5th Tuesday Guest Post: Photographing Black Girl Magic

Note from Michelle: When I saw the photos from this project, I was floored. I knew this was something that needed to be shared far and wide, so I asked Katie about writing up a little something for Tuesday Justice. I’m so glad she agreed. This is what it looks like to use your privilege and be an ally. Thank you, Katie! Check out more of her work here


by Katie Hoffpauir

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The journey to this project took a little over a year, and it began as something so utterly simple. I wanted to document natural hair: the curls, the fro, all of it. But what started out as me wanting to take photographs of just hair morphed into something completely different, and I am so thankful that it did.34536308_10103233196156260_4917672386381217792_o

One day this past May, over a year after the idea came to me, I was walking around our local Barnes and Noble. Now, on a normal bookstore trip, I leave with at least two new books and probably some kind of puzzle. On this particular trip, however, nothing was standing out to me. I walked the aisles for well over an hour and not one thing said, “buy me.” As I was getting ready to just give up, I passed one of the center tables and the only, I mean the only book that I saw, was Black Girl Magic. I tend to take signs literally, and I knew that I needed to really do this project. Only, at that moment, I knew it was turning into something else. I felt it in my bones, this urge to photograph black women. Not only for their beautiful hair, but for their inner beauty and their strength. 

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This feeling took me to Pinterest to research portrait styles and trends for photographing black women in particular. And do you know what I found? Not a whole lot. There were literally photographs of white women for every single scenario, but mostly only ad campaigns featuring black women, and not very diverse ads might I say. Immense sadness washed over me as I realized that young black girls growing up don’t see themselves portrayed in a positive light very often. We’ve seen a growth in representation, sure, but is it necessarily mostly positive? The black women portrayed in most movies or tv shows are loud, obnoxious, or out for revenge. Just turn on just about any Tyler Perry movie, and there’s a black woman out for blood (usually over a no good man). Or in any white movie, she’s the token black friend plugged in for the sake of variety. We must change the stereotype that women of color are only two-dimensional, and we must teach our young people to not only SEE but CELEBRATE color. So often, I hear white people say that their children are taught not to see color. But you guys, color should be seen! We have to show our children that there is no shame in color; that there is beauty and strength in our differences. 

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When I posted about needing models for this project, some asked if they could bring a friend. This simple question took me not only into documenting an individual’s beauty, but their friendships. 

34556028_10103233195442690_7440125358134788096_oTo say I was excited about this turn of events, doesn’t do the feelings I had justice. The morning of the first session, I was a little nervous to be photographing three women. But then when we met up, every anxiety faded away, and I knew exactly where I needed this project to go. It became a need to showcase not only photographs that were about strength, but photographs that showcased a sisterhood and love. It became so much more than what I envisioned a year earlier. Each portrait day, these women were stopped by others on the street, telling them how beautiful they were. And at the end of each session, there was a sense of joy and pride present that I can’t explain.

I have never in my life felt so invigorated while photographing anyone, and that week of sessions did more for my soul than anything I had ever done before. I made new friends, and I met some fierce and beautiful women of color. These women work in social work, they deliver babies, they teach children, they are mothers, sisters, daughters. They are bold, beautiful, educated, courageous, and kind. They embody love, loyalty, and wisdom. They are a wonderful force for good in this world and we need to celebrate their melanin. Because it is amazing. 

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Black Panther Resource List

As I thought about how to address Black Panther on the blog, I realized the best thing that I could do is exactly what we always do at Tuesday Justice: provide LOTS of resources! It’s been by reading various articles that I have come to better understand why this film is so needed, so beautiful, and so loved.

by Michelle Palmer

IMG_0905I’ve purchased advance tickets for a grand total of three films in my life, Black Panther being the most recent. One of the friends I went with told me as soon as the credits rolled, “You have to do a Tuesday Justice post on this!” (At least, that’s how I remember it. I was still reeling from the overwhelming beauty of the whole thing.) My first thought was, “But how?!” How do I, especially as a white woman, write about what this film means? How do I try to communicate its importance? There were so many issues that the film touched on that we talk about here (modern slavery, historical slavery, mass incarceration, immigration, refugees), but I wasn’t sure I was up to the task.

First and foremost, I wanted my dear friend and Tuesday Justice co-founder to share her thoughts on the film. As a proud black woman, passionate about her heritage, I couldn’t wait to hear her reaction to the film. She graciously agreed to type it up for us!

Channon: “The excitement that I felt leading up to the evening that I was to go and see Black Panther was indescribable! I’m not normally someone who gets caught up in the hype of something, and that was the case leading up to the Black Panther’s release.seun and channon before black panther However, as I started to read more articles on the movie on Facebook and started to see all the of the clips of people going to see the movie decked out in their African attire, I started getting excited about going to see it!  The evening my husband I went to see the movie, we definitely dressed in our Nigerian and African attire (see pic) and even did a mini photo shoot before leaving for the theatre! LOL Getting to the theatre (45 mins before the movie even started!), we were with a long line of people waiting to enter. We finally got to go in and waited with anticipation for the movie to begin and once it did, man, were we blown away! It’s not just that there was an all-star cast or that the story was from the Marvel comic series or that the storyline was great and entertaining. It was the fact that I was watching a movie with an all black cast, with a black director, with a black woman as the costume designer, showing the masses what Africa is and will be as a continent when we unite, rise up and take back our voice and story that was taken so violently from us centuries ago. My favourite scene of the movie (there were many!) is when King T’Challa (played by Chadwick Boseman) goes to be crowned King of Wakanda and all of the various tribes and people of Wakanda were standing on the mountain in their various clothing and traditional jewelry. The colours in that scene were so bright, so colourful, so vibrant and all of those people represented the different people, traditions, customs, cultures and languages that make up the African continent today! I also really like all the symbolism and meaning that the movies contained (e.g. the Jabari people being reminiscent of the Maroon people of Jamaica) or the green, red and black outfits that Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o and Danai Gurira’s characters wore in the casino scene, representing the colours of the Pan-African flag. The movie was just full, and I thoroughly enjoyed it and was proud to see myself and my heritage represented!”

IMG_0607.jpgAs I continued to think about other ways we could talk about Black Panther here on the blog, I realized the best thing I could do is exactly what we always do at Tuesday Justice: provide LOTS of resources! As a “colonizer,” it’s been by reading various articles and editorials that I have come to better understand why this film is so needed, so beautiful, and so loved. Like Channon, I arrived at the movie theater 45 minutes early with my crew. We didn’t have a photoshoot beforehand, but I did manage to sneak a (terribly lit) selfie with the stunning Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o). And it really did feel like something special from the time we stood in line to the very last tag scene. And after three viewings, it still feels like there is so much more for me to unpack and understand.

I started a list, only to be surprised with a much more comprehensive list. Dr. Brian Keith Mitchell, history professor at University of Arkansas at Little Rock, produced a fantastic reader list for faculty to use in classroom discussions of the film, which made it way to my mom’s inbox (she’s on staff at UALR) and which she thoughtfully passed on to me! (Thanks, Momma!)

Admittedly, I’ve not read every single article on the list, but the ones that I’ve read (or watched) and that have helped me the most are listed first (with excerpts). The remainder are listed below and categorized, thanks to Dr. Mitchell.

  • Why ‘Black Panther’ Is a Defining Moment for Black America by Carvell Wallace for the New York Times – “This is all part of a tradition of unrestrained celebration and joy that we have come to rely on for our spiritual survival. We know that there is no end to the reminders that our lives, our hearts, our personhoods are expendable. Yes, many nonblack people will say differently; they will declare their love for us, they will post Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela quotes one or two days a year. But the actions of our country and its collective society, and our experiences within it, speak unquestionably to the opposite. Love for black people isn’t just saying Oscar Grant should not be dead. Love for black people is Oscar Grant not being dead in the first place.”
  • Race, Barriers and Battling Nerves: A Candid Conversation With Oscar’s Only 4 African-American Directing Nominees in 90 Years by Lacey Rose for The Hollywood Reporter – John Singleton: “There are enough people now that you can go to, to have a conference with or to say, “I don’t understand this world, can you help me?’’ So, I’m not assailing against anybody white trying to do a black story — try it, but get someone to help you. What’s interesting when you see Black Panther is you realize it couldn’t have been directed by anybody else but Ryan Coogler. It’s a great adventure movie and it works on all those different levels as entertainment, but it has this kind of cultural through-line that is so specific that it makes it universal.” behind the thrills black panther costumes
  • Costume Design in Black Panther from OkayAfrica (Video)
  • Black Panther’s Costume Designer on Dressing Every Woman As a Queen By Lindsay Peoples for The Cut – “When you put on your shapely garments and your beautiful color palette, and you wrap your hair and you put that knot at the top, you feel a sense of pride. Even though Wakanda is made up, it is still a part of the continent from which our ancestors came, and it gives people a context with which to think of people of color in a positive way — instead of in a radical militant way or a negative way. We’re making Africa chic again, and I hope when women see that, they go, ‘Tomorrow when I go to work, I’m going to wrap my hair up!’” – Ruth E. Carter
  • Black Panther director Ryan Coogler thoroughly breaks down the symbolism and visual effects of the Casino Fight Scene from Black Panther from Black with No Chaser (Video)
  • Why museum professionals need to talk about Black Panther by Casey Haughin for The Hopkins Exhibitionist – “The first step after this movie is to publicly confirm the reality of the situation; museums need to step up and acknowledge the fact that Killmonger’s anger in the exhibition and the experience he had were not entirely fictionalized, but rather a magnification of museum practices in the modern world. The next step is to listen. Listen to people of color, to communities, and to whole countries who see themselves both robbed by and cast out from international institutions. By communicating openly with the audience of a museum, professionals can determine how better to adapt their practices and make the institution a place that is relevant and respectful for all visitors. Until a truly symbiotic dialogue is established, this scene in Black Panther will represent the reality of museum politics where fact is truly more alarming than any fiction.”
  • Ryan Coogler Breaks Down The Making Of ‘Black Panther’, Black Girl Power, & Building Wakanda from Hot 97 (Video)
  • ‘Black Panther’ is a chance for black moviegoers to finally just enjoy the show by Zack Linley for the Washington Post – “It’s something many white filmgoers just don’t get. I’ve seen it many times: someone claiming it’s a double standard to celebrate all-black movies while calling all-white movies racist, or resenting that race is being brought up at all. It’s only a movie! Can’t we all just enjoy it? This is a question you would ask only if you had been overwhelmingly represented in every genre in every era of American film, and you simply don’t understand the sense of urgency for those of us who have not.”
  • In ‘Black Panther,’ Black Women Thrive by Erin Canty for Man Repeller – “Because I am a 32-year-old black woman immersed in a cinematic universe where black women thrive, I am overjoyed for the children who will grow up seeing these confident, courageous women taking up space and telling stories that are larger than life. black-panther-latitia-lupita-danai-angela-1_13005521_ver1.0I think about the young black girls who will watch these women and grow up inspired to carry out big dreams of their own. I think about all of this, and I am delighted.”
  • Feeling White Privilege When Watching Black Panther by Zoe and Ama from Not So Young and Dumb (Podcast) Also available here for non-Apple users: CastBox
  • The Feminism of Black Panther vs. Wonder Woman BY SHOSHANAKESSOCK – “I could continue to break down the narrative even further by speaking about the power of all these women and their representation as women of color, but as I said there are POC out there far better equipped to handling that conversation. In the matter of that topic, I step back and want to speak less and listen more. But in contrasting Wonder Woman and its feminist ideology alongside that of Black Panther, I can only conclude that while Wonder Woman brings us a kind of exceptionalist feminism, Black Panther brings us a vision of what a truly gender-equal society can accomplish, breaking down the barriers of gender stereotypes to present opportunity for anyone to be anything they wish in their full complexity and freedom of choice.”
  • Black Panther Is the Most Feminist Superhero Movie Yet (Yes, including Wonder Woman.) by Aisha Harris for SlateMoving as it was to see so many little girls dressing up as Wonder Woman, the fact that Black Panther has a wider variety of Wakandan women is a crucial step toward truly progressive feminism on screen.
  • The Most Important Moment in Black Panther No One Is Talking About by Benjamin Dixon for Progressive Army – “It is in that sadness that the film demonstrates the potential for the greatest impact: There is no Black Panther coming to save us. There is no Wakanda to go home to. And in the absence of such wonderful dreams, we — Black people around the world — must continue to stand up and be the fantasies of which we dream — just as T’Chaka told his son, King T’Challa, as they stood in the solemn moment of the ancestral plane, ‘Stand up. You are a King.'”
  • The ‘Wakanda Curriculum’ Is One Teacher’s Attempt to Take Black Panther Conversations to the Next Level by Julie Muncy for Gizmodo – “Tess Raser, a teacher of sixth graders at the Dulles School of Excellence in Chicago, has built the “Wakanda Curriculum” to drive discussions in advance of and after viewing of Black Panther. As Blavity reports, Raser was inspired after her own conversations about the film to take those debates—about black revolution, black feminism, and the legacy of colonialism and anti-black racism—to her students.” The 46-page unit can be found HERE. (More resources for teaching about Black Panther: The Best Resources For Teaching About The Black Panther Movie)

19panther-students-superJumbo.jpgBut this next one was far and away, THE BEST….

  • ‘I Took 7th Graders to See “Black Panther.” Here’s What They Said.’ [The New York Times]

 


Academic Food for Thought  

  1. Introduction to the Wakandan Syllabus
  2. ‘“Black Panther” Forces Africans and Black Americans to Reconcile the Past’ [Buzzfeed]
  3. ‘The Revolutionary Power of “Black Panther”’ [Time]
  4. “Black Panther” and the Invention of “Africa”  by Jelani Cobb for The New Yorker
  5. ‘Behind the Scenes of “Black Panther”’s Afrofuturism’ [Wired]
  6. ‘How “Black Panther”’s Costume Designer Created a New Vision of Africa’ [Refinery29]
  7. ‘“Black Panther” Is Great. But Let’s Not Treat It as an Act of Resistance.’ [The Guardian]
  8. ‘“Black Panther” Is Not the Movie We Deserve’ [Boston Review]
  9. Black Panther Movie Boldly Tackles Black Excellence – Refinery29
  10. Killmonger is the real hero for those who refuse to assimilate into an elitist blackness that leaves many behind
  11. How Black Panther Echoes Afrofuturism and Disses French-Speaking Africa
  12. The Viral ‘Black Panther’ Middle School Curriculum Provides Parents Real Insight
  13. The ‘Black Panther’ Revolution – Elitist
  14. “Black Panther” Is Inspiring Black Brazilians to Occupy Elite, White Shopping Malls
  15. ‘Black Panther’ is a revelation but also a reminder of what we’ve been missing
  16. “Black Panther” villain Killmonger is a symbol of Black pain
  17. Opinion | The Afrofuturism Behind ‘Black Panther’ – The New York Times
  18. How ‘Black Panther’ Changes Marvel’s Message – Forbes
  19. The Real History Behind the Black Panther – History in the Headlines
  20. Black Panther’s symbolic African costumes – HeraldLIVE
  21. Black Panther: The Ultimate Alt-Right Hero | Squawker
  22. The Racial Politics of Black Panther | Psychology Today

Overviews/Ending

  1. Black Panther – Rate And Discuss With Spoilers
  2. Black Panther End Credit Scenes: What Happens, And What They Mean
  3. One Major Mistake Black Panther Makes
  4. Why Black Panther Included That Character In Its Post-Credits Scene
  5. The 9 Funniest Moments In Black Panther
  6. Why Black Panther’s Surprise Cameo Didn’t Happen Until The End Of The Movie
  7. The 9 Coolest Wakanda Inventions Shown In Black Panther
  8. Kendrick Lamar Gives ‘Black Panther’ a Weighty Soundtrack

Reactions

  1. What Marvel’s Chris Pratt Thought Of Black Panther
  2. Oprah’s Review Of Black Panther Is Better If You Read It In The Oprah Voice
  3. What Marvel’s Kevin Feige Really Thinks About Black Panther
  4. What Michelle Obama Thought Of Black Panther
  5. How Disney’s CEO Reacted To Black Panther’s Success
  6. Review: ‘Black Panther’ Shakes Up the Marvel Universe
  7. Black Panther’ Brings Hope, Hype and Pride
  8. ‘“Black Panther” and the Revenge of the Black Nerds’ [The New York Times]
  9. Black Panther Review: the Marvel Universe Finally Shows Us Something New

MCU Connections

  1. How Black Panther Sets Up A Possible Future For Iron Man
  2. Black Panther Has Some Shocking Similarities To A Recent Marvel Movie
  3. How One Black Panther Scene Nods At The Original Iron Man Movie
  4. Why Black Panther Doesn’t Have More Ties To The Larger Marvel Cinematic Universe
  5. Ta-Nehisi Coates Helps a New Panther Leave Its Print
  6. The Black Panther Reading List
  7. Black Panther Royal Family Tree (Video)

Characters

  1. All The Major Characters You Need To Know In Black Panther
  2. Is Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger Marvel’s Best Villain Yet?
  3. Where Black Panther’s Shuri Goes From Here In The MCU
  4. Why Black Panther’s Agent Ross Is Different From The Comics
  5. Did Black Panther Reveal An Important Development For A Key Marvel Hero?
  6. In Defense of Erik Killmonger and the Forgotten Children of Wakanda
  7. ‘Black Panther’: Why Not Queen Shuri? (Guest Column)
  8. Why Black Panther’s T’Challa Is a Better Man Than Most Superheroes …

Gender

  1. Finally, “Black Panther” Is a Movie Black Women Can Celebrate’ [Independent]
  2. ‘Kevin Feige on the Future of Marvel’s Women’ [Vulture]
  3. Black Panther Breakout Letitia Wright Smashes Disney Princess Expectations
  4. Princess Shuri: The Hero We Needed | The Amherst Student
  5. There’s a True Story Behind Black Panther’s Strong Women. Here’s …
  6. The women of ‘Black Panther’ are empowered not just in politics and …
  7. Black Women Are Black Panther’s Mightiest Heroes – io9 – Gizmodo
  8. Black Panther, black women, and the politics of black hair | Cinema
  9. The power of ‘Black Panther’s’ army of African women – The Lily
  10. In ‘Black Panther,’ Wakanda’s Women Are Both Funny And Fierce
  11. The Powerful Women Of ‘Black Panther’ | HuffPost
  12. After Black Panther and Wonder Woman, Batgirl needs a female …
  13. The Women in ‘Black Panther’ Rock – Why ‘Black Panther’ is a Win for …
  14. Get to know the Dora Milaje, Black Panther’s mighty women … – Vox
  15. The Female Cast of Black Panther Is So Freakin’ Badass, I’m Crying Tears of Joy
  16. The Most Important Debate in Black Panther Is, Unsurprisingly … – Elle
  17. How Danai GuriraOkoye redefines the female warrior in ‘Black Panther’

LGBT

  1. ‘“Black Panther” Screenwriter Joe Robert Cole Addresses Rumors of a Deleted Gay Scene’ [ScreenCrush]
  2. ‘Don’t Play With Our Emotions: “Black Panther” and Queer Representation’ [The Root]
  3. Could There Have Been a Lesbian Romance in Black Panther? Let’s Investigate

Director/Cast Takes

  1. Ryan Coogler’s Open Letter To Black Panther Fans Is Wonderful
  2. The Amazing Black Panther Set That Led Daniel Kaluuya To Recognize The Epicness Of Black Panther
  3. The Best Wakandan Technology, According To Black Panther’s Michael B. Jordan
  4. Black Panther Director Ryan Coogler Explains His Infinity Stone Decision
  5. The Stars of ‘Black Panther’ Waited a Lifetime for This Moment
  6. Black Panther’s Director Ryan Coogler Breaks Down a Fight Scene
  7. Black Panther designer Ruth Carter reveals the African symbols … – Syfy

Box Office

  1. Why Black Panther Overperformed At The Box Office
  2. Black Panther Made Even More This Weekend Than We Thought
  3. Black Panther Box Office: There’s A Party Going On Over At Marvel
  4. After ‘Black Panther,’ Will Hollywood Finally Admit That Black Films …

Opposition to Black Panther

  1. ‘Alt-Right’ Group Takes Aim At ‘Black Panther.’ Ryan Coogler …
  2. Alt-Right Group Tries To Take Down Black Panther Film – Refinery29
  3. ‘Black Panther’ Targeted By Alt-Right Trolls Who Also Tried to Tank …
  4. An alt-right group threatened to attack ‘Black Panther’ on Rotten …
  5. Racist trolls are saying Black Panther fans attacked them. They’re lying …
  6. Black Panther: Twitter bans trolls who claimed white cinema-goers …

OTHER:

  1. Can Superheroes Be Woke?: Black Liberation and the Black Panther
  2. ‘Black Panther’ teaches women how to show up for themselves in life and in love
  3. The power of ‘Black Panther’s’ army of African women
  4. ‘Black Panther’ fully embraces its blackness — and that’s what makes it unforgettable
  5. Wakanda forever: The overt feminism of ‘Black Panther’
  6. ‘Black Panther’ Cast Made Sandra Bullock Cry ‘As A Mother’

 

 

 

 

 

Black Dresses & White Roses: Turning #MeToo Into Positive Change

by Michelle Palmer

“For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dare speak the truth to the power of those men. But their time is up. Their time is up.”  – Oprah

I first remember seeing #MeToo back in October. I specifically remember a particular post by Aisha Bain. I think this excerpt from that post sums up the heart of it better than I ever could:

I have said me too.

In the quiet spaces.

With a friend, when we discovered – yes, me too.

With other women bold in their sharing of their experiences to provide space and place for others to seek support.

I’ve said it silence.

When I lock eyes with another woman on a train or in the street when some guy is cat-calling or yelling horrible things.

When I wait to make sure my friend is in her home with the door closed before driving away.

When I walk down a street at night with keys in my hand and my head on a swivel.

When I walk behind all my women friends, always, using my height to keep track of everyone, using my brain to scenario plan what I would do to protect them.

When I avoid eye contact with a man. When I make eye contact with a man just be friendly and civil, and then regret it.

When I was silent, or polite, or laughed off some man’s advances just to stay safe.

When male hands grouped with entitled possession and you can’t even find the who did it in a crowded bar, train, or public space.

When I spoke out against it and the situation became more dangerous.

When I freaked out when I playfully wrestled a boyfriend, and he pinned me down, and somewhere, something so deep emerged, a panic, a fear so severe – I couldn’t control it, I didn’t understand it, and I couldn’t communicate why, all logic evaporated in my terror.

me too

me too

me too

I remember thinking, hoping, as I read her post (and countless others) that maybe a viral hashtag could somehow turn the tides. “Maybe this will help people understand.” But I think I doubted it deep down. I worried that it would fade from the headlines and fade from our social media feeds, the momentum would be short-lived, and no real change would happen.person-of-year-2017-time-magazine-cover1

But then it seemed to keep going. The Silence Breakers were Time’s Person of the Year. From Tarana Burke to Alyssa Milano. From Sandra Pezqueda and Isabel Pascual to Taylor Swift and Terry Crews. That was at the start of December.

It didn’t stop there. In January, actresses wore black to the Golden Globes, the first awards show of the season, a season when celebrities have even more visibility than usual. And it wasn’t just a fashion statement. It was the launch of the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund. Actresses didn’t just wear black in solidarity, they spoke out (and spoke up) and brought activists as their dates; they shared the platform and passed the microphone.typorama (1)

And then, the movement reached the Grammys with white roses, Janelle Monae, and Kesha’s performance of “Praying.”

Before I get too far ahead of myself, let’s cover the basics. This is about both equality and ending sexual harassment. If you don’t know why it’s a big deal, read on. (And/or check out our earlier post on feminism.) These stats come from the Time’s Up website, and each has links to its source.  

  • 1 in 3 women ages 18 to 34 has been sexually harassed at work. Sexual harassment is pervasive across industries, but especially in low-wage service jobs. For example, more than 25% of sexual harassment charges filed with the EEOC in the last decade came from industries with service-sector workers. Source.
  • Nearly 50% of men think women are well-represented in leadership in companies where only one in ten senior leaders is a woman. Source.
  • 1 in 5 C-Suite leaders is a woman. Fewer than 1 in 30 is a woman of color. Source.
  • White non-Hispanic women are paid 81 cents on the dollar compared to white non-Hispanic men. Asian women are only paid 88 cents on the dollar. Black and Hispanic women are only paid 65 cents and 59 cents on the white male dollar, respectively. Source.
  • Only about half of the world’s working-age women participate in the labor force, compared to around three-quarters of their male counterparts. Closing that gap could add an estimated $12 trillion in global GDP by 2025. Sources: http://www.ilo.org/gender/Informationresources/Publications/WCMS_457317/lang–en/index.htm; https://www.mckinsey.com/global-themes/employment-and-growth/how-advancing-womens-equality-can-add-12-trillion-to-global-growth
  • Nearly half of working women in the U.S. say they have experienced harassment in the workplace. Source.
  • Research has shown that women in male-dominated occupations, especially those in male-dominated work contexts, are sexually harassed more than women in balanced or in female-dominated ones. Source: Berdahl, JL. (2007). The Sexual Harassment of Uppity Women (p. 427).
  • Approximately one-third of women think women are well-represented when they see one-in-ten in leadership positions. Source.
  • From 2007 to 2016, 4% of top-grossing directors were female. Just 7 were women of color. 1 in 1,114 directors across 1,000 movies was Latina. Source.
  • More than one-third of the world’s countries do not have any laws prohibiting sexual harassment at work—leaving nearly 235 million working women vulnerable in the workplace. Source.26063717_922994241203884_6359613113973307075_o

When I was prepping this post, I came across this photo on Facebook. It specifically says, “ladies.” I thought, “If that’s not a sign we need change, I don’t know what is.”

One of the most common requests from our survey last August was more info on what to do in light of whatever issue we dealt with in the post. Our top two suggestions are very often the same for every injustice we tackle. The first is this:  When you see it, call it out. If it’s happening in your vicinity, it’s your responsibility to give a voice to the voiceless, to bring light to the situation, to seek rectification, to do something.

The second is to find an organization already doing great work, donate your resources (time, energy, money, talent), and partner with them! Here’s a list to help you:

And last, but certainly not least, for lots more info on being an ally, check out the Better Brave website (and memorize it!).


For more information…

 

 

2017 Tuesday Justice Holiday Gift Guide

by Michelle Palmer

This year there are plenty of ways make a difference with your gifts! Here are some of my favorites:

DSC_1357_square_cb805d68-fe7e-49eb-885e-d9bd082fe2ff_1024x1024LottoLove – I think this one is so cool! I was first introduced to scratchcards at Christmas while I was in England when I received several in my stocking from Father Christmas. Pretty sure I won £3, and I realized how fun they are, no matter how much you win. Anyway, even the most anti-gambling gift-giver could probably get on board with these: Each card is a guaranteed winner. How? Each card donates something via a partner charity:  clean water, solar light, literacy tools, or meals. They run $10 each, but they’re currently advertising Black Friday and Giving Tuesday deals, which I’m FOR SURE keeping an eye on.

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Sevenly – When you shop with Sevenly, you can either shop by collection (if you’re looking for a specific item) or by cause (there are over a dozen to choose from), including human trafficking, women’s empowerment, and refugee care. There’s apparel, jewelry, and a ton of cool mugs!

162858ec13ef8d893_800x80031 Bits – Think of these guys as an alternative to Anthropologie. Their mission: “We use fashion and design to drive positive change in the world by providing artisans with dignified job opportunities and inspiring customers to live meaningful lives.” 

Better World Books – “The Online Bookstore with a Soul.” Think of these guys as an alternative to Amazon. 

05236Charity Pot Lotion by Lush – AKA “Philanthropic Skin Softener” I would legit love this! There’s an $8 size and a $28 size. You know it’s quality because it comes from Lush, and 100% of the proceeds go to “small grassroots organizations working in the areas of environmental conservation, animal welfare and human rights.”

Lip-Smoothie_1024x1024Thistle FarmsThey have tons of great gifts, but I’m especially here for the STOCKING STUFFERS! 6 items under $7. Never heard of Thistle Farms? Here’s their mission: “…to HEAL, EMPOWER, AND EMPLOY women survivors of trafficking, prostitution, and addiction. We do this by providing safe and supportive housing, the opportunity for economic independence, and a strong community of advocates and partners.”

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Macy’s – Yes, THAT Macy’s. I’ve never lived near a Macy’s, but as an avid Thanksgiving Day Parade Watcher/Miracle on 34th Street Fan, it will always be dear to my heart. And they have an entire line dedicated to “Gifts That Give Hope.” They also have what is possibly my favorite gift on the whole list….A NARWHAL ORNAMENT. How precious is he?!

GlobalGiving Gift Cards – These gift cards are the coolest. You choose the amount (starting at $10), the recipient chooses the project. And there are TONS of worthy projects to choose from.

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Preemptive Love Coalition – I previously wrote about the amazing work that Preemptive Love Coalition does, and they have an entire catalog of cool gifts, many handmade by the refugees they support, t-shirts, and other cool ways to donate!

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Heifer International – Heifer’s gift catalog has a wide range of options from the adorable ornaments pictured to the right to actual flocks of geese and chicks for communities in need! “Heifer International’s mission is to work with communities to end world hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth.”

If none of those suit your gift-giving needs this year, check out the socially concious businesses below:

And a few more lists for good measure….

And if all that wasn’t enough, consider me your personal GOOD GIFT concierge!!! Seriously, Channon and I would be MORE than happy to help you find the perfect gift that gives back.

Happy Holidays!


For more information….

The Art of Being an Ally

Being an ally means laying aside my own feelings and recognizing the larger forces at work beyond what affects only me and people who look like me. Being an ally means shutting down the pride that says, “It doesn’t matter if it’s not good for you; it’s good for me and that’s all that matters.” Being an ally means hearing hard things without getting immediately defensive.

by Michelle Palmer

DISCLAIMER: This is going to be a far more personal post than usual, and I’ll start with a confession. I’ve been thinking about this post for well over a month. I’m typing the first words of it at 8:45 PM the night before it’s meant to be published. I’m no stranger to procrastination, but this time it’s because I’m a bit overwhelmed and a bit afraid of what I want to say. I hope you’ll bear with me.

593ff1b91d00002900cc2ac9I first started thinking about writing this post when I saw Wonder Woman and loved it. But it didn’t take long, because of the people and pages I follow, before I saw a post on my timeline lambasting it. (A post which I am very annoyed to say I now can’t find.) The author made several excellent points. Firstly, she spoke about the tropes used on two of the featured Black women at the start of the film: the first a “mammy” figure chasing after Diana and the second a “brute” figure fighting Antiope (eloquently explained in this post by Cameron Glover). Then she spoke about Gal Gadot’s problematic Zionist views (outlined in detail in this post by Susan Abulhawa), which she and many others find deeply oppressive and unjust.

I don’t intend to tackle either harmful Black stereotypes or intersectionality or the Israel-Palestine conflict in this post.

Today, I want to tackle my white fragility.

329958-fragileWhat happened when I was confronted with the notion that Wonder Woman wasn’t perfect was a deep frustration…an exhaustion…a temptation to give up. It wasn’t just Wonder Woman. I remember thinking at the time about all the other frustrating and exhausting things I kept encountering that particular week. I just wanted a win. I wanted something to enjoy, something that I didn’t have to question.

That reaction was prideful and unfair, and it revealed my fragility.

You see, the truth is that even though feminism matters and there is some good to be said about Wonder Woman, the film is not intersectional; it’s not good for women of color like it is for white women. The truth is that minority groups, especially women in minority groups, don’t have the luxury of just ignoring what’s problematic. (Erynn Brook had a similar experience and writes about it beautifully in her post on Medium.)

As a privileged white woman, I can easily ignore what’s problematic and focus entirely on what’s good and post a highly-edited, shiny photo of my ticket stub with the caption “OMG BEST MOVIE EVERRR.” I can comfort myself and shy away from harsh truths and keep myself shielded from unfortunate realities. But that’s a temptation I don’t want to fall into.  

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Why? Because I want to be an ally.

Being an ally means laying aside my own feelings and recognizing the larger forces at work beyond what affects only me and people who look like me. Being an ally means shutting down the pride that says, “It doesn’t matter if it’s not good for you; it’s good for me and that’s all that matters.” Being an ally means hearing hard things without getting immediately defensive.

It can get complicated too. There are a lot of voices. And I’m still not sure I can explain intersectionality on my own without Google. (Though this article by Kimberlé Crenshaw, the law professor who coined the term, gives the clearest explanation I’ve come across yet.) But there are lots of articles, posts, and websites that make it plain and simple. Here are some I really like:

I encourage you to check them all out, but I’ve summarized them down to the bare bones here in case you don’t.

    • When you see it, call it out. Don’t let racism go unchecked. In your workplace, in your home, on your Facebook page, in your church. Challenge racism every single time you see it.
    • Get educated. (Find resources here and here.) Know about redlining, systemic racism, and mass incarceration.
    • Amplify the voices of people of color. Post stories and videos on your social media pages. Be supportive in your workplace and community and church, and don’t let other White people silence POC. Pass the mic as often as you can.
    • Listen. Listen. Listen.

There’s more to it, of course, but that’s a good place to start.

Last week, a friend of mine shared this picture on Facebook, and the quote absolutely floored me. I love it, and I feel like I need it tattooed on my arm so I can be reminded of it every single day.

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Then Sunday night, we were watching Captain America: Civil War, and Peter Parker said, in his own Peter Parkery kind of way, almost the same exact thing:

“When you can do the things that I can, but you don’t, and then the bad things happen? They happen because of you.”

The way Spiderman says it is less fancy, but it speaks the same truth:

Being an ally means doing all I can to end the vices and the bad things, and failure to do so is failure.

 


For more information….

Pathways to Modern Slavery

 

by Michelle Palmer

 

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The reality is that most victims of modern slavery and human trafficking are not abducted or kidnapped. That can happen, and people should exercise reasonable precautions to keep themselves and their loved ones safe, but there are factors that create higher risk, or vulnerabilities, to enslavement. Many of these factors can only be fully alleviated by ending global inequality and extreme poverty, but don’t let that discourage you. While ending global inequality and extreme poverty is a noble pursuit that will take years, understanding these vulnerabilities will help us to understand more ways to fight back against traffickers in the meantime. These factors intersect and overlap and several can be present at once, but because each one can be tackled in different ways, each deserves its own look.

Poverty

“A bonded laborer named Haresh in West Bengal, India, once described to me how he took a loan of approximately $110 from the local landowner to get married to his beloved wife, Sarika. Two decades later, Haresh told me, ‘My entire family is still in debt to the landowner.  Sarika and I work in the fields, my sons and their wives work at the brick kilns.  One day my grandchildren will work for the landowner.  There is no way to repay these debts.  We will only be free when we die.’” – Siddharth Kara, CNN Freedom Project

Poverty overlaps with almost all of the other risk factors. Debt bondage, or bonded labor, is when a person exchanges their labor for a loan but ends up trapped by the employer, coerced into working long hours to pay off unreasonable interest rates. Often, the employer will provide minimal food and shelter and add these costs to the worker’s debt, resulting in a never ending cycle. 

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What happened to Haresh is not wholly uncommon in South Asia. Kara estimates “18.5 to 22.5 million debt bondage slaves in the world today, almost 90% of whom are in South Asia.” The ILO gives a more conservative estimate: 11.7 million slaves in the region, most of whom are bonded laborers. This form of debt bondage is illegal, but extreme poverty leads people to fall prey to these dubious lenders in times of desperation. Many of my examples are from developing regions, but this isn’t something that only happens “over there.” There are people in extreme poverty in the West, and their desperation could lead to situations of enslavement and various forms of forced labor.

Lack of Opportunity

“Nartey is the oldest of 10 siblings. His mother, Maria, is disabled. She cannot work in farming, the traditional and predominant occupation of the family’s indigenous people in a village in the Central Tongu District of Ghana. She had no way to provide for her children and could not afford school fees, so Nartey had to abandon his education at just 13. That is when Nartey was trafficked to a fishing community along Lake Volta.” – Anna Bengel, Free the Slaves

Thankfully, Nartey’s story doesn’t end with his enslavement. Because of Free the Slaves’ efforts alongside partners in Ghana, Maria learned about slavery and is working towards learning a trade so she can be financially independent despite her disability.

In 2015, I worked as a volunteer on a literature review for Free the Slaves on sex trafficking in Nepal. One of the recurring themes I came across was the lack of opportunity for women and girls in rural areas. Their desperation led them to seek work outside of their villages, and in some cases, women were trapped in sexual exploitation in Kathmandu or trafficked into India.   

rgq8JnWhen I was in grad school, I quoted Captain Jack Sparrow at the start of a paper on the concept of freedom. It was risky, I know, but I don’t regret it. In the first film, he tells Elizabeth Swann, “Wherever we want to go, we go. That’s what a ship is, you know. It’s not just a keel and a hull and sails; that’s what a ship needs. Not what a ship is. What the Black Pearl really is, is freedom.”  You see, if the Black Pearl is freedom, then a keel and a hull and sails are the tools needed to escape poverty and desperation. One of the primary tools people need for freedom is opportunity.

Lack of Access to Healthcare

“Impoverished and faced with impossible challenges, Setsofia’s sick mother arranged for him to be trafficked to a fishing village along Lake Volta. It was a desperate bid to get money for treatment for her protracted illness.” – Anna Bengel & Theodore Atsu Ameme, Free the Slaves

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As I said, many of these factors overlap. Anna and Theodore (quoted above) tell a story about Setsofia (spoiler: it has a happy ending!), and it sounds really similar to the story about Nartey. Nartey’s mother didn’t have opportunity because of her disability, and Setsofia’s mom was bedridden due to a sudden illness. The difference is that access to quality healthcare may not have helped Nartey’s mom, but it would certainly have made a difference for Setsofia and his family.

Lack of access to healthcare can also lead to debt bondage. “Lenders” prey on those who can’t afford a life-saving procedure or treatment for a loved one, and family members can become trapped by the debts obtained paying for medical expenses.

Violence/Lack of Law Enforcement

Millions of the world’s poor are trapped in slavery, because there’s no one there to protect them. In many places, the laws against slavery simply aren’t enforced by the police and courts—so slave owners and traffickers know they can prey on the poor without fear of any consequences at all.” – IJM

On duty

Anti-slavery laws are on the books everywhere, but those laws must be enforced. The American anti-slavery organization, IJM (International Justice Mission), focuses its efforts on this particular weakness. In fact, IJM CEO and founder, Gary Haugen, wrote an entire book on the issue; in The Locust Effect, Haugen argues that ineffective justice systems are hindering poverty alleviation worldwide. “While the world has made encouraging strides in the fight against global poverty, there is a hidden crisis silently undermining our best efforts to help the poor. It is a plague of everyday violence.” In regards to slavery in particular, whether law enforcement officers are not trained to spot human trafficking or they’re being bribed by the traffickers, effective law enforcement is a key component of ending the practice altogether.

War and Unrest

“Armed conflict and a weak government allow slavery to flourish in eastern Congo. Forced labor and sex slavery are widespread in mining regions—as is forced marriage.” Free the Slaves, Congo

121123110824-congo-crowds-fleeing-horizontal-large-galleryWar and unrest in a region create vulnerabilities to modern slavery in a number of ways. In Democratic Republic of Congo, which is remarkably rich in natural resources that are used in our modern technologies, men and children are forced to mine for these resources by groups of armed militants to fund their war. In other regions, children are forcibly recruited into the conflict. (See Channon’s post on Child Soldiers.) Refugees are also at a higher risk of being trafficked, simply because of the desperation of their situation. Without a home, seeking asylum, people may come to rely on traffickers to help them escape to what they hope will be a better, safer life.  

Migration

“‘I’d seen a lot of women in my village go abroad. I thought I could earn enough money and do something with it.’ Instead, for attempting to access the basic human right to a decent job, Seema was trapped as a domestic slave for more than two years.” – Survivor Stories, Free the Slaves

This particular vulnerability is closely connected to poverty, lack of opportunity, and war and unrest. Not all immigrants are vulnerable to trafficking. For example, Channon and I both immigrated to the UK for our studies. The difference is that we chose to leave our homes to study, not to escape a desperate economic situation or violence in our home countries. Migrant workers are particularly vulnerable to being trafficked.migration1-537x350.png

I took the quote above from Seema’s and Kamala’s Survivor Story from Free the Slaves (another happy ending!). It’s a story I’ve come across all too often in my research (but not always with a happy ending):  No opportunity at home. Recruited for a job overseas. Arrive in a foreign country. Passports and visas taken by employers. Trapped and abused as a domestic slave. (Or a construction worker. Or a farmworker.)  

Runaway and Homeless Youth

“…people who may not be financially stable because of homelessness or a lack of job opportunities may be susceptible to manipulation by traffickers who promise safety, stability, a job, or a better life. Runaway and homeless youth, as well as victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, past violence or abuse, or social discrimination are also frequently targeted by traffickers.” –  Stay Safe, Polaris Project

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Many of the examples used previously have been about factors that are more common in, but not confined to, developing regions. However, this particular issue affects young people both at home and abroad, particularly those identifying as LGBTQ. According to Covenant House, “40% of homeless and runaway youth in the U.S. identify as gay or transgender.” If they are rejected by their families after coming out, LGBTQ youth may end up on the streets and be targeted for sexual exploitation. To a slightly lesser extent, this is true for other homeless and runaway youth as well. Without a home or a family, there is a desperation for stability and belonging.

I’m ending this section with another quote because it’s incredibly important in combating this particular risk factor.

“Sociological research shows that what makes people most vulnerable to being victims of trafficking is the same thing that makes people most vulnerable to being perpetrators of trafficking: an extreme need for belonging. Actual, sustainable trafficking prevention at its most foundational is, therefore, loving yourself, being yourself, loving others, and encouraging others to be themselves. Creating community and being connected is the safest way forward.” – Zhaleh Boyd

Lack of Rights Awareness

“In the Congo, for example, we support the broadcasting of anti-slavery messages over a network of community radio stations. In Nepal, we explain the risks of labor trafficking and how to migrate safely. We work with communities to organize anti-slavery committees that act as a neighborhood watch against slavery and as a bridge to the police and other authorities.” – Free the Slaves FAQs

00532006701_20150525Simply put, people just don’t know their rights or the dangers of modern slavery. Many who are trapped in debt bondage don’t realize that the lenders are violating the law. Seema and Kamala, whose story I mentioned earlier, now work to educate other Nepalese women about the dangers of migrating for work and help them determine if they are being tricked by recruiters. Rights education is an essential component of prevention.

 

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the causes of modern slavery, but I hope it sheds some light on the ways in which traffickers prey on people in desperate situations. By tackling these areas of vulnerability, we can begin to prevent slavery before it happens.


For More Information…

Representation Matters!

All people deserve to feel seen and heard, and with stats like the ones presented here, we can be sure that certain stories aren’t being told and certain people aren’t being seen and heard. And it is through stories that we learn, we grow, we empathize, we connect, and we must (and can) do better.

by Michelle Palmer

“It’s important to me to show images to my children that reflect their beauty, so they can grow up in a world where they look in the mirror, first through their own families — as well as the news, the Super Bowl, the Olympics, the White House and the Grammys — and see themselves, and have no doubt that they’re beautiful, intelligent and capable. This is something I want for every child of every race.”

– Beyoncé

Awards season is upon us! Love it or hate it, it’s a good opportunity to think about representation. [UPDATE: What is representation? It’s “the portrayal of someone in a particular way or as being of a certain nature.” In this context, we’re talking about how (and how much) minorities are portrayed in media.] Last year was the year of #OscarsSoWhite, and this year’s Oscars is quite a bit better in that respect. There’s certainly still work to do, but it’s a step in the right direction. Today, I hope to show why that’s important and how you can help. And I’m going to do so primarily the words of those more affected by these realities than me.

[Disclaimer: While this post primarily focuses on women and African-Americans, these same principles and concepts apply to all minority groups (Asian, Middle Eastern, Latino, LGBT, disabled, etc.). I hope to cover these groups further in future posts.]

The Stats:

Last year, the Media, Diversity, and Social Change Initiative at USC studied the top 100 films of 2015. Here are the main findings of the report:12f5742decd32a87bdbe12dee6a18b43

  • 31.4% of all speaking characters were female.
  • 26.3% were characters from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups.
  • 2.4% were characters with disabilities.
  • 49 films included no speaking or named Asian or Asian-American characters.
  • 17 featured no Black/African American characters.
  • 45 films did not include a character with a disability.
  • Only 32 films had female leads/co-leads.
  • Of those, only 3 of those female leads/co-leads were women from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups.

It’s clear that women and people of color are underrepresented. And women of color are affected doubly so. Another report offers these stats: Of all women in the top 100 films of 2014, 74% were White, 11% were Black, 4% were Latina, and %4 were Asian.

Why These Stats Matter:

Lupita Nyong’o sort of introduced me to this whole representation thing and why it matters back in 2014. That’s the first time I really remember thinking about it consciously. She was recalling a time when she “felt unbeautiful,” and I think it sort of shocked me into paying attention….like how could Lupita Nyong’o have ever possibly felt unbeautiful?! I mean, look at her! But she did, and seeing someone like herself on screen and in print made a difference in her life.

representation.jpg“I remember a time when I too felt unbeautiful. I put on the TV and only saw pale skin, I got teased and taunted about my night-shaded skin… And when I was a teenager my self-hate grew worse, as you can imagine happens with adolescence. My mother reminded me often that she thought that I was beautiful but that was no conservation, she’s my mother, of course she’s supposed to think I am beautiful. And then…Alek Wek. A celebrated model, she was dark as night, she was on all of the runways and in every magazine and everyone was talking about how beautiful she was. Even Oprah called her beautiful and that made it a fact. I couldn’t believe that people were embracing a woman who looked so much like me, as beautiful. My complexion had always been an obstacle to overcome and all of a sudden Oprah was telling me it wasn’t.”

[See the whole speech here.]rs_634x1024-160710073516-634-leslie-jones-cm-71016

But it’s not just Lupita. It’s also Leslie…

“When I was young, my dad always let me listen to comedy albums. I always knew about comedy, I always loved comedy. The day that I saw Whoopi Goldberg on television, I cried so hard, because I kept looking at my daddy going, ‘Oh my god. There’s somebody on TV that looks like me! She looks like me! Yay! I can be on TV! I can be on TV! I can do it! Look at her look at her! She looks just like me.’”

[See the whole video here.]

whoopie_goldberg-00089And it’s not just Lupita and Leslie. It’s also Whoopi…

“When Star Trek came on, I was 9 years old. And I saw this show and there you were and I ran through the house saying, ‘Hey! Come everybody! Quick! Quick! Look! There’s a black lady on television and she ain’t no maid!’ I knew from that moment that I could become anything I wanted to be.”

And if none of that convinces you that representation is important, go ahead and check out this list from BuzzFeed, and let their 23 examples get all up in your feels like they did mine.

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Good Representation

But it’s not just about representation. It’s about good representation.9b03fe0c254aa7d20c6376a05fc632d2

In a report from 2015, Dr. Martha Lauzen, Executive Director of the Center for the Study of Women in Television & Film, analyzed the top 100 films from 2014 and found similar results as the report mentioned above, but she also found that female characters were generally younger than their male counterparts, less likely to be portrayed as leaders, and more likely to be identified by their personal rather than professional roles, such as “wife” or “mother.” Recently, Hidden Figures, a 2017 Oscar nominee for Best Picture (which also grossed $144m worldwide at the time of writing), has been a force for undoing the stereotype that a film with women in the lead roles won’t sell. The most recent Star Wars films, both of which have female leads and both of which have earned over $1b worldwide, have also gone a long way to prove the point. Of course, one year with several of these female led films isn’t enough.

grid-cell-5562-1468378667-4In my opinion, much worse is the poor representation that Black men receive, representation that has real-life consequences. Leigh Donaldson makes the case: “Not only does the media’s reluctance to provide more balanced perspectives of our African-American male population worsen cultural division among all people, it enables judges to hand out harsher sentences, companies to deny jobs, banks to decline loans and the police to shoot indiscriminately. The mass media is certainly aware of its vast power to shape popular ideas, opinions and attitudes. They should become equally cognizant of their role as a mechanism of social change for the better of all.”

If you disagree, here are a few reports that may challenge you:

What do we do about it?

“And the way that you make me and my friends feel, the way you make my black friends feel, is empowering. And you make them stand up for themselves.

– Adele (to Beyonce)

imageIn response to Adele’s words, author and activist Ijeoma Oluo said, “Personally, I had a second of ‘huh?’ when Adele was speaking, but I saw that she was trying to do something different. She first said ‘me & my friends’ and then stopped & specifically added ‘my black friends’ – this is honoring our specific experience.” And that’s step #1:  Honor the specific experience of those who are not like you. Recognize that what’s being portrayed might mean more to someone else than it does to you, and that’s okay. 

Step#2: Use your position to create, promote, and showcase any media (music/tv/film/news) that does representation right. If you’re thinking, “What position?” read on: 

– If you’re a teacher, use resources (books and videos) with healthy representation.  (And if you can’t find any, get in touch. Y’all know I love to do some research! Seriously.) Here’s a great list for the little ones: 28 Black Picture Books.

– If you’re an artist, find ways to make your work diverse and inclusive.

– If you have any connection at all to Hollywood or a newsroom or a newspaper, encourage healthy representation and call out the unhealthy stuff.

And even if there’s no way you can use your job to promote or create healthy, diverse representation, you can still use your consumer power to make a positive difference. Acknowledge it. Support it. Point it out. Praise it. Go see Moonlight. Tell your friends about Atlanta. Watch Lemonade and stream Coloring Book. DVR Queen Sugar. Share that cool story from Upworthy

All people deserve to feel seen and heard, and with stats like the ones presented here, we can be sure that certain stories aren’t being told and certain people aren’t being seen and heard. And it is through stories that we learn, we grow, we empathize, we connect, and we must (and can) do better.

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For More Information (A section for updates)

  • Jon Cho on Representation – “Working so steadily, and so eclectically, doesn’t mean he’s choosing roles blithely. In this talk with Pop Culture Happy Hour host Linda Holmes, Cho presents as someone who’s thought deeply about the performances he undertakes — and those he pointedly doesn’t.”
  • Princess Shuri: The Hero We Needed | The Amherst Student – “The importance of representation in media cannot be understated. For too long the heroes children had to look up to were the James Bonds and the Indiana Joneses of the cinematic universe. Recently, female heroes have been creeping on to screen (i.e. Wonder Woman, Rey, the female Ghostbusters), but “Black Panther” brought new representation to people of color. In her article for Vanity Fair, Johanna Robinson wrote, ‘After a packed advance screening of Black Panther in Los Angeles last week, two young boys went bounding ahead of the crowd leaping for joy and punching the warm night air. They weren’t pretending to be Black Panther, or even another Wakandan warrior. They were pretending to be Shuri.’ Shuri is exactly the hero we need, and she’s exactly the hero that everyone wants. What these boys recognize is the enviable power of a young, female hero. And though it is the young women who may be able to more intimately see themselves reflected in Shuri, she provides an example for all young people for just what power they possess. The realm of representation on screen is only expanding and thus is bringing new meaning to what it means to be a hero.”