Here’s what I did when racists complained about an interracial family in my magazine

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Texas, United States on 2015-07-28 02:32Z by Steven

Here’s what I did when racists complained about an interracial family in my magazine

The Washington Post

Scott Vogel, Editor-in-Chief
Houstonia, a city magazine based in Houston, Texas

Offended by this image? Houstonia magazine doesn’t want your business. (Photo by Chris Skiles/Houstonia)

Don’t compare me to business owners who refuse to serve LGBT customers

As editor in chief of a lifestyle magazine, my job has been to balance two competing concerns of the journalism business: publishing stories that make a difference and selling ads that make money. This month, I discovered a third, hitherto unknown concern: ads that make a difference.

The full-page ad on the first page of Houstonia magazine’s June issue seemed innocuous. It showed a family of five in cozy domesticity, enjoying the warmly capacious living room they ostensibly found through the upscale real estate agency that created the ad. Mom stood barefoot in the living room, an arm around her 5-year-old daughter. Dad sat on an overstuffed sofa, struggling to keep the couple’s squirmy 2-year-old from leaving his lap. And at their feet was an unbearably cute baby boy perched atop an embroidered pillow on the family’s rug. Carefully composed and brightly lit, the scene, it seemed, could be described with just one word: adorable. But as it turned out, there was another word for it: disgusting.

That’s how a suburban Houston doctor described the image in an email to Ashton Martini Group, the real estate company responsible for the ad. “I will not put this magazine in my reception area!” he wrote. The source of his disgust? The mother in the ad was white; the father, black; and the couple’s three children, biracial. A second complaint reached me a week later, from a subscriber who confessed that, although he liked our magazine, “I just can’t go for racial mixing.” And so, lest his children “get it into their heads that this is okay,” he had taken our June issue straight from the mailbox to the trashcan.

I followed the two men’s impulsive actions with one of my own…

Read the entire article here.

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New UW center to encourage race, diversity dialogue

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2015-07-26 04:00Z by Steven

New UW center to encourage race, diversity dialogue

The Seattle Times

Katherine Long, Seattle Times higher education reporter

Ralina Joseph is the new director of the University of Washington’s Center for Communication, Difference, and Equity. (Ellen M. Banner/The Seattle Times)

A new center at the University of Washington aims to help people figure out how to better communicate about race, equity and diversity.

University of Washington professor Ralina Joseph thinks what we’re seeing in the nation today could be the start of a new civil-rights movement. And at times, college students are leading the charge.

“It feels like a moment at the UW — a potential moment of change,” Joseph said. “Students are more radicalized now, talking to faculty, than people have seen since the ’60s and early ’70s.”

Into this moment steps the university’s new Center for Communication, Difference, and Equity, which opened its doors on the Seattle campus at the end of May and is headed by Joseph. Housed in the Department of Communication, it knits together 40 faculty members from a variety of departments, from American ethnic studies to history and sociology…

…She knows some critics may see the mission as another example of political correctness, and that naysayers may argue the country has moved beyond these issues — given that the nation elected a black president, Seattle elected a gay mayor, the Supreme Court affirmed same-sex marriages.

Yet Joseph says the data show a person’s race, class, gender and sexual orientation “dictate how your life is going to be lived.” Those factors still influence whether you’ll be able to get a mortgage, or be approved for an apartment rental, to name just a few of the implications, she said…

Read the entire article here.

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In The Writer’s Room, One Woman Quietly Makes Late Night History

Posted in Articles, Audio, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2015-07-17 16:16Z by Steven

In The Writer’s Room, One Woman Quietly Makes Late Night History

Code Switch: Frontiers of Race, Culture and Ethnicity
National Public Radio

Eric Deggans, TV Critic

How do you write jokes for a TV comedy about race and culture when there are riots over how police treat black suspects, and a gunman just shot down nine people in a black church?

If you’re Robin Thede, head writer for The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, you think carefully about where you focus the joke.

“The thing about tragedy, is that it causes people to react in a myriad of ways … [and] some of them are very hilarious,” Thede says, laughing. “You don’t make fun of the actual tragedy. You make fun of the ridiculous ways people react to it.”

Her example: The way some news outlets focused on the involvement of the gang Black Guerilla Family when rioting broke out in Baltimore last April.

“You’ve got people on the news saying ‘Black Guerilla Family’ 4,000 times because they get a kick out of saying ‘gorilla’ when connected to black people,” she says…

…That voice first emerged in January, when Wilmore’s Nightly Show debuted in the timeslot originally held by Stephen Colbert’s Colbert Report.

Wilmore made a bit of history then as the only black man hosting a major late night talk show.

And Thede also made history: She’s the first black woman to serve as head writer for such a show. But she’s quick to counter the notion that The Nightly Show is just a parody of Meet the Press centered on jokes about race…

Read the entire article here. Listen to the story (00:04:09) here. Download the story here. Read the transcript here.

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Why Media Representation Matters To Biracial And Multiracial People

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2015-06-09 00:57Z by Steven

Why Media Representation Matters To Biracial And Multiracial People

Blue Nation Review

John Paul Brammer, Identity Editor

“So, you’re sort of nothing then.”

I’ve only heard this once. Someone asked me what my race was because they were curious. I explained to them that I was mixed, that I had both indigenous and European blood, and after mulling it over for a second, that was their response.

They meant no malice by it. If anything, they were trying to be playful. But it still reminded me that when it comes to the dominant narratives on how we perceive race and culture in this country, I don’t quite fit the story.

I am reminded of this again with the debate over Emma Stone’s multiracial character in Cameron Crowe’s certified stinker Aloha. Stone, a white woman, was cast to portray a half-white, quarter-Chinese, quarter-Native Hawaiian character by the name of Allison Ng.

Crowe has come forward and apologized for his decision. But casting Stone in the first place has opened a very necessary dialogue on multiracial characters in the media.

In the context of the media diversity debate, multiracial people exist in a precarious place. On the one hand, they seem to be left out for the sake of a more direct approach to criticism of media representation of minorities

Read the entire article here.

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Crowe’s ‘whitewashing’ sparks criticism from advocates

Posted in Articles, Arts, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Oceania, United States on 2015-06-07 20:07Z by Steven

Crowe’s ‘whitewashing’ sparks criticism from advocates

BBC News

Elena Boffetta, BBC Washington

Hollywood’s reliance on bankable – and often white – actors has led to another round of sharp criticism of filmmakers for “whitewashing” roles where race and ethnicity play a part.

In Aloha, Cameron Crowe’s latest film, Emma Stone, a American actress with blonde hair and green eyes, was cast as Allison Ng – a junior fighter pilot who was part-Chinese, part-Hawaiian and part-Swedish.

Soon after the release, there was an uproar of criticism from social media against Crowe’s casting choice.

Both Asians and non-Asians asked why they didn’t pick an Asian actress to play a character who is part-Asian.

One advocacy group called Aloha “a whitewashed film” that failed to portray the ethnical diversity of Hawaii.

The Media Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA) noted 60% of Hawaii’s population is Asian-American Pacific Islanders and 30% Caucasian, a fact not reflected in the film.

Crowe apologised on his website but said he based the Ng character on a real-life redheaded Hawaiian who felt compelled to constantly over-explain her unlikely ethnicity.

“I can understand what Crowe said about his intention that he based his character on someone that didn’t look Asian but identified with the culture but you could have casted someone who was part Hawaiian,” Guy Aoki, the founding president of MANAA, said.

“Whitewashing” casting differs from “colour-blind casting,” where a role is cast when factors of race or ethnicity are irrelevant to the character or plot…

Hollywood has been accused of whitewashing Asians for decades…

Read the entire article here.

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Caution and Skepticism About Univision-TheRoot Merger

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2015-06-07 18:42Z by Steven

Caution and Skepticism About Univision-TheRoot Merger

All Digitocracy

Jillian Báez, Assistant Professor of Media Culture
College of Staten Island, City University of New York

TV Network’s history of racism and colorism may not bode well for website formerly owned by The Washington Post Company

Two weeks ago Spanish-language television giant Univision announced its acquisition of, one of the top African American news websites. Coverage of the merger was quite celebratory and echoed co-founder Henry Louis Gates’ statement that “This bold new partnership between Univision and TheRoot underscores the ties that have long bound people of color together throughout the Western Hemisphere and is a sign of even greater levels of communication, collaboration and exchange between these culturally vital groups of people.”

But while Gates is obviously optimistic about the venture, I’m a little skeptical. Univision has some issues that no one has talked about that might impact things. For one thing, it’s digital presence, Fusion, is struggling to get traffic to its own website. Secondly, the parent company’s history as a serial consolidator and nasty habit of broadcasting racist content makes me cautious about this venture…

Read the entire article here.

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This Mocha-Caramel-Honey Post-Racial Fantasy Is Making Me Sick

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Social Work, United States, Women on 2015-05-21 16:53Z by Steven

This Mocha-Caramel-Honey Post-Racial Fantasy Is Making Me Sick


Sharon Chang, BuzzFeed Contributor

Illustration by Judith Kim for BuzzFeed

As a mixed-race woman, the defining question of my life has not been “Who am I?” but “What are you?” I get it everywhere, from all races. Recently it’s been mostly from Asian immigrants. You Chinese? Last month a black guy walked up to me while I was pumping gas. Man! How do you people do that international thing?

It’s an invasive line of questioning, under the guise of a friendly compliment. “You know how you could look more Asian?” my white boss once asked as I clocked out of work. “If you cut your bangs like this and did your makeup like this…” My acupuncturist, meanwhile, thinks I look more Asian in a ponytail.

Most women are accustomed to having their physical appearance treated like public property up for consumption. But when it comes to mixed-race women, our looks are quantified, measured and divvied up, all the way back to conception. How we were cooked up, what our ingredients are, and why we taste so good — people are entitled to know all of it…

…If 2050 is the year that 400 years of racism ends in one fell, photogenic swoop, then sure, I can’t wait. But forgive me if our collective crushes on Rashida Jones, Lolo Jones, and Norah Jones don’t inspire hope. Beauty is a cultural value whose definition has changed dramatically over time. But science and society have a long history of justifying our shifting tastes when it comes to race. White supremacy has been bolstered through race-based compulsory sterilization, anti-miscegenation laws, and likening people of color to animals…

Read the entire article here.

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Dianne White Clatto, Weathercaster Who Broke a Color Barrier, Dies at 76

Posted in Articles, Biography, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2015-05-09 18:31Z by Steven

Dianne White Clatto, Weathercaster Who Broke a Color Barrier, Dies at 76

The New York Times

Sam Roberts, Urban Affairs Correspondent (@samrob12)

Dianne White Clatto, in 1967, giving the weather report on KSD-TV. Credit St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Twelve years before Al Roker started as a weather anchor for a CBS affiliate in Syracuse, Dianne White Clatto made broadcasting history in St. Louis. In 1962, according to industry colleagues, she became the first full-time black television weathercaster in the country.

Ms. Clatto, who died at 76 on Monday at a retirement center in St. Louis, broke into television by way of radio. She was a manager for Avon, the cosmetics company, and hosted a live radio show when Russ David, a bandleader with whom she sang in an impromptu performance on the air, referred her to an executive of KSD-TV in St. Louis. She was hired as a $75-a-week “weathergirl” in 1962.

“What am I supposed to do?” she recalled asking her new bosses, in an interview with the Weather Channel. “They said to me, ‘This is called television.’ They said to me, ‘When those two red lights come on, start talking.’ And I said, ‘About what?’ And they said, ‘Preferably something about the weather.’ ”

Dianne Elizabeth Johnson was born in St. Louis on Dec. 28, 1938, the daughter of Milton and Nettie Johnson and a descendant of a Civil War general’s slave mistress. She was among the first black students to enroll at the University of Missouri at Columbia…

Read the entire obituary here.

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Sorry Music Journalists, Drake is Black.

Posted in Articles, Arts, Canada, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Religion on 2015-05-01 20:33Z by Steven

Sorry Music Journalists, Drake is Black.


Kyrell Grant

Writers need to stop policing his blackness

It feels ridiculous to have to say this: Drake is black.

Drake, born Aubrey Graham in a city where almost one in ten people are black, is black. Toronto’s greatest civic triumphalist since Jane Jacobs is black.

He is a black man as much as any other black man. And yet Drake’s own identity – his nationality, his mixed race background that includes Jewish heritage and upbringing, the neighbourhood he once lived in, the schools he went to – is often taken to mean that his black experience is somehow inauthentic. While certainly not the first artist to have this kind of analysis imposed on him, Drake’s profile means that his art in particular has been prominently used to deny his black experience when it doesn’t conform to someone else’s narrow vision of race…

Read the entire article here.

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Brazilian soap operas slowly cast black middle class

Posted in Articles, Arts, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Communications/Media Studies, Social Science on 2015-04-12 02:12Z by Steven

Brazilian soap operas slowly cast black middle class

Al Jazeera America

Matt Sandy

Morgann Jezequel

Actor Sílvio Guindane poses on the set of the telenovela Vitória at Record studios, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, October, 2014. Rafael Fabres / Getty Images Assignment for Al Jazeera America

Black actors move beyond roles as maids, thieves and drug dealers, but insiders say more diverse film/TV writers needed

RIO DE JANEIRO – Dressed in a fitted white designer shirt, Sílvio Guindane stood beneath a chandelier on a grand wrought iron staircase and smiled confidently. Below, a set of ornate drinking glasses sat next to a collection of spirit bottles. Above, framed monochrome prints and color landscapes adorned the walls.

It is an archetypal image of upper middle class Brazil. And for good reason as this is the set of “Vitória,” one of the country’s ubiquitous novelas, the phenomenally popular soap operas that for more than 50 years have thrived on the country’s major television networks — often by portraying lavish lifestyles beyond the means of most viewers.

There is just one thing that is unusual: Guindane, 31, who plays a successful engineer, is black…

Read the entire article here.

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