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Archive for the ‘Race’ Category

Every blog I follow seems to be covering problematic costumes this week, and you’ve still got one day to read up before the big day! Racist, sexist, fatphobic, transphobic, and appropriative costumes like these don’t have a place in Halloween fun. Let’s see what’s trending this year!

Via Jezebel

Via Jezebel

Warning: these links are about costumes that are, as stated, racist, sexist, fatphobic, transphobic, and appropriative; and include discussions of domestic violence, medical trauma, etc. (Also: tastelessness.)

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Sleepy Hollow just kicked off its second season, and I wanted to highlight the show here. I’ve always been fond of “The Tale of the Headless Horseman” in all of its incarnations and had a lot of reservations about the show (more on this later) but am pleased to say that it has, thusfar, turned out to be a positive show with good gender and race representation despite ostentibly being about a white guy from the 18th century.

Spoiler free–which means I don’t get to discuss some of the important character development in characters who show up mid-season.


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I always do a little blurb on Take Back Halloween, since the site has been around as long as this blog has! The site aims to show readers how to make positive feminist costumes for Halloween.

Bessie Coleman via Taking Back Halloween

Bessie Coleman via Take Back Halloween

The site highlights notable historical and fictional women of all races from all over the world; gives instructions on how to create the outfits–usually through a combination of off-the-rack items and accessories, so even if you can’t sew, you can make the outfits; and also provides history lessons about the characters and historical figures, who fall into four major categories: Glamour Grrls, Goddesses and Legends, Notable Women, and Queens.

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A look the concepts of “semi-adapting” and racial place in society and in immigrant communities for a Nikkei Peruvian who migrated to Japan.

JAPANsociology

by Robert Moorehead

In all social processes, you have to have the word ‘inclusion’. … without that word, I’m not going to change the world, and they’re not going to change me, because they’re going to have that culture of defense [from me]. Not resentment, but defense.

Lately I’ve been working on a paper for a conference, and I’ve been fixated on an interview with an immigrant father. Juan (a pseudonym) is a Peruvian of Japanese descent who migrated from Peru to Japan more than 20 years ago. Juan expresses his frustration over what he sees as the lack of inclusion of Peruvians and other migrants from developing countries in Japan, in contrast to the greater openness to foreigners from the United States or Europe.

I don’t have a voice (in Japan), and I never will have it, because they (the Japanese) will never know what I think. But, in this…

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All images mine unless otherwise noted.

 Bainbridge Island Japanese American Memorial  | The Lobster Dance

“This wall marks the path where, on March 30, 1942, two hundred and twenty-seven friends, neighbors, classmates, and coworkers left their homes, jobs, farms, businesses, and community [on Bainbridge Island]–their lives disrupted, their hopes and dreams torn apart.” – memorial plaque

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“Although this video may be challenging gender inequality, it does so at the expense of upholding racist ideologies about France’s Other.”

Gender & Society

Jafar_blogimage2 The short film, “ Oppressed Majority ” by French director Éléonore Pourriat is a powerful video showing a reversed reality: a society where women and men have traded places and experiences.  The 10-minute film shows a day in the life of Pierre, who is a father and a husband, going about his day.  From unwanted attention, to harassment, to assault, the film details his experiences with women (who are the harassers and the attackers). The film does an excellent job of revealing the sexism, threats, and attacks that women deal with everyday, and the absurdity of the responses they have to deal with in light of such experiences.  One can see the tentativeness with which Pierre walks, the discomfort and shame he feels with the unwanted attention and harassment and the downright trauma of having been sexually assaulted.  In brief, the film is able to visually capture what it’s like…

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In this gender reader: the gendered politics of skin-whitening creams; public bathing; bad reporting on the “sex strike”; Facebook genders; and more–and I even think we can get through this without a discussion of giri-choco!

Chanel's Le Blanc (ルブラン) skin-whitening cream. Image via Chanel Japan.

Chanel’s Le Blanc (ルブラン) skin-whitening cream. Image via Chanel Japan.

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More information on screenings of Hafu/ハーフ documentary in Osaka courtesy of Japan Sociology:

JAPANsociology

Folks in the Kansai region who missed seeing the Hafu film during its run in Kobe are in luck. The film is showing at Osaka’s Nanagei Cinema , within walking distance of Juso station , until February 21. The film plays once a day, at 6:45pm until February 14, and at 8:35pm from February 15 to 21.

This blog has discussed the film and related issues regarding hafu (people of mixed Japanese ancestry) many times, and the fine folks at the Hafu Project have graced our classrooms on several occasions. This film is an important step in a movement toward a more inclusive notion of Japanese identity. Come be a part of the conversation, and see the film in Osaka before it closes on February 21.

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Regarding the education system and social “common knowledge” that leads to ignorance and erasure, check out this post on the causes and effects of the ANA commercial from the perspective of a writer who doesn’t fit neatly into the “gaijin-san” stereotypes. Reblogged with permission and my gratitude.

Lucky Hill

This is a very long post. To summarize for the TL;DR crowd, what I’m getting at is that the stereotype of “Gaijin-san” doesn’t exist in a vacuum, that there is a host of racial problems in Japan and that’s part of what makes Gaijin-san so aggravating.

Recently I found out about All Nippon Airways’ unfortunate decision to air an ad featuring a man in Japan’s ubiquitous “Gaijin-san” costume: a large nose and a blond wig. Honestly it left me stupefied because 1. the nose used was extremely large even by Gaijin-san costume standards, and 2. I had come to believe that the Gaijin-san costume was fading out of use. I remember seeing it in the variety shop InCube, being sold with Halloween costumes in 2009, but never again after that year in that store. I’d always check for it because the first time I saw it I was blown away…

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If you need a palate-cleanser, I wrote a guest post about Welcome to Night Vale over on Have You Nerd?

Have You Nerd

All Hail the Glow Cloud:

How Welcome to Night Vale Won My Heart

By: Leah Zoller

I tend to describe the podcast Welcome to Night Vale as a surrealist fantasy version of Prairie Home Companion. Each 20-25-minute episode is narrated by Night Vale Community Radio host Cecil Gershwin Palmer (voiced by Cecil Baldwin), who gives community updates for the rural desert town of Night Vale, where John Peters–you know, the farmer?–grows imaginary corn; a floating cat hangs out in the radio station men’s bathroom; wheat and wheat byproducts may attack; and a five-headed dragon is running for office.

night vale

In addition to community updates, the weather report features music from an eclectic variety of artists, and the (fake) sponsorships have been targeted to serve the needs of the community:

Step into your nearest Subway restaurant today, and try their new 6-inch mashed potato sub! Top it with a delicious assortment of…

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