all of Hollywood knows that this guy is a jerk.

“Then I had to go through the whole shame of going to meetings where people were asking me, ‘So did you really write this? Can we see samples of other stuff you did?’ Even though this guy has never written anything that they can point to and go, ‘Oh, well, he’s written this.’ Since then, he hasn’t written anything, but because he was white… He said in the arbitration letter, ‘I didn’t want anybody to know my efforts were being done because I didn’t want to undermine Mr. [name withheld].’ Can you believe that? I literally cried when I read the arbitration letter. So he played the affirmative action card, [claiming] that I was an affirmative action writer. There are whites in this town who still to this day believe that this white man [wrote the script].”

Screenwriter “I went to a meeting at Warner Bros., with a producer and a director and an exec. I’m sitting there, and I’m a black writer going to write about this black guy. I won’t say what he did, because that’d give away who it was. So before the meeting started, the three white guys started telling towelhead jokes: ‘This towelhead this, this towelhead that.’ And I’m sitting there listening to them tell these towelhead jokes. The Warner Bros. exec started it, and then the producer and this director chimed in on it. I couldn’t believe this was taking place. I didn’t say a word; you know I’m not going to say an N-word joke or tell a towelhead joke because I’m next. So I’m listening to this. Then, afterwards, they then start talking about this black project, which I had no interest in pitching, because I thought, ‘You’re some of the most insincere sons of bitches I ever met in my life’ – motherfuckers is the better word. I had another life before I became a writer, and I’d never heard any shit like this before. I probably gave them one of the most insincere pitches I ever gave in my life because I didn’t want to be a part of [anything with] these three assholes. I couldn’t believe they were doing it. It was totally unnecessary.”

Read the Post Fade In Magazine Talks Racism in Hollywood

April 20, 2009 / / diversity

Hosted by Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

MattNathanExtreme

Oh boy, where to begin with “1961”? With the awkward, Forrest Gump-ish approach to reframe the Heroes canon into pre-Civil Rights Act history? The needless retconning of two previously admirable minority characters? The continued hammering over the head with how “special” the Benetrellis are?

Actually, this time we’re starting off with a different type of Open Mic; Roundtable member Andrea had expressed some concerns with me about the imagery dredged up by the family’s digging through the metahuman camp. I wanted to give her the space to elaborate, and then get our other members’ responses.

skullAndrea: As I told Arturo and Mahsino in emails, I’m really sick and tired of the show playing hopscotch with events surrounding human-rights violations and figures–and doing it in such a contrived way. From namedropping (Harriet Tubman, Che Guevara) to framing their struggles with the gub’ment (Abu Ghraib), these pop nods are, I suppose, to show the show’s profundity and relevance, of showing the creative team’s understanding the ramifications of societies dealing negatively with difference, but it just feels shallow…and pushes the show to further irrelevance. And it’s kinda ironic, considering how the writers push the characters of colors further to the peripheries of the storylines with each season, if not outright killing them. ::sigh:: And this week, we get images of internment camps/mass burials wrapping around the poorly done story of Bennetrellis and the Company’s origins. I was really put off.

Erica: I hate it when historical tragedies are given trite treatment like this. Japanese internment camps deserve more respectful coverage than, “Oh, by the way, something similar to our current fictional portrayal happened before, and it was bad, so this is bad.”

And yes, Peter, Angela could have told you all about this in a restaurant, but then how would she have desecrated the graves of dozens of victims (including her parents and, to the best of her knowledge, sister) of a paranoid government? “Oh, Nathan, while you’re digging there, be sure to get your grandfather’s watch, I’m sure he wanted you to have it.”

Mahsino: You know, this whole thing probably could’ve been made interesting if they brought in Hiro and Ando. At lease with them there, it wouldn’t have made the reference to Japanese internment camps seem so out of left field.

Diana: They are definitely trying too hard. The show was much more interesting in Season 1 when we were getting glimpses of the future which was a whole other reality. They’d be better off if they created another reality with its own rules and quirks. This following the topics of the day is unimaginative, lazy and just makes  the show more soap-opera-ish.

jen*: This ep really pissed me off. A filler episode dealing with internment camps? Angela’s treatment of the memory was none too respectful, either – considering those bodies were supposedly of her family. Then, after the dust literally settles, it’s all buried again.  No more bad memories – let’s make a new company! Read the Post The Racialicious Roundtable For Heroes 4.10