Tag Archives: pop culture

Race + The Walking Dead: Why Michonne Matters

“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

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Speaking: Kenyon College *Tonight*, Ohio State, Smith College

Slide from the talk, taken from the “Top of the World” music video.

I’m knee-deep into the Knight Fellowship (more on that in October) so I’ve been scarce around here lately. But I did want to post about some upcoming events, since I love meeting Racializens in the world.

TONIGHT, 7 PM
Kenyon College
Higley Hall
101 East Brooklyn St
Gambier, OH 43022

Presenting “From Rape Culture to Pop Culture” as part of their Take Back the Night Programming. After-chat at the Cozier Center.

This is a version of the talk I summarized in “Some Notes on Rape Culture.

October 4, 4 PM

Wexner Center for the Arts
Ohio State
1871 North High Street
Columbus, OH 43201

Panelist during the Pop Impact Symposium. Description here:

How do feminist, queer, and critical race theories “trickle down” into the creation of popular culture? Entertainment industry insiders discuss how their educational experiences and critical concepts are introduced and circulate in their work. Cultural critic and digital media consultant Latoya Peterson (Racialicious) and comedian and writer Angela V. Shelton (Frangela) talk with moderator Kimberly Springer from Ohio State’s Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

Cosponsored by Ohio State’s Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies with support from Arts & Humanities.

November 8

Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

I’m the keynote speaker for Otelia Cromwell Day, and will presenting a talk and a workshop, loosely structured around the situation that led to the excellent Pearls and Cashmere campaign.

Keynote–Against Pearl Clutching: Rebels, Renegades, and Critical Resistance

A look at social rebellion and historical revision through the lens of pop culture. Pearls and Cashmere, campus racism, and the politics of exclusion will be discussed.

Workshop–Bridging the Gaps: Solidarity Beyond Clichés

This workshop will focus on reading, journaling, and partner exercises designed to explore the difficulties in creating broadly inclusive spaces and creating frameworks and language that will allow for the formation of lasting coalitions.

Resistance Is Futile: Tolerating Tyler Perry In South 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.
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The Day “24″ Became Academic Material

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? Continue reading

The Boston Globe highlights bloggers of color

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

Check out this great Boston Globe article about bloggers of color who are fighting racial stereotypes and getting their voices heard in the mainstream media. The reporter spoke with me, Manish from Ultrabrown, and Baratunde from Jack and Jill Politics, and name-checked a whole bunch of other blogs: Angry Asian Man, The Angry Black Woman, Guanabee, The Unapologetic Mexican, Latino Pundit, Ultrabrown, Zuky, Sepia Mutiny, The Field Negro, Too Sense, and Resist Racism. Congrats everyone! :)

Here are some excerpts:

These intellectual challenges to mainstream and other viewpoints are some of the opinions Latino, Asian/Pacific Islander-American, and black bloggers are exposing on a growing number of sites focused on social, political, and cultural issues…

These sites – many of which launched in the past year, although a few are older – have become places where people of color gather to refine ideas or form thoughts about race relations, racial inequities, and the role pop culture has in exacerbating stereotypes. The writers often bring attention to subjects not yet covered by mainstream media. Some of these blogs first sounded the alarm about blacks receiving harsher jail sentences in the court system, an issue spotlighted in the Jena Six, Genarlow Wilson, and other cases. Vij was among the bloggers writing about the racial offensiveness of the accented South Asian character Apu in “The Simpsons” just before the big-screen version of the television show came out this year…

As bloggers make these corrections, they’ve become fresh voices in the very places that they feel ignore them. The subjects they write about sometimes become mainstream media stories. Vij and bloggers at Jack and Jill Politics and Racialicious, a compendium of links and original content about race issues, have appeared on CNN, the BBC, and NPR, and in The New York Times. These young people offer alternative opinions at a time when stories about race often result in sound bites from Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson…

Posts from Jack and Jill Politics and Ultrabrown occasionally appear on Racialicious, a blog that offers links to thought-provoking news stories or blog items about race and posts on various subjects from its 25 guest contributors and three regular contributors. The New York City-based creator of Racialicious, Carmen Van Kerckhove, launched the blog in 2004 as Mixed Media Watch. Her goal, as a biracial woman of Belgian and Chinese decent, was to spotlight how the media portrays mixed-race people and interracial couples. Last year Van Kerkhove relaunched Mixed Media Watch as Racialicious, because of her readers’ strong responses to posts analyzing race and pop culture. Now in addition to posts about racism in the video game industry or recent examples of the use of the noose for racial intimidation, Racialicious includes items analyzing TV shows such as “Prison Break” and “Heroes.”

Pop culture, says Van Kerckhove, 29, “really is instrumental in shaping our view of race. It helps introduce us to and helps confirm a lot of racial stereotypes. As TV shows and movies have become more diverse in terms of the race and ethnicity of the characters and actors, I think it becomes necessary to analyze that and not to uncritically celebrate the fact that there is more diversity on TV.”