Tumblr page for Racebending.com - Media Consumers for Entertainment Equality.

Please feel free to browse our tumblr page for the latest community-sourced information about media representation in Hollywood.

Flawless Human Beings » Gina Torres » Gina Torres Alphabet

↳ F → feminism & representation
"I certainly came up in an era where women were really making strides and making a point to beat down doors and find their place, and crash through the glass ceiling. And a lot of them did that believing that they had to trade on their femininity and that they had to be a man and tap into whatever they believed was a masculine trait to hang in the boys’ room, to get the "keys to the kingdom" as it were. And what’s beautiful about Jessica Pearson is that she is the next level to that when, really, feminism is about being all that you are and not having to trade one thing for another on your way up, or apologize." - Gina Torres (about her character Jessica Pearson, on Suits)

Reblogged from rabbrakha  70,847 notes

i.

“Your name is Tasbeeh. Don’t let them call you by anything else.”

My mother speaks to me in Arabic; the command sounds more forceful in her mother tongue, a Libyan dialect that is all sharp edges and hard, guttural sounds. I am seven years old and it has never occurred to me to disobey my mother. Until twelve years old, I would believe God gave her the supernatural ability to tell when I’m lying.

“Don’t let them give you an English nickname,” my mother insists once again, “I didn’t raise amreekan.”

My mother spits out this last word with venom. Amreekan. Americans. It sounds like a curse coming out of her mouth. Eight years in this country and she’s still not convinced she lives here. She wears her headscarf tightly around her neck, wades across the school lawn in long, floor-skimming skirts. Eight years in this country and her tongue refuses to bend and soften for the English language. It embarrasses me, her heavy Arab tongue, wrapping itself so forcefully around the clumsy syllables of English, strangling them out of their meaning.

But she is fierce and fearless. I have never heard her apologize to anyone. She will hold up long grocery lines checking and double-checking the receipt in case they’re trying to cheat us. My humiliation is heavy enough for the both of us. My English is not. Sometimes I step away, so people don’t know we’re together but my dark hair and skin betray me as a member of her tribe.

On my first day of school, my mother presses a kiss to my cheek.

“Your name is Tasbeeh,” she says again, like I’ve forgotten. “Tasbeeh.”

ii.

Roll call is the worst part of my day. After a long list of Brittanys, Jonathans, Ashleys, and Yen-but-call-me-Jens, the teacher rests on my name in silence. She squints. She has never seen this combination of letters strung together in this order before. They are incomprehensible. What is this h doing at the end? Maybe it is a typo.

“Tas…?”

“Tasbeeh,” I mutter, with my hand half up in the air. “Tasbeeh.”

A pause.

“Do you go by anything else?”

“No,” I say. “Just Tasbeeh. Tas-beeh.”

“Tazbee. All right. Alex?”

She moves on before I can correct her. She said it wrong. She said it so wrong. I have never heard my name said so ugly before, like it’s a burden. Her entire face contorts as she says it, like she is expelling a distasteful thing from her mouth. She avoids saying it for the rest of the day, but she has already baptized me with this new name. It is the name everyone knows me by, now, for the next six years I am in elementary school. “Tazbee,” a name with no grace, no meaning, no history; it belongs in no language.

“Tazbee,” says one of the students on the playground, later. “Like Tazmanian Devil?” Everyone laughs. I laugh too. It is funny, if you think about it.

iii.

I do not correct anyone for years. One day, in third grade, a plane flies above our school.

“Your dad up there, Bin Laden?” The voice comes from behind. It is dripping in derision.

“My name is Tazbee,” I say. I said it in this heavy English accent, so he may know who I am. I am American. But when I turn around they are gone.

iv.

I go to middle school far, far away. It is a 30-minute drive from our house. It’s a beautiful set of buildings located a few blocks off the beach. I have never in my life seen so many blond people, so many colored irises. This is a school full of Ashtons and Penelopes, Patricks and Sophias. Beautiful names that belong to beautiful faces. The kind of names that promise a lifetime of social triumph.

I am one of two headscarved girls at this new school. We are assigned the same gym class. We are the only ones in sweatpants and long-sleeved undershirts. We are both dreading roll call. When the gym teacher pauses at my name, I am already red with humiliation.

“How do I say your name?” she asks.

“Tazbee,” I say.

“Can I just call you Tess?”

I want to say yes. Call me Tess. But my mother will know, somehow. She will see it written in my eyes. God will whisper it in her ear. Her disappointment will overwhelm me.

“No,” I say, “Please call me Tazbee.”

I don’t hear her say it for the rest of the year.

v.

My history teacher calls me Tashbah for the entire year. It does not matter how often I correct her, she reverts to that misshapen sneeze of a word. It is the ugliest conglomeration of sounds I have ever heard.

When my mother comes to parents’ night, she corrects her angrily, “Tasbeeh. Her name is Tasbeeh.” My history teacher grimaces. I want the world to swallow me up.

vi.

My college professors don’t even bother. I will only know them for a few months of the year. They smother my name in their mouths. It is a hindrance for their tongues. They hand me papers silently. One of them mumbles it unintelligibly whenever he calls on my hand. Another just calls me “T.”

My name is a burden. My name is a burden. My name is a burden. I am a burden.

vii.

On the radio I hear a story about a tribe in some remote, rural place that has no name for the color blue. They do not know what the color blue is. It has no name so it does not exist. It does not exist because it has no name.

viii.

At the start of a new semester, I walk into a math class. My teacher is blond and blue-eyed. I don’t remember his name. When he comes to mine on the roll call, he takes the requisite pause. I hold my breath.

“How do I pronounce your name?” he asks.

I say, “Just call me Tess.”

“Is that how it’s pronounced?”

I say, “No one’s ever been able to pronounce it.”

“That’s probably because they didn’t want to try,” he said. “What is your name?”

When I say my name, it feels like redemption. I have never said it this way before. Tasbeeh. He repeats it back to me several times until he’s got it. It is difficult for his American tongue. His has none of the strength, none of the force of my mother’s. But he gets it, eventually, and it sounds beautiful. I have never heard it sound so beautiful. I have never felt so deserving of a name. My name feels like a crown.

ix.

“Thank you for my name, mama.”

x.

When the barista asks me my name, sharpie poised above the coffee cup, I tell him: “My name is Tasbeeh. It’s a tough t clinging to a soft a, which melts into a silky ssss, which loosely hugs the b, and the rest of my name is a hard whisper — eeh. Tasbeeh. My name is Tasbeeh. Hold it in your mouth until it becomes a prayer. My name is a valuable undertaking. My name requires your rapt attention. Say my name in one swift note – Tasbeeeeeeeh – sand let the h heat your throat like cinnamon. Tasbeeh. My name is an endeavor. My name is a song. Tasbeeh. It means giving glory to God. Tasbeeh. Wrap your tongue around my name, unravel it with the music of your voice, and give God what he is due.”

By Tasbeeh Herwees, The Names They Gave Me  (via rabbrakha)

annaohbyrne:

“It’s taken 26 years, but this has been a dream role of mine. And it is about so much more, it’s so much deeper, than me just doing it. It hopefully shows other people of color that lead roles, key roles, which do not have a ‘color’ attached to them, are open to them if they have the talent. I hope this sets a precedent. I want people to see that.”

Norm Lewis [x]

Reblogged from womenofkwmc  47,839 notes
womenofkwmc:

Kathryn Bigelow, director of The Hurt Locker, is the only woman EVER to win a Best Director Oscar. Only 4 women have ever been nominated. Women made up only 6% of Directors for the top movies of 2013. There were NO female nominees for directing, cinematography, film editing, writing (original screenplay), or music (original score) during last year’s Academy Awards.

womenofkwmc:

Kathryn Bigelow, director of The Hurt Locker, is the only woman EVER to win a Best Director Oscar. Only women have ever been nominated. Women made up only 6% of Directors for the top movies of 2013. There were NO female nominees for directing, cinematography, film editing, writing (original screenplay), or music (original score) during last year’s Academy Awards.

Reblogged from comicsalliance  574 notes
comicsalliance:

GAY PUNCHLINES, LGBT VISIBILITY AND MARVEL STUDIOS’ ONE-SHOT ‘ALL HAIL THE KING’
By Andrew Wheeler

And this is throwback, retrograde, oh-so-’80s being-gay-is-something-that-happens-in-prison frat house humor. And this is the first presentation of a same-sex relationship or anything resembling a gay character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe across eight movies, five one-shots, and fifteen episodes of television. And that is the part that burns.

As a gay man watching this, let me tell you how I respond. I try to laugh. Why do I try to laugh? Because that is the good, obedient, go-along-to-get-along thing to do. My identity is being presented up there on the screen as something that should make the audience laugh, and I am conditioned to think that I should find this funny and laugh along and not cause a scene — even though I am watching this movie on my own and there is no-one here to cause a scene for.

We are so used to being clowns for the majority audience that I feel like I’m letting people down if I don’t laugh. I feel like I’m inconveniencing straight people if I say, “Please sir, can I not be the punchline?” Do you know how painful that is? How shameful it is? How it makes me want to cry that I would want to laugh at being dehumanised rather than stand up and protest, because I’ve been led to think that protesting makes me a bad person? Do you know how it stings to feel conditioned to want to betray oneself like that?

Some of you surely do. Which begs the question: Why is our entertainment making us feel like this?

And it turns out I can’t laugh. Not today. Not any more. Because I am not a clown. And I want better from Marvel Studios than this.


READ MORE

comicsalliance:

GAY PUNCHLINES, LGBT VISIBILITY AND MARVEL STUDIOS’ ONE-SHOT ‘ALL HAIL THE KING’

By Andrew Wheeler

And this is throwback, retrograde, oh-so-’80s being-gay-is-something-that-happens-in-prison frat house humor. And this is the first presentation of a same-sex relationship or anything resembling a gay character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe across eight moviesfive one-shots, and fifteen episodes of television. And that is the part that burns.

As a gay man watching this, let me tell you how I respond. I try to laugh. Why do I try to laugh? Because that is the good, obedient, go-along-to-get-along thing to do. My identity is being presented up there on the screen as something that should make the audience laugh, and I am conditioned to think that I should find this funny and laugh along and not cause a scene — even though I am watching this movie on my own and there is no-one here to cause a scene for.

We are so used to being clowns for the majority audience that I feel like I’m letting people down if I don’t laugh. I feel like I’m inconveniencing straight people if I say, “Please sir, can I not be the punchline?” Do you know how painful that is? How shameful it is? How it makes me want to cry that I would want to laugh at being dehumanised rather than stand up and protest, because I’ve been led to think that protesting makes me a bad person? Do you know how it stings to feel conditioned to want to betray oneself like that?

Some of you surely do. Which begs the question: Why is our entertainment making us feel like this?

And it turns out I can’t laugh. Not today. Not any more. Because I am not a clown. And I want better from Marvel Studios than this.

READ MORE

Reblogged from drunkbedelia  12,952 notes

I’d rather focus on the positive stuff. I got to play this amazing woman who didn’t have to sleep with anyone (not that I would have minded) or act dumb and girlie or fawn all over some guy or be a conniving bitch to get people to notice or respect me, and she didn’t speak broken English or karate chop anyone (not that I would have minded). Nobody called her “dragon lady” or “exotic.” She could shoot a gun and drive that FBI SUV like a champ. And all with the extra added bonus of being Jewish. And when I get messages and thank yous from viewers who dig that or are inspired by that, well, that’s what makes any of this worthwhile or mean anything to me. So thank you for that. I love Beverly Katz. And I loved playing her.    ~Hettienne Park

Reblogged from greg-pak  189 notes
greg-pak:

Here’s one thing that drives me crazy about casual, everyday racism: it wastes my time.
I’m a grown up. I’ve got things to do. And I know better. But I stumble across something like this and it gets under my skin. And I might end up wasting five or ten minutes thinking about it. 
And this is the tiniest of inconveniences, right? But open that up a bit. Add in the time spent dealing with people cracking racist jokes right in front of your face. Time spent getting extra scrutiny in security lines, or getting stopped and frisked. Unnecessary extra hours or weeks or years just trying to get everything from a cab to an apartment to a job.
Our lives are literally measured in time.
And racists steal our time.
#dontletthedevilstealyourjoy

greg-pak:

Here’s one thing that drives me crazy about casual, everyday racism: it wastes my time.

I’m a grown up. I’ve got things to do. And I know better. But I stumble across something like this and it gets under my skin. And I might end up wasting five or ten minutes thinking about it. 

And this is the tiniest of inconveniences, right? But open that up a bit. Add in the time spent dealing with people cracking racist jokes right in front of your face. Time spent getting extra scrutiny in security lines, or getting stopped and frisked. Unnecessary extra hours or weeks or years just trying to get everything from a cab to an apartment to a job.

Our lives are literally measured in time.

And racists steal our time.

#dontletthedevilstealyourjoy

Reblogged from ninjaruski  314 notes

    ninjaruski:

    I am pleased with the aesthetic that Michael Bay has generated for his adaptation of the Turtles, especially the subtly more monstrous depiction of the Turtles themselves which, to me, calls forth images of the Kappa and some of the darker covers to the TMNT trade paperbacks.

    However, I am completely displeased with Bay’s casting of William Fitchner as Oroku Saki (the Shredder). There are several Asian and Asian-American actors who could have portrayed Oroku Saki, preserving his East-Asian heritage and remaining faithful to the original material.

    If I’m going to be super-critical of this, casting Fitchner as Oroku Saki is all but popularizing cultural appropriation. It does not matter how Fitchner’s Shredder acquires the skills and knowledge to become Shredder and put together the Foot Clan; so long as he is actively co-opting the cultural traditions that surround the Ninja and excising them from their cultural context for his own benefit, Fitchner’s character is cultural appropriation writ large.

    Against Fitchner, my first choice would be Brian Tee, given the ways in which he has channeled some serious malevolence in Ninja Assassin and other films where he is cast as an antagonist. To me, he seems to “fit” the way that Shredder has been portrayed and the new vibe that Bay is setting up. Other choices that I would approve of would be Hiroyuki Sanada (who has the martial arts chops to carry the role), Tadanobu Asano, and Ken Watanabe.

    It should be noted that all of my choices for the role are men who have some Japanese ancestry (or are Japanese themselves) and understand the cultural implications of Oroku Saki, the Foot, and the possible motivations of the character as rooted in a cultural context beyond the film. As members of Japanese culture, these actors could call upon their cultural resources, to understand the feeling that the character should have, as opposed to merely cloaking themselves in the trappings of the culture. There would be a greater depth to Tee, or Watanabe, or Sanada’s Oroku Saki that Fitchner would be unable to capture.

    Unfortunately, as it seems, whitewashing seems to prevail over authenticity, even when it is something as beloved as TMNT. Then again, given what happened with The Hunger Games and Star Trek: Into Darkness, I should not have expected Hollywood to remain faithful to the material in casting an Asian or Asian-American actor for the role.

Reblogged from dcwomenkickingass  193 notes

David E. Kelley Continues to Complain About Trying to Write Wonder Woman TV Show

dcwomenkickingass:

David E. Kelley, creator of the ultimately awful attempt to create a Wonder Woman TV show, has once again weighed in on how hard it is to do what he tried and failed to do.

Speaking to a reporter at the Television Hall of Fame dinner where he was inducted for programs that did not include Wonder Woman, the writer stated:

“When you are going to do a super hero character, you’re competing with special effects. Television budgets are hard to match with respect to the future world. … Audiences are used to seeing the (film) exploits of Iron Man and Batman and that can’t be accomplished in TV. That’s the hurdle for anyone in the super hero franchise to take on.”

Previously Kelley chalked up part of the problem for his unfamiliarity with superheroes and "mistakes"

Kelley’s script for the pilot was roundly criticized for its take on a modern Wonder Woman who, among other things, had multiple personalities and killed people.

Kelley is married to actress Michelle Pfeiffer who played Catwoman in the film Batman Returns. Ironically last month several people (including myself) pointed out the resemblance of the young actress selected to play Selina Kyle in the in “Gotham” a upcoming TV show which will star a young Bruce Wayne as well as other characters from the Batverse.

That show will join Arrow and Constantine as television programs based on male characters from the DC universe that are not Wonder Woman.

Last year Amazon, the proposed television show starring a young Wonder Woman, was shelved by the CW who aired the long running Smallville.

Wonder Woman’s only media appearance outside of animation in almost 40 years is currently a “guest role” in the upcoming, unnamed Man of Steel film sequel referred to as Batman vs. Superman. She will be played by Gal Gadot.

Below is actress Adrianne Palicki, who was the best thing about Kelley’s attempt, in the classic “bathing suit” costume in the pilot.

image

Reblogged from allerasphinx  24,615 notes

allerasphinx:

jannadreams:

But I wonder if they weren’t looking for a Native American actor because Tiger Lily is such a stereotypical character that they didn’t want to insult people by having a Native American play her.  This way if she’s white, they can say she is a fantasy of an Indian from old time children’s imaginations.

The way that you fix a stereotype isn’t by erasing representation of marginalised people altogether and replacing them with white people. You make the effort to fix the stereotype by creating an accurate representation of an indigenous plains native (it’s really not that difficult), not insult people even further by taking away a role from a native person. How is erasure a solution? Clearly people are just as offended by this practice.

Not to mention, you’re still suggesting redface stereotypes as a solution to the stereotype? Does that make sense to you?