Tais Araujo: Fighting Brazil’s Racism Takes More Than A Hashtag

Posted in Articles, Arts, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive on 2015-11-29 21:42Z by Steven

Tais Araujo: Fighting Brazil’s Racism Takes More Than A Hashtag


Leopoldo Duarte

Taís Araújo‬’s profile picture on her Twitter account. | Photo: Twitter, @taisdeverdade

Most Brazilians take pride in living in a “racial democracy.” According to them Brazil is supposedly a country that evaded racism through the amicable blending of its native, African and European inhabitants. But an event earlier this month is once again challenging this myth, when popular Black Brazilian actress Taís Araujo gained media coverage because of a series of racist comments made on her Facebook page.

Twitter user @LeonaDivaa shares screenshots of the racist commentary on Tais’ fanpage. Dozens of social media users compared the actress to a “monkey” and a zoo animal, while making sexually derogatory comments and taunting her for her skin color and natural hair.

Tais left the highly offensive comments on her Facebook account, deciding to publicize and take legal actions against the racist insults rather than erase them. In Brazil, for the last 20 years racism has been a non-bailable offense, however most offenders rarely face punishment.

Brazilians, in response, seemed to be taken aback by the rampant and open attacks against the actress, who has been called “Brazil’s Beyonce.” What followed evidently was an outpouring of solidarity on social media, using the hashtag #SomosTodosTais (or #WeAreAllTais) Brazilians started an online campaign, which was widely reported in the Brazilian and international press.

“I still can’t handle the fact that racism is still alive in such a mixed country such as ours. #SomosTodosTaís” 

…But while, hashtags like (#WeAreAllAFamousWrongedBlackPerson) have become popular recently, many Black activists in Brazil have voiced their discontent with these campaigns.

Most Afro-Brazilian social activists were thrilled Taís decided to publicize every step of her legal process—images of her leaving a precinct after making a testimony made headlines and stirred emotions—but activists are also at odds with how most (white) Brazilians only address racism when a celebrity is involved.

Famous Afro-Brazilian activist and blogger, Stephanie Ribeiro, went as far as writing an article entitled: “Please Stop Individualizing Racism.“…

…Brazilians have been taught that we live in “racial democracy”. According to this belief, Brazil evaded racism through amicable blending of its three primary peoples, Africans, Europeans, and Indigenous Americans. This myth is rooted in the book, The Masters and the Slaves, by sociologist Gilberto Freyre in 1933. Freyre argued that racial hierarchy was abolished with slavery, despite the fact that Brazil was the last colony to formerly free its slaves…

Read the entire article here.

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The Possible South: Documentary Film and the Limitations of Biraciality

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Communications/Media Studies, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2015-11-29 01:39Z by Steven

The Possible South: Documentary Film and the Limitations of Biraciality

University Press of Mississippi
288 pages
6 x 9 inches
38 b&w illustrations, bibliography, index
Hardcover ISBN: 9781496804082

R. Bruce Brasell
Birmingham, Alabama

Using cultural theory, author R. Bruce Brasell investigates issues surrounding the discursive presentation of the American South as biracial and explores its manifestation in documentary films, including such works as Tell about the South, bro•ken/ground, and Family Name. After considering the emergence of the region’s biraciality through a consideration of the concepts of racial citizenry and racial performativity, Brasell examines two problems associated with this framework. First, the framework assumes racial purity, and, second, it assumes that two races exist. In other words, biraciality enacts two denials, first, the existence of miscegenation in the region and, second, the existence of other races and ethnicities.

Brasell considers bodily miscegenation, discussing the racial closet and the southeastern expatriate road film. Then he examines cultural miscegenation through the lens of racial poaching and 1970s southeastern documentaries that use redemptive ethnography. In the subsequent chapters, using specific documentary films, he considers the racial in-betweenness of Spanish-speaking ethnicities (Mosquitoes and High Water, Living in America, and Nuestra Communidad), probes issues related to the process of racial negotiation experienced by Asian Americans as they seek a racial position beyond the black and white binary (Mississippi Triangle), and engages the problem of racial legitimacy confronted by federally non-recognized Native groups as they attempt the same feat (Real Indian).

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What’s the Difference with “Difference”?

Posted in Communications/Media Studies, Forthcoming Media, Live Events, United States on 2015-11-27 02:25Z by Steven

What’s the Difference with “Difference”?

University of Washington
Kane Hall, Room 120
4069 Spokane Lane
Seattle, Washington 98105
2016-01-14, 19:30 PST (Local Time)

Ralina L. Joseph, Associate Professor
Department of Communication
(also adjunct associate professor in the Departments of American Ethnic Studies and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies)
University of Washington

Language is power. The words we use and the names we say count, both individually and institutionally. This is particularly true when it comes to minoritized, identity-based nomenclature, such as the language of a racialized and gendered naming. The movement from “colored” to “negro” to “black” to “African-American” signifies important historical shifts in the state and community-naming processes. In other words, the words we use matter in terms of how we assess, frame, and ultimately understand difference.

But what about the naming of “difference” itself? Difference is a term that late 20th and early 21st century scholars of race, gender, and sexuality have claimed and yet left largely untheorized. We use the word difference almost reflexively. Difference replaces—or rather revises—diversity, multiculturalism, or a long-connected string of descriptors such as race, gender, sexuality, class, nationality, and ability. But what does this shift in language mean and why is it significant for the ways in which we assess, inhabit, and perhaps even change our world? Does a change to “difference” lead to a change in identity and inequality?

Registration opens December 2015.

You do not need to be an alum of the University of Washington to attend or register.

For more information, click here.

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Charleston Syllabus: Readings on Race, Racism, and Racial Violence

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Communications/Media Studies, Forthcoming Media, History, Law, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Social Science, United States on 2015-11-26 01:35Z by Steven

Charleston Syllabus: Readings on Race, Racism, and Racial Violence

University of Georgia Press
May 2016
336 pages
Trim size: 6 x 9
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-8203-4956-5
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8203-4957-2

Edited by:

Chad Williams, Associate Professor of African & Afro-American Studies
Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts

Kidada E. Williams, Associate Professor of History
Wayne State University, Detroit, Michgan

Keisha N. Blain, Assistant Professor of History
University of Iowa

On June 17, 2015, a white supremacist entered Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, and sat with some of its parishioners during a Wednesday night Bible study session. An hour later, he began expressing his hatred for African Americans, and soon after, he shot nine church members dead, the church’s pastor and South Carolina state senator, Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, among them. The ensuing manhunt for the shooter and investigation of his motives revealed his beliefs in white supremacy and reopened debates about racial conflict, southern identity, systemic racism, civil rights, and the African American church as an institution.

In the aftermath of the massacre, Professors Chad Williams, Kidada Williams, and Keisha N. Blain sought a way to put the murder—and the subsequent debates about it in the media—in the context of America’s tumultuous history of race relations and racial violence on a global scale. They created the Charleston Syllabus on June 19, starting it as a hashtag on Twitter linking to scholarly works on the myriad of issues related to the murder. The syllabus’s popularity exploded and is already being used as a key resource in discussions of the event.

Charleston Syllabus is a reader—a collection of new essays and columns published in the wake of the massacre, along with selected excerpts from key existing scholarly books and general-interest articles. The collection draws from a variety of disciplines—history, sociology, urban studies, law, critical race theory—and includes a selected and annotated bibliography for further reading, drawing from such texts as the Confederate constitution, South Carolina’s secession declaration, songs, poetry, slave narratives, and literacy texts. As timely as it is necessary, the book will be a valuable resource for understanding the roots of American systemic racism, white privilege, the uses and abuses of the Confederate flag and its ideals, the black church as a foundation for civil rights activity and state violence against such activity, and critical whiteness studies.

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African American Exceptionalism and the Truth Behind the Rage over Zoe Saldaña Playing Nina Simone

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Latino Studies, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2015-11-22 21:44Z by Steven

African American Exceptionalism and the Truth Behind the Rage over Zoe Saldaña Playing Nina Simone

Upliftt: Latinos in Film, TV and Theater

William Garcia

In a recent article from the Huffington Post, Zoe Saldaña talks about the Nina Simone biopic that has been controversial all over the Black blogospheres. Saldaña said: “the people behind the project weren’t my cup of tea.” She also said, “the director was fine but there was a lot of mismanagement.”

On June 11th 2015, during an InStyle magazine interview, Zoe Saldaña said: “I think I was right for the part, and I know a lot of people will agree, but then again I don’t think Elizabeth Taylor was right for Cleopatra either.” Those comments may seem, in a sense, post-racial, especially after defending African-American actor, Michael B. Jordan, for playing the Human Torch in the Fantastic Four Film.

The Black Movement in the United States has only paid a particular attention to blackness—leaving out Afro-Latinos as “not being really black.” Being Black in the U.S is equated with being African-American in a time where there is a continuous migration from Africa, the Caribbean and Afro-Latin America. The Black Movement in the U.S invisibilizes Afro-Latinos amongst other Afro-descendants in a time when all Black Lives Should Matter. Many African-Americans in the U.S created a controversy over Zoe Saldaña playing Nina Simone. There were several articles published infuriated with her allegedly “playing a blackface” and being a self-loathing Dominican–although most of these articles also forget she is half Puerto Rican. During a Hip-Hollywood.com interview, Zoe Saldaña clearly states she identifies as a Black woman, but that comment was omitted from many conversations…

Read the entire article here.

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Medicalizing Racism

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science on 2015-11-22 20:18Z by Steven

Medicalizing Racism

Fall 2014, Volume 13, Number 4
pages 24-29
DOI: 10.1177/1536504214558213

James M. Thomas, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
University of Mississippi

Cassandra Conlin

Sociologist James M. Thomas (JT) examines how public and scientific accounts of racism draw upon medical and psychological models, and how this contributes to our understandings of racism as a medical, rather than social, problem.

In June of 2013, Riley Cooper, a wide receiver for the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, was caught on video at a Kenny Chesney concert shouting, “I will jump that fence and fight every nigger in here, bro!” After a massive public uproar about the scene, Cooper, who is white, released a statement announcing that he would speak with “a variety of professionals” in order to ”help me better understand how I could have done something that was so offensive, and how I can start the healing process for everyone.” His team excused Cooper from activities so that he could get expert help to “understand how his words hurt so many.”

It was hardly the first time a high-profile figure sought professional counseling after being associated with an act of public racism. In 2006, while performing at a West Hollywood comedy club, Michael Richards, best known as Kramer from the hit television series Seinfeld, lashed out at hecklers, referring to them as “niggers.” Afterward, Richards’ publicist quickly issued a statement announcing that his client would seek psychiatric help. Paula Deen, Mel Gibson, and John Rocker also pledged publicly to seek treatment for their racism—reflecting a growing tendency to frame racist acts as a mental health issue.

Cassandra Conlin

How did racism come to be seen as psychopathological, and how might that understanding influence efforts to combat racism? With that question in mind, I examined mainstream print media, and conference proceedings, presidential addresses, and debates within the American Psychiatric Association from the period immediately following World War II through the present. I also analyzed public speeches by civil rights activists from the late 1950s through the early 1970s

Over time, this research shows, experts expressed growing concern about the psychopathological consequences of racism on victims, and the effects of being racist—a mental health discourse that is transforming our understanding of the nature and causes of racism. In this medicalized model, new protocols focus on treating those who suffer from the condition of racism. It is an understanding that reflects the “new racism” of the post-civil rights era

Read (for free for a limited time) the article here.

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“Generation Mix:” Is All This Talk of “Multiracialism” An Advance?

Posted in Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Social Science, United States, Videos on 2015-11-20 03:04Z by Steven

“Generation Mix:” Is All This Talk of “Multiracialism” An Advance?

The Real News

Jared A. Ball, Host/Producer and Associate Professor of Communication Studies
Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland

Artist, activist and creator of the multimedia comic book (H)afrocentric Juliana “Jules” Smith and Dr. Rainier Spencer, author of Reproducing Race: The Paradox of Generation Mix discuss their various critiques of popular approaches to “multiracial” identity.

Watch the entire interview (00:14:02) here.

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At Last …?: Michelle Obama, Beyoncé, Race & History

Posted in Articles, Biography, Communications/Media Studies, History, Media Archive, United States on 2015-11-19 02:43Z by Steven

At Last …?: Michelle Obama, Beyoncé, Race & History

Winter 2011, Volume 140, Number 1
Posted Online 2011-03-09
pages 131-141
DOI: 10.1162/DAED_a_00065

Farah J. Griffin, William B. Ransford Professor of English and Comparative Literature and African-American Studies
Columbia University

In this essay, Griffin brings to the fore two extraordinary black women of our age: First Lady Michelle Obama and entertainment mogul Beyoncé Knowles. Both women signify change in race relations in America, yet both reveal that the history of racial inequality in this country is far from over. As an Ivy League-educated descendent of slaves, Michelle Obama is not just unfamiliar to the mainstream media and the Washington political scene; during the 2008 presidential campaign, she was vilified as angry and unpatriotic. Beyonce, who controls the direction of her career in a way that pioneering black women entertainers could not, has nonetheless styled herself in ways that recall the distinct racial history of the Creole South. Griffin considers how Michelle Obama’s and Beyonce’s use of their respective family histories and ancestry has bolstered or diminished their popular appeal.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Look! A Zombie! Race and Passing in ‘iZombie’

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2015-11-01 00:01Z by Steven

Look! A Zombie! Race and Passing in ‘iZombie’


Rukmini Pande
University of Western Australia

iZombie’spassing” narrative complicates its broader racial politics.

As the fall season of US TV swings into gear, the CW’s undead caper iZombie seems poised for an interesting second outing. Helmed by Rob Thomas (of Veronica Mars fame), the show’s first season was received well by both critics and audiences, and was quickly renewed.

To recap briefly, the show follows Olivia (Liv) More (Rose McIver), a driven MD whose life is turned upside down when she is turned into a zombie. Now working in a morgue, Liv finds out that the brains she eats give her memories of the deceased persons’ lives, specifically, murder victims’ memories.

She teams up with police detective Clive Babineaux (Malcolm Goodwin) to track down various killers, while also attempting to find a cure for zombie-ism (with her ally/boss, Ravi Chakrabarthi [Rahul Kohli]). She also has to try and outwit Blaine (David Anders), an ex-drug dealer turned zombie who has created a new business out of infecting influential people and controlling them through their desire for brains.

The show has garnered kudos for its interesting plot and diverse casting—Ravi is British-Indian, Clive is African-American, and Blaine has a number of non-white accomplices—yet its narrative choices end up complicating its broader racial politics…

…Passing and Survival

The practice of passing is a complex one but may be broadly seen as occurring when, as Brooke Kroeger explains, “people effectively present themselves as other than who they understand themselves to be” (Kroeger Passing: when people can’t be who they are. New York: Public Affairs; 2003: 7). This is a deliberate fashioning of identity presentation and has been practiced across demarcations of race, gender, sexuality, and sometimes religion. While the reasons that people attempt to pass are diverse, it’s most often a “strategy for managing stigma” (Einwohner, Rachel L. “Identity Work and Collective Action in a Repressive Context: Jewish Resistance on the “Aryan Side” of the Warsaw Ghetto.” in Identity Work in Social Movements. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press; 2006: 121–139.126) and is employed in situations where being “outed” carries heavy consequences.

Interconnected to this is the acknowledgement that the ability to pass depends on various factors, including physical appearance, income, and community relations. As Allyson Hobbs writes in A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in America (2014), to pass successfully a person must distance themselves from their community, and the community in turn must do the same. All these factors play into the narrative of iZombie at various points, but by making this a conversation about white bodies, it ignores the historical conditions of that construction, especially in America. In a culture where the raced body is always the one under scrutiny and most likely to suffer policing, the effects of structuring a narrative that places white bodies into that space without adequate critical engagement is dangerous…

Read the entire article here.

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Korean TV networks move to oust discrimination against gender, race

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive on 2015-10-19 19:33Z by Steven

Korean TV networks move to oust discrimination against gender, race

The Korean Herald

Claire Lee

A much-criticized scene from MBC’s “Three Wheels,” where two female comedians appeared in blackface in 2012. Photo: MBC Screengrab

In 2012, South Korea’s public broadcaster MBC sparked outrage among international viewers when it aired a segment of two Korean female comedians in blackface on its comedy show “Three Wheels.”

The show received mounting criticism, mostly from overseas viewers, who claimed the particular scene was blatantly racist. The producer of the show eventually offered a public apology, explaining the two women were simply parodying Michol — a black male character featured in Korea’s hugely popular 1987 TV animated series “Dooly the Little Dinosaur.”

Regardless of the intention, many critics argued the scene was undoubtedly insensitive and discriminatory against blacks. While appearing in blackface, the two comedians sang “Shintoburi,” a 1999 Korean pop song that praises Korean heritage and culture, specifically mentioning kimchi and soybean paste.”I did not think it was funny. What were they thinking?” an international viewer said in a YouTube video she posted to criticise the show…

…Korea’s concept of “multicultural families” in particular was often used in the local media to convey negative connotations of foreign workers and migrant wives from Southeast Asia, said UN expert Mutuma Ruteere, who also urged Korea to enact a wide-ranging antidiscrimination law.

In a report submitted to Ruteere last year, local activist Jung Hye-sil pointed out the term “mixed-blood” was still being used frequently by the Korean media when referring to multiracial individuals, in spite of the UN committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination’s 2007 recommendation that Korea end the use of the particular expression. The committee also urged the Korean public to overcome the notion that the country is “ethnically homogeneous” back in 2007.

According to Jung’s report, however, a total of 1,287 Korean news reports — from both print and broadcast outlets — used the term “mixed-blood” when referring to multiracial individuals from 2012-2014. Jung also addressed that a number of these reports were favourable toward those with a Caucasian parent, notably by praising their physical attractiveness.

The report also pointed out that the Korean media unnecessarily differentiates between multiracial children and children of foreign-born immigrants who are not ethnically Korean.

For example, a news segment aired by MBC in 2012 used the term “mixed-blood multicultural children” when delivering information that Korean-born children of migrant wives are more likely to receive education in Korea than children immigrants who were born overseas.

“The discourse of ethnic homogeneity based on the notion of ‘pure blood’ has been causing discrimination in the form of social exclusion by placing restrictions on the lives of the multiracial population in Korea, as they are seen as a threat to Korea’s ‘pure bloodline,'” Jung wrote in her report, noting that the very first children who were sent overseas for foreign adoption in 1954 from Korea were mixed-race children born to African-American soldiers and Korean women…

Read the entire article here.

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