Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Race’ Category

Before watching Disney’s Moana (part of Disney’s more inclusive trend in animated movies) last weekend I saw a trailer for Sing, which features a variety of animals entering a singing competition. Unlike Zootopia, which used animals to explore race relations, Sing seems to use animals because it gave its relatively stale premise a twist. Even more stale is its use of a familiar racist trope. In the trailer, a family of gorillas are thieves in a gang and pressure their son (who just wants to sing) to participate.

How did nobody, from the writer to the director to the actors themselves, realize that it might be problematic to have the “gang members” who end up in jail represented by animals that have historically been used to disparage African Americans (such as Michelle Obama)? And how is it that almost nobody thinks this may be a problem (a quick Google search brings up only one relevant result)?


“Like” Memoirs of a SLACer on Facebook to receive updates and links about potentially racist animals via your news feed.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Over at Orgtheory, Fabio ruminates about the disruptive effects that driverless cars will have for police, stating:

Another way that driverless cars will disrupt police departments is that they will massively reduce police stops. If a driverless car has insurance and registration (which can be transmitted electronically) and drives according to the rules of the road, then police, literally, have no warrant to pull over a car that has not been previously identified as related to a specific crime. Hopefully, this means that police will no longer use moving violations as an excuse to pull over racial minorities.

This might bring the “massive improvement for humanity” that Fabio foresees at some point in the future, but in the meantime I would argue that it will make things worse for those without the financial means to afford a self-driving car because police will pay disproportionate attention to them. This will, unfortunately, include a disproportionate number of racial minorities. As a result, I suspect that things will get worse before they get better.


“Like” Memoirs of a SLACer on Facebook to receive updates and links via your news feed (what else are you going to do, watch baseball?).

 

Read Full Post »

ESPN’s recent documentary, O.J.: Made in America provides an excellent look at the complicated intersections of race and class in the U.S. The five-part series documents how O.J. Simpson rose to fame as a Heisman trophy winner at USC, the first NFL player to rush for over 2,000 yards in a season, and a trend-setting spokesperson for various corporations.

Born in the San Francisco projects, Simpson’s trajectory mirrors that of many Horatio Alger characters. That it occurred in the 1960s made Simpson a perfect example for those who argued (like many today) that if Blacks would just keep their heads down, work hard, and buy into the values of White America, success and acceptance would follow. Interviews from the time indicate that Simpson largely bought into this idea himself.

For me, the relationship between Simpson and race was the most interesting aspect of the documentary. His charisma and success on the football field allowed him to largely transcend the racial restrictions of the time and live a life surrounded by wealthy Whites. Despite this, the trial for the murders he committed (and nearly everybody in the documentary – even his friends – is convinced that he committed them) became a referendum on race in L.A. following the Rodney King trial. Anger at the LAPD’s racial injustice led to a nation that was sharply divided along racial lines about Simpson’s acquittal by a mostly-Black jury but the trial also made Simpson Black again in the eyes of the public and a pariah among his former White friends.

Today, Simpson is in prison as a result of a ridiculously long sentence for a relatively minor crime in which he attempted to steal sports memorabilia that he believed had been stolen from him. Those in the documentary believe that this sentence is essentially payback for Simpson getting away with murder, which was itself payback for Rodney King. Some even blame Simpson’s mid-’90s trial for exacerbating the racial divide in the U.S. The juxtaposition of White and Black interviewees and their views on particular issues is also revealing, even if the conclusions that I took from these comparisons are not likely those that members of the Trump demographic are likely to draw.

Overall, I highly recommend all five parts. I watched most of them on demand through my cable provider and they are also available on ESPN’s Watch ESPN website. Be aware, though, that there are a number of descriptions (including recordings of 911 calls) of Simpson’s domestic violence prior to the murders and a few extremely graphic images of the murdered bodies of Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman that I had to look away from during the discussion of the trial. There may be some short portions that could be used for class discussions, though the issues involved are probably best considered with a complete viewing.


“Like” Memoirs of a SLACer on Facebook to receive updates and links via your news feed (sometimes frequently, sometimes less so).

Read Full Post »

For your viewing pleasure, and in light of the response to her video for “Formation” and Super Bowl appearance (backlash to which, according to one Fox News writer, “continues to grow”), here is Saturday Night Live’s brilliant response, “The Day Beyoncé Turned Black”:

 

Keep in mind that if your workplace is freaking out over the realization that Beyoncé is, and has always been, black, you might need to put on some Adele to sooth them:

 

Update: Here is a more detailed discussion from Doug Hartmann.


“Like” Memoirs of a SLACer on Facebook to receive updates and links about people who are not white via your news feed.

Read Full Post »

on177

Many believe that Super Bowl 50 will come down to which team scores points while stopping the opposing team from scoring points.

Whether you want to understand football sociologically or want to ignore it altogether here are some links to help:

Enjoy the game (or don’t)!

Image from VectorBelly.


“Like” Memoirs of a SLACer on Facebook to receive updates and links about sportsing via your news feed.

Read Full Post »

Following David Bowie’s death on Sunday MTV posted a video from 1983 in which Bowie criticized the station for playing few videos by Black artists. When the interviewer asks what Black artists “would mean to a 17 year old” Bowie quickly notes the implication that he means a White 17 year old and states that he knows what it “would mean to a Black 17 year old” to see him/herself reflected on TV. Also interesting is the interviewer’s frankness about the fact that MTV would play Black artists only if they were popular (and profitable) among Whites.

“Like” Memoirs of a SLACer on Facebook to receive posts and links via your news feed.

Read Full Post »

In the 23 years since Dr. Dre released the song below about the events following the Rodney King verdict, he has gone from “Gangsta” rapper to near-billionaire Apple employee. Unfortunately, the rest of the country hasn’t changed nearly as much.

On a related note, a symposium about intellectual activism, social justice, and criminalization is being held at noon today at the University of Maryland and can be streamed at this link.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »