Sunday, February 27

Talking about race: the Louis C.K. learning tool

I am preparing for a workshop with students this week on white privilege.

After students learn about white privilege, sometimes they feel discouraged, and ultimately wonder how they should respond to the reality of racial issues and privilege.

This is why I am thankful for people like Louis C.K.

Whatever gifts you have, use it to discuss (not ignore) these issues, educate yourself and others, change your world, pursue justice...and if you're funny...if you keep it real, you'll always get the respect of the band.

For J. Berry

Tonight, after briefly watching the Oscars and noticing the irony of Lena Horne's tribute...I was encouraged by a friend, "J.Berry" to update my blog.

Lena Horne was beautiful, talented and a trailblazer for people of color in Hollywood - In a time of "ridiculously evil" segregation and oppression, she was the first African-American actress to have a major studio contract. This was almost 70 years ago...

During tonight's Oscars she was paid tribute by Halle Berry, who was the 1st African American actress to finally win "Best Actress" 10 years ago in 2001...

"She opened doors so we could have our place in the sun..." said Halle Berry.

Yet, there was no place, no sight of any actor, writer, producer, director of any race other than white, who was nominated.

A New York Magazine writer noted, "While speaking about Horne's career, Halle said, "that was a very different time in Hollywood." ...Well, Not different enough."

The lack of diversity at the Oscars isn't just a coincidence, or another complaint that people in the majority wish others wouldn't notice or talk's a symptom of something bigger...something that we all wish would have been over by now.

The irony of the tribute was followed by a "We are the World/Disney" style finale by a diverse kids chorus from New York City. They sang "Over the Rainbow."

The lyrics, "why, oh why can't I?" echoed in my head, as I am hopeful that Hollywood will reflect more stories, more diversity, more acceptance.

This is a gift that many people take for granted when they always get to see people who look like them reflected constantly and consistently (on television, movies, magazines, etc.)

The effect communicates something...are we visible? are we valued? are we wanted?

We shouldn't have to wait another 10 years for a sign of acceptance and equality in Hollywood...and when I think of actors from more ethnicities who are underrepresented (Asian American, Native American, Latino...)
I cringe...and then I hope even more.

Oscar Nominees 2011 (click to enlarge - one guy on the right, but

PS22 Chorus - They Performed for the Oscar Finale