Color of Change, a nonprofit founded in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and dedicated to social justice advocacy, and the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center just completed a new study about representation and messaging in police and crime TV shows. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the results backup the revelations from the Washington Post's 2016 investigative series, "Dragnets, Dirty Harrys, and Dying Hard: 100 years of the police in pop culture" — that police department PR machines have long collaborated with Hollywood executive powers-that-be to utilize TV to influence public perceptions of law enforcement.
The report is based a data crunch of 353 episodes from 26 crime-related scripted television shows that aired in the 2017-2018 season. They analyzed the race and gender breakdowns of the writers, showrunners, and consultants involved in the shows, as well as the on-screen representation of criminal justice, persons of interest, and victims. Overall, the study identified 5,400 variable data points across the shows, focusing on such questions:
Do crime procedurals and other crime-focused series produced in the U.S. accurately depict the reality of the criminal justice system, accurately depict racial disparities (e.g., racially biased treatment by authorities, the disproportionate targeting of people of color communities, disproportionate punishment or other outcomes based on race) and depict reforms and other solutions for correcting racial disparities in the criminal justice system?
If present, do series portray any specific actions or attitudes of criminal justice professionals as directly resulting in those racial disparities? Do they portray any of the routine practices of the criminal justice system as resulting in racial disparities? Read the rest
Josh writes, "Imagine the Belters of the Expanse watching as Earth and Mars shape their lives, the civilians in Battlestar Galactica living with the decisions made by the military and the folk of Downbelow in Babylon 5, abandoned to destitution and squalor by those who built the station. Flotsam is a game is about characters like that. In Flotsam you play outcasts, renegades and misfits trying to make their way in a world where poverty and gang conflict sit alongside alien technology and supernatural weirdness. You play through their lives, their interpersonal relationships and small-scale drama against the epic backdrop of space."
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Myisha Haynes and Jaz Malone released the second in their fun and interesting series on how cartoonists can draw black people while avoiding imagery fraught with negative connotations. Read the rest
Jiz Lee, Stoya, Nikki Darling, and Asa Akira talk about representation, the marketing of white women vs. women of color in adult movies, and how porn is still a very white industry. And unfortunately you have to click much deeper to find real, respectful diversity.
"What Porn Stars Want You To Know: We Don't All Look the Same" (Iris)
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As Cassian Andor in Rogue One, Mexican actor Diego Luna decided to use his natural accent rather than adopt an American or British one. And that fact was particularly meaningful for one fan and her Mexican father. Tumblr user riveralwaysknew wrote a touching post about her father, which Luna himself shared on Twitter, noting, “I got emotional reading this!”
The post reads:
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I took my father to see Rogue One today. I’ve wanted to take him for a while. I wanted my Mexican father, with his thick Mexican accent, to experience what it was like to see a hero in a blockbuster film, speak the way he does. And although I wasn’t sure if it was going to resonate with him, I took him anyway. When Diego Luna’s character came on screen and started speaking, my dad nudged me and said, “he has a heavy accent.” I was like, “Yup.” When the film was over and we were walking to the car, he turns to me and says, “did you notice that he had an accent?” And I said, “Yeah dad, just like yours.” Then my dad asked me if the film had made a lot of money. I told him it was the second highest grossing film of 2016 despite it only being out for 18 days in 2016 (since new year just came around). He then asked me if people liked the film, I told him that it had a huge following online and great reviews.
In one simple comic, artist Gavin Aung Than celebrates the power of seeing yourself represented in art:
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In this spoiler-free Twitter thread, comedian and Silicon Valley star Kumail Nanjiani explains why Rogue One's diverse cast—and especially fellow Pakistani actor Riz Ahmed—meant so much to him:
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Chris Wood is a councillor from the UK Independence Party (UKIP), a xenophobic party known for its leader and lawmakers' racist and sexist gaffes; this week, he added to the annals of UKIP inanity when he took to Twitter to complain that the BBC had cast a person of color as Margaret of Anjou, wife of King Henry VI. Read the rest
Our minds naturally group things in culturally specific categories -- for Americans, robins are more "bird" than albatrosses -- and we're better at categorizing more prototypical items than outliers -- but what does this mean when we group humans in categories like "real Americans"? Read the rest