Friday 29 May 2015

Gendered Numbers

Both animate and inanimate objects are associated with a gender, products are associated with a gender depending on the question whether more men or women are seen using it more often but also depending on the perceived quality … such as the so-called gentle (hence) feminine product. Gender is also associated with "highly abstract and ostensibly nonsocial concepts", such as numbers.

Historically, numbers have been linked to a gender for a long time and there are examples from ancient Greece and Chinese philosophy. Traditionally, odd numbers used to be seen as masculine, even numbers as feminine. While some may argue that this is just an arbitrary ascription, some scholars say that "representations of abstract concepts must be extrapolated from concrete ones, even when there is little superficial similarity between the two". In other words, there is more to it. And that is where it gets interesting.

In their first study, Wilkie and Bodenhausen investigated gender connotations of "1" and "2". They presented a US-American sample foreign names, i.e. ambiguous stimuli and expected them to be rated more masculine when presented with the number "1" than when paired with the number "2". Results showed that, as predicted, Bulgarian names paired with "1" were rated as more masculine (M = 5.51 vs. M = 5.17). The same was true for Spanish names paired with "1" (M = 4.51 vs. M = 4.29).

In a second study, participants had to evaluate the Bulgarian names paired with three-digit numbers with digits that were either completely even or completely odd. Again there was a tendency to rate names presented with odd numbers as more masculine (M = 5.43 vs. 5.15). In their third study, the stimuli were babies' faces (that are often ambiguous) instead of names, presented with numbers. Here too, babies were more often rated as masculine when presented with the number "1" than with "2" (M = 3.79 vs. M = 3.47). The authors come to the conclusion that "numbers are indeed gendered".

- - - - - - - - - - -

And now for something completely different. Jazz Numbers (1969): WATCH
For more about the "free jazz, Yellow Submarine-style surrealistic animation" see: Open Culture

- - - - - - - - - - -

- Wilkie, J. E. B. & Bodenhausen, G. V. (2011). Are Numbers Gendered? Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1-5
- photograph of Veruschka von Lehndorff, Max Brunell, Carlo Ortiz and a beautiful Fiat Dino (1969) via

This posting originally appeared on Science on Google+ on 15 March 2015.

Wednesday 27 May 2015

Narrative images: How "the guy from the n*gger-loving magazine" fooled a racist mob

"I’ve never seen a meaner mob in my life than the one that surrounded [those two kids]. I felt nothing but sympathy for the students. I would shoot six to 10 frames and immediately change film in the camera. I’d put it in my left-hand pocket. I kept unexposed film in my right-hand pocket. These kids were literally run off by the mob. And the next thing said was, “Get the guy from the nigger-loving magazine.” There were at least three Texas Rangers in that crowd, and not one of them lifted a finger. The mob came at me and they said, “We want your film.”
I said, “Sure, you can have my film.” I opened the camera. I had already changed the roll. I carefully pulled out the film to expose it and gave it to them. It was just a blank roll of film, but I wasn’t going to have them develop it and have them come back at me for the real thing."
Joe Scherschel (interviewed by John Loengard in 1993)

LIFE photographer Joseph "Joe" Scherschel (1920-2004) was in Texas in 1956 to cover the struggle of the two black teenagers Steve Posten (17) and Jessalyn Gray (18) to integrate Texarkana Junior College. The photograph shows them waiting tensely beside a cab while hundreds of whites prevent them from entering the school. Jessalyn asked the police to escort them inside. The police refused, the students left (via). Posten's and Gray's segregation complaint, by the way, was dismissed (The Crisis, 1957).In 1952, the southwestern regional counsel of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Ulysses S. Tate, encouraged students to apply to their nearest junior college for admission and to watch the battles to open colleges such as Texarkana since "a right GAINED and not USED is NO right at all". Texarkana Junior College's resistance to desegregation "proved stiff" and legal battles followed (Shabazz, 2004).

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

- The Crisis. A Record of the Darker Races (1957), edited by James W. Ivy, Vol. 64, No. 2, February 1957
- Shabazz, A. (2004). Advancing Democracy: African Americans and the struggle for access and equity in higher education in Texas. The University of North Carolina Press.
- photograph via

Sunday 24 May 2015

"Building Bridges": Diversity, Vienna, Traffic Lights & the Eurovision Song Contest

The Eurovision Song Contest, one of the longest running annual TV song competitions, was created by Marcel Bezençon (1907-1981) in 1956, inspired by the Italian "Sanremo Music Festival" firstly held in 1951. Vienna was the host city twice, in 1967 and in 2015 (via and via).

The first time Austria hosted the Eurovision Song Contest was in 1967, one year after Udo Jürgens (1934-2014) won with "Merci, Chérie". 1967 was the year Angolan singer Eduardo Nascimento participated on behalf of Portugal - the first male black performer in the Eurovision Song Contest. In 1966, the Dutch jazz singer of Surinamese origin Milly Scott, the first female black singer at Eurovision, performed for the Netherlands (via and via) and by doing so "stepped out of the confines of performing the Euro-whiteness that Eurovision had so far managed to establish". Scott sang "Fernando en Filippo" and "went Latin". Shaking her hips and inserting an improvised scat ad lib was standard practice for a jazz singer but revolutionary in mainstream pop music of the 1960s (Mutsaers, 2007).
By the way, allegedly "cool": In 1967, 50% of each country's jurors had to be younger than 30 to boost the contest's modern image (via).

This year, Vienna hosted the Eurovision Song Contest again. Conchita, the cross-dressing long-haired full-bearded lady, had won the contest the year before which was seen as a clear message as she is regarded as "a symbol for tolerance and artistic freedom". And when Sweden won the 2015 contest with Mans Zelmerov singing "Heroes", Zelmerov continued the message by saying: "We are all heroes no matter who we love, who we are or what we believe in." (via) Conchita about her 2014 entry:
"For me the most special and honoring thing is that Austria shows tolerance and acceptance and I’m so happy to be this statement. I’m allowed to be the voice of their beliefs during this time and this really makes me very proud. We, and not at least myself, want to stand for a society without hate and discrimination. And if I’m honest, I think everyone of the contestants should stand for the same, cause we are joining a very opend minded project, so they should be open minded too."
Conchita Wurst
As part of the preparations for the Eurovision Song Contest and other events linked to tolerance (such as the charity event Life Ball), Vienna installed pedestrian crossing lights with straight, gay and lesbian couples at 49 crossings (via). The campaign aims to communicate Vienna's open-mindedness and also improve traffic safety as the new symbols will surely draw more attention to the traffic (via). At first, the new traffic lights were supposed to be installed for a few weeks only. Due to their popularity in the city, the positive feedback from abroad and successful petitions, Vienna decided to keep the new traffic lights (via) ... see

The Eurovision Song Contest is criticised for its mainstream character, for the political and geographical voting tendencies of certain countries forming "cliques" which have a high impact on the results (via). Nevertheless, there are certain positive aspects: After the so-called "ethnic turn", participants started to display more openly cultural diversity (Björnberg, 2007). Participating countries also choose to send persons to represent the country that are members of minority groups. In 1998, for instance, Israel won with transgender Sharon Cohen (via), Finland chose a band with a difference for the 2015 participation: middle-aged punk rockers on the autism spectrum or with Down's syndrome (via), and Poland chose a singer who is partially paralysed (via). The hosting city of Vienna, by the way, ensured "maximum accessibility", the venue "Stadthalle" and the Eurovision Village were accessible and barrier-free (via).

The slogan organiser chose for 2015 was "Building Bridges", "a great slogan that captures what the Eurovision Song Contest has been all about since 1956 - bringing people together" (via):
"We understand this slogan as a logical extension of the idea Conchita Wurst formulated at the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest and also lived: the importance of openness, tolerance across all borders for a joint interaction. With the song contest in Vienna, we want music to build bridges across borders, cultures and languages​​. In light of the unifying power of this great common European event, we invite all to build bridges and to join hands."
Alexander Wrabetz, Director General of ORF (Austrian Broadcasting)

Eurovision is over. But an academic reflection is to take place in the near future. On 19th and 20th of June, the international conference "Musical Diversity and Cultural Identities in the History of the Eurovision Song Contest" will be held by the Karl Franzens University in the Austrian city of Graz. On two days, the Eurovision's role in promoting diversity, cultural identity, gender, and social changes will be recapitulated. Here the programme: download

Eurovision Link Pack:
::: France Gall (1965, France) - Poupée de cire, poupée de son watch/listen
::: Eduardo Nascimento (1967, Portugal) - O vento mudou watch/listen
::: Vicky (1967, Luxembourg) - L'amour est bleu watch/listen
::: Sandie Shaw (1967, UK) - Puppet On A String watch/listen
::: Iva Zanicchi (1969, Italy) - Due grosse lacrime bianche watch/listen
::: Lulu (1969, UK) - Boom Bang A Bang watch/listen
::: Mary Hopkin (1970, UK) - Knock, Knock watch/listen
::: Gigliola Cinquetti (1974, Italy) - Sì watch/listen
::: Brotherhood of Man (1976, UK) - Save Your Kisses for Me watch/listen
::: Mia Martini (1977, Italy) - Libera watch/listen

- Björnberg, A. (2007) Return to ethnicity: The cultural significance of musical change in the Eurovision Song Contest. In: Raykoff, I. & Deam, R. (eds.) A Song for Europe: Popular Music and Politics in the Eurovision Song Contest. 13- 24. Hampshire & Burlington: Ashgate Publishing
- Mutsaers, L. (2007) Fernando, Filippo, and Milly: Bringing blackness to the Eurovision stage. In: Raykoff, I. & Deam, R. (eds.) A Song for Europe: Popular Music and Politics in the Eurovision Song Contest. 61-70. Hampshire & Burlington: Ashgate Publishing
- photographs of Eurovision Song Contest 1967 (1-3, 6-7) via and (4) via and (5) via

Saturday 23 May 2015


“I’ve always been interested in the power that advertising has on language. We read them before we’re even aware that we saw them, because most of us now are immediately literate. I first was making works that looked like ads, and then started to realize maybe truth was better than fiction. So I actually use real ads as a way to talk about how advertisements shape our notions of reality, our notions of ourselves and especially our notions of others.”
Hank Willis Thomas

Good thing he kept his head (1962): original ad

Concept artist Hank Willis Thomas, who likes to think of himself as a "visual culture archeologist, or a DJ" (via) is fascinated by the rhetoric of advertisements, the selling of products and of stereotypes. When he realised that the real message was not to be found in their texts but in the images he erased the texts emphasising the "not-so-latent subtexts" (via).
“I’m using these materials that have been discarded or forgotten, and am trying to elevate them to give them new life, new conversation and new purpose, that speaks to the original mission of selling a product. It’s interesting because you can rarely tell what the original product was for. The image and the product rarely have anything in common.”
Hank Willis Thomas

The game is Broomsticks (1967, Thomas was uneasy to use this ad, via): original ad

"When you market towards any demographic, you have to be prejudiced."
Hank Willis Thomas

"Thomas’s work 'unbrands' advertising: stripping away the commercial context, and leaving the exposed image to speak for itself. Without the text and taglines we would normally lean on to decipher the adverts, we are forced to read between the lines and think more deeply about what the images are actually selling – which, you begin to see, is an ideal of femininity encapsulated in AdLand’s 'white woman'" (literally via). According to Hank Willis Thomas, by removing texts and logos, i.e. by "unbranding" the advertisements "(T)hey become naked in a way. You're looking at what's really being sold. The message that's sometimes being hidden by the logo and the copy." (via)

Come out of the bone age, darling (1955): original ad
“I learn as much from what other people have to say about it as what I have to say about it. I guess I would sum it up by saying the work is not really about white women, it’s about people. How people are put into a group and how complicated and ever-evolving the notions of club membership and authenticity in the group are. It’s weird to look at ‘white women’ and see this.”Hank Willis Thomas
Most of the advertisements Hank Willis Thomas exhibits in connection with his series "Unbranded: A Century of White Women, 1915-2015" show women with husbands or daughters; women together with female friends while fully clothed are hardly observed. Those in female company tend to be in bikinis, not looking at each other but rather at the - probably - male spectator. Often, women are not really in companionship but in competition. Women's role in society clearly changed between 1915 and 2015. When women got more rights such as the right to vote, they were pictured driving cars. In the 1940s, they were dressed as soldiers, later as career women. At the same time, this empowerment seems to be punished by objectifying women in advertisements (via). Observing the fictional white woman through the times is like a narrative:
"When the project started in 1915, print advertising and especially photography were very new. Graphic design and images were having a revolutionary moment. By the '30s and '40s, you can tell advertisers and graphic designers had kind of figured out something."
Hank Willis Thomas

No seams to worry about (1954): original ad

“I think ads are very much a reflection of the hopes and dreams of a culture at a particular moment in time and that’s why they’re so powerful and potent as historical documents and artistic works.”
Hank Willis Thomas

"And with the golden age of advertising — which is kind of what Mad Men is about — you see this intense pushback about putting a woman in her place. And at the same time, more and more women are getting places in the board room or are at least taking part in the conversation, so there’s progress in that sense. For every two or three sexist images you’ll find one that’s somewhat progressive. But then again, something that’s seen as progressive at the time may seem marginalizing and sexist today. That’s something I think is interesting. In trying to read this images, it’s almost like you have to go into a time machine to really understand what it was like for the people seeing these for the first time."
Hank Willis Thomas

Triumph of Europe (1960): original ad

"I always talk about racism (sic) as the most successful advertising campaign of all time."
Hank Willis Thomas

For his previous series, "Unbranded: Reflections in Black by Corporate America, 1968-2000", Hank Willis Thomas collected advertisements printed in magazines between Martin Luther King's assassination and Barack Obama's election. Based on the criterion which ad captured best the atmosphere of mainstream society at the time, he selected one per year. His first project coincided with the election of President Obama, his second one with the potential election of a female president (via). "Unbranded" gives a sense of history (via).
"In the last presidential cycle, there was this whole debate where people were going back and forth between Hillary [Clinton] and Obama, questioning are you more racist or more sexist? That’s a way of dumbing it down, obviously. But I realize that we might be on the verge of having our first female president, a white woman. I want to look at how someone like her might have been looked at or treated or spoken to back then, and today.”Hank Willis Thomas

Captivating textures from the Leggy World of Berkshire (1965): original ad

"'Unbranded' is a series of images taken from magazine advertisements targeting a black audience or featuring black subjects, which I digitally manipulated and appropriated. In this work-in-progress project that will ultimately span from 1969 through the present, I have removed all aspects of advertising information, e.g., text, logos, in order to reveal what is being sold. Nothing more has been altered. I believe that in part, advertising's success rests on its ability to reinforce generalizations around race, gender, and ethnicity that can be entertaining, sometimes true, and sometimes horrifying, but which at a core level are a reflection of the way a culture views itself or aspirations. By 'Unbranding' advertisements I can literally expose what Roland Barthes refers to as 'what-goes-without-saying' in ads, and hopefully encourage viewers to look harder and think deeper about the empire of signs that have become second nature to our experience of life in the modern world."
Hank Willis Thomas

“Whiteness is something I’m fascinated with because it’s ever evolving. One hundred years ago a lot of people we call white today would not be considered white. And also, a hundred years ago women in the U.S. didn’t have the right to vote. And, even though African American men technically did, everything was done to make sure they didn’t. I’m interested in how white women — who are often seen as the most valuable — are at the same time marginalized.”
Hank Willis Thomas

“I always like to stress that the craziest thing about blackness is that black people never had much to do with actually creating it. It was actually created with commercial interest in order to turn people into property. The colonialists had to come up with a subhuman brand of person and that marketing campaign was race.”
Hank Willis Thomas

The Mistress Collection by Funky (1974): original ad; Hank Willis Thomas about it: read

“Most people of color are very used to society not respecting them for any number of reasons. But there is also this huge population of white women who will never fit into the standards of value that society has created."
Hank Willis Thomas

“I’m interested in finding new ways of revealing things that are kind of latent in a given image. I talk about my work as an archaeology in a sense, and I might consider myself a photographic archaeologist, or a visual culture archaeologist. I believe that all the content in my work is really about framing and context, is about calling the viewer to think about how their position affects what they see.”
Hank Willis Thomas

“One thing I can say definitively is that it’s much more complicated and diverse now than it was 100 years ago. Now you see the same sex couples, the over-sexualized people, the family person, the business person. It’s much more diluted than it once was.”
Hank Willis Thomas

The Breakfast Belle (1915)

“What I’m most interested in these ads is not only how other people see us but also how we see our selves; what we can learn about our own assumptions, as well as how we were/are ‘othered.’”
Hank Willis Thomas

- - - - - - - -
photographs via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via; inspired by Hyperallergic

Wednesday 20 May 2015

"Barely Different"

“I took the photo while they were playing on the bed, and in it I noticed they had such a strong resemblance to each other, like they were twins.” 
Anna Larson

"When we grow beside another, our similarities bloom. It's not skin that makes us different, or that causes separation and, it's lack of unity."
Anna Larson

"Barely Different" is a series Anna Christine Larson, photographer and mother, started two years ago. Larson has three children, two biological ones and one adopted from Ethiopia five years ago. When she started the series, her two daughters Semenesh and Haven were 3.5 and 1.5 years old (via).

"Two souls birthed on the opposite sides of the world, were brought close through adoption, and their bond is great because of unity. It's opened my eyes to the potential we have to love and accept one another as brothers and sisters, just as they do."
Anna Larson

photographs via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via

Monday 18 May 2015

Kehinde Wiley: Masterpieces With a Black Cast

"I know how young black men are seen."
Kehinde Wiley

Kehinde Wiley, "one of the most celebrated painters of his generation", is known for painting young larger-than-life men and women enacting a scene from an old-master painting. The contemporary clothes contrast the ornately patterned background that are based on Victorian wallpaper or Renaissance tapestries. The reason why his cast is black is that he is "using the power of images to remedy the historical invisibility of black men and women" (Solomon, 2015). Wiley was awarded the U.S. Department of State Medal of Arts for "using his art to promote cultural diplomacy" (via).

Washington Post Interview from October 2014:

Q. Your work has been largely focused on the image of men in modern society, starting with the streets of Harlem and expanding into an international brand. What made you arrive at the idea of creating work that was focused on women?

A.In the end, so much of what I wanted to do was to have a body of work that exhaustively looked at black American notions of masculinity. How we look at black men - how they’re perceived in public and private spaces - and to really examine that, going from every possible angle. And so far as women were concerned, I always had been curious about how they would fit into my vocabulary, but I didn’t know how to go about [making] a fresh new body of work. I didn’t think it was appropriate to thoughtlessly remake the same type of work and just place women in that field. I thought it would be useful to look at the history of how women had been seen in paintings, how they’d been portrayed in paintings, and how specifically a painting made in the 21st century, they both acknowledge and respond and accept and protest to all of those beautiful and terrible things from the past.

Q. In the documentary, we see the women go through a heavily outward transformative process - they wear gowns, headpieces and makeup - not unlike the paintings of women of status in earlier centuries.

A. I really thought it was important to look at the language of power as opposed to our historical painting. But also I think in many ways it was to sort of pay homage to all the myriad black women in my own life. It’s amidst the sometimes daunting realities of thinking about my own mother and her story, thinking about my aunts, and sort of the space and the circle of women that surrounded me as a man and paying homage to that in a body of work that used the language and power of dignity but also folds that into a conversation around our historical dignity and how that language has been used and manipulated.

Q. At the beginning of the documentary, you are discussing the idea of the exotic in everyday culture, and you say “I think that when I watch television or participate in media culture in America, sometimes the way that I’ve seen black people being portrayed in this country feels very strange and exotic, because it has nothing to do with the life that I’ve lived or the people that I’ve known.” In examining the recent events of the death of Mike Brown, a young African American man in Ferguson, Mo., how can your artwork continue to mold the conversation of the image of the modern-day black man?

A. I think it gets to what the heart of what my work is about. So what does it feel like to be in this colored skin that I inhabit every single day? The difference between the reality of that and knowing your own personal history, your own desires and longings and humanity. And then watching in the public sphere your own precepts and thoughts around it — you’re reduced to this charade, this two-dimensional caricature.
The heart of what my work is about is to be able to flesh out the tension and anxieties of life at the intersection between those two places. Not to run away from it but to be able to accept that conflict, and to be able to create images that at once celebrate and not denounce the very confusing state of being. And so far, as the nation is still going through this and coming to grips with the way they view black men in the streets of Ferguson or New York or Los Angeles, it shows that in a very real way whilst we have the first African American president, as we may think gains [are being made], it remains a work in progress.

- Solomon, D. (2015) Masterpieces Revisited, With a Black Cast. The New York Times International Weekly (Der Standard), 9 February 2015, p. 4
- images via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via

Saturday 16 May 2015

Women, Maths & Stereotype Threat

Do stereotypes – such as women having inferior mathematics skills - have an effect on calculus performance? In order to answer that question, 102 female undergraduates majoring in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields were randomly assigned to three groups: 1) stereotype threat (women were told that there were gender differences and that men performed better than women), 2) gender equivalence (subtle cues: women were told that there were no gender differences and that men and women performed equally), and 3) no mention of gender.

According to Stelle (1997), "stereotype threat should have its greatest effect on the better, more confident students in stereotyped groups, those who have not internalized the group stereotype to the point of doubting their own ability and have thus remained identified with the domain - those who are in the academic vanguard of their group."

The results: Women performed the worst in the stereotype threat condition, intermediate in the gender equivalence condition and best in the no mention condition. In addition, the effect of stereotype threat on performance was greatest for women with higher skills (Steinberg et al., 2012). Stereotypes do matter.

- Steinberg, J. R., Okun, M. A. & Aiken, L. S. (2012). Calculus GPA and Math Identification as Moderators of Stereotype Threat in Highly Persistent Women. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 34, 534-543
- photographs "NASA before Powerpoint" by J. R. Wharton Eyerman (1961) via and via and via

This posting was originally published on Science on Google+ on 6th of December 2014

Wednesday 13 May 2015

"Love Music Hate Racism"

"Rock Against Racism" was a British grassroots movement that started in 1976 - at a time nationalist groups such as the far-right white supremacist National Front (one slogan: "The National Front advocates a total ban on any further non-White immigration into Britain, and the launching of a phased plan of repatriation for all coloured immigrants.") were gathering power. It was also a reaction to racist statements by well-known musicians (via and via). A massive concert was held, headlined by The Clash and Tom Robinson, at London's Victoria Park on 30th of April 1978 (via); 42 coaches came from Glasgow, 15 from Sheffield, a trainload from Manchester (via). 100.000 people marched across London to support Rock Against Racism (via). In 2002, Rock Against Racism was revived and renamed Love Music Hate Racism (via). Concerts include several music genres because the organisation believes "that society's diversity is reflected in music" (via).

Mainly, Rock Against Racism was a direct response to Eric Clapton's remarks made during a concert in 1976 (via).
Do we have any foreigners in the audience tonight? If so, please put up your hands. Wogs I mean, I'm looking at you. Where are you? I'm sorry but some fucking wog...Arab grabbed my wife's bum, you know? Surely got to be said, yeah this is what all the fucking foreigners and wogs over here are like, just disgusting, that's just the truth, yeah. So where are you? Well wherever you all are, I think you should all just leave. Not just leave the hall, leave our country. You fucking (indecipherable). I don't want you here, in the room or in my country. Listen to me, man! I think we should vote for Enoch Powell. Enoch's our man. I think Enoch's right, I think we should send them all back. Stop Britain from becoming a black colony. Get the foreigners out. Get the wogs out. Get the coons out. Keep Britain white. I used to be into dope, now I'm into racism. It's much heavier, man. Fucking wogs, man. Fucking Saudis taking over London. Bastard wogs. Britain is becoming overcrowded and Enoch will stop it and send them all back. The black wogs and coons and Arabs and fucking Jamaicans and fucking (indecipherable) don't belong here, we don't want them here. This is England, this is a white country, we don't want any black wogs and coons living here. We need to make clear to them they are not welcome. England is for white people, man. We are a white country. I don't want fucking wogs living next to me with their standards. This is Great Britain, a white country, what is happening to us, for fuck's sake? We need to vote for Enoch Powell, he's a great man, speaking truth. Vote for Enoch, he's our man, he's on our side, he'll look after us. I want all of you here to vote for Enoch, support him, he's on our side. Enoch for Prime Minister! Throw the wogs out! Keep Britain white!  (via
The same Eric Clapton was a big fan of the black blues musician Muddy Waters who highly influenced Clapton's music career (via). The same Eric Clapton called the black musician Robert Leroy Johnson "the most important blues singer that ever lived" (via). And it was Eric Clapton who had a No. 1 single with Bob Marley's reggae classic "I Shot the Sheriff" which "also helped send his second solo album to the top of the chart" (via). Understanding racism probably requires understanding a very specific logic that is based on a highly selective perception.

"Before Rock against Racism there was a sense that it was OK to be racist."
Gurinder Chadha

"What mattered was the fact that we all took part in an astonishing celebration of music, fun, justice and the politics of tolerance. The struggle for a more just and civilised society is an ongoing fight that each generation has to carry forward."
Tom Robinson

"Rock against Racism made it cool to be anti-racist."
John Street 

photographs by Syd Shelton via and via and by Chris Steele-Perkins via and by Syd Shelton again via and via and via

Tuesday 12 May 2015

Quoting Dustin Hoffman

"The truth is, the older you get, the less variety of parts you are offered. If you're a star and you've spent most of your career being able to take your pick of the litter, you notice when the offers start to diminish. You're too old to play leads, so you're offered the supporting role - but many stars don't want to make that transition. They see it as a sign of symbolic impotence. And that the audience will no longer regard them as a star. I love acting, and I'm not going to determine what I do based on what I fear other people might think. I do what I want to do."
Dustin Hoffman

photo via, quote via