Posts Tagged race

Oscars 2014: A turning point for diversity in the industry?

Like Hostess Ellen said, either “12 Years a slave” wins or we’re all racists. 

Good thing it won. But I don’t know if we’ve really turned a corner on diversity.  Under-representation and stereotypes still exist in Hollywood.  Asians are few and far between, and Native Americans?  In these times, Johnny Depp can still play Tonto.

But my goodness, the list of winners in the top categories this year is still  impressive:

Asian American of Filipino descent: Robert Lopez, composer, Best Original Song, “Let it Go,” from “Frozen.”

Mexican American: Alfonso Cuaron, “Gravity.”

African American: John Ridley, Best Screenplay adaption, “12 Years a Slave.”

Mexican Kenyan: Lupita Nyong’o, Best Supporting Actress, “12 Years a Slave.”

Brit director Steve McQueen’s brutally honest telling of the Solomon Northup story is so disturbing, it’s hard to take.

But it needed to be told finally. Doesn’t put closure on the race issue by a long-shot. Don’t talk about post-racial America after a “Best Picture” Oscar.

But I think the industry is beginning to change as far as recognizing diverse audiences.

You can’t deny the winner’s list tonight.

I pretty much predicted how it would go.

“Gravity” was such a technical marvel, but didn’t quite get out of the planetarium for me.

I loved Amy Adams but knew she wouldn’t win. “American Hustle” was good but ABSCAM isn’t Watergate.  And for New Jersey folks, it’s not even Bridgegate.

So Cate Blanchett wins as she has most of the pre-shows.

Same with Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey in the  male actor categories.

Both of them gave great speeches.

I thought Leto’s mention of Ukraine and Venezuela, and AIDS victims brought things a little closer to reality. And McConaughey’s mention of God, was “all right, all right.”

But given the diversity wins of the night, Oscar folks still like things more  tactful than I would have wanted.

Never mind, Lupita Nyong’o’s acceptance speech struck the right chord. She recognized that her success was based on the pain of the past.(A show of humility there). And then after thanking colleagues, she chose to inspire:

“When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid. Thank you.”

This was not a night or the time to beat anyone over the head apparently. Not with Ellen playing silly, ordering pizzas and doing selfies.  It was a fun, guilt free Oscars.

And the winners were among the most I can ever remember.

Leave it to Lupita Nyong’o  to help validate the night.



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PODCAST: Arthur Chu, “Jeopardy” Champ, On The Racist Twitter Reaction To His Success, And Racism in General, Part 1

Arthur Chu was in Ohio, still working as a compliance analyst for an insurance company, even though he could have many more appearances on “Jeopardy.”

At the time of our conversation he had amassed in excess of $235,000 in just two weeks of shows.

In Part 1 of our conversation, Chu talked frankly about his sudden fame, and how the initial reaction on the internet to his success was extremely racist.

He said the number of angry tweets actually surprised him. But he was most surprised that people tried to deny that race had anything to do with peoples’ response to him.



Arthur Chu, "Jeopardy" Champ On The Racist Twitter Reaction To His Success, Part 1



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VIDEO: Classy, teary apology from MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry should be more than enough to satisfy the aggrieved on the Right

We can debate whether it was  a trumped up controversy or not, but MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry gave an apology anyway for comments made on her show about the adopted African American grandchild of Mitt Romney.

The apology sure wasn’t one of those infamous non-apologies that people who aren’t really sorry tend to give.  MHP’s was heart-felt, emotional, and sincere. As the namesake of the show, she showed real courage and integrity by standing up to the heat.  It’s the kind of apology that makes you like the person more, not less. And based on the alleged “crime,” I don’t think the Right needed much more than a clarification.  It shouldn’t have required  such a full blown apology.

But she did one. And took responsibility for everything.  She didn’t deflect, try to blame guests, producers, etc.  She put it all on her shoulders.  You’d think that should earn her  some brownie points from her critics. But she continues to be bashed on conservative sites for her “crocodile tears.” The woman’s from New Orleans, but those weren’t crocodile tears.

She deserves credit for putting aside the b.s. of political TV talk and just being real.

Here’s the apology:



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Demonizing Tiger: Woods’ villification has racial overtones

People talk about Nike using Earl Woods’ voice out of context in an ad prior to the Masters. But is anyone grousing about the full-page family values ads now appearing in the major dailies featuring Phil Mickelson and his cancer-suffering  wife Amy? 

Talk about exploitation. Even better that Mickelson is white, the better to offset and polarize the whole situation in a way America can understand. i.e., Mickelson good, Tiger bad.

Bad Tiger! This is your punishment from the culture at large for being a selfish, amoral, pleasure seeking human being.

If you had been a bank, you could have received a bailout. But now it’s everyone’s turn to dis and dish.

This is one bandwagon I’m not hopping on.

Now they’re even commenting on how Tiger swears on the golf course (no secret).  Suddently golf and sport has gotten all puritanical and proper.  Does anyone get on baseball players for spitting? Howabout how basketball players handle their mouthguards, then high five each other. How unsanitary. Oh, and about that vigorous ass patting…

All of that is nothing compared to jumping on Tiger, the devil himself.

I hope Tiger recovers soon.

Consider the sexual proclivities of other public figures and how they’ve bounced back. After Monica Lewinsky, Bill Clinton is a revered world crisis solver. After biting women in secret hotel trysts, Marv Albert is back doing the NBA playoffs. (“YES!!”). After dumping his longtime wife in favor of a scandalous affair with a younger woman, newly divorced golf anchor Jim Nantz was there at the Masters with the call. 

Even David Letterman gets a light lashing after his intern trysts. Always good to have an extortionist come in and trump your bad hand. 

So comebacks do happen. But is there extra joy in dumping Tiger because Woods happens to be of mixed race?

He is at once the greatest black and Asian American golfer to ever play. He may be the greatest golfer period.  When he was good he was treated like royalty. But his indiscretions find him being treated with a whole let less compassion. He’s not a pariah yet. His golf game is too good. But the culture seems to be turning against him more so now that Mickelson can be the public face for the new Victorian era of golf.

Never mind Mickelson’s gambling habits. That’s an allowable vice, I guess.

But just ask yourself if Tiger would  be treated differently if he were white? 


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