Placing Chris Rock in Conversation with Beverly Daniels Tatum

It seems as though anytime there is a widely-publicized instance of police brutality in the United States, my Facebook timeline is flooded with the same grainy YouTube clip entitled “How to Not Get Your Ass Kicked by the Police.” In the faux public service announcement filmed in 1998, comedian Chris Rock provides black viewers with a comical step-by-step guide to follow in order to avoid getting into trouble with the law.   The skit is problematic because it perpetuates negative black prejudices, showing only black men breaking laws and acting in a stereotypical thug-like manner, but also because it victim-blames, … Read more

Which one is better?

For my final blog post I decided to revisit the question that kind of stuck with me during our last class. I don’t remember the question exactly but it essentially said: isn’t bad media representation better than none because it is a start? I sort of answered it in class, but I was still struggling after. And I still, sort of, am struggling with it now. So I’m determined to find an answer by the end of this blog post. My gut reaction was “no,” but then I thought that, although bad representation was obviously bad, at least actors of … Read more

We Want A Black James Bond… But Is That The Most Productive Fight To Be Fought?

There’s been a great deal of controversy these past couple of years about the future of the James Bond film franchise, a favorite among movie-goers who are into explosions and tuxedos.  Current Bond actor Daniel Craig is poised to put down the 007 mantle before long, and of course a new Bond needs to emerge in his wake. When an email between Sony and Columbia film executives was leaked in 2014, fans of the franchise learned that British actor Idris Elba was being considered for the role.  Many fans of both Bond and Elba rallied around the idea, supporting the … Read more

Is Acknowledging Differential Media Treatment of Black Americans and Other Minorities “Anti-Black”?

As a lover of comedy and a sometime dabbler, the past few years have given me a new hero: Aziz Ansari. In addition to emerging as an influential feminist, Mr. Ansari has made a name for himself one of the country most prolific comedians- having produced four stand-up specials, co-authored the book Modern Romance with sociologist Eric Klinenberg, starred in the majorly successful Parks and Recreation while accepting roles in other television shows and films, and created and starred in the Netflix Original Series Master of None in just the past few years. Master of None is my focus here. … Read more

From Blackface to Blaxploitation: Racism and Representation in Entertainment

At some point this week, I came across a BuzzFeed post entitled, “The BuzzFeed Black History Reading List,” which included a series of essays and articles reflecting upon the end of Black History Month. One of the articles in this post shines an accusatory spotlight down on Hollywood’s use of Blackface today. After some initial disbelief and some precursory digging, I found the amount of performers who have performed in blackface appalling and the names I cam across equally as shocking. And, no, these were not performers from the Civil Rights Era-America of the 1960s; these were household names that are … Read more

Does Black History Matter

Originally posted February 24, 2014   While stumbling around the internet this week I came across two articles that made me stop and think, this can’t be real. http://jezebel.com/last-night-on-jeopardy-no-one-wanted-to-answer-qs-about-1525439303 The first one that I came across was about Jeopardy, which on the night of 02/17, had a category called “African-American History.” The panelist were all white college students and they avoided the topic to the best of their ability. Reading the comments under the article, to which they are all mostly twitter posts, I was so confused. They have to teach something other than how important Martin Luther King is … Read more