Entertainment

An Image Of Ballerinas In Blackface Has Surfaced And It’s Extremely Disturbing

There’s no denying that the world of ballet has a race problem. The classic style of performance dance has cultivated a reputation that is lily-white and throughout its history has cascaded its performances in the white shades, white tutus and white ribbons. The glorification of ballet’s lack of diversity is so deeply threaded into the genre that the list of accomplished and world-renowned African-American ballerinas has up until the past decade been considered a rarity. In fact, it wasn’t until 2015 that African American ballet dancer Misty Copeland that the American Ballet theater, known as the national ballet company of the United States, named an African American woman as a principal dancer. 

Copeland knows the problem of race in the ballet world runs deep and has talked extensively about discrimination in her career world of choice, sharing how difficult it was for her to rise and be considered the serious ballet dancer she is today. In fact, in a recent post to her Instagram page, the ballerina shared just how much of a problem it is in the ballet world.

In a recent post to her Instagram page, Copeland slammed Russia’s Bolshoi Theater for contributing to racial discrimination in ballet after performers had used blackface for a production.

In a post to her Instagram page earlier this week, Copeland share an image of two white female ballerinas in black body paint rehearsing for a show. The image, which was reposted from a Russian ballet dancer in Russia’s Bolshoi Ballet theater, depicts to dancers who performed in the theater’s production of La Bayadère, a famous classical ballet which is set in India. In the image two dancers can be seen posing happily while wearing blackface. “This is the reality of the ballet world,” she wrote in the post which sparked a wild debate on racism in  ballet.

Copeland’s post received over 65K likes and almost 6K comments. As well as some intense and insane backlash from Bolshoi Theatre director Vladimir Urin.  In response, to Copeland Erin told Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency that she was reading too much into the piece. “The ballet La Bayadère has been performed thousands of times in this production in Russia and abroad, and the Bolshoi Theatre will not get involved in such a discussion,”  Urin replied before going on to say that “

“Finding some sort of deep insults in this is simply ridiculous,” Urin added. “No one has ever complained to us or saw … an act of disrespect.”  However, as the Cut points out, in 2007, when Bolshoi first brought its production of Bayadère to New York in 2007, the New York Times as “too ludicrous to be even grotesque,” saying “white children dressed as blacks (black-wrinkled tights, black-gloved sleeves and black curly wigs, but with faces lightly daubed in various pale coffee hues.”

In response to headed discussions about the blackface incident online, Copeland replied that she knew the topic was “sensitive.”

“I get that this is a VERY sensitive subject in the ballet world,” she wrote to fans on Twitter. “But until we can call people out and make people uncomfortable, change can’t happen.”

Throughout her career, Copeland has been extremely vocal about the ballet world’s lack of diversity and failure to break from racist stereotypes in performances.

In 2018, Copeland spoke to her experiences as a Black ballerina and the decades of racism in her ballet world. “A lot of dancers in my generation have been told the same things she has been told,” Copeland told TIME. “The one difference is that the world outside ballet has changed. We won’t be told to leave the company because our safety is at risk, but I had a similar experience being told to pancake my skin a lighter color to fit in with the rest of the company. I’ve talked to so many dancers who have had it even worse than [what] I’ve experienced. Raven and I both have a light complexion, but darker dancers have experienced much worse.”

In the large and expansive country of Russia, Afro-Russians– or people of African descent– make a very small portion of the population. According to the Metis Foundation there are about 50,000 people who identify as Afro-Russian in the country. Still, a lack of access to ballet dancers in Russian ballet isn’t the true problem The true rot at Russian ballet core is that it used to hire dancers of color and would instead opt out to use blackface. Here’s hoping we see some of the Black Girl Magic that has been taking over the world of beauty pageants this year.  Clearly Russia and its ballet company need all that they can get.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Six Dr. Seuss Books Are Being Pulled From Publication Due To Racist Imagery

Things That Matter

Six Dr. Seuss Books Are Being Pulled From Publication Due To Racist Imagery

Don’t call it a total cancellation.

Dr. Seuss Enterprises has made the decision of their own accord to no longer publish or license six of the books written and illustrated by the writer Theodor Seuss “Ted” Geisel. The American children’s author who passed away in 1991 was also a political cartoonist, illustrator, poet, animator, and filmmaker. His first children’s book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street (1937), and his book  If I Ran the Zoo (1950) are among the books being pulled as a result of racist and insensitive imagery.

On Tuesday, Dr. Seuss Enterprises shared a statement on their website explaining their decision to cancel the publication of the books.

Citing the four other books including McElligot’s Pool (1947), Scrambled Eggs Super! (1953), On Beyond Zebra! (1955) and The Cat’s Quizzer (1976) the company explained that they came to the decision citing the fact that they each “portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.”

“Ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ catalog represents and supports all communities and families,” explained the statement.

Dr. Seuss Enterprises is a company that, according to Time Magazine, works to preserve and protect “the legacy of the late author and illustrator, who died in 1991 at the age of 87, also noted in the statement that the decision was made over the past year with a panel of experts, including educators, academics, and specialists in the field, who reviewed the catalog of titles.”

Children’s books by Dr. Seuss have long been considered a classic contribution to children’s literature.

The books’ colorful and fun illustrations and rhymes are still to this day instantly recognizable. Recently, however, the writer’s work has been re-examined and scrutinized for racial caricatures and stereotypes. This is especially when it comes to the depictions of Black and Asian people. Many have also pointed out that before he was known as Dr. Seusss, Geisel’s work had been strongly criticized for “drawing WWII cartoons that used racist slurs and imagery, as well as writing and producing a minstrel show in college, where he performed in blackface—a form of entertainment that some children’s literature experts point to as the inspiration for Geisel’s most famous character, the Cat in the Hat.”

Dr. Seuss Enterprises’s announcement of their decision to pull these books coincided with the anniversary of the writer’s birthday.

Geisel’s birthday coincidentally comes at the same time as National Education Association’s Read Across America Day, which has long been attached to his books,

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

A Florida Doctor Is Being Charged with a Hate Crime After Assaulting a Latino Man at a Supermarket

Things That Matter

A Florida Doctor Is Being Charged with a Hate Crime After Assaulting a Latino Man at a Supermarket

Photos via MIAMI-DADE CORRECTIONS, Getty Images

It’s an unfortunate reality that Latinos face immense amounts of racism in America. Case in point: a Florida doctor is facing hate crime charges after assaulting a Latino man at a supermarket.

According to police, a 58-year-old woman followed a Latino man out to the parking lot, keyed his car, smashed his phone, and punched him–all the while hurling racially-charged insults at him.

The altercation happened on Jan. 20th at a Publix supermarket in Hialeah, Florida–a town with a large Latino population. It all started when the victim, an unnamed Latino man, asked Dr. Jennifer Susan Wright to maintain social distancing in Spanish. After she ignored him, the man repeated the question in English.

It was at this point that Dr. Wright, who is an anesthesiologist at Mount Sinai Medical Center, became incensed and began muttering curse words under her breath. After the man left the grocery store, Dr. Wright followed him out to the parking lot.

She began to verbally berate him, calling him a “spic” and telling him “we should have gotten rid of you when we could.”

According to the police report, she also said: “This is not going to be Biden’s America, this is my America.” The woman then took her keys out an began to “stab the victim’s vehicle with her keys” while telling him to “go back to his country”.

The man took out his phone to call 911 and the woman allegedly punched him, causing him to drop his phone. When he bent over to pick his phone up, she allegedly kicked him and tried to stomp on his phone.

The woman fled before the police came, but she was arrested on Feb 12th at her home in Miami Springs.

The woman was initially charged with tampering with a victim, criminal mischief and battery with prejudice. The “hate crime” charge was later added, elevating the crime to a felony.

According to reports, Wright posted her $1000 bail and is now awaiting trial. Mount Sinai Medical Center released a statement saying that Dr. Wright is “no longer responsible for patient care” after assaulting a Latino man.

According to the Miami Herald, neighbors know Dr. Jennifer Wright as an ardent Trump supporter. Her social media pages are riddled with far-right, Pro-Trump memes and photos of her posing in a MAGA hat. She even uploaded a post that read: “It’s Okay To Be White.”

We can all agree that it’s “okay” to be white. It’s okay to be any race. We cannot, however, all agree that it’s okay to be a violent, racist bigot. We hope the victim has recovered and we hope Jennifer Wright will face justice.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com