Tag: pop culture

by Guest Contributor Elissa Washuta, originally published on Tumblr

Captain Hook kidnaps Tiger Lily in Peter Pan.
Captain Hook kidnaps Tiger Lily in Peter Pan.

The body of 15-year-old Tina Fontaine, a member of Sagkeeng First Nation, was pulled from the Red River in Winnipeg on August 17. Her murder has brought about an important conversation about the widespread violence against First Nations women and the Canadian government’s lack of concern.

In her August 20 Globe and Mail commentary, Dr. Sarah Hunt of the Kwagiulth band of the Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation wrote about the limited success of government inquiries and her concerns about other measures taken in reaction to acts of violence already committed, such as the establishment of DNA databases for missing persons. Dr. Hunt writes:

“Surely tracking indigenous girls’ DNA so they can be identified after they die is not the starting point for justice. Indigenous women want to matter before we go missing. We want our lives to matter as much as our deaths; our stake in the present political struggle for indigenous resurgence is as vital as the future.”

Violence against indigenous women is not, of course, happening only in Canada. In the U.S., for example, the Justice Department reports that one in three American Indian women have been raped or experienced an attempted rape, and the rate of sexual assault against American Indian women is more than twice the national average. This violence is not taking place only in Indian Country. Read the Post Violence against Indigenous Women: Fun, Sexy, and No Big Deal on the Big Screen

October 12, 2012 / / comics
“The Walking Dead’s” Michonne, as played by Danai Gurira (L) and portrayed in the original comic. (R)

By Guest Contributors Renee and Sparky

At the end of season two, The Walking Dead finally introduced Michonne, a character who fans have highly anticipated. Without doubt, Michonne is a favorite of fans of the original Walking Dead comic-book for her fearlessness, fierceness, and sheer strength of will.  Though she does have her moments of vulnerability, Michonne can always be counted on to have [our hero] Rick’s back and to be a staunch ally.

SPOILERS FOR THE SHOW AND COMIC ARE UNDER THE CUT

Read the Post Race + The Walking Dead: Why Michonne Matters

September 24, 2012 / / announcements
September 10, 2012 / / Africa

By Guest Contributor Christopher Keith Johnson

Writer/director/actor Tyler Perry. Photo via rollingout.com

All of the things I had grown accustomed to in the US were engaged often and early in my move to South Africa. I felt right at home after experiencing housing discrimination in my apartment search. Seeing airports filled with white travelers, while bus stations overflowed with folks who looked like me. It all seemed so familiar.  South Africa was a long way from being post-racial.  I could deal with that. I came from that.

What was pleasantly surprising was the level of activist engagement of the South African people. The documentaries I had seen were capturing something real. From service delivery protests to pushback against Wal-Mart’s acquisition of South Africa’s largest retailer, the people were not afraid to protest—nonviolently and otherwise.

South Africans won’t let you off the hook easily. In my role directing programming between the largest American trade union and its counterparts in West African, more than a few meetings with partners ended with tough questions about U.S. foreign policy and my employer’s take on positions supported by the American government. One had to be quick on the toes to navigate queries on Palestine, Israel, and Cuba. The activist community in which I had to engage expected that I would be able to respond to issues and concerns in and outside of Africa. As the only G20 member on the continent, politics beyond its borders mattered to my South African counterparts.

With the above in mind, I was wholly unprepared to be faced with the popularity of Tyler Perry in South Africa.
Read the Post Resistance Is Futile: Tolerating Tyler Perry In South Africa

January 7, 2009 / / academia

by Guest Contributor Jehanzeb Dar, originally published at Islam on My Side

I felt my heart drop when my professor for “Mass Media and Society” announced that we were going to watch “24” for the entire three hours of class. It took me a moment to overcome the shock and sort things out in my mind: “This is the same ‘24’ I’m thinking about, right? The television show where American-Muslims are illegally locked up in detention centers?” After self-confirmation, I confidently raised my hand.

“May I ask why we’re watching ‘24’?” I asked politely.

My professor kindly explained, “I believe ‘24’ had some positive influences on how the U.S. government treats prisoners and I also would argue that it played a huge role for the Obama campaign since the show has an African-American President. I really believe it helped prepare the country for that.” I’m paraphrasing here, but that’s what she basically said. I was sure she was referring to Guantanamo Bay when she mentioned the U.S. military’s treatment of prisoners, but it confused me how criticism of prisoner abuse would cancel out the show’s stereotypical portrayal of Muslims and Arabs as terrorists? And the Obama thing was just absurd in my opinion.

“It’s just odd to me,” I said, “because more than anything, I strongly feel that the show vilifies Muslims and the religion of Islam. These stereotypical images are very hurtful to the Muslim community.”

As I said this, I saw heads turning and eyes staring at me. I don’t know anyone in the class because we only meet once a week, so I wasn’t expecting any support, but after the professor responded and said something completely irrelevant to what I said, I couldn’t believe people remained silent.

She mentioned the film, “Crash,” and expressed that she felt discriminated against since there were no Jews in the film. My initial reaction was: what does that have to do with “24” and the representation of Muslims? Was she suggesting that every group is fairly misrepresented in the media or was she just trying to dodge my points? Read the Post The Day “24″ Became Academic Material

November 13, 2007 / / Uncategorized