Representations of Black People in Film
One day in 1967, Audre Lorde, a Black woman who was a noted poet, writer and activist, was out shopping at the supermarket. Her two-year old daughter was along for the ride in the shopping cart, like many other children with their parents. A young White girl in her mother’s shopping cart passed Lorde and her daughter and when she saw Lorde’s daughter, she called out, “Oh look, Mommy, a baby maid!”
The idea that Black women are maids was so strong that even for this very young child, that is the first thought she has about a Black girl. Because this incident took place in 1967, it is easy to think that those kinds of ideas were common then, but wouldn’t be heard today. In fact, portrayals of Black women as servants and maids continue to be widespread, particularly in film and television.
When Octavia Spencer won the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in 2011 for her portrayal of Minny Jackson in The Help, she became the sixth African-American woman to win an Oscar. While Spencer’s acting may have been excellent, the troubling fact remains that of all the roles Black women have played, in many movies, for many decades, this is the role that the Academy Award decided to reward with an Oscar. A role where Spencer plays a maid. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which is responsible for deciding who will win the awards, is mostly men, and 90% White. Patricia Hill Collins argues that “because the authority to define societal values is a major instrument of power, elite groups, in exercising power, manipulate ideas about Black womanhood. They do so by exploiting already existing symbols, or creating new ones.”  The idea about Black womanhood that is exploited here is the notion of Black women being servants or mammies. ... continue reading>>http://racismstillexists.tumblr.com/post/28816737901/representations-of-black-people-in-film
The first African American movie star Stepin Fetchit, born Lincoln Theodore Monroe Andrew Perry, began his career as vaudeville performer. In the 1920s when sound was added to motion pictures and America's desire for entertainment moved from stage to film so did many vaudeville actors. As was the case in the early days of film, and later television, black actors took the work that was available and in many cases the roles written for African Americans were steeped in racial stereotypes. In films such as In Old Kentucky (1927) and Hearts in Dixie (1929—shown here) Fetchit played characters that were lazy, dimwitted, inarticulate, and slow—all deeply negative racial stereotypes characteristic of the time. Stepin Fetchit's career ended in 1930s in part due to criticism from civil rights groups. Criticism of Fetchit did not end with his film career and in 1968 he sued CBS for vilifying his role in the history of cinema. While history does not look back kindly on the roles that Fetchit depicted there is no doubt that as the first African American movie star Fetchit opened innumerable doors.
In 1939 Hattie McDaniel became the first African American to win an Academy Award. McDaniel received the Oscar for her performance as Mammy in Gone With the Wind. Like Stepin Fetchit, McDaniel was criticized by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for taking a role portraying the stereotype of a servile mammy. As McDaniel was one of the best known black actors of that period and she built her career by playing servants, she was a natural target for the NAACP. During the 1930s and 1940s the NAACP put a great deal of effort into addressing the negative portrayals of African Americans in film and radio. In many instances this effort to change social norms resulted in direct confrontations with black actors who were viewed as letting down their race. .... continue reading >> http://www.oxfordaasc.com/public/features/archive/1208/photo_essay.jsp?page=3
Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does. Proposed by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, (pronounced "CHICK-sent-me-high-ee") this positive psychology concept has been widely referenced across a variety of fields.
According to Csikszentmihalyi, flow is completely focused motivation. It is a single-minded immersion and represents perhaps the ultimate experience in harnessing the emotions in the service of performing and learning. In flow, the emotions are not just contained and channeled, but positive, energized, and aligned with the task at hand. To be caught in the ennui of depression or the agitation of anxiety is to be barred from flow. The hallmark of flow is a feeling of spontaneous joy, even rapture, while performing a task although flow is also described (below) as a deep focus on nothing but the activity – not even oneself or one's emotions.
Flow has many of the same characteristics as (the positive aspects of) hyperfocus. However, hyperfocus is not always described in such universally glowing terms. For examples, some cases of spending "too much" time playing video games, or of getting side-tracked and pleasurably absorbed by one aspect of an assignment or task to the detriment of the assignment in general. In some cases, hyperfocus can "grab" a person, perhaps causing him or her to appear unfocused or to start several projects, but complete few.
Colloquial terms for this or similar mental states include: to be in the moment, present, in the zone, on a roll, wired in, in the groove, on fire, in tune, centered, singularly focused, or going beast mode. ... continue reading>>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_%28psychology%29
Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi asks, "What makes a life worth living?" Noting that money cannot make us happy, he looks to those who find pleasure and lasting satisfaction in activities that bring about a state of "flow."
Part psychological study, part self-help book, Finding Flow is a prescriptive guide that helps us reclaim ownership of our lives. Based on a far-reaching study of thousands of individuals, Finding Flow contends that we often walk through our days unaware and out of touch with our emotional lives. Our inattention makes us constantly bounce between two extremes: during much of the day we live filled with the anxiety and pressures of our work and obligations, while during our leisure moments, we tend to live in passive boredom. The key, according to Csikszentmihalyi, is to challenge ourselves with tasks requiring a high degree of skill and commitment. Instead of watching television, play the piano. Transform a routine task by taking a different approach. In short, learn the joy of complete engagement. Thought they appear simple, the lessons in Finding Flow are life-altering.
Finding Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi – Summary
Professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi begins his new work by returning us to one of the ancient Greeks' favorite questions: How can we live a good, or excellent, life? How can we live full, serene, useful lives where we express our uniqueness, participate fully in the complexity of the cosmos, and waste little of our time or potential?
The great point of this book, then, is to urge us to become conscious of how we spend our time so that we can maximize motivation, concentration, happiness, and especially flow. Although we are limited by the human condition and the social and cultural categories that we find ourselves in, "there is enough room for personal initiative and choice to make a real difference." Unfortunately, the author says, "there are no gimmicks, no easy shortcuts. It takes a total commitment to a fully experienced life, one in which no opportunities are left unexplored and no potential undeveloped, to achieve excellence." ... read more>> http://www.enlightenment.com/media/bookrevs/findflow.html
... Yet we can't blame family, society, or history if our work is meaningless, dull, or stressful. Admittedly, there are few options when we realize that our job is useless or actually harmful. Perhaps the only choice is to quit as quickly as possible, even at the cost of severe financial hardship. In terms of the bottom line of one's life, it is always better to do something one feels good about than something that may make us materially comfortable but emotionally miserable. Such decisions are notoriously difficult and require great honesty with oneself.
Short of making such a dramatic switch, there are many ways to make one's job produce flow. A supermarket clerk who pays genuine attention to customers, a physician concerned about the total well-being of patients, or a news reporter who considers truth at least as important as sensational interest when writing a story, can transform a routine job into one that makes a difference. Turning a dull jot into one that satisfies our need for novelty and achievement involves paying close attention to each step involved, and then asking: Is this step necessary? Can it be done better, faster, more efficiently? What additional steps could make my contribution more valuable? If, instead of spending a lot of effort trying to cut corners, one spent the same amount of attention trying to find ways to accomplish more on the job, one would enjoy working--more and probably be more successful. When approached without too many cultural prejudices and with a determination to make it personally meaningful, even the most mundane job can produce flow. ... continue reading>> http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/199707/finding-flow
“Because for most of us a job is such a central part of life, it is essential that this activity be as enjoyable and rewarding as possible. Yet many people feel that as long as they get decent pay and some security, it does not matter how boring or alienating their job is.”
Finding Flow, page 101
Does it matter to you? Do you care if your job is boring or alienating? I ask, because I believe you do care. I believe that, while job security and decent pay are nice to have, you have a desire – a desire to work in a job with meaning. A job that engages you, challenges you, and gives you an opportunity for growth. ... continue reading>> http://www.actionablebooks.com/summaries/finding-flow
Gabrielle Christina Victoria "Gabby" Douglas (born December 31, 1995) is an American artistic gymnast. As a member of the U.S. Women's Gymnastics team at the 2012 Summer Olympics, she won gold medals in both the individual all-around and team competitions. Douglas is the first African-American gymnast in Olympic history to become the individual all-around champion, and the first American gymnast to win gold in both the individual all-around and team competitions at the same Olympics as well as being the only American all-around champion to win multiple gold medals. She was also a member of the gold-winning U.S. team at the 2011 World Championships.
Douglas was born on December 31, 1995 to parents Timothy Douglas and Natalie Hawkins. She has three siblings. She began training in gymnastics at age two when her older sister, Arielle, convinced their mother to enroll her in gymnastics classes. In October 2002, Douglas began her training at Gymstrada Gymnastics in Virginia Beach, Virginia. In July 2004, she left Gymstrada and began training at Excalibur Gymnastics.
At the age of eight, Douglas won the Level 4 all-around gymnastics title at the 2004 Virginia State Championships.
>>continue reading ... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gabby_Douglas
A prodigy from a very young age, Gabby Douglas originally made her mark on the world of competitive gymnastics at age eight. She won numerous state championship titles in her age group throughout her early competitive career. While her star was fast rising in the arena, Gabby and her family faced economic challenges at home and she made the difficult decision to leave her mother Natalie, three siblings and grandmother in Virginia Beach and move to Des Moines, Iowa, to train with renowned coach Liang Chow to pursue her dream of Olympic glory. Buoyed by her early success, dedication and unyielding love from her family, Gabby made it onto the 2012 U.S. Women’s Gymnastics team, with whom she faced intense competition in the London Games. Her sacrifice and perseverance were triumphantly rewarded with Team Competition and Individual All-round gold medals, placing Gabby and her teammates – known as “The Fierce Five” -- among the world’s all-time greats in gymnastics. (Lifetime)