‘Master of None’ Succeeds In Its Sincerity (ft. Interviews with Actors Diane Mizota and Aaron Takahashi)

By Belinda Cai


New Netflix series “Master of None” from Aziz Ansari. “Master of None” Twitter.

Whether you think it’s hilarious or just miss Tom Haverford, there’s no denying that Aziz Ansari’s “Master of None” is important. I haven’t been able to peruse social media without seeing swathes of people and media outlets posting about the show since its release on Netflix a little over a week ago. Among them was actress Diane Mizota, one of my Facebook friends and someone I interviewed for my grad school capstone project about Asian-Americans in Hollywood. She claimed she couldn’t get enough of the show and especially liked the second episode that addressed immigrant parents.

Continue reading “‘Master of None’ Succeeds In Its Sincerity (ft. Interviews with Actors Diane Mizota and Aaron Takahashi)”


Freddie Gray and Baltimore

There is A LOT of information out there circulating around the protests happening in
Baltimore, the death of Freddie Gray, and the state of police power as a systematic tool of oppression. We won’t try to provide any kind of summary—a quick perusal of #baltimoreriots will give you that.

Photo @TheDailyBeast // Twitter
Photo @TheDailyBeast // Twitter

We will, however, draw your attention to both the riots and their “bigger picture.” Violent looting and rioting is difficult to outright condone, but it is understandable once you begin to think of the context in which such actions occur. Baltimore is not an isolated incident (neither was Ferguson), but a culmination of a long, violent system of exploitation and abuse  rooted in racial oppression.

Photo @Slate // Twitter
Photo @Slate // Twitter

This article from The New Inquiry puts it better than I could, and I urge you to read it and consider the rhetoric that drives media accounts of “looting,” as well as the perverted logic that presents violence done to property as far more worthy of our outrage than violence done to human beings.

As the Vox article below states, the situation in Baltimore also highlights the way race and class intersect to create systems of oppression—because the police force in Baltimore is racially mixed, this is not just something that can be “boiled down” to black citizens versus a white police force, though that is certainly still operative. It is rather a reminder that violence against black communities is perpetuated not only through physical violence, but economic isolation as well.

Further reading:

The Guardian on (racialized) economic violence: “We cannot breathe if we can’t eat”

The Baltimore Sun documents the striking history of police brutality and undue violence in the city. 

Mic.com highlights the media’s double standard in presenting “black looters” 

Vox looks into a history of police distrust and brutality

Ta-Nehisi Coates addresses the issue of nonviolence

On the death of Freddie Gray

First published April 28, 2015.

Updated: April 30, 2015. May 2, 2015.

“Ethnic Castings”: Hardly Enough of a Good Thing

…there was that unsettling remark in the Deadline article that reduces the popularity of shows featuring minorities to a trend. It questions whether the “the trend of ethnic casting” will come back with a vengeance next season.
As the Vulture article points out, Kylie Jenner’s lip liner is a trend. Furbies, gel pens and MySpace are trends. Race is not a trend. To suggest that it is insulting. It undermines the importance of having TV and film that fairly represent the demography of the world we live in. It implies that Hollywood is rightfully a white industry, and that the surge of “ethnic shows” we see is a passing phenomenon.
It should and will be quite the opposite.

Just when we thought Hollywood couldn’t get any whiter, well… it did. Remember when Neil Patrick Harris announced that we were honoring Hollywood’s best and whitest — oops, brightest — at this year’s Oscars? Can’t forget that one. It may have been one of the more memorable moments in an otherwise snoozy media event.

The 2015 Academy Awards were so lacking in diversity that they got a special hashtag, #oscarssowhite, that trended all over the Internet long before the big night. It lived on during and after the event, sparking much-needed awareness and discussion.

While minorities were largely absent from those Oscars ballots, they have been making appearances all over network television this year. As we know, film has historically trailed behind TV on that front, but the contrast was notable.

Continue reading ““Ethnic Castings”: Hardly Enough of a Good Thing”

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