Walking in the Hero’s Shoes

Walking a hero’s walk isn’t an easy task. Not only do you carry your own responsibilities and troubles, you also carry the weight of those around you. The beauty of Hindu mythology is that it is full of layers and depth. It’s stories and characters go beyond the ideas of good and evil, which we often depict as two separate traits. Rather, each person is depicted to contain a certain amount of good and evil within them.

“The Hero’s Walk” a novel by Anita Rau Badami, is a story of grief, loss, and the repentance one seeks after re-evaluating their past wrong-doings. The narrative of the story switches fluidly between characters within Big House which give the story a oneness or a holistic feeling which we get when we understand the struggles between Sripathi and his wife and what happens within the confines of their home. Each situation and event in the novel are interwoven like the patterns on a rangoli decorated floor, though possibly not as beautiful nor harmonic.


The first part of the novel sets the stage for the dysfunctional and culturally-different aspects of Indian households.  Each character living in their bodies, struggling to live within the crumbling ancestral home situated on the Bay of Bengal as one.

One of the most prominent women in the novel was Ammayya – the mother of Sripathi – who lives with them in Big House. Her background gave the impression that  we’re to sympathize with the older woman because of the hardships she faced in her life which made her bitter. But her continued disappointment in her son and her selfishness and desire to obtain rather than to give in her life – which contended with my uncle – made her a character who was both victim and villain. Her death was one that matched her husbands in term of depth.

Putti, the daughter of Ammayya, stayed at home with her mother and Sripathi in the crumbling gem of Toturpuram. Threatened to be a spinster for the remainder of her days by the hand of her mother who turned down every man the matchmaker managed to find that complimented the aging woman, Putti’s duty as an unmarried daughter was to see to the care of her mother. Despite that, Putti looked out the grimy windows and longed for romance and for a better life and decided to obtain it for herself no matter the cost.

Nirmala, the wife of Sripathi, does her duties as a wife and mother but is tested when her estranged daughter Maya suddenly dies. Her role as the dutiful wife is strained when the grief and regret of losing a daughter she once knew gone from her life the second time. Yet she works with her husband to overcome this grief and to gain and even holds onto her religion throughout this whole ordeal.


At a young age, the son of any Indian household has the weight of the world on their shoulder’s, even if it is not known until they reach their school years. Sripathi was no exception. His father, Narasimha Rao, B.A., M.A., L.L.B., also instilled within his son the weight of responsibilities as a child. Testing him, challenging him, making sure his son grew up to be as successful as him. And even going so far as to forcefully show young Sripathi where he’d end up if he didn’t meet his standards.

The tale of Rama and Ravan in the Ramayana are continually used within the story. And just like this tale, the line between good and evil, hero and villain isn’t always clear.

Some people believe that Rama is the hero and Ravan the villain. (185)

In the Ramayana, both Rama and Ravan have their merits and demerits. The fact that one is depicted as the hero and the other the villain is merely by means of judgment when each of them has a mix of both goodness and evil. The story of Rama and Ravan is used to symbolize the hero’s walk in a much deeper way. Rather than walking with pride, as Nirmala had suggested on page 136, nor that of a braggart, the walk that defines a hero (especially in this story) is acceptance and change. A humble walk.

It emphasizes that a character (like Sripathi) isn’t bound by either being good or being bad, but it is to find the absolute truth that is every character like Ammayya who suffered at the hands of her husband but is terrible to her children, like Sripathi who’s own governed rules and duty to society and family have severed his relations with them, are anti-hero’s; flawed and imperfect and morally ambiguous.

Showcase Portfolio Planning

Okay, so I had a lot of time to think about this (in fact like 2 or 3 weeks, I think) and decided that I am going to, in the grand tradition of Recollet’s and Toulouse’s, “wing it”.

I am not one for planning, which is probably where my mark strains, but I am however a proficient in doing things last minute. My mom designs beautiful Jingle Dresses the night before a powwow, we somehow band together to create successful events, even our trips are often not thought-out before we exit the front door with all our bags in tow.

I am probably gonna post it on my blog, cause it’s easy and stuff, but really other than that I’ll make it up as I go along. I haven’t done anything as of yet, so I hope something will come up by 4:00 tomorrow. :/

Refurbishing Old Ideas

“Remixing is a folk art.”

These series of videos found on the video-sharing website, Vimeo discuss how the media we know and love is founded on remixing old material. Films, music, art, and about any other medium take pre-existing material in order to create something new.

The series doubly named, “Everything’s a Remix”  is split into four parts. The first discusses how the music industry and its artists take sounds and voices from previous artists in order to create a new song. The second part discusses remixing in films which is much more common. The third video discusses the process of creativity and how our ideas are just adjustments/ transformations of older ideas. The fourth is a description of the social system behind copying.

In the third part of the series, “The Elements of Creativity” goes into depth how remixing old ideas, adding to older ideas, developing our own ideas on top of pre-existing ones, is as natural as anything else. That copying is the fundamental backbone of any new intuitive product or development. If anything, we would not know what we know had it not been for people like Isaac Newton or Joseph Campbell or any other intellectual to base their thinking on those who came before them.

“If I have seen further than other’s, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”

This is a beautiful quote which came to me in my history class while learning about the Scientific Revolution. Isaac Newton’s quote illustrates the idea of taking previous ideas and refining them with newfound ones. When Newton said this, he acknowledges that he wouldn’t have known what he knows without the scientists which came before him. He built on their works in order to come to a newer conclusion on a topic which we were still trying to understand. Rather than ridiculing and disputing Copernicus, Kepler, or Galileo  for not providing concrete evidence or lacking in certain areas he took the works of his predecessors to formulate his own and to achieve a better understanding.

~~ Some gems ~~

“Our new ideas evolve from the old one’s”

“we need copying to build the foundation of knowledge and understanding”

“we can’t introduce anything new, without being fluent in our domain.”

“nobody starts out original”

Tricksters and Mentors: Characters and their Underlying Meaning

Eagle and Raven (Old Masset, Haida Gwaii) acrylic on canvas – Joanne Mitchell

No matter what culture, what place, what time; a  story that is being told always has certain characters within it to give it depth, to portray different themes. Despite the leaps and distances of cultures and peoples, certain characters types appear multicultural. These archetypes as many have called them, are used as a reflection of human nature and helps develop an understanding of the story that is being told. 

Ravensong by Lee Maracle is a story that speaks of a long history topic of the relationship between white settlers and the Indigenous peoples of Canada. Set in a very controversial time where traditionalism and modernity are fighting for a place, it acts as a backdrop for surfacing many issues that the characters in the novel experience. The characters in Ravensong, predominantly female, all show and carry a variety of depth and meaning to the book’s message.


 

Our deities are nature-based. We look to the earth and learn from her. To the animals and plants, and the landforms our teachers rise, and our stories take form. One of the most prevalent archetypes in the novel is the Trickster, taking the form of Raven. Despite its name as the trickster, like our nanabush or coyote, Raven is also the caretaker and teacher for its people. Raven’s presence in the novel is to showcase the true intentions of the goings-on in their world and their attempt to bring the native community and the white community together. This attempt fails, but Raven’s plan to strengthen the relationship between the two cultures ultimately goes beyond this point.

She considered her plan to drive the people out of their houses. She knew they stayed confined to their villages for false reasons: segregation between the others and her own people had as much to do with how to others felt about the villagers. Raven saw the future threatened by the parochial refusal of her own people to shape the future of their homeland…She had to drive them out, bring them across the bridge (44).

The book is chock-full of mentors and teachers, from both sides, who help give insights on situations that are too complex to understand in itself. These mentors, the elders, are a precious and powerful thing; that despite the death of an elder their teachings can still be passed down orally as is the tradition of native storytelling.

Old Nora is the first character we meet in the novel, an elder of the community who had passed on. Elders come with the knowledge and wisdom of the world that can only be attained by living a long life. Stacey, despite having not known Old Nora well, is constantly looking back on her when she gets stuck on her quest of understanding, to which a very well-known native archetype on her own – Old Nora – replies with a very clear and unbiased “No use thinking about,”.

Stacey, the child who had all the advantages of Dominic’s and Nora’s good sense and the knowledge of the others, was unable to hear Raven sing, no matter how obvious her song (44).

Ella is the grandmother of everybody in the community, another native archetype (looking to you Sandra) who also provides insight to Stacey as well as to Steve a non-community member. She, like Old Dominic, Old Nora and the rest of the elders, have caught onto Raven’s plan too late and understood that the world cannot be split like it has been for so long.

Celia’s role, like Raven’s, only appears where context is needed. She is the spyglass, the character that binds the past to the present as well as the future. Her innocence and lack of understanding of her visions give it a desperation and ache that Raven had felt once the encounters of the two worlds set up a racial border (Aurylaite, 2007).

Other characters like Owl was the messenger of death. Cedar: the tree of life comforted Celia when her visions became too much. The river and bridge acted as a mediator in Stacey’s thoughts of her world and the other’s.

Polly was the Catalyst which pushed Stacey on her quest to understanding.

The characters are all diverse and bring varying perspectives to the table of Stacey’s and the reader’s understanding. The role of the women in the novel, no matter the age, is to help one another, and their archetypes do exactly that. The term “Too much Raven,” which is often phrased in the book by all the women describes the mischevious side in them, but also their role as caretakers of their people, specifically what Stacey’s role was. Raven is as much as the women in the book as she is the Earth.


Maracle, Lee. “Ravensong.” Vancouver: Press Gang Publishers, 1993. Print.

 

 

Media Laundry: Whites, Lights, Darks and the Delicate Issue of Misrepresentation

 

What can I say as a person of colour to the big corporate media names to open their minds on the veracity of whitewashing POC characters in movies and in shows? Is there anything that I could say that would ring true in their ears, visible to their eyes? I hardly doubt it. Already my status as an Indigenous woman gives me a disadvantage. My words wouldn’t be able to reach their ears any more than the calls and demands for LGBTQ representation.

“It’s 2016”, and as I say that issues which we believed to have been left in the past or falsely resolved still haunt us today.  One of the many issues  which still infest our screens and lives is the lack of diversity in the media. The forcible whitewashing of POC characters, lead roles handed to the white actor first. It’s 2016, so why is is that the media is still erasing the Black, Hispanic, Latino, Indigenous and other cultures from the characters themselves.

Now a hollow shell of what it once used to be, only identified by the name. Once POC now a white hero or heroine.

These production companies, casting directors, and critics are so blatantly obvious about what I can only see it as some sort of hatred for any person of colour, that it makes me wonder how they can get away with it so easily. Then I remember that we live in a society which puts white people on an unattainable and unchallenged pedestal.

Now, as I stated before the media plays an important role in society. What we see on tv and in the theatres is a very influential and manipulative thing. They are lenses into our society but can also project and call out our troubles and issues actively. I as much as anyone else since the creation of film have used the medium as an escapism from the world which we live in.  Its entertainment purpose is absorbed so easily into our lives that the task of erasure in media is simple.

The issue of whitewashing is still not fully understood nor is it addressed. The implications of taking out the colour of a person are ultimately taking out the culture, the representation for those to look up to.  Is that the aim? To leave us, people of colour, to desire the white lives? Are we deprived of representation so much because it acts as a reminder of our place in the world? If that’s the case, I highly doubt it’s worth the amount of money being lost from these Box Office Flops.


Here’s an incomplete list of whitewashed films:

Exodus: Gods and Kings – the story of the biblical characters Moses and Ramses – cast Christain Bale and Joel Egerton as the Egyptian and Hebrew brothers.  (Flop.)

Gods of Egypt – cast Brenton Thwaites, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and Gerard Butler as the Egyptian Gods. Honestly, it’s bad enough other culture’s stories are rarely told…(Total Flop.)

Avengers Age of Ultron – A Marvel movie no less cast Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson as the Maximoffs siblings who are canonically Jewish/Romani children of Holocaust survivors and they what…volunteered for Hydra a neo-nazi organization??? why?? just to avoid copyright infringement with Fox’s Magneto????? (A Disappointment.)

Aloha – Starring Bradley Cooper, Rachel McAdams and so on cast Emma Stone as Captain Alison Ng a real person who is half Hawaiian/Chinese. I guess they wanted to keep the Bradley Cooper/Emma Stone on-screen relationship alive. (Floppity Flop.)

Martian – Mackenzie Davis stars as Mindy Park who  – in the book – is written and identified as a Korean-American. (Save Matt Damon, Save Mindy.)

Pan – Whitewashed TigerLily who is a Native American princess, played by Rooney Mara – not native. It’s actually one role, one role in all of the Peter Pan universe given to a WOC and they whitewashed it. (Flop of the Century.)

 The Lone Ranger – Despite its inclusion of actual Native people, Tonto the main lead who is Native American was given to Johnny Depp (he is a small percent of Cherokee or Lakota – which white person isn’t am I right?? *sarcasm*), honestly they pigeon-holed here.(My Dad Was So Pumped for this Movie….)

 The Forest – set in Japan which discusses a very sensitive topic of Japanese culture : the Aokigahara forest, whitewashed the entire cast with Natalie Dormer taking the lead. It disrespected those who have committed suicide in the forest and erased it as a Japanese issue. (Disrespectful Flop.)

 Ghost in the Shell – Cast Scarlett Johannson as Makoto Kusanagi a Japanese anime character.  Also the fact that Paramount and Dreamworks were running VE tests with ScarJo in order to “shift her ethnicity” from Caucasian to appear more Asian. Like, why spend money making someone look Asian when you can cast an Asian person?????? Here is Jon Tsuei’s explanation of the whitewashing in GitS. (Gonna be a Major Flop if they don’t fix that.)

Doctor Strange – More like another white male superhero. I cannot stress this as well as Tumblr user, ihatemcu did in their post. I am a fan of Marvel, but I will not watch this catastrophe of a movie.  (Marvel’s Upcoming Worst Film.)


 

It’s not even the fact that there’s a lack of POC actors or actresses of any given culture out there. In fact, the industry is flowing – overflowing even – with actors who are Asian, African American, Latino, Hispanic, Indigenous, Jewish, Israeli, and so on. Even then, they can go outside of their pool of known actors and cast unknown/ average people. The terrible thing is, they don’t. Most don’t even try. As soon as a white actor or actress is seen near the casting call they are given the role. A big name celebrity that is interested is certified to get the role, despite not being of that ethnic group.

Films where a character is of another culture, or ethnic group is automatically boycotted and the actor or actress becomes a target for condemnation. As is the case of John Boyega’s character Finn in the Star Wars: the Force Awakens movie. The announcement of his character pre-production sent the racist community into an uproar and declarations of boycotting the movie just because a black man was the male lead.

Annie, the 2014 film starring Quvenzhané Wallis, received a backlash of comments just because the beloved character got a modern twist. The twelve-year-old actress received death threats and racist comments. A twelve-year-old.

It’s come to this point of movie-going and media-watching that any person of colour in a role is a beloved one, and while that itself is okay, that mindset is inherently a result of lack of diversity.  It isn’t hard to give a role to a person of colour. It ain’t hard to include a person of colour in your post-apocalyptic, space explorative, historical drama, sci-fi favourite films. In fact, it would be a true reflection of the world in which we live in: A diverse one.

However, a media industry where diversity is commonplace seems to be a too radical of an idea for anyone to even consider.

 

Links:

The Forest? More Like The Flop

Hollywood Accused Of “White-Washing” Roles Meant For Asians

How Will the Maximoffs be Portrayed in “The Avengers: Age of Ultron”

There Should Be More People Of Color Represented In Media

 

 

Ravensong and the Outcast

Unlike people who are alienated because of the colour of their skin, their beliefs, and gender, Polly was an active participant in her society up until news of her sexual endeavors surfaced.  Polly was then cast out of her social circles and condemned for her actions. The result sent Stacey, down a reflection of her world and the world that Polly lived in.

Polly wasn’t the first girl to engage in sex and she wouldn’t be the last. In fact, many of their peers have also divulged themselves on the urge, however, it was getting caught that laid her out for condemnation (29).  Polly is one of theirs, however once she went against the social norms and laws or was caught in engaging in something as intimately secretive among the women, the confidence, and unity that came with it broke, and she was left bare for the dogs to get her.

Stacey’s state of unknowing in the why’s and what’s of white town uses Polly as a spyglass to get a glimpse into their world and ultimately uses that as a way to compare and contrast her world with theirs.

Firstly, the policies and customs of white society during this time suggested that women are inferior. Women lacked power, but their actions and virtues were still inspected thoroughly. Unlike Stacey’s world which found a unity for men and women, white males and females were separated based on a hierarchy that put the men above the women. As such, their cultural and religious beliefs also govern the people as a whole and put this idea in place.

In the hour or so it took it took Judy to retrace the path of Carol’s shame about her parents, assuring her Carol’s virtue wouldn’t be tarnished by the actions of her parents, Stacey learned a lot about Catholicism. She was astounded by the nature of the religion. No wonder her mother only went to church to light candles or utter prayers for better times. It was a sin to lust, a sin to divorce, a sin want to be loved if you were a woman (151).

Polly’s act on lust condemned her both religiously and socially, that and the absence of community binding – the support – for women like her and her mother who struggled in silence at the hand of her father, was just one of many injustices set upon women.

The white world is an individual state, it’s dependency on others is and can be broken by the laws and beliefs it itself holds high. Polly’s status was suddenly tarnished and all familial and social ties were cut because she herself was caught in what they deemed “immoral”. In contrast, Stacey’s world is more open, it has a collective conscious which is threaded by each person and a dependency that exceeds understanding.

Polly’s world is a collective culture, people act and work together, but it only goes so far. Individualism is strong in Polly’s world. Their religion that governs them is fierce and has been abused for the sake of power and control. Control over the people, in what they believe, think, as well as their morals. This is reflected highly in Polly’s case as well as in Carol’s.

White Town is contradictive. On the one hand, religion claims a place in people’s minds, and on the other, it is their society that does the conformity. Polly did wrong in the religious aspect; she went against the beliefs of “sex after marriage”. However, in terms of the society and the pressure to fit in, Polly acted just as the others would and did.

Representation of Women in Ravensong

In films and television shows women are underrepresented or shown as only two-dimensional characters which act as fill-ins. Women haven’t held much ground in the entertainment business, their voices and perspectives always shadowed by their male counterparts. However, this isn’t always the case. Films, shows, and books like the one I will discuss further in this post, have sort of snuck their way through the gates of misogyny and made public for people to view.

Ravensong, a novel by Lee Maracle, is a story about Stacey – a native girl living in Vancouver in the 50’s – who at a critical time in her life sets out on a journey of self-discovery and understanding. While the protagonist is female, there are other women depicted throughout the novel as well with varying backgrounds and significance and who are just as important.

Before anything or anyone else, the book introduces Old Nora. Despite her introduction being her funeral, we get to know who Old Nora was. Now, we all have an Old Nora in our family, or we know of an Old Nora in the community. Old Nora is an elder, an independent woman (as Hannah rightly put it, “An independent woman who don’t need no man…can chop her own wood.”) who after the death of her husband took over the role of the father-figure as well as remaining the mother-figure to raise her kids.

This act in itself was already a scandal especially during the time the book was set in. The 50’s weren’t generally a good place at all though it was aesthetically pleasing. During these dark times of segregation and blatant racism, women were also treated poorly.

An average woman in the 50’s was married, had no job, was housebound like the dutiful wife she’s brought up to be. They took care of the kids, the needs of the husband, and the household chores. Now, the women in this book weren’t your average women, they were Indigenous women who abide by their own laws and customs.

Indigenous women played a role in the community. Though they didn’t differ much from the duties posed for the average woman, their treatment in terms of their place in the community and in the home was never questioned or challenged. The women did the cooking, the cleaning, the gathering of goods, and the caring for the children and men in their life. The roles of the women were as Stacey put it, left to the women with no interference from the men.

Women in this family do one kind of work, men do a different type. It wasn’t a matter of being allowed to do this or that, it was choice born of some ancient string of normal action. Custom, she thought (77).

Even then, like in Old Nora’s case, or in Rena’s and German Judy’s, these customs are sometimes bent to best suit the women. Old Nora didn’t stick to the status quo set upon them by traditions and white influence. Rather than looking for another man to fit the shoes left vacant after her husband’s passing, Old Nora took it upon herself to teach her kids the skills of the trade and do the work a man does.

Rena and German Judy are together. While that in itself is sort of unorthodox, they’re also an interracial couple, Rena: a Native and German Judy: a Caucasian. Despite this, they still live on the Rez, respectably secluded from either community but still included on the happenings of the book and play significant roles in helping Stacey’s understanding and development.

Each woman presented in the book are part of this dichotomous key which filters them from Native and Non-Native and then continues to differentiate them apart based on their backgrounds. Stacey is this teenage girl, who’s limited background and observations of the world give her the role of the “eyes” in which the story unfolds.

Then there’s her friend Carol and her mother Mrs. Snowden who are white and given just the same complexities as the other women. Mrs. S’s significance in the novel is to portray the average woman, the submissive and dutiful wife, whose words lack ground with Mr. S’s presence.

There were no support systems for white women, not among their relatives, or in the community, or in the law…Until now, Stacey had bagged white men and women in the same sack. White women started to look different (81).

Stacey is continuously trying to understand the world as well as her place in the world as an Indigenous woman. The role of women and their relationship to society is a continuous theme throughout the novel, especially since Stacey is getting ready to leave her Normal World and enter an unknown and foreign one. Polly, though white, helps her with this deeper understanding.

Polly is her classmate, who took her life as a result of being caught engaging in premarital sex. Taking her own life is a concept that Stacey doesn’t understand, and her role in the story is to compare and contrast her world and the world of the average woman. Her mother is a reflection of Polly and her situation, and both are used to determine the differences of the clashing worlds.

Even Celia whom we rarely see is just as important. Though she lacks a firm presence like the other women in the story, her continuous in and outs as a flashback of the old world sets her up with the deities like Raven and Cedar.

The complexities of the women projected in this novel are used to answer questions as well as to raise some new ones. Despite coming from different cultures and possessing different backgrounds each woman is pegged on the same pedestal. They are there to help each other, guide each other, and confide in one another which creates a unity that cannot be broken. The customs of native women and the white women vary on choice and the resulting power that comes from it.

Grammar; The Structural Foundation of English

English is hard for me. I’d lik to think that its because english is not my native tongue and internally I recognize that, therefore it may not come as easily for me – but that is a lie. I spoke English before I spoke my native language sadly. Anyways, I put off writing this post because I was still stuck in the euphoria of my last post. Like, how could I top that last post??? And I have come to the conclusion that I cannot. Instead of upping the ante and creating another blog post as beautifully articulated as the last, I will have to settle with this 🙁

Now, the above paragraph has lots of grammar errors, I’m sure. I am not well-versed on the terms of the errors I made. There is an unnecessary dash in the second sentence, some spelling errors. Like any person nowadays I ended a sentence with an emoji (sometimes a phrase like, lol) which is okay in texts, but not okay in sentences. Perhaps I put too much commas, whatever the case and whatever their names, they can be easily detectable in any sentence and can make a sentence look and sound odd.

English is hard, and it has too many rules which “grammar nazis” seem so adamant of maintaining when the opportunity strikes them. In any case, when said “grammar nazis” does this act, it is not only rude, it is also a petty way of showing their intelligence and knowledge. While I believe that grammar is important, and is necessary to portray your voice and your understanding to a certain degree, some grammar rules are becoming obsolete because of their passe uses. The first article, “10 grammar rules you can forget: how to stop worrying and write proper” discusses some grammar rules that you can abolish from your memory palace. The article also talks about when and how you should use proper grammar in a sentence.

The second article explains reasons why grammar matters. This article was mostly a way of saying why grammar is important in everyday situations and in some fictional. I didn’t really read this one because of that fact.

I was also supposed to add a meme, but I suck at being creative or witty on the spot. I was gonna go with like Dos Equis man, something like, “I don’t always make grammar mistakes, but when I do, my dog doesn’t even want to eat my homework” but then I though that was lame so I rejected it. Or I was gonna go with an image of aq white man and a native man talking or whatever and I was gonna put, “it’s ‘you’ and ‘pants’, not ‘yous’ and ‘pantses’.” And then the native guy is shaking his head or something.

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/sep/30/10-grammar-rules-you-can-forget
http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/does-grammar-really-matter

Media Diversity is Essential and Needed More Than Ever

I find it strange that with the upcoming Oscars, the nominations for leading and supporting roles all consist of white actors – both male and female. Strange because of the various people of colour in films last film season. Strange because equality was on people’s minds, and people spouted “All Lives Matter” in retribution to “Black Lives Matter” and yet again prove that their words mean nothing. That their sincerity is feigned and their true colours – or lack thereof – show.

So, one can only ask, “What’s up?” to film producers and officials. Why is it that an industry that is obviously flourishing in our broken economy, not open to or accepting of people of colour? With the amount of people of colour that are actors, directors, producers, and musicians, it is crazy and demeaning to them that they are not recognized for their roles and contributions in such an industry.

This isn’t the first time that the Oscars neglected people of colour in their race to the Academy Awards. Last year was just as bad, with the same amount of non-white nominations this year: zero. Which isn’t that surprising of a number considering that of the Oscars 88 years, only 32 black people won, only 29 Latinos won, only 3 Hispanic people won, only 43 Asian people won, and only 1 Native American won (Buffy Sainte-Marie for the song, “Up Where We Belong”). Of that, in the last decade Hispanics, Latinos and Native Americans have not been nominated or represented in the media. It’s such a ridiculous concept to accept that white people are still the talk of the town after all these years.

It kind of makes me ashamed that I am so interested in this industry and that I give so much money for films over the past years and yet my people are so under-represented in media. I am a sucker for varying “white” hero-type films because that is what I grew up with (with the exception of The Legend of Zorro that I watched every time I stayed home from school as a kid). It’s depressing really. I am sure that if Hattie McDaniel – the first African American woman to win an Oscar at the 12th Annual Academy Awards – were listening and seeing what what happening, she’d be proud of the other black people to win and yet she would probably be raising hell because not much has really changed.

What I can’t help but wonder is why are films so slow on the progression and integration of non-whites while television, an arguably equally successful industry, is on a whole other level? Like in comparison to films, television contains at least 75% more non-whites. We have shows like Empire, Fresh Off the Boat, Black-ish, Jane the Virgin, Shades of Blue, Sense8, How to Get Away with Murder, and many others that consist of non-whites taking the role of Main Character/Hero. Even shows that are predominantly white have given non-whites roles. This industry because of this change, is becoming more and more successful and interesting.

These varying point of views on life expressed through these diverse shows and roles are ultimately sublime. Sure, they aren’t perfect, but I mean even now I’ll grasp at straws just so that there is even representation in media. Jane the Virgin features a Latino family, Fresh Off the Boat is a show about an Asian family coming to America, and Empire and How to Get Away with Murder feature black leads. Even roles that were created in favour of Caucasians, were later given to people of colour.

This change is obviously fast-growing in television, and is refreshing because we are getting stories and lives that are straying away from the boring, standard, white roles and shows which have and are still dominating media.

As such, breaking from white narratives allows the opportunity for other narratives to come into play. We already know about most white peoples cultures and subcultures, what the media needs to accept is then other cultures, other stories and legends. While it is easy to conjure up a black Annie, or a black James Bond to take the place of Caucasian people who were the vision of the role so long ago, what we need are stories on other cultures, like the Sepoy Mutiny, or a proper Stonewall film, which portrays trans African American Marsha P. Johnson. Hell, even stories about native peoples would be fan-freaking-tastic by now.

But they don’t have to be limited to just portrayals of our past. As much as white people wanted us to stay there, we are just as present as them.

So, to the people who are in charge of the Academy Awards and it’s pool of nominations, you know that there is a wide demand for change. You know that representation is key and that the telling of stories are important, so why is it that, despite seeing this change and the desperation of non-whites to see their own in such influential roles, that you cannot accept or showcase this diversity we’ve so long tried to protect?

 

How Music Affects our Productivity

“Music is one of humanities greatest triumphs” 

Music PerfectionCreative Commons License Pranavian via Compfight

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http://mentalfloss.com/article/65818/how-music-affects-productivity

We all love music. In some cases, people love it more than others. Music helps us organize our lives, thoughts, behaviors, and emotions, as well as (if you’re like me) acts as a soundtrack to certain aspects/scenes in your life. However, we do very little to consider how music affects us truly. When we’re down and getting dirty in whatever jobs we have, sometimes we like to listen to music in order to get the job done quicker, for the pace to become relatively steady, or to concentrate solely on the task at hand without outside influences.

In the link above, it gives you a brief and visually appealing infographic on how and in which way music affects our productivity.

The infographic says that “when taking part in a fully immersive task, such as writing, listening to music with lyrics can cause serious inefficiency…” I myself, love to listen to classical music when working on a paper, or an assignment. Composers like Schubert, Tchaikovsky, Mozart and Hadyn – are my favourites. Classical/Baroque music is smooth, elegant, and relaxing. There are no words that drown out the sounds of the violins or the cellos or the piano notes, and even the flow of classical music is comforting to allow productivity.

I leave the lyrics for when I’m doing chores and other repetitive tasks. Such activities that requires little concentration. I’d listen to a wide variety of music (thank God to shuffle, am i right??). During these activities, I don’t really have a specific preference when it comes to the music I listen to. So, when I’m doing dishes or something, I could be listening to Frank Sinatra one moment, and then ABBA the next.

In order to be productively effective, music with the lack of lyrics is the best option. Classical music, jazz, even video game soundtracks and ambient sounds are the best option because they do not offer the distraction of words other genres do, meaning you can focus more on the task at hand. It also helps if you are familiar with the songs playing, so then you wouldn’t be caught off guard with new sounds. Classic rock, indie, metal and other genres are good for tasks that require little-to-no concentration and are repetitive, allowing you to progress smoothly and have a little fun while doing it.

To get more information of which music works best and why, check out the other link below, “How Music Affects Productivity” by Gregory Ciotti (which was summarized in the infographic above). It provides more detail on what music you should listen to and why, as well as going into why we choose to listen to music.

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http://www.helpscout.net/blog/music-productivity/