Sage Steele Opens Up About Being A Biracial Woman In Sports Media

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Interviews, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2016-01-23 17:46Z by Steven

Sage Steele Opens Up About Being A Biracial Woman In Sports Media

The Huffington Post
2015-01-21

Justin Block, Associate Sports Editor

Juliet Spies-Gans, Editorial Fellow, HuffPost


Joe Scarnici via Getty Images
Sage Steele speaks onstage at the 2013 espnW: Women + Sports Summit at St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort on Oct. 9, 2013, in Dana Point, California.

The ESPN host talks sexism, racism, NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC and that infamous moment with Bill Simmons

Picture the scene: It’s a sweaty, crowded NFL locker room a handful of miles from the heart of Baltimore, a little over a decade ago. There’s a scrum of reporters, trying to inch closer and closer to the prize interview: Ray Lewis. And as the voices shout over one another, urging the linebacker to look every which way, one journalist’s tone differentiates itself from the rest.

It’s the voice of Sage Steele, and as the only woman amid the horde of media members, the octave of her voice allows her to be the one to grab and hold onto Lewis’ attention.

Today, the 43-year-old Steele is known as both the face and the voice of ABC and ESPN’s NBA Countdown. Come Saturday, she’ll be speaking to millions of us through our TV sets, as the host of the new NBA Saturday Night on ABC package. And come June, she’ll ring in the NBA Finals as emcee of the biggest show of the season, working with names like Jalen Rose and Doug Collins to introduce and analyze the league’s marquee event.

But it hasn’t always been like this for Steele. A self-described army brat bullied throughout high school for her biracial background, Steele has dealt with a unique blend of discrimination in her time. One day she’s too white, the next she’s too black. Her curly, un-styled hair is considered either an asset or a detriment, depending on the week. And even as she has received rave reviews for her work with ESPN, she’s anticipating the day when her increasingly grey locks age her out of her job in a way that simply wouldn’t happen to a man.

In a word, she’s surrounded on all sides by -isms. Ageism, sexism, racism — you name it, Steele has felt it. But today, in her 21st year in the biz, the longtime journalist is able to reflect on her time on studio sets and in locker rooms, and decipher where and when those constant currents of isms, don’ts and can’ts have made her stronger, sharper and more apt for the job.

Steele recently spoke with The Huffington Post about everything from the discrimination she’s faced to her relationship with Stuart Scott, from the importance of having thick skin to that GIF of her and Bill Simmons. She’s spent the last two decades in the trenches — those grimy, Gatorade-stained locker rooms of Indianapolis and Baltimore — and now she’s explaining how she was able to stay on her feet through it all, remaining humble, hungry and happy, no matter what…

Read the entire interview here.

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Meet The 63rd Black Woman In American History With A Physics Ph.D.

Posted in Articles, Interviews, Media Archive, Religion, United States, Women on 2016-01-16 20:43Z by Steven

Meet The 63rd Black Woman In American History With A Physics Ph.D.

The Huffington Post
2015-06-24

Nico Pitney

Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein is a 32-year-old theoretical astrophysicist. Her academic home is arguably the nation’s most elite physics department, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In one sense, she is among a dying breed. Prescod-Weinstein is a pen-and-paper theorist. “Basically I do calculus all day, on paper,” she told HuffPost. “I’m a little bit of a hold-out. There are things I could be doing by computer that I just like to do by hand.”

But she is also part of a vanguard, a small but growing number of African-American women with doctorates in physics.

Just 83 Black women have received a Ph.D. in physics-related fields in American history, according to a database maintained by physicists Dr. Jami Valentine and Jessica Tucker that was updated last week…

…I think making sure that I remain engaged with my Jewish identity, and particularly the rituals of lighting the Shabbat candles and so forth. I think understanding that all things can’t be sacrificed on the altar of academic career and physics has been really important, and understanding that that balance is not just for my own sake, but is in fact really in some sense in service of doing the physics. I can’t just sit around feeling angry about the number of Black women, or worrying a lot about dark matter. I also have to allow myself to do these other things…

Read the entire interview here.

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Black in a Foreign Land: In Defense of Dominican Identity

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2015-12-28 02:14Z by Steven

Black in a Foreign Land: In Defense of Dominican Identity

The Huffington Post
2015-12-17

César Vargas

I was born and raised in the Dominican Republic until I was two months shy of turning 13. The Dominican Republic has a peculiar color metric system–not necessarily on race. So it should go without saying that I wasn’t exposed to the clear cut Americentric, and very binary, concept of race in America until I set foot in the United States.

Since a very young age, I was aware of how both colorism and classism were prevalent back in the island. I noticed how people were treated and often saw how the socioeconomic standing of an individual trumped their color–up to a point if we’re to test folks by the brown paper bag. I’ve said once or twice that a Black man with money is more white than a white poor man. In a third world country where the majority of people are mulattoes, and most of the darker population would be of Haitian descent, you’d be hard pressed not to find people of most shades within families. Some of those family members were better off than others, and often, I’ve found, they could be of any shade.

Of course, like any nation of the world colonized by Europeans, power and wealth is usually concentrated with their descendants, but it would be dishonest to say that most of the power and wealth in the Dominican Republic is owned and controlled solely by its small white population. There are people of color (and visibly so), in most power and entertainment structures. A lot more, I dare say, than most Latin American countries. If we go by the one drop rule, there have been Black public figures, Black businesspeople, Black athletes, Black entertainers, Black generals, Black presidents, and so on. If you put them next to most African Americans, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference…

Read the entire article here.

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17 Of The Most Powerful Things Latinos Said In 2015 That Got Us Thinking

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2015-12-24 22:57Z by Steven

17 Of The Most Powerful Things Latinos Said In 2015 That Got Us Thinking

The Huffington Post
2015-12-22

Carolina Moreno, Latino Voices Editor

Diversity, immigration, feminism and more — these celebrities covered it all.

Latinos gave us plenty to think about in 2015, and it’s time to revisit some of the best mic drop moments of the year.

From pointing out Hollywood’s lack of diversity to exemplifying the importance of redefining masculinity, there was no shortage of food for thought from wise Latinos. Take a look at what John Leguizamo, Zoe Saldana, America Ferrera, Gina Rodriguez and many more Latinos said that really got us thinking in 2015…

Read the entire article here.

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Misty Copeland Is Helping To Bring Dance Lessons To Rwandan Kids

Posted in Africa, Arts, Media Archive, United States, Videos on 2015-11-28 15:27Z by Steven

Misty Copeland Is Helping To Bring Dance Lessons To Rwandan Kids

The Huffington Post
2015-11-25

Rahel Gebreyes, Editor, HuffPost Live

The dancer just returned from Kigali, Rwanda, where shared her love of dance with children in the city.

Ballerina Misty Copeland has made a name for herself breaking barriers for black dancers in the United States, and she’s taking her passion abroad to do the same in Rwanda.

This month, Copeland teamed up with MindLeaps, a nonprofit organization that brings dance instruction, vocational training and academics to the children of developing countries. Copeland traveled to Rwanda to launch the MindLeaps Girls Program and documented her journey via YouTube and Instagram.

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‘Mejorar la Raza’: An Example of Racism in Latino Culture

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Latino Studies, Media Archive on 2015-11-18 02:57Z by Steven

‘Mejorar la Raza’: An Example of Racism in Latino Culture

Latino Voices
Huffington Post
2015-06-15

Maria Alejandra Casale-Hardin
University of California, Hastings, Law Class of 2018


Samuel Lange Zambrano portraying a 9-year-old Venezuelan boy obsessed with straightening his hair in the 2013 film Pelo Malo.

‘Mejorar la raza’ is a common phrase used in Latin American countries, which means ‘improve the race.’ It implies that you should marry or have children with a whiter person so you’ll have better-looking kids. The phrase is used by people of any race without much thought. A year ago, a Facebook post by a Latina living in Europe started a heated argument about the history of whitewashing in Latin America. She said ‘mejorar la raza’ to justify the massive rape of Indigenous women by European colonizers. A few hours later, the girl erased the post and dismissed it as a joke. I like to hope she felt embarrassed after being called a racist on social media.

As a child, I heard my aunt asking my cousin to break up with the girl he was dating because he should ‘mejorar la raza’. Her biggest concern seemed to be the girl’s Afro-Latino heritage, “You don’t want to bring ugly kids into the world. What if you have a girl and she comes out with pelo malo?” My aunt thought she was talking some sense into her son. After all, “pelo malo” literally translates to ‘bad hair’ but it really means ‘afro-textured hair.’ She didn’t think she was being racist or mean-spirited, she thought it was her duty to point out how hard her imaginary granddaughter’s life will be if she inherited her mom’s curls…

Read the entire article here.

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Biracial Identity: My Choice, Not Society’s

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Media Archive on 2015-11-03 21:29Z by Steven

Biracial Identity: My Choice, Not Society’s

The Huffington Post
2015-11-02

Natasha Sim, Law Student, Writer, Animal Lover

Being biracial or multiracial is becoming increasingly common in the world, but it is still an unfamiliar concept to many. Many people probably know at least one biracial or multiracial person, but the intricacies of biracialism and multiracialism are still far from understood. The global interest around biracialism ramped up when Barack Obama became president, but it is something, that as a biracial person, I have wondered about my entire life.

My identity is not clear-cut and that can make things confusing. Some days I think I am white, and other days, I identify as Asian. Some days I identify as every possible nationality that I am affiliated with —New Zealander, English, Scottish, Irish and Chinese. Some days I am simply a biracial Asian and white person. My changing identity is not unique among mixed race people  –  as the recent PEW survey of multiracial people found, it is common for biracial and multiracial people to switch between identifying as one race or two or more races. My identity is ever-changing, and as some biracial or multiracial people describe their experience, “schizophrenic.” But, regardless of how confusing my identity may be, as I’ve matured and grown, I have realized that my identity is my choice – not society’s…

Read the entire article here.

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It’s amazing, really—this intransigent, irrational belief that the language of “colorblindness” can actually undo centuries of race-making.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2015-09-29 17:54Z by Steven

Its amazing, really—this intransigent, irrational belief that the language of “colorblindness” can actually undo centuries of race-making. The French seem to believe, that through the magical power of language alone, they can talk racism into oblivion. Nevermind the fact that France spent centuries establishing racial hierarchies at home and in its colonial empire for the purpose of enriching the state. Some truly believe that words like “Republic” and “citizenship” and “indivisible” can suddenly undo processes that were produced and institutionalized over the course of four hundred years.

Crystal Fleming, “France’s Approach to Fighting Racism: Pretty Words and Magical Thinking,” The Huffington Post, May 7, 2015. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/crystal-fleming/frances-approach-to-fight_b_7231610.html.

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France’s Approach to Fighting Racism: Pretty Words and Magical Thinking

Posted in Articles, Europe, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2015-09-29 17:45Z by Steven

France’s Approach to Fighting Racism: Pretty Words and Magical Thinking

The Huffington Post
2015-05-07

Crystal Fleming, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Stony Brook University, The State University of New York

I first came to France twelve years ago during my junior year abroad. I was the first person in my family to get a passport and I could barely contain my excitement. In the winter of 2003, two years before the riots that followed the untimely deaths of 15 year old Zyed Benna and 17 year old Bouna Traore, I landed in Paris bright-eyed and bushy tailed, armed with a very shaky grasp of French and a naive fascination with this beautiful country.

As an African-American, I was vaguely aware that France did not deal with issues of race the way we do in the United States. And when I happened to forget, French white people were keen to remind me. In one of the sociology classes I took at a university in the south of France, I hesitantly raised my hand to ask a question. The white French professor had been lecturing on youth and delinquency. I asked, in my broken French, if the dynamics he described had any relation to racial or ethnic belonging. “We don’t have that kind of problem here,” he said, adding: “This isn’t the United States.” Embarrassed and flustered, I nodded and continued taking notes. After class, one of the only other black students pulled me aside: “We do have those kinds of problems here. Hang out with me and I’ll tell you about it.”…

…In France, it is illegal for the government to include race or ethnicity on the census, as doing so is framed as a violation of so-called “Republican” values, which insist that the French Republic is “indivisible” and should not be distinguished in terms of race or ethnic origin. The problem with this is that the majority population fails to acknowledge that the Republic has been making racial and ethnic distinctions for a very long time. This, too, stems from denial and ignorance. The truth is that French people who cherish dominant interpretations of “colorblind” Republicanism help maintain the racial status quo. By refusing to support the collection of statistics that could be used to generate policies and measure their effectiveness, they undermine the work of minorities and activists who are working hard to counteract the tide of Republican denial.

While some argue that France doesn’t need more data to fight racism, this almost argument is never made concerning sexism. Most people are aware that sexism exists, but it would be absurd to say: “We already know sexism exists and therefore don’t need data on gender discrimination..” Yet, this is the same kind of magical thinking that prevails in much of the so-called “anti-racist” discourse one encounters in France…

Read the entire article here.

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Too Latina To Be Black, Too Black To Be Latina

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2015-09-24 16:17Z by Steven

Too Latina To Be Black, Too Black To Be Latina

The Huffington Post
2015-09-15

Aleichia Williams, Writer, Student, Advocate

I can remember the first time I had a ‘race crisis.’

I was probably twelve or thirteen and I had just moved to the quiet state of North Carolina from my home state and city of New York. North Carolina was a lot different than New York. For one, there wasn’t an enormous variety of culture and people. I didn’t have class with any Russians. My professors weren’t Puerto Rican and there wasn’t a whole lot of mixing between kids of one race with kids of another. In fact, at my middle school you had three groups you could classify as; black, “Mexican”, or white.

Unaware of this fact I walked into my second class on my first day of school and decided to sit next to a group of friendly looking Hispanic girls. As soon as I sat down the table was quiet. Then one girl snickered to another in Spanish “Why is she sitting here? I don’t want her to sit here.” Her friend, who had been in my previous class and had heard my class introduction, blushed and replied to her friend in English “She speaks Spanish.”

That was the first time I could remember being aware of my skin color and the overwhelming implications it held. This was also my first ‘race crisis’…

Read the entire article here.

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