Should White Writers Write Black People?

“I’m a young white writer. Can I write stories about black people?”

About once a month, this question is posted on a writing forum I browse. I’m often annoyed at seeing it because the answer to the question is obvious.

It’s yes.

Writers can write about whoever and whatever they want to. They must hold themselves accountable when they step outside of their own personal experience. With the proper research, a good writer can write authentic voices for characters from all backgrounds.  Good writers should never be limited by who they are.

Some people disagree with this. Joanna Johnson, creator of Good Trouble, is one such person. After a screening at the ATX Television Festival, she discussed the importance of having diversity in her writer’s room.

“People of color can write about white people because that’s the world they have lived in,” Johnson said. “I don’t think white writers can write black, Asian or Latino characters authentically. We need more [diversity in the writers room], and I will continue to do that.”

Haven’t white writers written authentic voices for those kind of characters in the past? Not every episode of The Wire had a black writer, but that didn’t stop it from having authentic voices for its black characters. The experiences of blacks, Latinos, and Asians are human experiences. Minorities are not aliens from another planet. White writers can understand the pains and struggles of people unlike them using empathy.

If this mentality catches on, it’s going to discourage white writers from writing characters who don’t share their experience. Writing a black, Asian, Latino, queer, or transgender character gives a white writer the opportunity to learn about another lifestyle. I’d hate to see that happen.

I don’t know if there is further context to this quote outside of what Deadline posted in their article. There is no video of the entire discussion that Ms. Johnson had . I’ll update my thoughts on this if a video comes out later.

Advertisements

Five-Week-Old Embryo In Alabama Totally Stoked about Abortion Ban

Image result for one month old embryo

ALBERTVILLE, AL – A five-week-old embryo took a brief moment from his busy schedule of multiplying cells and forming his heart tube to share his joy over Alabama’s controversial abortion law.  The new law bans abortion except in the cases where it threatens the mother’s life. “One less thing to worry about in here. Now I can sit back, enjoy my water-sac, and develop my bottom jaw without any stress,” he told reporters during a sit-down interview. “I have to tell you I was nervous. She was saying she wasn’t ready to be a mom and Googling nearby clinics. Well, mom, ready or not, here I come!” he said, before attempting to laugh out of the blob thing that will one day be his mouth. He expressed that he would be happy to see Roe v. Wade overturned one day. “Between me and you, Roe V. Wade made for some tough times for us embryos. Not my favorite Supreme Court ruling, I tell ya.” When questioned about what he was looking forward to most about being born, he said eating ice cream. “Mom just adores ice cream. I get a nibble here and there through the placenta. It’ll be great to taste it with an actual mouth.” His mother refused to give any comments as she was too busy looking at Google Map directions to New York City.

Avengers: Endgame Falls Short With Captain America’s Ending

This post will contain spoilers for Avengers: Endgame.

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures (2019)

Avengers: Endgame has been called a worthy conclusion to the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s ten-year saga. The film is a critical and financial success, but it has its issues. One of which is the ultimate fate of Captain America.

After the film’s main conflict is over, Captain America is given the task of delivering the  Infinity Stones back to their original timelines to set things right. He stands on the time machine. The Hulk says he’ll bring back Captain America in five seconds. It does not happen. Instead Bucky looks at a bench in front of them. There’s an elderly Captain America sitting on it. It turns out he stayed in the past and lived out his life with Peggy. He give his shield to Sam to pass on his legacy to his sidekick.

The scene worked on one level. Captain America tragically missed out on the love of his life by being a hero. He gets what he always wanted in this ending. It’s emotionally satisfying to see him dance with Peggy and hand off his legacy to someone else.

Yet he had started a relationship with Sharon Carter in Captain America: Civil War. He had made friends in the present. His best pal, Bucky, had finally come back after he lost him again. Why was he going back to the past to retire with Peggy? It’s as if his character  lost any development he’d gained since coming out of the ice.

To add on to that, Falcon is his own man.  He was Captain America in the comics, but the MCU doesn’t have to follow that example. He should build a legacy of his own.

When I first watched the scene, I wondered why Cap didn’t stop the atrocities of the 20th and 21st centuries. I didn’t understand how time worked in the MCU. I thought Captain America had always traveled back to the past to live with Peggy. He was stuck in a time-loop. Now I have come to understand that the MCU operates on a multiverse theory. This means that there are no time loops. The past can’t be changed so Cap can’t stop those atrocities. Every time a character travel back in time, it creates a new timeline.  The Russo brothers confirmed this in an interview.

Even taking into account this clarification on time travel, this ending for Captain America still has three major problems.

Problem #1: The Cap in the Ice

Image result for Captain America ice

The Russo Brothers confirmed that Captain America travels to another timeline to live with Peggy. The problem with this is there is already a Captain America in that timeline. He’s trapped in the ice. The MCU Captain America would have a moral obligation to save this other Captain. (Our Captain America will be referred to as MCU Cap and the other Captain America shall be refer from here on out) He understands the pain of not getting to be with Peggy. Why would he allow his past self to go through that pain when he’s unfrozen in seventy years? He couldn’t unless he was a jerk.

How would MCU Cap explain himself to Peggy? We’re not told if he tells her the truth about who he is. If he does, how can she be okay with him leaving his timeline to chase her? Wouldn’t she want him to go back to his friends and family in the future?  Wouldn’t she want her real Steve and not the MCU Cap who is essentially a doppelganger? If MCU Cap lies to Peggy and pretends to be her Steve, that is highly immoral.

Problem #2:  Unhealthy Escapism

Image result for captain america endgame

My favorite episode of Batman the Animated Series is Perchance to Dream. In the episode, Bruce Wayne ends up in another reality where his parents are alive and he’s engaged to Selina Kyle. He’s not Batman. It’s a dream come true. Eventually, Bruce figures out that it’s just a dream and he’s living a life of delusion. He refuses the world of dreams, because no matter how attractive it is, it’s not reality.

In this ending, Captain America chooses to live in a dream world. The Peggy that MCU Cap knows and loves is long dead. In the year 2023 (which Endgame takes place in), she’s been dead for almost ten years. Rather than move past her death and create a new relationship with Sharon, he’s heading to another reality where things are more comfortable for him. He’d rather live in the past than continue on in the future. The messages that this scene is sending are dangerous. Don’t move on, linger on the past forever. Don’t embrace reality, be delusional.

Problem #3: Not the Time for Retirement

Image result for endgame captain america

After Endgame, the world is in chaos. 3.5 billion people have reappeared after five years. This could create many problems for the world. Iron Man and Black Widow are dead. During this time of chaos, Captain America who is in the prime of his life, decides it’s time to retire to the past. Why now? The world still needs him. Why would Captain America even want to retire? He’s the man who says he could do this all day. There comes a time to rest but Cap is still able bodied. He was willing to stand against Thanos’s army by himself in Endgame. How is he a man who is ready for retirement? It doesn’t fit his character.

Final Thoughts

This ending sought to wrap up Captain America’s arc with a heart-warming callback to the origins of the character. In doing so, they undid everything that Captain America has learned during his journey through the MCU and turned him into a man who can’t let go of the past. Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely referred to the conclusion of his arc as him moving toward “enlightened self-interest”. That’s a very sophisticated way of saying he becomes a selfish asshole. This is not the ending that such a great character deserves.

 

Upselling. Competitive Advantage?

Despite existing in a world where people can order any product online, brick and mortar continue to pester, annoy and borderline harass their customers by upselling.

Everybody is familiar with the upsell. Electric stores try to sell customers warranties to devices they purchase. Restaurants want their customers to buy a large drink and not a small. If a customer isn’t buying a drink, they should be.  Companies have instructed their employees to do this as a part of the in-person experience.

I despise it. When someone tries to upsell me something, it makes me not want to go to that store anymore. I used to shop at Gamestop regularly until being hounded to preorder games I never asked about. I’d go into the store and have to wait on a long line and then have to wait again as the cashier went into a spiel about preordering games, their game card, and their game warranties.  Now I order my games off of Amazon.  The company lost my regular business.

These stores boast that their in-store customer experience is what gives them an advantage over ordering online, but it’s a detriment. Does anyone want to sit through someone going through a preset script every time they want to purchase an item? Perhaps this is why every year more and more people are ordering online. If brick-and-mortar stores want to continue to exist, they need to make purchasing an item in store as simple and easy as buying online.

 

 

Marvel’s Black Panther

This May marks the ten year anniversary of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If they continue to release films like Black Panther, they can keep making movies for the next hundred years. I cannot give enough praise to Black Panther.  It is one of Marvel’s strongest offerings and shows why they have been able to succeed in building their universe whereas others like Universal and Warner Bros have struggled. Mightily in the case of Universal. They continue to add breadth and depth to their universe.

blackpanther59e4d0531eba6-180b3a6a-af62-4529-9a0d-7bd863f15cc6

A preview ran before Black Panther for Antman and Wasp. Both of these are MCU movies about superheroes, but Antman is a playful heist franchise. Black Panther is a whole other monster dealing with themes about leadership, blood, racial identity, and tradition.

Black Panther is not a character I’m heavily invested in. He’d pop up in the comics I read like Spider-man or the Avengers. I always enjoyed him because he was cool. He was the king of an African isolationist country with futuristic technology. I never got into his comics because I never made the effort to. I knew his backstory and the origin, going into this movie. I went into this expecting another solid Marvel origin movie, but it took itself off the path.

Very violent. People get cut up by swords, stabbed with spears, shot in the head. It has a little politics in there but it’s never allowed to overpower the movie. You’re not beat over with the head of a message. I loved the sets and costume designs for this movie. It takes from African culture and adds a sci-fi twist to it. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is full of sci-fi and worlds different than ours. I was impressed that they were able to give Wakanda its own identity that set it apart from the Asgard of the Thor movies and the alien world seen in Guardians of the Galaxy.

From a craft standpoint, I liked how willing Ryan Coogler was to put T’Challa through the winger. This guy gets messed up in this movie. He finds out dark secrets and gets the crap kicked out of the him. He’s a good protagonist because of how vulnerable he is throughout the film.  He’s a man made king by the death of his father, unsure if he’s ready for the throne He faces tough questions once he is king and discovers the right answers by the end of the film. I hadn’t seen any of his other films (Creed is on my to watch list but I’ve only seen Rocky 1). I will make an effort to watch the rest of filmography.

As a first generation African immigrant, I was often caught in between two cultures as a kid. The American Black culture and African culture.  This movie was a unique experience as it had those two worlds clash with each other through the conflict between, T’Challa and Erik Killmonger. T’Challa is African-born, raised in tradition, surrounded by family. Killmonger is American and has experienced the prejudices that go on in this country. He’s lost everything and wants to get even. I loved how far Coogler was willing to go with Killmonger to make him sympathetic but also show how destructive his line of thinking was. Michael B Jordan owned the role.

I give this film a strong recommendation. It’s a good movie with a memorable villain. I’m interested to see how this film does in the international box office. Domestically, it’s looking to break records. Superhero movie exhaustion is not here yet and it may never come.

Report: Russell Wilson Fires Orthopedist

In a move that did not shock many, Russell Wilson has decided to fire Michelle Peters, his personal orthopedist.

Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times reports that Michelle Peters, Wilson’s orthopedist throughout his career in the NFL, has been shown the door.

Schefter

After being repeatedly knocked on his ass by NFL defensive lineman during his rookie year, Wilson hired Peters to ensure his butt made it through the rest of his career. Peters utilized a team of chiropractors and masseuse to realign Wilson’s tailbone and skin tissue following games where he was knocked flat on his butt.

From 2012 to 2015, Wilson was thrown violently onto his buttocks 280 times. This was the highest butt collision rate in a four year span since the NFL Merger. Peters has had to do twelve complete reconstructions of Wilson’s butt, each of these followed games against the Los Angeles Rams.

It is speculated that money is the reason behind this recent release. When the Seahawks traded Max Unger for Jimmy Graham in 2015, Wilson was forced to make Peters the highest paid orthopedist in all of professional sports to prevent her from leaving for other pastures. After the Seahawks recent firing of OL coach Tom Cable, Peters became expendable.

Wilson released a statement this moment, addressing the firing.

Wilson

Peters has not been shaken by the firing. She has visits with the New York Giants and the Indianapolis Colts already set for next week.

Sources close to her say that she is keeping an eye on what Tom Cable does next. If an NFL team is stupid enough to hire him to be their offensive line coach, she will give their quarterback a phone call. She has said that wherever Tom Cable is, there is a quarterback in need of her services.

 

Photo Credits:

Ted S. Warren/AP
Twitter

World Hunger On The Rise Again, Lack of Networking to Blame.

(CNM) – After years of steady decline, global hunger is again on the rise. This increase – 350 million more people than last year – is largely fueled by a deficit in networking skills which has led to larger unemployment rates which has led to increased starvation and malnutrition across the world, according to a report published by the World Health Organization.

550 million work-age adults worldwide are networking-stunted, the report says. 100 million adults suffer from shyness. An estimated 220 million adults are too negative-minded to network without being a total downer. Being weird-looking and creepy is also cause for concern. These trends are the consequences of bad parenting, bad gene pools, chronic depression, and millennial entitlement.

“The number has risen dramatically in the past year. What we had here was a surplus of people who went out into the workforce and thought they could get by with a well-written resume, relevant work experience, and a college degree. The working world is more complex than that,” the heads of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the US Labor of Bureau Statistics (BLS), and the International Networking Skills Development Committee (INSDC) said in their joint foreword to the report.

“This is not something that the world can afford to ignore. To reach our aim of ending hunger and all forms of malnutrition by 2020, we must address the fact that lacking in networking skills leads to unemployment which leads to starvation. Half of the starving population are perfectly-qualified workers who do not network or have a poorly constructed network. Finding an answer to the networking-stunted question is a necessary condition to end world hunger,” they said.

In response to the report, WHO has plans to open networking education centers where networking-stunted individuals will be gathered to help them become better networkers.

“A person who does not know how to network is a person in need of help. If you or anyone you know is networking-stunted, please fill out the form on our website to add to our list of individuals who require networking re-education. After the opening of the networking education centers, the networking-stunted will be transported to the centers where they will have access to free drinks and networking mixers. It is fully recommended that the networking-stunted individuals not ask questions or resist during their relocation,” WHO said in their public response to the report.