This interview coincided with the release of The Butler (2013), a film that dramatizes the life of Eugene Allen, an African American man who worked as the head butler in the White House from 1952-1986. In this interview, news anchor Anderson Cooper discusses racism in the U.S. with the film’s co-stars Oprah Winfrey and Forest Whitaker. Cooper opens the discussion by recalling the recent death of Trayvon Martin, a young African American man who was killed in 2012 by a neighborhood watchman, George Zimmerman, who was accused of racial profiling but ultimately acquitted from legal wrongdoing. Winfrey describes The Butler as providing historical "context" to Martin’s tragic death. Describing herself as a "student of her history," Winfrey points to the little time passed since black men were routinely lynched and a President of the U.S. might have openly used the "n-word." When Cooper asks Winfrey about her own opinion on the colloquial use of the "n-word" by Black people, she remarks that it is "impossible" for her. "For many," she continues, "that was the last word they heard as they were being strung up a tree."
This 2015 short film made by Buzzfeed, a pop culture website, showcases people of color recreating the posters of popular movies. Minority groups such as South and East Asians, African Americans, and members of the LBGTQ community are featured in the re-creations, including movie posters for “Mean Girls” (2004), “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1961), “Titanic” (1997), “Blue is the Warmest Color” (2013), and “The Breakfast Club” (1985). In between posters, statistics about the underrepresentation of minorities in Hollywood and in the media play across the screen and over the images of the new “actors,” who are dressed in the original costumes that their white counterparts wore for their roles. While some of the statistical facts deal with the idea that minorities are underrepresented numbers-wise, the video also states that the “few roles that cast Asians rarely diverge from existing stereotypes,” which not only calls into question underrepresentation but misrepresentation and the larger issue of the lack of diversity of roles in Hollywood. At the end of the video, we see a collection of the new actors together with the words “Aren’t these movies beautiful in color?,” prompting viewers to think about the “color” (or lack thereof) they see in current films and what they would look like re-envisioned on a more diverse landscape.
Public Enemy's “Fight the Power” was a single off of their 1989 album “Fear of a Black Planet”, and also featured prominently in Spike Lee's 1989 film Do the Right Thing. It is the type of politically conscious and confrontational song that made Public Enemy one of the most influential and controversial hip hop groups of all time.
This clip is a music video of Queen Latifah’s 1989 “Ladies First,” from her first albumAll Hail the Queen.Latifah raps, “Some think that we can’t flow / Stereotypes, they got to go / Imma mess around and flip the scene into reverse / With a little touch of ‘Ladies First’ / Who said the ladies couldn’t make it, you must be blind / If you don’t believe, well here, listen to this rhyme / Ladies first, there’s no time to rehearse / I’m divine and my mind expands throughout the universe.” The video begins with images of black female historical figures, and features Latifah and other women singing and dancing together. The imagery is complicated by scenes of violence and chaos from the South African struggle to end apartheid, which is reflective of the historical context in which the video was created. The video can be interpreted as an argument for intersectionality – the notion that issues of gender and racial injustice need to be considered together to work toward equality for all.
In this video clip from World Trust’s film, Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequity, educator, author, and researcher Joy Angela DeGruy tells the story of how she and her daughter were discriminated against at a grocery store and how her sister-in-law used her White privilege to intervene, take a stand against the discriminatory and unjust interaction, and point out that moment as an example of unexamined privileges and internal biases manifesting in an institutionalized, systemic inequity. She also describes how this interaction affected not just the people directly involved, but also the people who witnessed the event.