Tag Archives: hispanic

Prison Break recap of episode 308: Bang and Burn

by guest contributor Masheka Wood

Previously on Prison Break: Michael finally finds out Sarah’s dead, starts a chicken-foot fight against Whistler for a distraction, and watches his first Sona escape attempt go completely F.U.B.A.R. Lechero (a.k.a. Norman the Milkman) gets stripped of power, a newly released Mahone gets squirrelly without his vein-candy, and we discover Susan B. Anthony (a.k.a. Gretchen) is in cahoots with Whistler.

And now for the recap of the fall season finale, in which …

‘Don’t Fear The Reaper’ (a great Spanish version) plays over a montage of various prisoners doing prison-y stuff like weight-lifting, drug-smoking and corpse-covering. Ahh, life in Penitenciaría Federal de Sona!

During visitation, Linc informs Michael that Company operative Susan has given them four more days to bust out—and that Susan plans to kill them as soon as they’re free. Michael doesn’t care; he’s still pissed that Lincoln waited so long to tell him about Sara’s beheading. As far as Michael is concerned, Linc used Michael like the Company used them both. Damn, that’s cold! And kind of weird because, as many fans have noted, Michael constantly uses others for his gain. Guess it hurts more when your bro does it. As Michael leaves the outdoor visitation area, a welder installs reinforced steel bars to prevent any other window escapes.

Meanwhile, General ‘Pad Man’ (so-called because his fear of listening devices often leads him prefer writing pads to speech), the Company boss from season 2, pays Susan a visit at her hotel. He orders a “bang or burn” operation ASAP. If the mission fails, he’ll make her past rape and torture as a prisoner of war “look like a massage.” Shaken, Susan visits Whistler and notifies him of the new plan. She also tells him to kill Michael—at which prospect Whistler has the decency to look sick.

Back in Sona, Lechero sneaks over to talk clandestinely to Michael through the bars. Michael needs him to persuade the colonel to delay reinforcing the prison windows, or the new escape plan is useless. Lechero reminds him that he no longer has the influence he once had but has another idea.

Later, Sammy, Lechero’s right-hand man, speaks with Lechero and says that they need more allies to maintain rule over Sona. but Lechero doesn’t trust anyone, especially now.

On side note, Lechero (as played by Robert Wisdom) is a very interesting significant character, a black man who holds a position of great power while under incarceration for avenging his mother’s rape by her wealthy employer. Continue reading

Heroes recap of episode 208: Four Months Ago

by Racialicious guest contributor David Zhou

What is his name?!?

There is too much to be said about how a black character from Haiti, referred to as The Haitian and used as a weapon by dominating, white forces, still has yet to earn a name. Is his name too ethnic for us to pronounce? His history too dark for us to fathom? But most of all, how do you address someone who has no name?!? I’ve wondered how the screenwriters have avoided until now the instances where some higher agent has to say, “Haitian, go do this-and-that.” (Maybe they just use “you” the way Elle does when pursuing Peter and Adam.) Watching this episode, these exchanges between other characters and the one played by the talented Jimmy Jean-Louis become increasingly ridiculous. He rarely even speaks! Something really is wrong with this.

And remember the part where Elle refers to The Company’s power-negating medications as “Haitian pills,” a reference to one of his powers? Yeah, that was messed up.

To boot, does he have alliances or a personal agenda at all? In this last episode, temporally set between the first and second seasons, he works for the Company that he had been working to bring down in both seasons. This character just always seems to come in handy only when key characters require a partner who can suppress superpowers and erase memories. If I am just missing the logic behind this, someone inform me; all I see in this character is a lackey for the more crucial (ahem, white) people, and his story should be so much more than that.

Another item of note was a comment by Elle, the other cute (but crazy and dangerous) blonde girl to come by on this show. (Thanks to Elton for the tip.) She makes a speech worthy of a great, collective “aww”. She says, “I’m twenty-four years old and I’ve never gone on a date. Never been on a rollercoaster. Never been swimming. And now you know everything there is to know about me.” I feel so sorry for her, but question: what ideals must you impose upon yourself to feel bad about these things? If you said “Western” you may have been right, because as Elton pointed out, there are cultures where dating and amusement parks are just not on the adolescent agenda. Which is to say, the first-world innovation of amusement parks and the social construction of dates are not necessarily universal. Just pointing that out. (I still felt pretty bad for Elle, though.)

And also… so much for my crying out about how very Catholic Maya and Alejandro are. They are apparently really Catholic. So Catholic that Maya does a stint as a nun! (Well, she is also seeking redemption for killing about fifty people; maybe it’s justified.

But lastly, I must say that there were some nice things in this episode. The wedding was sweet – until the soapy, intruded-upon sex scene. And once again, I can’t help but say that Nikki and D.L. are really cute together, and if people see the problems in their marriage as a function of their racial difference, then… I just have no words.

To read past Heroes recaps, click here.

The HaraGossip Girls: people of color as accessories

by guest contributor DISGRASIAN, originally published at DISGRASIAN

Diana and I realized this week that we are masochists. What else explains why we subject ourselves to shows like A Shot at Love with Tila Tiqueerla or the CW’s Gossip Girl, which is not unlike gouging away at our eyeballs with thumbtacks?

Truth be told, we’ve been blinding ourselves with Gossip Girl to track the progress of the HARAGOSSIP GIRLS. You know, the Black Chick and the Asian Chick who never talk but always dress identically? Their name, for those of you just checking in with us, pays homage to DISGRASIAN Hall-of-Shamer Gwen Stefani’s Harajuku Girls, the original posse of Asian Chicks who trail their blonde master everywhere, never talk, and always dress identically.

The Haragossip Girls are no different. They have more handbags than they’ve had lines on the show. But boy, have those bitches looked fierce.

Here they are in the pilot, mutely flanking Chuck, the James Spader-as-Steff-in-Pretty in Pink impersonator:

Then we have them in the second episode, “Wild Brunch,” trailing their owner Blair, aka A Poor Man’s Rachel Bilson:

I just love them as accessories! Oops–Freudian slip–what I meant to say was, I love their accessories! Where can I get me an ostrich bag? Continue reading

Heroes recap of episode 206: The Line

by Racialicious guest contributor David Zhou

Yes.

It finally happened.

Hiro Nakamura got some action from the girl we’ve come to know as Yaeko… and was then screwed over by a double dealing white man named Takezo Kensei. (I’m joking, but…)

There were, though, many peculiar little things about this kiss scene. (I’m not going to complain too much about them because I’m still getting over the excitement about Hiro getting some play.) They didn’t actually show them kiss. None of the lip-locking, spit-churning face sucking that you see in other such scenes. They did show their heads coming together, the back of their heads slowing gyrating to weird “Asian” music… But I wonder if there was anything of the actual sensuality and physicality of a first kiss between two people. Should this kiss even count? Are Masi Oka and Eriko Tamura just bad kissers/kissing actors? I don’t know if this was all what I was hoping for, but then again not every kiss scene in the typical television scriptbook has our protagonist stop time first and wonder: “But the space-time continuum…” I have every reason to be happy for now that an Asian male on television had a substantial romantic encounter. Goal number two: massive sexual innuendo… and after that, a sex scene. (I know you can do it, Hollywood!)

Another amusing part of Monday’s show was the encounter with “civilian border patrol”, or what we know in real life as the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps/Minutemen Project. (We at Columbia had an interesting encounter with these guys last year, but that’s an aside…) As the Nissan Rogue from Mexico crosses an unfinished border fence, they meet up with these civilian border watchers. Maya kills them quickly with her lethal superpower and drives into the States, leaving the cowboy hat-wearing, shotgun-toting vigilantes dead in the desert with black tears running from their faces. If that’s not a political message, I don’t know what is.

And still, Maya refers to America, New York, and the supervillian next to her as the “salvation” in which they must “poner el fé” (put faith). I ask, please, no more Christian-Latino stereotypes!

There has been talk about the psuedo-empowered blonde women on this show, who are still pigeonholed to roles as cheerleaders and strippers on Heroes. I think, however, that in this episode there was a sideways attempt to address the issue. People who watch the show will look at me and say, “Huh? How?” … I’ll say that as Claire joins the blonde-brigade, they seem to make a point of emphasize a black-haired cheerleader… just to complicate the blonde-cheerleader correlation. (Big deal!) In the meanwhile, Claire continues her inane high-school games and Nikki/Jessica still uses her superhuman strength (almost sexually) for harm.

All in all, this episode was not too bad. None of the trying-to-pronounce-Mohinder Suresh or the geisha fantasies that we’ve seen before in other shows. Basically in this episode, Maya and Alejandro cross the border with Sylar, Claire dupes the lead cheerleader, Monica is used as a lab rat, and Noah shoots a man. But you could’ve gone to heroesrevealed.com for that.

That’s all. Until next time!

To read past Heroes recaps, click here.

Meet the contributors who will recap Prison Break for us

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

I’m excited to announce that Masheka Wood and Tecumpla Weefur will be taking turns recapping Prison Break for us starting this week! Here’s a little bit about them, and their thoughts on the show.

Intro from Masheka Wood

My name is Masheka Wood and I’ll be recapping Prison Break—impossible plot twists, heads-in-boxes and all.

Prison Break is one of my favorite hour-long dramas, but I honestly didn’t expect the premise to last past the first season when, as the name implies, they broke out of prison. But here we are in season three, and they’ve somehow managed to bring the magic back by getting themselves locked up again, this time in Latin America.

I’m consistently drawn in, week after week, by the show’s nail-biting cliffhangers, Rube Goldbergian escape mechanics, and government conspiracy backdrop.

Since our favorite convicts are in a Panamanian penitentiary-from-Hell this season, I hope that the show will have more complex Latino characters (like Sofia and Sucre) on the breakout team. Black and Latino guys make up a disproportionate segment of the American prison population, but the show has relatively few main characters of color. Our two heroes breaking in and out of jail are white (though it should be noted that one of them, lead actor Wentworth Miller, is biracial).

Oh, and did I mention that one of the most popular characters on the show is a white supremacist pedophile?

When I’m not watching entirely too much television (I luv you, digital video recorder!) I can be found in New York, freelancing as a social-political cartoonist and illustrator by night and working for The Man by day.

Intro from Tecumpla Weefur

Good Day, Racialicious community! My name is Tecumpla Weefur (or Tecup for short), and I’m an African American female who enjoys writing, blog-fights, collecting t-shirts from random 5K races, and film.

I wish I could say that my embrace of Prison Break derived from a love of serial prison dramas, but alas no, it was Wentworth, beautiful Wentworth Miller (who plays the lead character Michael Scofield) that drew me to the television set. In fact, it’s my love of Wentworth that has allowed me to overlook the rampant racial and cultural stereotyping involving aggressive blacks , dimwitted Latinos, and backwoods, inbred Southerners in the first two seasons.

Now, you should know that our love affair began when I saw Miller play young Coleman Silk, in the film adaptation of Philip Roth’s The Human Stain. See, Miramax tried to bill that movie as a Nicole Kidman/ Anthony Hopkins vehicle, but that didn’t stop me from repeatedly viewing the love scenes of Wentworth and I, uh, I mean, Jacinda Barrett.

And see, I know it’s love because Prison Break tries your patience with it’s teasing, misleading, overly hyped promos, insinuating that “This is night they break out of jail,” only to find out that they suggested the very same thing last week and the week before that, until you look up and realize that almost a year has gone by, and they still haven’t escaped, not to mention that at times the script seems packed with filler that exists for no apparent reason other than for the sake of keeping the story going like it’s a sequel of Saw (what are we on now, Saw 4, Saw 5?).

Well, we’re now on season three of Prison Break, and Michael is back behind bars, this time in Panama, at one of those prisons that Amnesty International would start a letter writing campaign over. Though the show has gone on location, it hasn’t left the stereotypes back home in the States, but this time I will not overlook them. I will blog about them, while carrying my torch for beautiful Wentworth and keep the faith that he and I, uh, I mean, his love interest Sara will be together again.

Heroes recap of episode 205: Fight or Flight

by Racialicious guest contributor Elton

One consequence of the sheer number of separate storylines in Heroes is that it feels as if the story is only being advanced a fraction of an inch each week. It’s becoming impossible to squeeze the entire cast into each episode. Last week, Hiro was absent for the first time, and this week was Claire’s first duck out of the spotlight. There’s nothing wrong with omitting a few main cast members from a few episodes now and then, but the show still feels disjointed. Yes, everything that happens in Heroes is connected (eventually). Last season, many of the Heroes were more or less united in a mission from Future Hiro: “Save the cheerleader, save the world”. And they did – in a spectacular battle at the end of Season 1, the “good guys” united to prevent “the bomb” from destroying New York City, and villains Linderman and Sylar were (apparently) killed by DL and Hiro, respectively.

One might hope that the Heroes, finally being in the same place at the same time, would at least Facebook friend each other. Alas, Season 2 began with a reshuffling of the deck and they each went their separate ways, even more distant than before. DL is dead, Niki, upon finally getting their son Micah back, has decided to leave him behind once again, Hiro and Ando are separated by hundreds of years, and Nathan and Peter have no idea where the other is.

Well, not everyone is dazed and confused – a few of the Heroes (Noah Bennet, Mohinder Suresh, Matt Parkman, Molly Walker, Nathan Petrelli, and The Haitian) have formed a sort of confederacy in order to investigate and destroy The Company, an organization apparently founded by a mysterious group of 12 people from the previous generation of Heroes in order to find and control people with special abilities. So perhaps that will be this season’s uniting mission: take down The Company.

But another consequence of there being so many separate stories to tell is that no single character’s story is being developed thoroughly. This may result in characters of color being presented as stereotypes. As David mentioned last week, now that Issac is dead, Maya and Alejandro are left to represent Latinos, and it doesn’t help that they’re on the run from the police and trying to enter America illegally.

Then there’s the issue of Hiro Nakamura. He seems to fit the nerdy foreigner stereotype to a tee. And now that he’s running around trying to serve his hero Takezo Kensei, who happens to be a white Englishman trying to find his fortune in feudal Japan by “fighting dirty” and exploiting the natives, the image of Hiro as a subservient and cowardly Asian male stereotype might be complete. He’s even letting Kensei take credit for his bravery in battle and steal the heart of his love interest, Yaeko!

But I think it’s possible to fight stereotypes even in Hiro’s situation. One response to the Asian nerd stereotype has been to counter with guys like the Yul Kwons and Daniel Dae Kims of the world, and show that Asian men can be tall, strong, and sexy, too. However, I think that Hiro represents a different way to subvert the stereotype. A lot of Asian-American guys identify more with Peter Parker than James Bond. It’s true that many of us are short, wear glasses, and love comic books. Instead of denying this fact, Hiro seems to be saying, “So what?” He’s always been the Hero who most completely embraces his powers, no matter what. While other Heroes are ashamed of their powers, or using them for ill gain, Hiro goes on and on about how important it is to protect the weak and fight for justice. Let’s not forget how he won the heart of the beautiful Texan waitress, Charlie. Tragically, she was killed by Sylar before they even kissed, but instead of despairing, Hiro became even more resolute in his mission. He represents a different kind of masculinity that transcends stereotypes in its own way, with intelligence, sensitivity, and conviction. While Hiro may geek out about his powers from time to time, he’s also courageous, determined, and loyal. He can also be a badass – he did stab Sylar, and at some point in the future he will speak fluent English, wear a soul patch and ponytail, and carry Kensei’s sword as his own. So let’s not worry too much about him. Continue reading

A Case for Hipsters (of color)?

by Racialicious special correspondent Wendi Muse

Lives in rapidly gentrifying neighborhood: check

Occasionally shops at Urban Outfitters, thrift stores, or grandma’s house: check

Tends to party in other rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods on weekends: check

Is likely to know or at least recognize 1 or more people a week on Last Night’s Party, Cobra Snake, or Blue States Lose: check, check, check

Spends more time per week changing hairstyle than showering: ok, ew, sooo NOT check

With the exception of the final point, I qualify pretty solidly as a card-carrying member of hipsterdom (*though, according to Carmen, the first rule of being hipster is never admitting to being one*). I’m what one could call a “conscious hipster,” as oxymoronic as that sounds. I genuinely care about the world. I blog about race and gender, I recycle, I hold doors for the elderly. . . but I also devote a lot of time to fashion, music, and other facets of materialism on which I find worthy enough to throw money. Does that make me a bottomless pit of indifference? I think not.

Unfortunately, pop references to hipsters are never quite flattering and, to be honest, I think most of us “have it coming.” After reading the piece on Wes Anderson, and the responses thereafter, I began to wonder whether my pending defense of hipsters had a future in the metaphoric trash heap. Afterall, this site, among many others, has been nothing close to forgiving for hipsters’ behavioral faux-pas, including, but not limited to: political indifference (passed off as white liberalism), superficiality, aversion to personal hygiene, endorsement of the objectification of women under the guise of post-modern feminism, and an inexplicable hunger for overpriced clothing that looks as though it’s been bought, sold, and worn three times over.

And more than anything, perhaps as a means of highlighting their flaws while simultaneously skirting the risk of inciting the wrath of equal rights groups or the anti-racist blogger community (*wink wink*), they are portrayed as overwhelmingly white.

The problem that lies therein, however, is that in this attempt to criticize a group that is considered to be teeming with silent predators to developing neighborhoods by way of its voracious consumerism in the face of poverty and quasi-colonial gaze, the people of color who make up a sizeable portion of the hipster clans in major cities are swept under the rug, virtually ignored for the sake of ease. Given, it’s much easier to stereotype a group when they are all exactly alike, right? Yet once the idea of color or class or queerness ends up in the mix, the critics get a little vertiginous, as their previously asserted sweeping generalizations may end up pulling them into a vortex of inaccuracy.

I decided to do a little impromptu research into the history of people of color in the United States who would probably be considered hipsters, at least if they were somehow superimposed over a backdrop of post-millennial modernity. I thought of Pachucos (more on them in a sec), people of color who were members of the beat generation, the followers of and participants in rock in its earliest (predominately black) stages, and even my mother, who identified as a “hippie” during her college years (and sometimes still does, though, nowadays, more as an optional fashion statement as opposed to an indication of political voice). Long story short, they’ve been out there for quite some time— people of color trickling back into the movements to which they gave birth, later to be co-opted by whites, and vice versa, and it’s still very much the case today. One particular “hipster” cultural movement, if you will, is one for which I have yet to find a name. Continue reading

Heroes recap of episode 204: The Kindness of Strangers

by Racialicious guest contributor David Zhou

The introduction this season of new characters of color has become increasingly of interest in the discussion about race on Heroes. In this Monday’s episode, we have learned more about the Honduran siblings trying to immigrate illegally into the States. As strikingly, we see in this episode for the first time a family of hurricane survivors in New Orleans. All of these characters continue to carry the burdens of expectation and typecasting in their roles. Here is just a taste of this week’s racial undertones.

Siblings Alejandro and Maya are still trying to escape the apparent lawlessness of Central America-slash-Mexico, as portrayed oh-so-accurately with palm trees, sand, and run-down neighborhoods. Throughout much of the hour, the siblings drive up to the border in a very standout, product-placed Nissan Rogue, intended to be visually discordant against the backdrop of the depicted third-world. As they drive, they meet a stranger (the baddest villain of last season, but that’s not important here). Maya translates as Alejandro warns her in Spanish.

When we talk about stereotypes on television, all accusations can be legitimate if there are no other characters to defy the claims portrayed. Here, Maya and Alejandro are the only Hispanic characters on the show, (the one last season suffered a bad heroin addiction and was killed off) and, hence, qualities embedded in their characters can become statements about entire groups of people. So in this episode, some things were clear: Maya’s constant references to God and miracles, presumably as a Catholic and their constant struggle to illegally cross the border into the States… well, what does that say about Hispanics?

There were many questionable parts to this episode other than this ride through Mexico. We see for the first time this week a family in post-Katrina New Orleans, relatives with whom a mixed-race child named Micah from last season is staying. As the child adapts to his evidently strange, new cultural surroundings, he has to put up with a hostile boy who splashes water on his face and mocks him for his different, “whiter” accent. Along with the du-rag-wearing criminal that attempts to rob a store at the end of the episode, it’s hard to miss the obvious stereotypes of confrontational black males. Continue reading