Entertainment

A Petition Is Going Around Highlighting Racism in The Ballet World

Like so many corners of the globe, the Ballet world has long poured over and favored the concept of whiteness.

The “ballet blanc” is a perfect example of that. Ballet blanc or “white ballet” is a scene in a ballet performance where the performers all wear white dresses or tutus. Deeply tied to its performance is a school of thought that suggests there shouldn’t be any black dancers in the corps de ballet because the identical nature of the performers is key to the performance.

If you ever took a ballet class yourself, you also know that racism exists in ballet thanks to your first-hand experiences with the tights and shoes you bought for your classes. Most likely you noticed that the “nude” color tights and slippers you were required to wear only came in colors called “European pink.” The issue has brought about a long and laborious process Black ballerinas are subjected to endure called “pancaking.” To make the pink and peach-colored ballet shoes match their skin tones, Black dancers beat their shoes with makeup so that they match their skin tones.

In light of the current fight against ongoing racial injustices, thousands are signing petitions calling on ballet shoes makers to add darker color options to their line of shoes.

To promote the petitions, Briana Bell, a Twitter user and an 18-year-old black dancer from Dallas, explained that ballet shoes are just one of several ways that dancers of color are made to feel as if they do not belong in the world of ballet. “Black ballerinas have constantly been pushed out of the typically and traditionally white ballet world because our bodies aren’t like theirs and this is just another way to make us feel unwanted!” went onto explain in a series of tweets

In an interview with Daily Mail.com Bell explained that “Racial discrimination within the dance world is passive in my experience, but very much still there. Little things like not being able to find your skin tone in leotards, tights, and shoes may seem insignificant, but imagine how embarrassing it is to have to wear tights/leotards/shoes that do not blend with your skin and your white counterpart’s dance attire matches them perfectly. Recently, of course, efforts have been made in the way of leotards and tights but pointe shoes have fallen behind.”

Bell also highlighted the lack of support and awareness of non-POC dancers is what has continued such microaggressions.

“I’ve come to learn from the comments of my post that simple things like this never crossed the minds of many non-POC, because this seems very basic and not like a luxury to them,” she went onto explain in her interview. “But to us it’s a luxury that hasn’t been afforded yet. And while I do understand that there are some businesses that sell various shades of brown pointe shoes online, finding a pointe shoe for you isn’t so easy that you can do it online. We need to go into the shop, get our feet measured, and find the exact shoe for you because there are so many different shapes. If done incorrectly, you can injure yourself.”

Here’s hoping Belle’s petition sparks a change amongst big ballet brands like Capezio and Block.

“These big brands like Capezio and Bloch are more accessible for us because they have shops locally we can walk into,” Belle underlined. “So at this point, it’s either you sacrifice comfort and safety for the color, or you suck it up and paint your shoes after you get them.”

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Latinas Share Why They Wanted To Teach Their Children Their Native Language

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Latinas Share Why They Wanted To Teach Their Children Their Native Language

Stephen Dunn / Getty

In a world with so much rising intersectionality and access to language tools, many still feel that passing along the traditions of their languages is necessary. Studies have shown for decades that children who grow up in an environment where they’re exposed to different languages have a pathway ahead of them that is full of promise. Particularly when it comes to education and career opportunities.

But why else do some parents find it essential to teach their children their family’s native languages?

Recently, we asked Latinas why learning their native language is important to them.

Check out the answer below!

“So they can be a voice for others in their community .” –_saryna_


“Besides the fact that bilingual kids use more of their brains. I’d like to teach my baby my native language so they can feel closer to our roots and be able to communicate/connect with our community not just in the US, but in Latin America too.” –shidume

“So that when the opportunity arises they can pursue their endeavors with nothing holding them back!” –candymtz13


“It not only helps them be multilingual, but also reminded them of their ancestry. Their roots. It builds a certain connection that cannot be broken.”-yeimi_herc


“So they can communicate with their grandparents, so they have double the opportunities growing up so they know their roots. So many reasons.”
elizabethm_herrera

“Know where you came from, being bilingual for more job opportunities later, being able to communicate with family members.”- panabori25

“I don’t have children but I think a language is tied to the culture. For me Spanish is a direct representation of how romantic and dramatic and over the top in the most beautiful way latin culture is. Also I’m Dominican and we just blend and make up words which really represents how crazy my family is.” –karenmarie15


“If I don’t and they lose ties to their people meaning my family who only speaks Spanish and Italian than I myself am harming them. As a preschool teacher I always tell parents English will happen eventually that’s the universal language but teach them their home home language the one that grandma/pa and the rest of the family speaks. They lose their identity. Sure they make up their own eventually but they must never forget where they come from.” –ta_ta1009


“So he doesn’t lose the connection to his grandmother and great grandfather who only speak spanish. So if he ever hears someone struggling to communicate he can help and feel a sense of pride in his roots/culture. 🇸🇻 plus 🤞🤞 I want him to pick up a 3rd language too!” –cardcrafted

“To give them more opportunities in life. I feel that some stories can only be told with authenticity when they’re in their native language. If you have the opportunity to do so, please do.” –titanyashigh

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Michelle Obama Recalled A Moment When Chicago Cops Accused Her Brother Of Stealing His Own Bike When He Was Just 10

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Michelle Obama Recalled A Moment When Chicago Cops Accused Her Brother Of Stealing His Own Bike When He Was Just 10

Paul Morigi / Getty

As most Black families in the United States know, growing up as a Black person is seen as a great threat in and of itself.

In a country where the rate of fatal police shootings among Black Americans is higher than that for any other ethnicity, it’s no wonder that this is true. Or, why learning to handle the police while Black is a lesson taught so prominently beneath the roofs of Black households.

In a recent episode of her podcast, Michelle Obama revealed that she and her brother Craig Robinson learned this lesson years ago in a confrontation with the police.

Speaking with her brother in her podcast, Obama recalled the day Robinson was accused of stealing his own bike.

Speaking with her brother, a former basketball coach, and her mother Marian Robinson about childhood and parenting, Obama brought up a moment in which Craig was stopped by a couple of police officers while riding his bike.

At the time, Robinson was about 10 or 11 years old and had been gifted the yellow ten-speed Goldblatt by his parents. While riding the bike, a police officer grabbed hold of it and refused to let go despite Craig’s pleas and protests that the bike was his.

“I was like ‘Oh, you got this all wrong, this is my bike. Don’t worry, this isn’t a stolen bike,’ and [the cop] would not believe me, and I was absolutely heartbroken. And I finally said to him, ‘Listen, you can take me to my house, and I will prove to you, this is my bike,” Robinson recalled.

Fortunately, Obama’s mother was home at the time and ushered Craig inside of the house, while she dealt with the police. As her son recalls, “she had that tight lip” as she confronted the officers who had accused her son of stealing his own bike.

Robinson revealed that she discovered the officers were friends with the people who had made the complaint about Craig stealing the bicycle and demanded they come to her house so that they could “admit [they] made a serious mistake.”

Robinson described the experience as a “heartbreaking” one at various times throughout the interview.

“I could tell [the cops] were trying to ask me questions that would trip me up,” he recalled. “If I wasn’t so sure that that bike was mine and showed any kind of reticence, I could see them taking me off to the police station, not calling mom until after I’ve been, you know, booked or whatever they do.”

At one point, Obama remarked that the story is particularly familiar with ones being experienced across the country, even today. “Nobody thinks about, you know, the fact that we all come from good families that are trying to teach values, but when you leave the safety of your home and go out into the street, where being Black is, is a crime in and of itself, we have all had to learn how to operate outside of our homes with a level of caution, and fear, because you never know,” she recalled

Obama’s mother also described the experience as being “part of a culture” among police.

“Because those two policemen were Black. And they were acting exactly the same as any other policeman,” her mother remarked. “It’s almost like, this is what they thought they were, how they were thought they were supposed to act.”

All three family members noted how the incident is so familiar today. Despite the fact that decades have passed. “That’s the perfect example of what all of these young, Black people are dealing with now, because this was, almost fifty years ago?” Craig Robinson said.

Listen to the clip from the podcast here.

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