“But Pariah is also indebted to a cadre of often overlooked but no less important documentaries and coming-out films released during the height of black lesbian filmmaking from 1991 to 1996.
“In 1993 filmmaker Michelle Parkerson wrote about the birth of a “new generation” of gay and lesbian filmmakers of color whose work challenged stereotypes and stigmas about black lesbian and gay lives on the big screen. Filmmaker Yvonne Welbon, founder and director of Sisters in Cinema and curator of the “Sisters in the Life” black lesbian transmedia project, calls 1991-1996 the “golden age” of a black queer cinema.
“‘That was the period of time when we had the most women producing the widest variety of work,’ Welbon said in an email interview. ‘Approximately 50 percent of all work produced was made during that five-year time period. Very little work is being produced today by out black lesbian media makers. So maybe Dee Rees is part of the trend of the mainstreaming of niche content that we see happening across all media platforms.’”
“In her essay ‘Joining the Lesbians’: Cinematic Regimes of Black Lesbian Visibility,’ film critic Kara Keeling attributes the rise of these self-identified ‘black lesbian films’ to their roots in the larger social movements of the late 1960s and 1970s. These filmmakers not only were children of the civil rights, black power, women’s and lesbian and gay movements, but also grew up as beneficiaries of a more nuanced identity politics with which they infused their work.
“Moreover, this golden age of black lesbian filmmaking should be considered part of the new wave of black cinema that included Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It and Jungle Fever, Julie Dash’s Daughters of the Dust and, of course, Marlon Riggs’ Tongues Untied and Black Is … Black Ain’t, two groundbreaking documentaries that explored racial and sexual identities.”
All of the things I had grown accustomed to in the US were engaged often and early in my move to South Africa. I felt right at home after experiencing housing discrimination in my apartment search. Seeing airports filled with white travelers, while bus stations overflowed with folks who looked like me. It all seemed so familiar. South Africa was a long way from being post-racial. I could deal with that. I came from that.
What was pleasantly surprising was the level of activist engagement of the South African people. The documentaries I had seen were capturing something real. From service delivery protests to pushback against Wal-Mart’s acquisition of South Africa’s largest retailer, the people were not afraid to protest—nonviolently and otherwise.
South Africans won’t let you off the hook easily. In my role directing programming between the largest American trade union and its counterparts in West African, more than a few meetings with partners ended with tough questions about U.S. foreign policy and my employer’s take on positions supported by the American government. One had to be quick on the toes to navigate queries on Palestine, Israel, and Cuba. The activist community in which I had to engage expected that I would be able to respond to issues and concerns in and outside of Africa. As the only G20 member on the continent, politics beyond its borders mattered to my South African counterparts.
With the above in mind, I was wholly unprepared to be faced with the popularity of Tyler Perry in South Africa."
— Well, guest contributor Christopher Keith Johnson gives a really interesting analysis on why Tyler Perry gets some love in South Africa on the R today. I see it as a great companion post to Tami Winfrey Harris’ post on Perry at Clutch.
Karly’s experiences illustrate how the nexus of low expectations, as well as college preparation and course programming hurdles can combine to derail the most motivated science students. She describes battling with her school counselor to be programmed into the elite AP Biology and Physics courses that have become virtual gatekeepers for future college science majors. She remarks that “some counselors believe that you might not succeed. They say maybe it might be a little too hard for you.” In many instances parental intervention is mandatory for black science students at every step of the way. Although conventional wisdom holds that class status and income dictate interest and academic success in science, Hanson concluded that social capital by way of family support and investment in the community were the most compelling factors. Girls whose parents (regardless of income levels, education and family composition) were supportive and engaged in their educations were more likely to pursue science. In addition, girls who had higher levels of community involvement, volunteerism and participation in religious activities were also more likely to pursue a science major and have high achievement in science.
Some area schools are not receptive and fail to see the potential in their students [the program’s founder said]. ‘I get responses like, ‘You know, the type of students you’re looking for, we just don’t have…That is just not right.’ Chuck Uzoegwu, 19, participated in the program in 2010 and is now studying business and is pre-med at USC. He first noticed a slow attrition of fellow African American classmates when attending King Drew Medical Magnet High School. In the summer program, he was one of only a few African American students. He returned to the hospital this summer to volunteer in the lab and said he has yet to meet a role model there who looks like him. ‘It disturbs me. It’s nice to come into a place and see other people that are like you,’ he said. ‘It definitely feels like the higher up you go in education, the higher up you go in any organization, the less African American males you see.
Uzoegwu’s experiences reflect the hard reality of many high schools where the number of African American students who are encouraged to pursue science is criminally low. At the elite level of enrollment in Physics and Advanced Placement (AP) science courses the numbers thin out even more. Nationwide, African American students are underrepresented in AP course enrollment and exam taking. At 14% of the U.S. student population they comprise only 3% of those enrolled in AP courses or taking AP exams. Native American students are also underrepresented. With the exception of a few states like Hawaii and South Dakota, there has been greater success in closing the AP gap for Latino students than Black or Native American students. In addition, some schools don’t even have AP courses, placing students who want to go to college at a significant disadvantage. According to the Harvard Education Press, “students who took AP math or science exams were more likely than non-AP students to earn degrees in particular physical science, engineering and life science disciplines.” Jacqueline Hernandez, a Watts resident enrolled in the Children’s Hospital internship program, decries the lack of AP classes at her school. Hernandez once feared her college dreams would be derailed by teenage pregnancy like those of her three sisters. In 1999 students from the Inglewood Unified School District in Los Angeles successfully sued to get more AP courses at their schools. The suit charged that Black and Latino students were systematically denied access to college preparation courses that were standard fare at white schools in Los Angeles County.
Conservatives who disdain “liberal multiculturalism” in higher education dismiss such concerns about diversity in hiring as handwringing. According to this view there is only one standard academia should use; objective and unbiased, untainted by affirmative action. Yet white students are beneficiaries of cradle to grave affirmative action. White students grow up seeing the dominant image of rational, trailblazing scientific discovery (from films like Dr. Strangelove to 2001: A Space Odyssey to Close Encounters to The Right Stuff, etc.) as spearheaded by courageous rugged individualist white males. They are socialized to believe in a template of “purely” meritocratic success and individual achievement. Meritocracy becomes gospel and lucre. They can take it to the bank and use it to repel the less qualified savages. Racial or gender others who make it into science’s inner sanctum are either interlopers scrounging for handouts or shining exceptions bootstrapping up from the inner city wilds. At the insular level of college Physics and Engineering white male dominance is perpetuated by “boy’s club” peer groups, networks, faculty and administrative support systems that facilitate access for the racial majority. While she was at UCLA Devin Waller was the only African American woman in the Astrophysics department. On the first day of her upper division classes she recalls being asked by male students befuddled by her presence whether or not they “were in the right class.” Since peer networking and study groups in some science departments are largely white and male, white academic success and scholarly legitimacy in science become a self-fulfilling prophecy. For black women in white male dominated professions, showing vulnerability and having any kind of public failure are simply not options. Like many women of color Devin’s approach was that “You kind of go in there and set a precedent. Everything you do is watched. You have to establish yourself as intelligent. There were no black women in my classes. No one who looked like me.”"
— Sikivu Hutchinson, “Beyond Starship Enterprise: Racism, Sexism, And The Sceince Pipeline,” Feminist Wire 8/15/12
Care to make a list, tumblr?
[Editing post with replies, check op for updates fuck yeah, women of the rainbow] Note that I haven’t read all of these, so I can’t vouch for all of them but If you have any issues, or I tagged something wrong, message me @ ef, my tumblr here.
- Ada Lee Comes On!
- Animosity Sonata by Olivia Smith
- As the Crow Flies
- Bottled Prince
- Cheap Thrills***
- Cleopatra in Spaaace!
- Dumbing of Age**
- Fungus Grotto
- Girl Genius
- Girls With Slingshots*
- GLAM ROCK GORILLA
- Gunnerkrigg Court
- Hanna Is Not A Boy’s Name
- Johnny Wander
- Keychain of Creation
- Kiwi Blitz
- Minor Acts of Heroism
- Monster Pulse
- Moon Over June NSFW
- Octopus Pie
- Oglaf! NSFW
- Order of the Stick
- Overlord of Ravenfell
- Penny & Aggie*~
- Princess Princess
- Quantum Vibe
- Red Moon Rising*
- Roomies/It’s Walky!
- Saint’s Way
- Skin Horse
- Something Positive*
- Sorcery 101
- Templar, Arizona
- The Fox Sister
- Todd Allison and the Petunia Violet
- Under The Dead Skies
- Walking on Broken Glass
- Wapsi Square
- *Token minority
- **Later on
- ~Problematic shit
Update: Please feel free to shout out your own webcomic!
For your weekend reading…
Michelle Monkou is as reserved as Jackson is ebullient. She, too, is a romance writer, and is a past president of Romance Writers of America. There were ethnic writers who broke barriers in the ’80s — beginning with Newsweek editor Elsie B. Washington, who penned Entwined Destinies under the name Rosalind Welles. Washington’s editor, Vivian Stephens, later created the first ethnic romance line. But Monkou says it was Terry McMillan’s How Stella Got Her Groove Back that made mainstream publishers realize black readers would pay handsomely for black love stories.
Stella, Monkou says, “gave mainstream publishers a peek into the appetite of [ethnic] readers, and they got interested and presented imprints for it.” And the books have been selling briskly ever since. The advent of e-books has boosted sales even more, Monkou says, because authors have more control over their product.
“You don’t have to wait for the validation or confirmation from marketing teams,” she explains. Especially when the marketing departments of many mainstream publishers are, essentially, clueless when it comes to positioning ethnic romances with people of color. Which seems economically shortsighted.
“Unfortunately, romance written by people of color has occupied a unique space within the romance genre,” says Sarah Wendell, co-founder of the blog Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, an exhaustively thorough and delightfully snippy analysis of romance fiction for both readers and writers. Wendell says that in past years, bookstores often shelved romances by ethnic writers in sections reserved for ethnic subjects. “And romance readers would never leave the romance section to look for, say, African-American romance novels, because “why would it be anywhere else?”
Like Michelle Monkou, Wendell says the Internet is rapidly changing everything, “as more readers discover books online instead of in brick-and-mortar bookstores.”"
— Karen Grigsby Bates, “A Rainbow of Happy Ending in Ethnic Romances,” NPR 8/15/12
The shooting rampage that left seven people dead at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., on Sunday has prompted misinformation, sloppy reporting and outright ignorance about the Sikh religion, some media professionals are charging.
On the left-leaning blog Liberal Conspiracy, the British journalist Sunny Hundal posted a derisive recap of what he referred to as “awful” U.S. media coverage of the shootings. Hundal cites, for instance, a Fox News reporter who asked a distraught Sikh if there had been other “anti-Semitic” acts against the Sikh community. Hundal also reposted a tweet that called out a CBS reporter who made this observation: “The Sikh religion is based around truth and nonviolence and the Muslim religion is just a completely different religion.”
Over at Buzzfeed, Andrew Kaczynski posted similar criticisms, taking CNN’s Eric Marrapodi to task for saying that Sikhs are sometimes “unfairly” mistaken for Muslims. “Seems to imply it’s fair to target Muslims,” Kaczynski tweeted.
Then there was Fox 6 News in Milwaukee, which reported that the Sikh religion is based in northern Italy.
On Sunday, the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) released a media advisory that offers guidelines for journalists reporting on the tragedy. Doris Truong, the organization’s national president, said the advisory wasn’t a response to specific instances of poor coverage, but rather an effort to share accurate information."
— Christopher Zara, “Wisconsin Temple Shootings Expose Media’s Ignorance Of Sikhism,” ibtimes.com, 8/7/12 (via Hyphen Magazine)