by Jen Chau
And if you do, here’s a shirt for you. Thanks to Ani for the heads-up. It’s a nice follow-up to the milk bottle shirt that we loved to hate a little while back.
Note the description: yay for different-raced babies?! Gee, I guess interracial baby-making is still kitschy, huh?
Girls, do you collect babies? Well, if you do, then celebrate your babies and their various daddies with this fine shirt. Look, all the babies are different races.
“Collect babies” is also a little questionable.
by Jen Chau and Carmen Van Kerckhove
A brand-new episode of Addicted to Race is out! If you haven’t already, please subscribe to our podcast in iTunes. Click here to launch iTunes and subscribe today, it’s absolutely free.
The “ohmygodyou’rejewishnoway!” reactions Jen receives each year around the Jewish holidays are the subject of her rant today.
INTERVIEW: RACISM IN THE ADVERTISING INDUSTRY
Carmen interviews Matthew Creamer, a reporter for the industry publication Advertising Age, about the New York City Human Rights Commission’s investigation into the advertising industry’s hiring practices. The staffs at ad agencies are so lacking in diversity that the entire industry is under investigation. For more about this story, check out HighJive’s post on Racialicious.
RSS FEED SHOULD BE BACK UP!
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Duration – 47:55
File Size – 19.3 MB
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by Carmen Van Kerckhove
“Color-blind” casting somehow always seems to benefit white actors. Think of the new CBS sitcom The Class, for example. Although it’s set in the rather diverse city of Philadelphia, the show features an all-white cast. Just like Friends did. The producer David Crane responded to critics by saying this: “When we wrote the script, we wrote it color-blind…and then we auditioned. For six months we saw just a huge range and diversity of actors and at the end of the day these were absolutely the eight actors who were absolutely right for the parts.” Uh-huh.
That’s why it was so refreshing to read this news story about Halle Berry’s upcoming project. It’s based on the true story of a teacher who accepted a challenge from her sixth grade class to run for Congress. But get this: the original woman was white. For once, “color-blind” casting done right! From EURweb.com:
Halle Berry’s next movie role will center on the true story of Tierney Cahill, a teacher from Reno, Nev. who accepted a challenge from her sixth grade class to run for Congress in 2000.
The actress will portray Cahill in the DreamWorks drama, titled “Class Act.” The filmmakers have taken a rare turn in casting an African American actress to portray a woman who is white in real life. Sources close to the production tell Variety that it was more important to find the right actress for the role rather than the right white actress.
In 2000, Cahill decided to grant the wishes of her students and run for Congress on the condition that they would help with her campaign. The single mother ultimately lost her bid to an incumbent, but she ended up winning 35% of the popular vote.
by Jen Chau
Backstage, the weekly paper for actors, actually devoted a good-sized article to the discussion of acting and how mixed-race people fit into the field (thanks to Jarrad, my actor friend for the heads-up! I didn’t even realize that it had come out yet! :)). The article questioned whether “racial categories help or hurt actors.” I was asked to comment as part of the article, and was happy to see that many mixed actors and actors of color were also included in the discussion of this topic.
Chau explains….”I definitely think that there’s that struggle with, ‘Do I try to get roles that I actually identify with culturally, or do I just fit into what people think that I am?’” she says. “How much do you really fight that as an actor or actress? I think that in some ways Hollywood is a little bit behind the times; they see people in very defined categories. Within those categories, you’re supposed to look a certain way. It’s very limiting. I personally think that it isn’t until people force it a little bit more that Hollywood is going to change.”
Actor Coby Bell, son of Broadway actor Michel Bell, is multiethnic — African American and Caucasian — and admits that casting directors see him differently than he sees himself. “I’ve always been put into the category of African American as far as Hollywood goes. I’ve never had a problem finding work, so I’ve been lucky in that sense,” he says. Bell’s résumé includes Half & Half, Third Watch, Girlfriends, A.T.F., Smart Guy, and, most recently, a starring role in the new CW series The Game. He says it’s rare to find a project in which race isn’t an issue.
This is an interesting conversation that we have been having more and more lately. How do you negotiate the difference between what is already available to you in Hollywood as an actor, and where you would like to see things go (if you are indeed concerned with realistic representations and want actors to be able to play characters true to their own ethnicities in real life)? Some actors care and feel the responsibility…others consider the small opportunities afforded them, and take the good roles they can get (no matter what ethnicity they are asked to portray).
This brings up a lot of questions — is it important for actors to truly represent the characters they play (latinas playing latinas, middle easterners playing middle easterners, etc.)? Do we want to go in that direction? This raises questions of authenticity, responsibility…who is accountable for these images? And what exactly are we prioritizing when an actor is matched up with a character to play? Is the most important thing their ability to tell the story? Or is it to make sure that they truly represent the ethnicity of the character they are playing? Perhaps one matters more to some, while the second matters more to others. It’s interesting to think about as more and more actors of color are on screen and speaking about this issue… thoughts?
by Jen Chau
This ad campaign for international telecommunications company, Telefonica, seems to try to cash in on the mixed look. A little forced if you ask me.
Fascination with “mixed looks” is definitely something I am over. But it carries on. Can’t wait until everyone catches up and people realize that there are lots of people who look like this out there. There is something creepy about headshots like this. Are we supposed to be mystified by the way they look? (stare and wonder, “how did they get to be like this?”) There’s almost something anthropological about them. I mean, who needs to study anyone’s face like this?
You may have heard me complain about headshots of mixed people in the past. Yes, I think visibility is important, and I agree that there are still a lot of folks out there who objectify and get so curious because they aren’t yet comfortable with the idea that mixed people exist…. but I am still not convinced that face-front headshots is the way to do it. Aren’t we just encouraging objectification instead of moving towards a more realistic, complex understanding?