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Oh, Annie Leibovitz. I know virtually nothing about you, but every time I turn around you're at the center of some controversy. Whether it's because you've done a ridiculously racist photo shoot or an inappropriate Lolitaesque portrait of a fifteen-year-old...

And now THIS. Granted, she did not write the article for Vanity Fair's List of This Year's Up and Coming Young Actresses. But she did shoot the pictures, and all racism issues aside, the picture is literally so white that I cannot see it! I'm not being facetious when I say that the combination of such pale actresses and pale dresses on a white background burns my eyes in a way akin to staring into a light bulb. I had to read the article to realize that I was already familiar with all but one of the featured actresses due to the fact that the actresses have had their (already) white faces whitewashed by Photoshop beyond the point of recognition.

But just in case I was in the mood to feel annoyed at something beyond the fact that I've been robbed of the eyesight necessary to view what I'm sure are lovely photos of my girlcrush, Amanda Seyfried-- HERE, HERE, and HERE are articles addressing the disturbing lack of diversity in the young women spotlighted as "up and coming" this year. My burned retinas stand in agreement that there are certain actresses of a, shall we say, darker pigment than those listed that are notable omissions, such as Zoe Saldana, Freida Pinto, and Gabourey Sidibe.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to blindly locate-- by way of feeling around what I hope is my medicine cabinet-- some eye drops.
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I didn't even know that there was going to be a live-action Avatar movie, let alone that it was going to be directed by M. Night Shyamalan, but this casting news?

Oh, HELLS NO. Shyamalan, you did not cast a host of White actors to play the Avatar characters. The very blatantly and awesomely not White characters. Fuck that. Jesse Mccartney as Zuko? Say what now? You're telling me that Dante Basco, who actually voiced Zuko, is an awesome POC actor, looks age appropriate, and has marital arts training wasn't available? This is Earthsea all over again.

Getting this news on the same eve that I argued with my parents over whether or not I could put a Black Santa on our front lawn is also uncool. Dad first tried to tell me that I would look racist for having a Black Santa, then my mother attempted to kindly explain to me that Santa just wasn't Black, and then the reason switched to the fact that everyone else in our hick town is too racist and we don't want people vandalizing us just because I had the strange notion of deviating from the White Santa norm. Then, I was accused to pushing a Liberal (I know, me, right?) agenda and next I would want to make Santa into a gay cross dresser, too. *FacePalm* I probably didn't help my case by saying, "Yes, a gay, cross-dressing Santa would be AWESOME."

I love my parents, but damn it. -_-; They've been living in this town too long, only interacting with people like them, and I think my machismo Italian father conveniently forgets on a regular basis that he has a daughter who is half-Latina and therefore has to look at the world in a different way than a person with White male privilege can. .

In other non-racist news, an AWESOME casting surprise. John Glover, a.k.a PAPA LUTHOR, is going to play you-know-who's real father. If it's true that Mama P. is actually his mother, then consider my mind blown at the sheer hotness of John Glover/Cristine Rose. Hot damn!
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In my continued travels through race relations (and my obsession with the website I came across this list of Unfortunate Implications in popular media.

The list introduced me to Sunflower from the deleted scenes of Fantasia here, here, and here.

Oh my God, Disney. WTF???
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So, lately I've become rather obsessed with racial issues in fandom and television.

I've been participating in online fandom for almost eight years now, and I'm embarrassed to say that it was only recently that I became aware of all this anti-racism-in-fandom business. Of course I noticed that women and CoCs (characters of color) were under- and misrepresented in our entertainment media, but there's such interesting discussion out there on fandom's mishandling of CoCs. Absolutely fascinating (and a little horrifying). I've been submersing myself in the [Bad username or site: @] and [Bad username or site: @] communities, the latter dedicated to our beloved (and nameless) Haitian on Heroes. I highly recommend checking those communities out.

Some interesting links:

*Meta and discussion on the much-despised twins in Heroes, and why their treatment by fandom (and the writers) makes some fans uncomfortable. I'm no fan of the twins, but there's some great discussion on WHY the fans haven't been brought to care about the twins and other minority characters on Heroes. I'm still not ready to jump on the "Heroes is racist" bandwagon, but I do admit that are enough issues in the show to give pause. For example, all (but one?) of the minority characters are either ex-cons, drug-addicts, plague-bringers, dead, or written off, while the white characters (and actors) appear to be bullet-, sword-, plague-, and coffin-proof. One bullet took out DL, and six weren't enough to keep Parkman down. Plus, the recent addition of African!Isaac, who is darling but very clearly a magical black character.

*Discussion on the racist implications of calling Lana Lang on Smallville a "squirrel" and fandom's rejection of Lana as an "All-American Girl." Again, I'm no fan of Lana's (in fact, I think she's the worst character ever written for television). But I was always confused by SV writers' refusal to acknowledge Kruek's Asian lineage, and I had no idea that so much fan hatred was expressed in this manner.

*A REALLY intriguing discussion of the fledgling comic Genius and the debate it's sparked between readers from different backgrounds." Genius asks the question: “Alexander, Hannibal, Napoleon, Patton. What if the greatest military mind of OUR generation was a 17-year-old girl who grew up on the tough streets of an urban war zone?” The best comment that really reveals the societal (and racial) divide I read was from a mother, who wrote, "I can't teach my kids the cops are always right and always on their side. Why? Because they are young black males and the cops aren't always on their side, especially living in the United States. My kids get caught with drugs? They're going to jail, not a nice rehab facility."

*A GREAT quote from actor James Marsters (Spike) about the lack of CoCs on Buffy. Quote cut for length. ) Very honest. The link goes to the full quote. There is a TON of interesting discourse on the treatment of CoCs in Buffy, and I wish I could re-find some of those entries. :( BONUS: But I do have a great Gunn/Wesley fic rec about Wesley's White Guilt.

*FOUND ONE! An excellent essay about the lack of fic for CoCs in popular television. Ex: Forrest in Buffy, Pete in Smallville, and Henry in The Sentinel.

*While everyone was freaking out about Miley Cyrus' virtue, no one cared to mention that Disney's other princess, Asian Brenda Song, was used in an escort ad.

*Discussion on a quote from Russel T. Davis of Dr. Who, claiming that Martha Jones was always meant to be second best to Rose. I'm not a Rose OR a Martha fan (however, I love me some Donna), but still interesting in that Martha was apparently short-changed before she even got started. Here's the actual article the quote comes from.

There are also a BILLION entries on racism in Firefly available upon request. ;)


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May 2010

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