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Posts Tagged ‘Michelle Obama’

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)?


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Last night, Kerry Washington was the host of Saturday Night Live. Since Washington is a black female and was hosting a show that currently has no black female cast members, the topic of race made a few appearances. The first was in the opening sketch, where Washington was asked to play Michelle Obama, Oprah, and Beyonce.

Race also played a major part in a sketch about Obama’s approval rating among black voters, with a special focus on The Wire (examples: “Personally I thought white people would be more excited about their lines being tapped, considering how much they like The Wire” and “Have you even been at a party and a white person approaches you with a smile and you just know they’re going to want to talk about The Wire?”

These examples highlight the way that humor can be used to discuss race. Unfortunately, discussing race is not the same as doing something about it (just like watching The Wire isn’t the same as volunteering at a school…) As Al Sharpton said, “What have we learned from this…as usual, nothing.”

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I know that following my post from the other day with Michelle Obama’s speech from the DNC runs the risk of turning this into a political blog but watching the speech it was amazing how well she connected the values that Republicans reportedly espouse (hard work, sacrifice, not complaining about one’s social position) to the goals of the Democratic party (ensuring that everybody has a chance to succeed through hard work and sacrifice). It was also amazing to see a political speech that didn’t rely on lies (or even “spin”). Even if I could have done without so many references to being a mother, this is going to be a tough act for the rest of the speakers at the DNC to follow. Maybe they saved the wrong Obama for last.

I’ve heard that this guy was pretty good, too.

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