Tuesday 30 May 2023

Quoting Lena Horne

"(M)y and (Walter) White's concern was that in the period while I was waiting for Cabin in the Sky they would force me to play roles, as I have said, that most N*groes were forced to play in the movies at that time. It was not that I felt I was too good or too proud to play them. But Walter felt and I agreed with him, that since I had no history in the movies and therefore hand not been typcast ... it would be essential for me to try to establish a different kind of image for N*gro women."
Lena Horne (cited in Sim, 2006)

- Sim, Y. D. (2006). Women of Blaxploitation. How the Black Action Film Heroine Changed American Popular Culture. Jefferson & London: McFarland & Company, Inc. Publishers.
- photograph of Lena Horne via

Sunday 21 May 2023

Now I know what he means.

"You’re 80. Do you still have that fire to get right back behind the camera and get the next one going?"


"Got to. Got to. Yeah. I wish I could take a break for eight weeks and make a film at the same time [laughs]. The whole world has opened up to me, but it’s too late. It’s too late. I’m old. I read stuff. I see things. I want to tell stories, and there’s no more time. Kurosawa, when he got his Oscar, when George [Lucas] and Steven [Spielberg] gave it to him, he said, 'I’m only now beginning to see the possibility of what cinema could be, and it’s too late.' He was 83. At the time, I said, 'What does he mean?' Now I know what he means."

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photograph via

Monday 15 May 2023

1940, 1958, 1964 vs Today

In 1940, 60% of employed Black women in the US worked as domestic servants. Today, the number is 2.2%, 60% hold so-called white-collar jobs.

In 1958, 44% of whites said they would move to a different neighbourhood, if a Black family became their neighbour. Today, the figure is 1%.

In 1964, 18% of whites claimed to have a Black friend. Today, 86% of whites say they have a Black friend while 87% of Blacks say they have white friends (via).

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photograph via

Sunday 14 May 2023

Narrative images: South of the River

"Growing up in Britain as a child of immigrants, I would hide certain elements of my everyday existence. As an adult and a photographer, I actively seek out and champion the very things I obscured and disregarded as a youngster. From the multicultural melting pots of Southwark and Lewisham to the brutalist blocks and postwar council estates of Thamesmead, south-east London is home to some of the most ethnically and culturally diverse communities in Britain."

photograph by Nico Froehlich via

Saturday 13 May 2023

Disney Movies, Gender Stereotypes, and a Mongolian Sample

In a survey carried out in 2020 at the National University of Mongolia, 500 Mongolian people aged 18 to 33 were asked questions to see how Disney films influenced "the personal view of modern nomads on images of gender". One of the questions was how Elsa (main character of Frozen) can turn her life into a perfect one. About 60% answered that Elsa would have to find true love, 33% thought a new adventure and challenges would be the right choice and 8.3% said that Elsa would need to govern her kingdom and make progress as a queen. 

According to the answers of the people, females’ stereotyped desire is to find true love and happy marriage disregarding individual’s talent and capacity. Disney films may have shown that the solution for young females to overcome difficulties is in finding a man as her protector. Seemingly, most of the Disney films such as the fairy-tales illustrated that the one and only aspiration and dream for females is finding a perfect man to marry. And for this, a feminine personality and attractive physical features (more often than not represented by White women) are conducive.

Another question regarded The Little Mermaid and its character Ursula. Almost 60% said they found her appearance unpleasant, 16.7% thought she was "super ugly". 74.8% agreed that her appearance made her more hateful. 

Different shapes and sizes of female roles in films maybe dedicated to highlight the contrast between evil and good by their looks. While Ariel is small, thin, and white, in contrast, Ursula is overweight, bigger, and purple. Thus, their appearances could express radical differences between the characterisation of Ariel and Ursula to the audience. Accordingly, Disney films may have been giving the message that unpleasant appearance is equal to an unpleasant personality thus reconfirming the existing stereotypes around the constructs of perfect beauty and body image. (Tergel Bold Erdene)

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photograph (Darhad Valley Nomadic Family by Jun Hwan Sung) via

Friday 12 May 2023

Asylum Seekers vs Refugees vs War Refugees vs Economic Refugees

Language matters. In their study, Kotzur, Forsbach and Wagner (2017) asked university students to share their thoughts associated with the group labels "asylum seekers", "refugees", "war refugees" and "economic refugees": “When you hear the term [label], whom do you think of? Please write down everything that comes to your mind. Please also indicate where you think [label] come from and why they’ve come to Germany. To do so, please complete the following sentence: When I think of [label], I think of…”

Refugees were more often associated with fleeing due to war and the intention to escape from persecution than asylum seekers were. The results for war refugees mostly echoed the results for refugees. When it came to economic refugees, however, a different pattern emerged. They were significantly more often categorised as well educated and comparably little need of help and experiences of loss and trauma.
[…] It makes me angry that the majority of refugees are economic refugees and now share our wealth, and will not give anything back to the state in the future (asylum seekers condition)
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- Kotzur, P. F., Forsbach, N. & Wagner, U. (2017). Choose Your Words Wisely. Stereotypes, Emotions, and Action Tendencies Toward Fled People as a Function of the Group Label. hogrefe, link
- photograph by Magnum photographer Enri Canaj via

Thursday 11 May 2023

Tony Heaton on the Work of Disabled Artists

Tony, your practice is widely established and your work is recognised internationally. However, the work by disabled artists is too often restricted to the community they represent and struggle to reach the mainstream art debate. Do you agree with this thought? If so, what are in your opinion the reasons of this phenomenon?

Well, perhaps the question is, why does the so-called ‘mainstream’ marginalise disabled artists and actually disabled people generally? Should we be forced to knock on those closed doors or should the ‘mainstream’ be opening up and looking beyond their elitist and frankly conservative narrow view of what is art and who makes it, and extending their intellect to engage with disabled artists and disability arts. If they did they would find some amazing work. Ultimately it's about power and rank, disabled people are marginalised and oppressed through poverty, lack of access to goods and services, limited access to transport and the built infrastructure and prejudice. The ‘mainstream’ were not interested in showing or collecting the work of disabled artists, this is the main reason that I initiated NDACA (National Disability Arts Collection and Archive), because if we as disabled people don't make it happen for ourselves then it won’t. NDACA will help to show and promote that history, a history that would have otherwise been lost because that work is not in ‘mainstream’ collections. The mainstream are also reluctant to help us into positions of power and rank, there are very few disabled people promoted onto decision-making boards or in arts institutions, this needs to change, but those with power are always reluctant to change, just as there is institutionalised racism there is an inherent ableism throughout society.

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photograph of Tony Heaton in front of the sculpture of a map of Great Britain made of wheelchair parts of one single NHS wheelchair (Great Britain form a Wheelchair, 1994), photo by Hilary Porter via

Wednesday 10 May 2023

Driving Cessation and Health Outcomes in Older Adults

Abstract: Sixteen studies met the inclusion criteria. Driving cessation was reported to be associated with declines in general health and physical, social, and cognitive function and with greater risks of admission to long-term care facilities and mortality. A meta-analysis based on pooled data from five studies examining the association between driving cessation and depression revealed that driving cessation almost doubled the risk of depressive symptoms in older adults (summary odds ratio = 1.91, 95% confidence interval = 1.61-2.27). (Chihuri et al., 2016)

- Chihuri, s., Mielenz, T. J., DiMaggio, C. J., Betz, M. E., DiGuiseppi, C., Jones, V. C. & Li, G. (2016: Driving Cessation and Health Outcomes in Older Adults, Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, link
- photograph (North Hollywood, 1970) via

Tuesday 9 May 2023

Like a Big Tree

"Figuratively speaking, migration for me is like a big tree. The tree’s roots symbolize the common or shared reasons and motivations... People move to other countries dreaming of a better future for their children, escaping war, oppression, and violence."
Enri Canaj

photograph (Woman from Afghanistan sewing her friend’s dress. Second day after the big fire in Moria. Lesbos, Greece. 2020) by Magnum photographer Enri Canaj via

Monday 8 May 2023

"Sounding Black": Speech Stereotypicality and Ethnic Stereotypes

Language is an important marker of social category and social category information can activate stereotypes which again depend heavily on the listener. In their first experiment, the authors of the study had participants listen to twenty audio recordings of Black North American (14) and Black British (6) speakers and rate how stereotypical they found them, guess the likely ethnicity and nationality, and indicate which adjectives (from a list of thirty adjectives) people would associate them with (e.g. athletic, criminal, lazy, poor, rhythmic, uneducated, unintelligent, loud, dirty, aggressive, inferior). 

In the second experiment, the sample listened to (weakly or strongly) stereotypical Black American speakers and was asked to choose one of two faces (weakly or strongly phenotypical) associated with the voice. Results showed that "speakers whose voices were rated as more highly stereotypical for Black Americans were more likely to be associated with stereotypes about Black Americans (Experiment 1) and with more stereotypically Black faces (Experiment 2)".

Given the interconnectivity between language, social categorization, and stereotypes, it is likely that individuals who “sound Black” are more likely to be identified as Black Americans and therefore more likely to be associated with stereotypes about the group. One way individuals may be thought to “sound Black” is through their use of African American Vernacular English (AAVE). AAVE is a non-standard dialect of American English closely associated with and spoken predominantly (but not only) by Black Americans (Cutler, 2003; Rickford, 1999). Often denigrated as slang or improper English, AAVE is in fact a valid language system, with regular phonological and grammatical features such as -ing dropping (e.g., “goin”’ vs. “going”), r-lessness (e.g., “fo”’ vs. “four”), negative concord (e.g., “He ain’t seen nothin”’), and the use of habitual be (e.g., “She be workin”’ indicates “She’s often working”) (Pullum, 1999; Thomas, 2007; see Jones, 2015 for more on regional variations in AAVE). Like speakers of other non-standard dialects, speakers of AAVE are seen less favorably than speakers of the more standard General American English in most contexts (Payne et al., 2000; Koch et al., 2001; Dent, 2004; Rodriguez et al., 2004; Billings, 2005). Speakers of AAVE are seen as less competent, less sociable, less professional, less educated, and of poorer character than speakers of more standard American English (Payne et al., 2000; Koch et al., 2001; Dent, 2004; Billings, 2005). As with the Southern U.S. dialect, many of the traits associated with AAVE are also associated with its dominant speakers: Black Americans (Devine and Elliot, 1995; Maddox and Gray, 2002). For instance, individuals show a greater implicit association between weapons and AAVE speakers than more standard speakers (Rosen, 2017), suggesting that stereotypes about criminality and violence, often associated with Black Americans, are also linked to AAVE speakers. Further, AAVE’s close association with Black Americans has also led to linguistic profiling, or discrimination against those who speak a certain way due to their assumed membership in a social group. Discriminating against someone for their way of speaking can allow for anti-Black bias to circumvent legal protections, leading to worse outcomes and fewer opportunities in areas such as housing for those who use AAVE and are assumed to be Black (Purnell et al., 1999; Massey and Lundy, 2001).

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- Kurinec, C. A. & Weaver III, C. A. (2021). Frontiers in Psychology, 12, link
- photograph by John H. White (Chicago, Illinois, August 1973, copyright Documerica Photography Project), via

Friday 5 May 2023

Quoting Richard Attenborough

"I very, very, very rarely lose my temper. I do get cross sometimes when encountering something that I feel is improper, that I feel is lacking in justice and equity, and this all sounds very pompous and over the top - but these are the things that really upset me: intolerance, prejudice etc. I suppose in more mundane matters, I'm impatient."

photograph (Young Winston, 1972) via

Thursday 4 May 2023

"I rather abstain from going places than use a cane." Mobility, stigma and design.

People with difficulties walking benefit from mobility aids since they reduce fall risk and increase confidence and autonomy. Yet, many are reluctant to use the equipment due to social pressures and perceived stigma. Despite appreciating the benefits, the independence and control over activities, the negative associations with ageing and physical decline keep people from using mobility aids. 

In addition, the lack of fasionable design - or rather, the stigma added by designing them the way they look, i.e., medical-appearing devices shouting "I need help" - has an enormous impact on the decision not to use them. Some non-device users say that they would be rather dead than using a device. At the same time, a sporty appearance and colourful design make them more acceptable since people "would feel cool" and not "old" using them (Resnik et al., 2009).

On Sunday, the children were going to the park…but just knowing that I had to use the cane.. I said: “No, I will stay home …” When they were there, they were all thinking: “Mom did not come to the park because of the cane …and they even said to me that they had this cart that handicapped people use to get around. We could have gotten in one of them and be riding it …(Device-user, Hispanic woman)

Where do you go from here? There’s not many places you’re gonna go. …That’s the thing that kind of scares you. And then you look at this (the cane), like I said, I’m sure it’s good for you and I’m sure one day I’m going to have to have it. And if I needed it tomorrow for my back, I would use it if I had to because my back really is in pain. But it’s like you’re at the last stage. This is it. There’s no place else to go from here but 6-feet under. (Non-device user, Black woman)

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- Resnik, L, Allen, S., Isenstadt, D., Wasserman, M. & Iezzoni, L. (2009). Perspectives on Use of Mobility Aids in a Diverse Population of Seniors: Implications for Intervention. Disability and Health Journal, 2(2), 77-85.
- photograph by Andy Sweet via

Wednesday 3 May 2023

Awareness Raising Interventions: Normative vs Informational

In their study, Boring and Philippe (2021) tested the impact of two types of awareness-raising campaigns: one (informational) with information to generate bias awareness vs one (normative) without information. The experiment was conducted in a French university where students were sent two different emails during the evaluation period. In one email, students were asked to be careful not to discriminate against their female teachers when evaluating them. In the other email, information (from a study on gender bias in scores in previous years at that university pointing out that male students tended to be biased in favour of male teachers) was added to trigger bias consciousness. 

Results showed that, in contrast to the normative treatment, the informational treatment had a significant impact on reducing bias. In addition, the informational treatment seemed to have a spillover effect, i.e., an impact on both students who received the email and on those who did not receive the email: "Anecdotal evidence suggests that this email sparked conversations between students within campuses, de facto treating other students."
Difference-in-difference analyses by teacher gender indicate that the purely normative treatment had no significant impact on reducing biases in SET scores. However, the informational treatment significantly reduced the gender gap in SET scores, by increasing the scores of female teachers. Overall satisfaction scores for female teachers increased by about 0.30 points (between 0.08 and 0.52 for the confidence interval at 5%), which represents around 30% of a standard error. The informational treatment did not have a significant impact on the scores of male teachers. These results are confirmed by a triple-difference analysis, in which we include all campuses and teachers. In all robustness checks, the informational treatment remains significant: when we compare campuses separately, when we look at men and women separately within each campus, and when we use the year before the experiment as control. Each strategy rests on slightly different hypotheses, but results remain consistent.

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- Boring, A. & Philippe, A. (2021). Reducing discrimination in the field: Evidence from an awareness raising intervention targeting gender biases in student evaluations of teaching. Journal of Public Economics, 193, link 
- photograph (students at University of Hartford, 1970s) via

Tuesday 2 May 2023

A Proclamation on Older Americans Month, 2023

"On this 60th anniversary of Older Americans Month, we honor our Nation’s senior citizens, whose lifetimes of hard work, devotion to family, and commitment to community have laid the foundation for the country we are today. We have a rock-solid responsibility to ensure our Nation’s seniors can age with dignity and financial security.

When President John F. Kennedy issued the first proclamation recognizing older Americans, approximately a third of seniors lived in poverty, and close to half were without health insurance. Our Nation rallied together to confront this crisis, passing Medicare to deliver affordable, quality health care to our seniors; strengthening Social Security, the bedrock of American retirement; and ultimately raising so many seniors out of poverty. We extended lifespans and provided critical breathing room to Americans who had worked hard their whole lives. But there is still more work to do to ensure that no senior lies in bed at night wondering how they are going to pay for lifesaving drugs, put food on the table, or support their children and grandchildren. (...)

We must keep building on this progress. Older Americans should be able to live, work, and participate in their communities with dignity. That’s why I recently signed an Executive Order on Increasing Access to High-Quality Care and Supporting Caregivers. I call on the Congress to expand on the investments we have already made to help seniors receive care in their own homes and to support family caregivers — including aging caregivers — and the home care workers who perform selfless work every day. I also call on the Congress to expand access to nutrition counseling for seniors and others with Medicare coverage, to increase funding for nutrition services for older adults, and to pilot coverage of medically tailored meals in Medicare — actions that are also part of my Administration’s National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. We need to improve the quality and safety of nursing homes and protect vulnerable residents and the health care heroes who care for them. And we must keep pushing to end cancer as we know it and win the fight against other deadly diseases that deny us time with those we love most. 

Older Americans are the pillars of our community, and we owe it to them to value their wisdom, celebrate their contributions, and champion their well-being. To older Americans across this Nation, we will always support you. (...)"

Joe Biden

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photograph by Andy Sweet via