Formerly known as BAME Recruitment

07 Oct 2022

Diversity Lens - Issue 145

This week we recorded a podcast on representation in children’s media. As a group from a minoritised ethnic background, we were all stumped by our opening question: "who did you identify with in children's media?" Slowly, we found one or two relatable characters growing up, however, they were often side characters or reinforced racial stereotypes.

Looking at children’s media today, we can see how much representation is changing and having a positive impact on children, through diverse characters and stories. The podcast will be out later this year, but in the meantime, reflect with us. Who did you identify with in the media when you were growing up? Has this representation changed? Coincidentally, Meghan Markle takes a similar subject matter in her podcast this week - specifically Hollywood stereotypes - and we explore this further in our Story of the Week.
 
Fiction:
The Whale Tattoo by Jon Ransom 

This debut novel by Jon Ransom takes place in the marshy brush of a fishing town in Norwich and follows protagonist Joe's afflictions of love, loss, grief and revenge. In the small, oppressive seaside town, Joe battles with his family and sexuality mostly in isolation. He can only confide in a fictitious creature that dwells in a river near his home which challenges and torments his conscience. This is a powerful piece by Ransom who explores trauma, but also healing, in deprived conditions.
 

STORY OF THE WEEK

Meghan Attacks Hollywood Caricatures of Asian Women in Film

In Meghan Markle's podcast this week, she raised the subject of Hollywood stereotyping, alongside journalist Lisa Ling and comedian Margaret Cho. We see the same tired Asian archetypes employed again and again: the "dragon lady", "Asian temptress" or "lotus flower" - either aggressive and over-sexualised or quiet and submissive.

This toxic stereotyping doesn't just stop with Asian characters of course. Black women on screen, for example, have been subjected to the enduring stereotype, among many, of benign caregiver, employed to look after white people - "the mammy figure" - despite research revealing this figure was never based on any factual actuality.

Markle speaks with sociologist Nancy Wang Yuen who deep dives into the history of Asian stereotypes in cinema.

Her book Reel Inequality: Hollywood Actors and Racism (2016), outlines how the history of American wars in Asia have shaped Asian portrayals on screen, and how sex work around the military camps influenced the hypersexualised 
objectification of women on screen. This one-dimensional depiction of racial identities unsurprisingly seeps off the screen.

In 2020, the report "Normalizing Injustice" studied the way that crime TV perpetuated racist assumptions around black people. The study actually found that watching these kind of programmes can cause the viewer to be more accepting of the "overpolicing and excessive force" used on black people in reality. In a similar vein, Lisa Ling touches on the spike in hate crimes against Asian people during Covid and how quickly they were dehumanised, almost like a side character. 


Listen to the full episode here.

 

IN OTHER NEWS

Brazilian Left Celebrates Election Wins for Trans and Indigenous Candidates

While the presidential challenger may not have won the first round, there were other reasons to celebrate for the left wing in Brazil. For the first time in history, two trans candidates were elected to congress. Erika Hilton and Duda Salabert both promised to fight for LGBT rights. Two Indigenous women joined them, Sônia Guajajara and Célia Xakriabá, giving a voice for Brazil’s Indigenous communities at a time when the current president has deliberately underfunded Indigenous and Environmental agencies. 

Fashion Designer Launches 'Empowering' Clothing Collection for People with Dwarfism

Designer Chamiah Dewey has released a new range of clothing specifically for people under 4ft10. In her final year of studying fashion design, Dewey aimed to fill the gap in the market for people of below average height. Her research found that there were zero UK clothing brands for people with dwarfism - most either shop the kids collection, which often don't fit correctly, or make their own alterations. Two years later, Chamiah Dewey's collection made it to the catwalk of London Fashion Week. Her aim, more than just creating beautiful clothes, was to make people with dwarfism feel happy and confident in clothes designed with them in mind.

 

 

"Everyone deserves to wear clothes and feel empowered and normalised."

Ankle Tags Used to Target Young Black Men, London Mayor’s Report Finds

In the same week the Met police commissioner admitted the force has “a real problem with race”, Internal documents from the Mayor of London’s office have shown that a probation tagging system is being used to racially target young black men for knife crime offences.
 
The mayor’s office for policing and crime said that the use of the GPS monitoring tags “may reflect unconscious bias within probation risk assessments” and an ethnicity breakdown showed that almost a quarter (22%) of offenders released with tags in the last year were black British Caribbean, 16% were black African and more than half (57%) were 18-24.
 

WORK SPHERE

   Can the world be transformed by the power of connectivity? That’s Colt’s mission, and one we entirely believe in! Through their work, they’re creating meaningful change and fostering a sense of belonging for all – and this mission extends into their diversity & inclusion efforts. 

Through their employee resource groups, diversity initiatives, and inclusive policies, they are creating a workplace that champions D&I at every step, and where everyone can contribute meaningfully. 

Find out more about Colt and browse current opportunities on Diversifying.io.
 

Could Moral Burnout Be Impacting Your Work Motivation?

We've all heard of burnout, but what about the moral kind?

Moral burnout has been labelled as a work-related phenomenon by the World Health Organisation. More profound than just workload and job design, it might be an indication that you and your employer are fundamentally incompatible. Dr. Sarah O'Neil states, "It is linked to how an organisation operates" and can cause feelings of guilt and helplessness due to failing to stand up for what's right.


 

“Often, the trauma of moral injury [from past workplaces] carries over, affecting an individual’s trust within their new organisation”

Microaggressions May Be Subtle, But Their Impact Is Not

Discrimination in the workplace continues to be a problem for minorities, despite most companies now claiming to be committed to diverse and inclusive environments. According to research from Glassdoor, 61% of workers have seen or experienced discrimination at work. Microaggressions are a less overt form of discrimination, often making subtle references to stereotypes based on an individual's identity or background, and not always consciously.

While overt racism, homophobia, and other forms of prejudice in the workplace are commonly easier to target and address, it's crucial that we take action to address microagressions too in order to create a better working environment for all. For starters, leaders can learn to listen better and have the kind of open conversations they may shy aware from due to awkwardness and discomfort. They can take the time to learn more about the issues affecting their workplace, who they impact and how they can address this meaningfully.

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