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.

Reblogged from cactuartamer  567 notes
cactuartamer:

musings-of-a-weird-kid:

I’ve been thinking about this for a while.  And I thought that Judy Berman from The Atlantic stated the issue really well in regards to “casual racism” in popular media.

I have to say, I really think that people overplay the difficulty of these situations in general in order to get out of changing their behavior. After all, if either thing is going to get you criticized then why bother even trying to do the right thing?We hear this kind of thing all the time with regards to whitewashed art and technical difficulties… supposedly, brown skin is just too much of an artistic challenge for some people, or the palette doesn’t work or lighting is hard or whatever the excuse of the day is.
Or with cosplay and race-face makeup… supposedly people will get on your case for cosplaying PoC while white anyway, so why not raceface ( and boy is that entire thing bullshit, but that is a rant unto itself, so…)
And when it comes to including PoC in your stories or art at all, the supposed tightrope over a chasm of SJ disapproval that we are asking people to walk is actually more of a comfortably wide stone bridge with a sturdy parapet, and I for one don’t understand why people continually insist on flinging themselves off of it into the void. 
To take a concrete example of something that’s depressingly common, say you wanted to do a piece of art with an Native PoC in in? If the only thing you can think of is to draw a girl in a war bonnet with a wolf and eagle superimposed in the sky at 50% opacity, then, quite frankly, that’s a personal problem, and it’s one you really need to fix, but doesn’t actually have any bearing on how easy it would be to make something that wasn’t a trite misrepresentation. 
I mean, maybe this wasn’t what OP had in mind but tbh I’m having a hard time imagining a situation where it would actually be difficult to not draw an appropriative picture or a misrepresentation. 

Statements like these generate sympathy for white writers without sparing much empathy for people of color who remain underrepresented in media.

It’s basically suggesting there are only two ways out of the problem of underrepresentation and saying: “What can I do?  If I do it badly people will criticize me!” —a sentiment that had never stopped anyone from writing poorly formed white characters.

Besides, if you do the work—yes, writing complex characters is hard work—and perhaps collaborate with people who do know how to write characters of color (such as the writers of color that only make up 6% of television show writing staffs)  then maybe you can miraculously avoid “appropriating or misrepresenting.”

White writers who can’t write characters of color well are not the victims here.  There are plenty of white writers who have successfully written characters of color, because they proactively choose to do the work.   Imagination is an essential ability in  successful writers.  Writers who can’t find it in themselves to “imagine a way forward” are missing a key skill.

cactuartamer:

musings-of-a-weird-kid:

I’ve been thinking about this for a while.  And I thought that Judy Berman from The Atlantic stated the issue really well in regards to “casual racism” in popular media.

I have to say, I really think that people overplay the difficulty of these situations in general in order to get out of changing their behavior. After all, if either thing is going to get you criticized then why bother even trying to do the right thing?

We hear this kind of thing all the time with regards to whitewashed art and technical difficulties… supposedly, brown skin is just too much of an artistic challenge for some people, or the palette doesn’t work or lighting is hard or whatever the excuse of the day is.

Or with cosplay and race-face makeup… supposedly people will get on your case for cosplaying PoC while white anyway, so why not raceface ( and boy is that entire thing bullshit, but that is a rant unto itself, so…)

And when it comes to including PoC in your stories or art at all, the supposed tightrope over a chasm of SJ disapproval that we are asking people to walk is actually more of a comfortably wide stone bridge with a sturdy parapet, and I for one don’t understand why people continually insist on flinging themselves off of it into the void.

To take a concrete example of something that’s depressingly common, say you wanted to do a piece of art with an Native PoC in in? If the only thing you can think of is to draw a girl in a war bonnet with a wolf and eagle superimposed in the sky at 50% opacity, then, quite frankly, that’s a personal problem, and it’s one you really need to fix, but doesn’t actually have any bearing on how easy it would be to make something that wasn’t a trite misrepresentation.

I mean, maybe this wasn’t what OP had in mind but tbh I’m having a hard time imagining a situation where it would actually be difficult to not draw an appropriative picture or a misrepresentation.

Statements like these generate sympathy for white writers without sparing much empathy for people of color who remain underrepresented in media.

It’s basically suggesting there are only two ways out of the problem of underrepresentation and saying: “What can I do? If I do it badly people will criticize me!” —a sentiment that had never stopped anyone from writing poorly formed white characters.

Besides, if you do the work—yes, writing complex characters is hard work—and perhaps collaborate with people who do know how to write characters of color (such as the writers of color that only make up 6% of television show writing staffs) then maybe you can miraculously avoid “appropriating or misrepresenting.”

White writers who can’t write characters of color well are not the victims here. There are plenty of white writers who have successfully written characters of color, because they proactively choose to do the work. Imagination is an essential ability in successful writers. Writers who can’t find it in themselves to “imagine a way forward” are missing a key skill.

Reblogged from sumney  1,163 notes

I hear the diversity criticism. However, to suggest that “Girls” — a show whose charm lies in part in its documentary-like feel — presents the universe these young women inhabit, working in publishing and the arts, as rich in racial diversity, would be, sadly, to lie. Besides, did anyone ever kvetch about Jerry Seinfeld’s lack of Asian friends?

By

Elissa Schappel, in the articulately-titled Salon.com article, Stop dumping on Lena Dunham!

So there you have it. Let’s be real, guys! People of color do not work in the multi-faceted fields of publishing or “the arts.” Nope. No Asians, no Blacks, no Latin@s. That would be unrealistic. But you’ll see some diversity — lots of people with old British ancestry, Swedish ancestry, Nordic ancestry, even French! Right?

BTW. Many people have “kvetched” over the absence of diversity in Seinfeld. But clearly, some white ears don’t hear voices of color.

(via sumney)

"Girls" has been the target of ageism and sexism, and that isn’t right. Even so, it is not the first show to receive criticism over lack of diversity. It’s not due to sexism or ageism that the show is being called out…"Girls" is being called out due to stereotypic depictions of characters of color, the writing staff’s blasé response to concerns about diversity, and for insisting that it is novel and different and creating spaces and representing women who don’t have a place or voice, even as it continues to marginalize intersectionally.

I guess all I have to say about the topic is that, because TV is such a popular medium, HBO has a responsibility to represent its subjects accurately, especially when the network is selling a show as a representation of young New York. There’s no obligation to be kaleidoscopic, but there is a difference between writing a short story or essay about a bunch of white people that only a handful of people will read and creating another show about white people that millions of people will watch, especially when you’ve chosen to set that show in one of the most culturally mixed cities in the world.

By James Franco, about the lack of diversity on the show Girls [x] (via lettersintheampersand)
Reblogged from suzukibeane  267 notes

Casual reminder that Lena Dunham thinks writing a black woman would be too much of a stretch b/c of dif life experiences… while Kerry Washington is standing right there.

suzukibeane:

e

tyndalecode:

Fab black prep school ladies represent. 

I tend to fall in the “don’t try to typecast diversity because it just makes it awkward for all of us and the problem is structural and therefore not necessarily the artist’s responsibility” camp. But it’s true, Lena could at least try—Black nerds, multiracial hipsters. But she probably would fail, or people would say that she failed, and she has a pretty remarkable winning streak (I know it’s due to her privilege, but also her talent). 

The topic of the night is Girls and Lena Dunham and some of the crappy stuff she and her writing staff have said about the lack of diversity on her show

But the “don’t try to typecast diversity” comment comes up a lot.  For example, I’ve seen it come up in conversations about adding diversity toStar Wars.  There’s usually feigned concerns about how it would feel “like too much of a political agenda” or “too forced” and fear that the inclusion of more characters of color would be “unrealistic.”  

(The idea that having an all-white male cast in a galaxy far far away, or the fact that having an all-white woman cast in NYC could be actually more of “an agenda” or “forced” or “unrealistic” falls away.)

We have to stop relying on the “but it could be awkward if we add diversity” excuse and start critically examining the “it is awkward when there is no diversity” reality.

If you identify as a writer and if you write professionally, then it is your job to continually develop your craft.  Part of that includes learning new skills.  If you are not born with the innate talent to know how to write diverse characters (who is?) then perhaps it is part of your responsibility to grow as a writer and practice and observe and learn and seek out different perspectives.  This allows you to grow your craft.  It should also help you better understand “the human condition” and what makes any of your characters and writing relatable to others.  

Yes, there is a reasonable fear that in writing characters with different experiences than yours, different cultures than yours, etc. you could royally mess it up.  That is a risk you take when you write a character with life experiences outside of  your scope of experience, and why good authors do research and consult and read.  Don’t know how to write a soldier on the front lines of war?   Read the books and essays written by soldiers who have experienced it.  Find people who are interested in collaborating with you who have had those experiences.  If you find a character or story that you are not in a position to tell (eg. this is a community of people whose voices are regularly appropriated by others) then by all means, don’t write over their stories…step sideways and uncrowd and amplify those voices.

This means that if you are worried that your writing will be “typecast” or “stereotypical” or “tokenizing” then you need to take a close, hard look as to why.  AND, if you happen to be an award-winning showrunner and screenwriter with a television show and a writers budget, it means you have the resources to seek out collaborators whom you can work with to create realistic representations.

Reblogged from fuckelle  145 notes

fuckelle:

‘Why does this show have nobody representing minorities’

‘Ugh, why is this white person writing for minorities. They don’t know the struggle we go through’

Bloody help, make up your fucking mind!?

Why are people of color expected/given/repeatedly told they only have two options (and that they should be grateful for them)?

Why are these two options essentially: “Be represented poorly or don’t be represented at all!  (And stop complaining you are never pleased!!!)

Maybe people of color aren’t pleased because the vast majority of the time, people who are white are both represented frequently and represented well.

Why stop at white writers writing characters of color?   Why can’t people also want writers of color to write characters of color (and also white characters)?

(Granted this is coming from someone who calls PoC who are upset about lack of media representation: “bloody help.”Help. )

Reblogged from mamatoph  3,114 notes
nerdyblathering:

theuntitledmag:

[Image Description: A twitter conversation between lizzie c and British feminist writer Caitilin Moran:lizzie c: “what a surprise @caitilinmoran loves lena dunham. white feminists who ignore the experiences of WOCs have got to stick together guys!!!”Caitilin Moran: “@lizziecoan THANKS FOR YOUR INPUT”lizzie c: “@caitilinmoran did you address the complete and utter lack of people of colour in girls in your interview? i sure hope so!”Caitilin Moran: “@lizziecoan Nope. I literally couldn’t give a shit aboutit.”]
pink-slip:

mimisot:

lzzzbth:

yeah
so
caitlin moran legitmately just told me that she could not give a shit about the representation of WOC. SHE JUST SAID THOSE EXACT WORDS. as one of the most prominent feminists in the UK today, her particular brand of white middle class feminism is THE FUCKING PITS AND I HATE HER. please excuse my rage but CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS.
her book is called ‘how to be a woman’. HOW TO BE A FUCKING WOMAN.
can i not be a woman if i think representation of WOC in modern media is really important? more important than the representation of white women?
fuckkkkk her

ugh!

in which caitlin moran reaffirms her status as an arsehole

I kept wondering while I was reading this when she was going to talk about her research about WOC and feminism in the UK.  I was an American living in the UK at the time and was sitting on a coach from London to Newcastle thinking, “This’ll be fascinating!  A look at feminism in the UK!  And I’m in the UK!  Awesome!”  And it pretty much went downhill from there. 

nerdyblathering:

theuntitledmag:

[Image Description: A twitter conversation between lizzie c and British feminist writer Caitilin Moran:
lizzie c: “what a surprise @caitilinmoran loves lena dunham. white feminists who ignore the experiences of WOCs have got to stick together guys!!!”
Caitilin Moran: “@lizziecoan THANKS FOR YOUR INPUT”
lizzie c: “@caitilinmoran did you address the complete and utter lack of people of colour in girls in your interview? i sure hope so!”
Caitilin Moran: “@lizziecoan Nope. I literally couldn’t give a shit aboutit.”]

pink-slip:

mimisot:

lzzzbth:

yeah

so

caitlin moran legitmately just told me that she could not give a shit about the representation of WOC. SHE JUST SAID THOSE EXACT WORDS. as one of the most prominent feminists in the UK today, her particular brand of white middle class feminism is THE FUCKING PITS AND I HATE HER. please excuse my rage but CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS.

her book is called ‘how to be a woman’. HOW TO BE A FUCKING WOMAN.

can i not be a woman if i think representation of WOC in modern media is really important? more important than the representation of white women?

fuckkkkk her

ugh!

in which caitlin moran reaffirms her status as an arsehole

I kept wondering while I was reading this when she was going to talk about her research about WOC and feminism in the UK.  I was an American living in the UK at the time and was sitting on a coach from London to Newcastle thinking, “This’ll be fascinating!  A look at feminism in the UK!  And I’m in the UK!  Awesome!”  And it pretty much went downhill from there. 

"Girls" was meant to be different from what we usually see on TV: Highly current, thoroughly modern. But the casting choices are not different. Not modern. To be clear: It’s fine that the show is about spoiled, delusional, narcissists. The idea that "if a character isn’t exactly like me, I can’t relate" is bullshit. But that doesn’t mean we don’t desperately need diversity in the stories being told, characters being explored and actors being hired.

…Does “Girls” have the right to be all-white? Of course. But we, the public, have the right to critique the insular, homogenous world a young woman with the good fortune to have her own TV show has chosen to present. Because it’s exclusionary, disappointing, unrealistic, and upsetting. And it perpetuates a sad trend.

By Jezebel’s Dodai Stewart on the lack of diversity on HBO’s new show, Girls.