Published in 2014, this BuzzFeed video is part of a group of videos that expose and satirize stereotypes and racial microaggressions, or the everyday, often unintentional, marginalizing interactions racial and ethnic minorities experience in the U.S. This video shows common experiences of Black people in the workplace, featuring Tracy Clayton, Heben Nigatu, Quinta Brunson, and Briana Byrd showing how these interactions play out in everyday interactions. Themes addressed are being frequently confused for the one or two other Black people in the office, people asking to or reaching to touch your hair, people assuming you are the person working on “diversity” or civil rights events, having awkward conversations about meritocracy, affirmative action, or “Black” popular culture, feeling anxiety in case someone is about to say the N word when singing along to a song, or fear of confirming stereotypes and how that affects behavior.
Published in 2014, this BuzzFeed video is part of a group of videos that expose and satirize stereotypes and racial microaggressions, or the everyday, often unintentional, marginalizing interactions racial and ethnic minorities experience in the U.S. This video is also focused on articulating aspects of Indian-American identity and experiences in the U.S., featuring Anhad Singh and Michelle Khare showing how microaggression, stereotypes, and differences in cultural norms play out in everyday interactions with diverse families, friends, colleagues, and strangers. Themes addressed are difficulties identifying with and “fitting in” to limited U.S. racial identity categories, being mistaken for Latino, being confused with Native Americans, having differing levels of tolerance for food spiciness and movie length, and balancing different family and friend relationship expectations.
This 2015 video from MTV News weekly series Decoded features Franchesca Ramsey breaking down 7 myths about cultural appropriation, or where dominant groups “borrow” or capitalize upon cultural practices or expressions from marginalized groups who are not similarly celebrated, but rather face oppression or are stigmatized for their cultural practices and expressions. An example she uses is how cornrows and other natural Black hairstyles become “edgy” and “cool” when White celebrities don them, whereas Black women and men have a long history of styling their hair in cornrows, locks, and braids, and are often penalized in schools and workplaces for wearing their hair in these natural styles. Franchesca also goes on to discuss the lines between cultural appreciation, exchange, and appropriation and addresses common points of contention around critiques of cultural appropriation, including, 1) You’re just looking for something to be offended by. It’s just clothing, hairstyles, decorations, whatever…Don’t you have something better to worry about?, 2) I’m just showing appreciation for the culture, 3) I don’t find it offensive, and I asked someone from that culture and they said it was ok, 4) Fashion, art, film, music always borrows from other sources. It doesn’t hurt anybody, 5) You’re just trying to tell everyone what to think, 6) So because I’m white, I’m automatically racist?, and 7) If Chinese people wear blue jeans, aren’t they appropriating my culture? Or what about Black girls wearing blond weaves? Or how about speaking English? After discussing the differences between assimilation and appropriation, she ends the video discussing potential avenues for cultural appreciation and exchange.
In Febuary 2015, Upworthy published a video that brought together actors of color to describe their experiences at auditions for the U.S. entertainment industry. The actors recount being told by casting directors to act in a stereotypical fashion and being typecasted based on their race and ethnicity. The clip uses personal stories to challenge accusations that the film industry is too Eurocentric and therefore, leaves few roles for actors of color to audition for. The clip cites various studies supporting the use of diverse casts stating that nearly 70% of casting calls prefer white actors, that films with relatively diverse casts excel at the box office and in returns on investment, and that television shows reflecting the nation’s diversity excel in ratings. So with potential for better ratings and better returns, the video asks viewers, “What’s the new excuse?” Upworthy is a website for viral content that promotes progressive stories tackling political and social issues.
In this video, we meet Ramiro Gomez, an artist working in Los Angeles. Ramiro shares his story of growing up with parents who immigrated from Mexico. While he had always wanted to pursue art, he first took a job providing in-home childcare in the Hollywood Hills. He explains that his parents had also worked in the domestic service industry, and they were unhappy that Ramiro was following the same path. However, Ramiro says this work inspired him; through his art, he explored the experiences of LA’s many immigrant domestic service workers. He now creates art pieces, including life size portraits inserted into public space, that make visible the labor that goes into maintaining the homes and gardens of Los Angeles. He explains that he hopes his art will make those who see it think about and discuss the contribution of these workers, the challenges they face including wage theft, and the sacrifices they make for young people in his generation.