Diversity on Television

This is a topic I have wanted to talk about for a while now. I feel like right now there is so much diversity on television, and it makes me happy. Is it enough? Hell, no. However, it’s  a start.

So this is going to be short. I’m going to list a bunch of 2014-2015 television shows, and tell you why I love the show and what I find problematic with the show. Here is something I want you to remember that I think a lot of people forget: You can love/like a show, and still have issues with what is problematic with the show.

I am only going to list what I find problematic with characters/shows that have Latin@s on them. I don’t feel I should comment on something that isn’t from my own community. However, I will still point out what I love.

Jane The Virgin, Mondays at 8pm (CW)

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What I love: Jane’s grandmother speaks to her in Spanish. Jane replies in English. Jane struggles to speak Spanish, but she obviously understands it fluently. On the show, you occasionally see her struggle to say something in Spanish to her grandmother.

You don’t understand how much it means to me to see something like this on television. Growing up my parents would talk to me in Spanish, but I ALWAYS responded in English.  I honestly, don’t believe I am the only one out there who grew up this way, which is why it means so much to me.

Also, this show is supper funny. The characters are outrages and over the top. Gina Rodriguez is amazing. You should also check out Filly Brown, while you are at it. She’s amazing in it. I think, it’s still on Netflix instant play.

What’s problematic: I would say the usual. What do I mean by the usual? We have light skin people of color on television with European features.  This show is only 6 episodes in…I hope I see some diversity within the Latin@ spectrum.

Cristela, Fridays at 9pm (ABC)

Cristela

What I love: Aside from the fact I can relate to this show on a personal level, the show does a great job at demonstrating microaggressions.  Cristela combatants the microaggressions with humor, and I think it’s important to see that on television.

What’s problematic: Honestly, there’s a lot. Instead of listing everything, I’m going to list what comes to mind first. The way Alberto consistently pursues Cristela, even though she is not interested. I hate this trope. I wish for once a woman says no, and the man backs off. (Yes, I know it happens. It just doesn’t happen enough). Secondly, the Halloween episode. They didn’t differentiate Halloween and Day of the Dead. They made it seem as though it fell on the same day, and that people sitting around on Day of the Dead telling ghost stories.

Black.ish, Wednesday’s at 9:30 on ABC

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 What I love: I love this show, because it talks about the in between space, which isn’t something I have ever seen talked about in my life. It’s also something I can REALLY relate to. The show specifically address issues pertaining to the black community about not being “black enough.” The first episode is focuses on that, but it’s not the only thing they talk about. It is a Family show that  addresses family issues. The only differences is they don’t erase the fact that this is a black family whose black identity navigates the way they interact and see the world.

What’s problematic: I did some research, and although this particular video is outdated (meaning they made this video before the show came out). I still want to post it. They brought up stuff I never had to think about because of my own privileges. Also, I watched a few other of their videos, and I like their channel.

(I wrote the first portion before I researched the “What’s problematic” section. /I wrote this article in the course of a few weeks).

Coming in January 2015

Fresh off the Boat 

I am looking forward to watching this show. This show will be the first Asian American comedy, since All-American Girl.  This is long over due for a community that is completed ignored in the media.

All in all, the lack of diversity on tv is really ugly. I’m happy things are starting to change, and I hope they continue to change. We need shows like this, as much as we need characters of color on other tv programs.

 

As much as I love Cristela and Jane the Virgin, I don’t want to be separated from other television shows. Yes, I love shows that center around my culture, but that’s NOT all I want to watch. I want shows that are inclusive to communities color, including my own. I want to watch television just like everyone else, and see something other than  white people on television.

 

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Instead of Said or Instead of Tropes (Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix)

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Horrorstör introduces readers to  a character named Amy who works in retail after dropping out of college. She’s a slacker and behind on rent. So she reluctantly agrees to  watch the store at night with her boss and a co-worker. They believe vandals are some how getting into the store at night and destroying property. However, things do not turn out exactly as they thought. Obviously, the book’s title and cover gives away the fact that supernatural activity takes place at night.

This isn’t the scariest horror book, but it’s a good start. If you are new to the horror realm in reading, this is one book you might want to consider. I wasn’t scared, however, there were times I (for lack of a better way of saying this) was gross out. It can get a little gory and a little gross, but it is manageable.  It kept me entertained and reading, which is a lot more than i can say for some other books. The cover might be a little more frightening than the book itself. I gave Horrorstör  three stars on goodreads. I may want to go back and read it someday, but I wouldn’t buy it.

As far as criticisms go, Grady Hendrix needs to consider alternatives to “said.” I’m usually not picky when books overuse “said” but he took it to a new level. Also, he needs to understand if you are going to write characters of color stay away from tropes or at least be careful of how you use them.  I swear if a Latino/a character existed in the novel the character would have been an immigrant. For example, the boss is black, he’s in his early 20’s, and comes from the inner city. He had  a hard life, and he is now raising his kid sister. Then there is the Asian American girl who is not only hyper-sexualized, but also has a streak of her hair dyed. This way everyone knows  she is rebellious.

On the bright side, Hendrix has a chance to rectify these tropes and make these characters complex. Horrorstör has been picked up for a TV series. Here’s to hoping for complexity  (for the characters of color) and less…said.

The link to his book being picked up as a TV series is below:

http://deadline.com/2014/10/grady-hendrix-horrorstor-novel-tv-series-gail-berman-the-jackal-group-864211/

I love the artwork, but the plot wasn’t that great. (The New York Four by Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly)

The New York Four Cover

Honestly, the plot line didn’t really impress me. The New York Four is about four young college freshman living in New York. The main character, Riley, is shy and has trouble making friends. However, this book starts after she realizes the three other girls she hangs out with are her friends and she has no idea how she made them. This sounds like the way I make friends as an adult, haha. Now that she has friends, all she does with her time is spend it texting when she is around them. While this is happening, she is also reunited with her estranged sister.

group picture

Overall, the book had potential, but all it did was disappoint me in the end. The plot is trite. However, it’s worth a read and it’s a fast read. I don’t think I’d go out of my way to buy this book. As I said before, the artwork is killer and worth checking out. My favorite part about this book is that the writer understands that New York is a diverse place live. Unlike other writers who often exclude characters of color, this book has two women of color. They are a little stereotypical, but they are characters that fit in well with the rest of the cast. There is Merissa Vasquez “the tall loud one” who is “superior [and] has  five boyfriends right now.” Then, there is Lona Lo whose “status [is] 300 miles from home (Canada)….[and she] doesn’t like the way coffee tastes.” Aside from that, the book portrays Lona as quiet and docile. Actually, if I remember correctly, I think about it the author used the word docile to describe her later on.


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Actually, the more I think about the way this books portrays women I’m starting not to like it. As I sit here and write this out, I remember why I didn’t like the plot between Riley and her estranged sister. I realize Wood has no idea how to write women characters, especially women of color. Wow, I’m so glad I did a review of this. Although I won’t back down on the art, I do like it.  I’d say check this book out from the library, if you want to read it. I’m definitely glad I did, and didn’t buy it like I originally planned too.

Kelly_NY4d

Here’s the link to where the pictures came from:

http://thequarterbin.com/2011/04/21/the-new-york-four/

http://www.comicartfans.com/gallerypiece.asp?piece=583886

10 Frontwomen (of color) in Rock Music

As I watched WatchMojo‘s Top 10 Frontwomen in Rock (No solo Artists) video the other day, I noticed an obvious pattern: all these women are white. No, I’m not saying they do not deserve their spot on the list. Actually, there are several white women I like that didn’t make it on the list. Su Tissue from the Suburban Lawns is one of my favorite female vocalist. The other, Patti Smith, although I’ve heard people argue that The Patti Smith Group still counts as a solo gig.

Anyway, I’m disappointed there wasn’t at least one woman of  color on the list. However, as I thought about who I would put on the list. I realized I could only think of a few, which depressed me even more. I realized my music is extremely limited and I really need to pay closer attention to what I listen to. The last few days I spent hunting for frontwomen of color in bands. These are the ones I came up with. I encourage you to add to the list if you know more women of color who front bands.

My goal in this post isn’t to get into the politics of why women of color weren’t added to the list. It’s to help expose and uplift women of color whose talents in music go unnoticed. Thus, I highly encourage people to add to this list. (This list has no order). I searched for women of color in rock, and I pretty much listed any band I could see myself listening to. I hope you find this list useful, and you begin to reexamine your own music collection. I know I have.

I did my best to make this list as diverse as possible. I just kept hitting major road blocks. There is a dire need for diversity in music, especially rock music. If you are a young women of color interested in music, I hope you pursue your dream. The music industry needs you.

 

1.  Nicolette Vilar, Go Betty Go

2. Poly Styrene,  X-Ray Spex.

3. Teresa  Covarrubias, The Brat

4. Alice  Bag- The Bags

5. Yoshiko “Ronnie” Fujiyama, 5.6.7.8.s

6. Melanie Troxler, The Objex

7.  Santie White, Stiffed

8. Nina Diaz, Girl In a Coma

9. Pilar Diaz (Now you can find her as Maria De Pilar), Los Abandoned

10. Saori, The Suzan

 

Oh, here is a bonus musician. She is considered a solo act, but you need to hear her voice. It’s incredible.

Fefe Dobson

(If there are any mistakes in the names, it’s because I just found some of these bands. )

I’m a reader because I made my mom pay library fines for Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

I know, I know this blog is called Media in Color. Why are you focusing on a white author? First of all, it’s my blog so :p. Secondly, I can’t imagine my life as reader without it.

The earliest book I can remember falling in love with is Harold and the Purple Crayon. I use to check it out from the library to the point my mom had to pay the price, literally. I lost the book and my mom had to pay the fine. I felt horrible because I loved that book so much and to think that it would never be read again scared me.  I hated the possibility that no other child could read the book. For me, it felt as if  I lost the only copy in the world that existed. Plus, I knew my mom couldn’t afford to pay for it, even at that age. So my heart broke in different ways over one book. Years later, my senior year of high school, my mom bought me a copy of Harold and the Purple Crayon as a graduation gift. It felt good to know other copies existed (kidding).

The  formula is simple, but the book is not. It is much more than a boy, his crayon, and his imagination. It gives kids (it gave me) the feeling that as long as I create something then it is real, it’s possible, and it’s at the tips of my fingers. The best part of all is that Harold’s biggest weapon is his mind. Every obstacle he faced, Harold uses his imagination to overcome it.  In some ways, Harold taught introverts that it’s okay to want to be in your own mind, because the world you create is way more interesting, anyway. This book has always held a special place in my heart because of that. I guess, it’s why I read so much after that. I wanted to be like Harold and use my mind as a weapon. God, it sounds so cheesy, but it’s true.

This brings me to my next topic…While wondering around online, I found this:

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Not that I have a lot of followers, but…

I was out of town from July 30 to August 4. Thus, I went MIA for a while. I presented my research at the MALCS conference (Mujeres Activas en  Letras y Cambio Social/ Women active in Letters and Social Change). The conference went great, and people really loved my panel’s presentation.

As far as my blog goes, I am currently working on two pieces. They are entitled:

The Whiteness in the Punk Scene or Coming into Conocimiento con Punk Musica

Diversity in Parks and Rec vs Modern Family (Tentative title only).

Please, bear with me. I am still applying to graduate school and doing summertime cleaning.  I never have time to participate in spring cleaning. Also, someone volunteered to edit my work. *crosses fingers this actually happens*  Thank you anyone who reads my posts and puts up with me on my journey to improving my grammar and finding my voice in my little corner of the universe.

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