Native women are facing a crisis of violence. Homicide is the third leading cause of death among Native girls and women aged 10 to 24, and the fifth leading cause of death for Native women aged 25 to 34. In the United States today, American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) women are nearly 2.5x more likely to be sexually assaulted than women in the general population. 70% of these violent victimizations are committed by persons of a different race (Department of Justice).
As we become more aware and attuned, we are bound to make mistakes – which means in various scenarios we may cause harm or be harmed. Our fear of this can force us to retreat from tough conversations or important moments of learning. But suppose we can equip ourselves with tools for navigating challenging situations. In that case, we can more effectively practice harm reduction if and when it occurs – and feel more confident when engaging in uncomfortable situations. This act may allow us to stay in relationship – not run and flee.
Last week, actor Ray Fisher shared the racism and inappropriate conduct he experienced while working onset for several superhero movies (The Hollywood Reporter). One of his allegations references discrimination that he heard happened on the set Krypton, a Syfy series that focuses on Seg-El, Superman’s grandfather. Actor Regé-Jean Page, the star of Netflix phenomenon Bridgerton, had auditioned for the role. But the producer rescinded, stating that Superman could not have a Black grandfather.
Law and Order. CSI. Hawaii-Five-Oh. American Sniper. TV shows and movies about law enforcement and the police permeate the screens of Americans across the country. Media portrayals about police officers, detectives, judges, crime fighters, and more firmly implemented into the cultural lexicon. Just because they are on TV does not mean that these shows exclusively exist for entertainment. Many shows actively depict criminal justice without showcasing the many ways it harms the lives of communities of color. These shows often work to bolster law enforcement in the eyes of white supremacy while simultaneously reducing compassion for the disproportionately Black victims of its system.
Today is Cinco de Mayo, which represents the anniversary of Mexico’s victory against the French forces of Napoleon III at the Battle of Puebla, on May 5, 1862. (Contrary to popular belief, the date is not Mexican Independence day, which is celebrated on September 16). President Benito Juárez had canceled its debts with European countries, incending France and causing them to invade. Although the Mexican army, led by General Ignacio Zaragoza, was outnumbered, they won after the day-long fight. Many of its members were Indigenous Mexicans from various backgrounds who united in solidarity against a common enemy (History).
The travel industry, one of the most profitable, fastest-growing industries globally, is worth $8.9 trillion (World Travel and Tourism Council). In 2018, Black travelers spent $63 billion on global tourism, an enormous leap from $48 billion in 2010 (Mandala Research). Additionally, in 2001, the United States Travel Association (USTA) identified African Americans as the fastest-growing segment in the travel industry. With these numbers, it’s clear that Black travelers are ready, willing, and able to spend their money on experiences in their chosen destinations, yet we are treated like we don’t belong.
It’s hypocritical to consume Asian or Asian-American cultural products and then refuse to defend Asian communities in the U.S. – or worse, exhibit open hostility against them. At the same time, we shouldn’t predicate supporting immigrant communities on enjoying their food, especially since the reason why so many Asian immigrants work in restaurants is itself a product of American racism.
The Dominican Republic and Haiti share an island in the Caribbean, and there are many racial, ethnic, and cultural similarities between the two nations. Though most Dominicans in the DR identify as mixed-race, the overwhelming majority of Dominicans, like Haitians, are Black by American racial standards (Black Excellence). About half of the population of the gentrifying neighborhood of Washington Heights, Manhattan, where In the Heights is set, is Dominican (U.S. Census Bureau). Washington Heights comprises one of the largest immigrant communities from the Dominican Republic within the U.S. (Furman Center). Unfortunately, In the Heights wildly misrepresents the Dominicans living in this culturally significant neighborhood, continuing a trend where Afro-Latinos are ignored on screen.
The fun of this segment is based on disgust: we see our famous celebrities shriek, gag, and embarrass themselves confronted with revolting foods. Some of the items featured were clearly specially created to evoke just such revulsion: hot dog juice, hot sauce and olive jello, the aforementioned ant pickle.