It was definitely a choice. It was the very first conversation after Disney bought the show. I had felt strongly about making sure that Doc was female, and a lot of people said, “Well, you created the show for your son, why is it a female lead character?” And I just thought that nobody needs another male doctor or another male leader in a group. What we needed was a female character. And Disney, in the first conversation that we had after they bought the pitch said, “We’ve been looking for a good character to bring some ethnicity into them, how do you feel if she’s African-American?” I said, “Fantastic!”
For me, I am always looking for ways to shine a light on people who don’t get to see themselves represented on TV. I think it’s one of the most powerful things we have in working in especially preschool television. Unfortunately–like everyone else–we really lag in our representation of people who are in the mainstream. It just seemed like a great choice. And that was it. It was probably just a two minute conversation at the beginning. I look at the amount of positive impact that that one decision has made, and I think about how easy it was.
I encourage anyone else to make the same decision. It’s so powerful to show representation of somebody who’s not usually on TV."
-Chris Nee, creator of Disney’s ‘Doc McStuffins’ on making the character African-American
And she’s adorable
The failure of black folks and people of color to remain collectively vigilant about the way we are represented in mass media has resulted in collusion with white supremacy.
Since the vast majority of images depicted reinforce either conventional stereotypes or the notion that particularly with black folks, we’re only good when we’re serving the interests of white folks- whether as mammy, maid, prostitute, or as the ‘good sidekick.’ When there are radically new images that challenge conventional stereotypes they tend to be so rare, they do not successfully intervene on the racist status quo."
— bell hooks, “Lecture at Texas A&M” (via blackinasia)
okay Im gonna need folks to understand
- AAVE stands for African American Vernacular English
- AAVE is a language with structures and rules just like any other language
- use of AAVE is not “ghetto” and does not make a person unintelligent for using it
- that mocking it because it neglects your idea of “civilized speech” is pretty much anti black and makes you an asshole
- and it can be appropriated
simple to understand yes?
If you’re a boy writer, it’s a simple rule: you’ve gotta get used to the fact that you suck at writing women and that the worst women writer can write a better man than the best male writer can write a good woman. And it’s just the minimum. Because the thing about the sort of heteronormative masculine privilege, whether it’s in Santo Domingo, or the United States, is you grow up your entire life being told that women aren’t human beings, and that women have no independent subjectivity. And because you grow up with this, it’s this huge surprise when you go to college and realize that, “Oh, women aren’t people who does my shit and fucks me.”
And I think that this a huge challenge for boys, because they want to pretend they can write girls. Every time I’m teaching boys to write, I read their women to them, and I’m like, “Yo, you think this is good writing?” These motherfuckers attack each other over cliche lines but they won’t attack each other over these toxic representations of women that they have inherited… their sexist shorthand, they think that is observation. They think that their sexist distortions are insight. And if you’re in a writing program and you say to a guy that their characters are sexist, this guy, it’s like you said they fucking love Hitler. They will fight tooth and nail because they want to preserve this really vicious sexism in the art because that is what they have been taught.
And I think the first step is to admit that you, because of your privilege, have a very distorted sense of women’s subjectivity. And without an enormous amount of assistance, you’re not even going to get a D. I think with male writers the most that you can hope for is a D with an occasional C thrown in. Where the average women writer, when she writes men, she gets a B right off the bat, because they spent their whole life being taught that men have a subjectivity. In fact, part of the whole feminism revolution was saying, “Me too, motherfuckers.” So women come with it built in because of the society.
It’s the same way when people write about race. If you didn’t grow up being a subaltern person in the United States, you might need help writing about race. Motherfuckers are like ‘I got a black boy friend,’ and their shit sounds like Klan Fiction 101.
The most toxic formulas in our cultures are not pass down in political practice, they’re pass down in mundane narratives. It’s our fiction where the toxic virus of sexism, racism, homophobia, where it passes from one generation to the next, and the average artist will kill you before they remove those poisons. And if you want to be a good artist, it means writing, really, about the world. And when you write cliches, whether they are sexist, racist, homophobic, classist, that is a fucking cliche. And motherfuckers will kill you for their cliches about x, but they want their cliches about their race, class, queerness. They want it in there because they feel lost without it. So for me, this has always been the great challenge.
As a writer, if you’re really trying to write something new, you must figure out, with the help of a community, how can you shed these fucking received formulas. They are received. You didn’t come up with them. And why we need fellow artists is because they help us stay on track. They tell you, “You know what? You’re a bit of a fucking homophobe.” You can’t write about the world with these simplistic distortions. They are cliches. People know art, always, because they are uncomfortable. Art discomforts. The trangressiveness of art has to deal with confronting people with the real. And sexism is a way to avoid the real, avoiding the reality of women. Homophobia is to avoid the real, the reality of queerness. All these things are the way we hide from encountering the real. But art, art is just about that."
Junot Diaz speaking at Word Up: Community Bookshop in 2012 (via furthest-city-light)
— Patricia Hill Collins, from “Defining Black Feminist Thought” in Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment (via riseabovethemadness)