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Archives for race

Blacks in Military: More High-Ranking Officers Needed

Although great accomplishments have been made since the US military was integrated 60 years ago, there still needs to be strides taken in the higher ranks. While blacks make up 17 percent of the total force, they are only 9 percent of all officers, with less than 6 percent of U.S. general officers being black. "My hope and expectation is that, in the years ahead, more African-Americans will staff the armed forces at the highest levels," Defense Secretary Robert Gates told a crowd at a ceremony commemorating the day President Harry Truman ordered the desegregation of the armed forces. Best known among the four-stars is retired Gen. Colin Powell, who later became the country's first black secretary of state. "They no longer cared whether I was black or white, immigrant kid or not," Powell told the crowd. "The only thing my commanders ever told me from 1958 for the rest of my career, is 'Can you perform?' And that's all we have ever asked for." PHOTO: AP
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Disney’s Black Princess: Maids, Maddy, Voodoo & New Orleans

Last year, the Walt Disney Co. began production on an animated fairy tale, The Frog Princess, set for 2009, featuring Disney’s first black princess. Fastforward a year later and the original concept has been criticized for its reinforcement of racial prejudice and stereotypes, according to the U.K.'s Telegraph. Originally, the film's heroine was to be a chambermaid named Maddy (ahem, "mammy"?!) working for a spoilt white debutante in 1920s New Orleans. Maddy was supposed to be helped by a voodoo priestess fairy godmother to win the heart of a white prince, after he rescued her from a voodoo magician. As a result of its damaging and demeaning racial tones, the groundbreaking film's title has been changed to The Princess and The Frog, with the princess being renamed Tiana. "It's disappointing," Rodney Hinds, features editor of The Voice newspaper, said. "Some of the stereotyping of people from our community is still rigid in people's minds. We have our own dreams and stories like everyone else, and we want them to be portrayed positively." A spokesman for Disney said: "The story takes place in the charming elegance and grandeur of New Orleans' fabled French Quarter during the Jazz Age... Princess Tiana will be a heroine in the great tradition of Disney's rich animated fairy tale legacy, and all other characters and aspects of the story will be treated with the greatest respect and sensitivity."
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ObamaNation: Comedians Tread Lightly When Delivering Obama Jokes

Many writers and comedians are having a hard time creating punchlines when it comes to Barack Obama, according to two articles in the New York Times. “There’s a weird reverse racism going on,” late-night host Jimmy Kimmel said of the mostly-white staff and comedians, who are having difficulty getting past Obama's pristine veneer--and race. The Times claims that due to the presidential hopeful's ethnicity, lack of "buffoonish"-ness, and audiences' resistance to seeing him skewered, Obama's "been flayed by the sort of ridicule that diminished Dukakis, Gore and Kerry." "If Obama keeps being stingy with his quips and smiles, and if the dominant perception of him is that you can’t make jokes about him, it might infect his campaign with an airless quality," Maureen Dowd says in her column. "His humorlessness could spark humor." Mike Sweeney, the head writer for Late Night with Conan O'Brien is pretty hopeful: “We’re hoping he picks an idiot as vice president.” PHOTO: AP
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Gossip Girl‘s Jessica Szohr: TV’s Latest Phenom of the Ambiguous Ethnic Girl

Gossip Girl's Jessica Szohr isn't the first token TV character. Take a look back: Lisa Turtle (Lark Voorhies) on Saved By the Bell. Rhonda Blair (Vanessa A. Williams) on Melrose Place. And Cleveland Brown on The Family Guy. But the latest phenomenon is the beautiful, ambiguously-ethnic character. Take Szohr as Vanessa Abrams on the CW's hugely popular teen soap. She came onto the lily-white set of Gossip Girl as the boho-esque, Williamsburg hipster waitress who had gifts from Eastern Europe in tow on her first episode. Although Szohr's character was a sharp contrast to the non-speaking, harajuku-costumed black (played by Nicole Fiscella) and Asian (played by Nan Zhang) background characters on the show, it was quite confusing to peg Szohr's ethnicity. Her hair was curly (she could be Puerto Rican/Dominican?), but her eyes were blue/green and her skin was basically the same color as her castmates. She is reportedly Hungarian and African-American. Another primetime example is Rashida Jones as Karen Filippelli on The Office. Calling Karen "exotic," Steve Carell's charmingly clueless character puts everyone's (even our own) curiosity to rest, asking Karen, "Is your father a G.I.?" As most may know, Rashida is Quincy Jones' daughter with Mod Squad star Peggy Lipton. Her sister is Kidada Jones. But, while on past shows, except for Lisa on Saved by the Bell (who was famously fawned over by the un-dateable Screech, and dated Zac Morris for an episode), these characters are far cries from the sassy black girlfriend who tells it like it is roles we've been bamboozled by. They are actually part of major romantic story lines. On The Office, Jones' character was involved in the fabled love triangle between John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer. While Szohr's character shook things up between Blake Lively and Penn Badgley. She also went on to date the prettiest character on the show, Chace Crawford (pictured above). Before joining GG, Szohr also played Barry Watson's neighbor and love interest in the cancelled ABC series, What About Brian? ''Do I want to see any more shows where someone has a sassy black friend? No, because I'm nobody's sassy black friend," Girlfriends creator Mara Brock Akil recently told Entertainment Weekly of TV's lack of diversity. "I just want to see shows in which people get to be people and that look like the world we live in.'' As our frustrations with TV's lack of color continue to flourish, enjoy this Entertainment Weekly article, "Why is TV so White?" PHOTO: Courtesy of The CW
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Medicine’s Racial Divide

The American Medical Association apologized to black doctors, admitting to a history of racial discrimination in its policies and practices. Dr. Ronald Davis, the AMA’s previous president, says the group has "a feeling of profound regret and embarrassment for what has been uncovered." Dr. Nelson Adams, who was most recently the president of the National Medical Association, which was founded in 1895 to represent black doctors, says, "[The] AMA looked the other way when local medical associations worked to exclude most black physicians from becoming members." The AMA apology is prompted by a study commissioned in 2005 titled, “The Racial Divide in Organized Medicine,” which will be published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. It was only on Saturday that a state study showed that in New York City, black nurses were being paid less than their white counterparts.
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Chanel Iman Still Passed Over in Fashion

Even after fashion bible Vogue asked, "Is fashion racist?" Chanel Iman is still passed over for modeling jobs, the 17-year-old It Girl—and our favorite model of the moment—tells Newsweek. "I will fly to London for what is supposed to be 20 casting calls and won't get but 15 because the other five designers don't want black models," says Chanel Iman, who is currently in Gap billboards around the country and is arguably the hottest black fashion model (next to Liya Kebede). "That's not going to happen to white models. It's upsetting and insulting and totally backwards.'' Supermodel Naomi Campbell also chimes in, "This is not the conversation I thought I would have to have at this point. You think you've broken the barriers and then the game changes. So you have to fight all over again."
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Archives for race

Blacks in Military: More High-Ranking Officers Needed

Although great accomplishments have been made since the US military was integrated 60 years ago, there still needs to be strides taken in the higher ranks. While blacks make up 17 percent of the total force, they are only 9 percent of all officers, with less than 6 percent of U.S. general officers being black. "My hope and expectation is that, in the years ahead, more African-Americans will staff the armed forces at the highest levels," Defense Secretary Robert Gates told a crowd at a ceremony commemorating the day President Harry Truman ordered the desegregation of the armed forces. Best known among the four-stars is retired Gen. Colin Powell, who later became the country's first black secretary of state. "They no longer cared whether I was black or white, immigrant kid or not," Powell told the crowd. "The only thing my commanders ever told me from 1958 for the rest of my career, is 'Can you perform?' And that's all we have ever asked for." PHOTO: AP
Read More

Disney’s Black Princess: Maids, Maddy, Voodoo & New Orleans

Last year, the Walt Disney Co. began production on an animated fairy tale, The Frog Princess, set for 2009, featuring Disney’s first black princess. Fastforward a year later and the original concept has been criticized for its reinforcement of racial prejudice and stereotypes, according to the U.K.'s Telegraph. Originally, the film's heroine was to be a chambermaid named Maddy (ahem, "mammy"?!) working for a spoilt white debutante in 1920s New Orleans. Maddy was supposed to be helped by a voodoo priestess fairy godmother to win the heart of a white prince, after he rescued her from a voodoo magician. As a result of its damaging and demeaning racial tones, the groundbreaking film's title has been changed to The Princess and The Frog, with the princess being renamed Tiana. "It's disappointing," Rodney Hinds, features editor of The Voice newspaper, said. "Some of the stereotyping of people from our community is still rigid in people's minds. We have our own dreams and stories like everyone else, and we want them to be portrayed positively." A spokesman for Disney said: "The story takes place in the charming elegance and grandeur of New Orleans' fabled French Quarter during the Jazz Age... Princess Tiana will be a heroine in the great tradition of Disney's rich animated fairy tale legacy, and all other characters and aspects of the story will be treated with the greatest respect and sensitivity."
Read More

ObamaNation: Comedians Tread Lightly When Delivering Obama Jokes

Many writers and comedians are having a hard time creating punchlines when it comes to Barack Obama, according to two articles in the New York Times. “There’s a weird reverse racism going on,” late-night host Jimmy Kimmel said of the mostly-white staff and comedians, who are having difficulty getting past Obama's pristine veneer--and race. The Times claims that due to the presidential hopeful's ethnicity, lack of "buffoonish"-ness, and audiences' resistance to seeing him skewered, Obama's "been flayed by the sort of ridicule that diminished Dukakis, Gore and Kerry." "If Obama keeps being stingy with his quips and smiles, and if the dominant perception of him is that you can’t make jokes about him, it might infect his campaign with an airless quality," Maureen Dowd says in her column. "His humorlessness could spark humor." Mike Sweeney, the head writer for Late Night with Conan O'Brien is pretty hopeful: “We’re hoping he picks an idiot as vice president.” PHOTO: AP
Read More

Gossip Girl‘s Jessica Szohr: TV’s Latest Phenom of the Ambiguous Ethnic Girl

Gossip Girl's Jessica Szohr isn't the first token TV character. Take a look back: Lisa Turtle (Lark Voorhies) on Saved By the Bell. Rhonda Blair (Vanessa A. Williams) on Melrose Place. And Cleveland Brown on The Family Guy. But the latest phenomenon is the beautiful, ambiguously-ethnic character. Take Szohr as Vanessa Abrams on the CW's hugely popular teen soap. She came onto the lily-white set of Gossip Girl as the boho-esque, Williamsburg hipster waitress who had gifts from Eastern Europe in tow on her first episode. Although Szohr's character was a sharp contrast to the non-speaking, harajuku-costumed black (played by Nicole Fiscella) and Asian (played by Nan Zhang) background characters on the show, it was quite confusing to peg Szohr's ethnicity. Her hair was curly (she could be Puerto Rican/Dominican?), but her eyes were blue/green and her skin was basically the same color as her castmates. She is reportedly Hungarian and African-American. Another primetime example is Rashida Jones as Karen Filippelli on The Office. Calling Karen "exotic," Steve Carell's charmingly clueless character puts everyone's (even our own) curiosity to rest, asking Karen, "Is your father a G.I.?" As most may know, Rashida is Quincy Jones' daughter with Mod Squad star Peggy Lipton. Her sister is Kidada Jones. But, while on past shows, except for Lisa on Saved by the Bell (who was famously fawned over by the un-dateable Screech, and dated Zac Morris for an episode), these characters are far cries from the sassy black girlfriend who tells it like it is roles we've been bamboozled by. They are actually part of major romantic story lines. On The Office, Jones' character was involved in the fabled love triangle between John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer. While Szohr's character shook things up between Blake Lively and Penn Badgley. She also went on to date the prettiest character on the show, Chace Crawford (pictured above). Before joining GG, Szohr also played Barry Watson's neighbor and love interest in the cancelled ABC series, What About Brian? ''Do I want to see any more shows where someone has a sassy black friend? No, because I'm nobody's sassy black friend," Girlfriends creator Mara Brock Akil recently told Entertainment Weekly of TV's lack of diversity. "I just want to see shows in which people get to be people and that look like the world we live in.'' As our frustrations with TV's lack of color continue to flourish, enjoy this Entertainment Weekly article, "Why is TV so White?" PHOTO: Courtesy of The CW
Read More

Medicine’s Racial Divide

The American Medical Association apologized to black doctors, admitting to a history of racial discrimination in its policies and practices. Dr. Ronald Davis, the AMA’s previous president, says the group has "a feeling of profound regret and embarrassment for what has been uncovered." Dr. Nelson Adams, who was most recently the president of the National Medical Association, which was founded in 1895 to represent black doctors, says, "[The] AMA looked the other way when local medical associations worked to exclude most black physicians from becoming members." The AMA apology is prompted by a study commissioned in 2005 titled, “The Racial Divide in Organized Medicine,” which will be published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. It was only on Saturday that a state study showed that in New York City, black nurses were being paid less than their white counterparts.
Read More

Chanel Iman Still Passed Over in Fashion

Even after fashion bible Vogue asked, "Is fashion racist?" Chanel Iman is still passed over for modeling jobs, the 17-year-old It Girl—and our favorite model of the moment—tells Newsweek. "I will fly to London for what is supposed to be 20 casting calls and won't get but 15 because the other five designers don't want black models," says Chanel Iman, who is currently in Gap billboards around the country and is arguably the hottest black fashion model (next to Liya Kebede). "That's not going to happen to white models. It's upsetting and insulting and totally backwards.'' Supermodel Naomi Campbell also chimes in, "This is not the conversation I thought I would have to have at this point. You think you've broken the barriers and then the game changes. So you have to fight all over again."
Read More