One of the ongoing projects at racebending.com is interviewing experts in various academic and professional fields about Hollywood’s discriminatory casting practices and the impact these practices have on our society. We hope that their perspectives can shed some light on why we believe fighting this form of discrimination is important.
The experts we’ve interviewed include a cultural anthropologist, a law professor who specializes in entertainment law and anti-discrimination law, and developmental psychologists. They’re also teachers at prominent universities. In the future, we hope to interview more professors and also, hopefully, industry professionals. The staff of racebending.com always learns something new during the interview–the interviewees bring to the table a wealth of knowledge and experience. We hope you enjoy reading these interviews, and learn something new and fascinating, too!
The opinions espoused by the interviewees represent their viewpoints alone, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff of racebending.com
Professor Russell K. Robinson, UCLA – A law professor at UCLA who specializes in–among other things–media, entertainment, and anti-discrimination law, Robinson’s 2006 paper, Casting and Caste-Ing: Reconciling Artistic Freedom and Antidiscrimination Norms, kicked up some dust in Hollywood trade magazines when it suggested that minority actors may have legal grounds to sue studios over their casting policies. Racebending.com staffers Dariane N. and Marissa L. interviewed him about the legality of “racebending,” why it happens, and how we can fight to stop it.
Professor Rebecca Bigler, University of Texas at Austin – As the Director of the Gender and Racial Attitudes Lab, at the University of Texas at Austin, Professor Bigler has written several famous studies on how young children view race, and how attitudes and beliefs towards race and gender may be formed. Marissa L. from racebending.com conducted a phone and email interview with Professor Bigler about her research, the casting of The Last Airbender, children, media, and the formation of racial attitudes, and how society deals with race issues in general.
Professor Michael D. Baran, Harvard University- An expert on anthropological and psychological theories of how children learn about race, Dr. Baran is a Harvard professor and also the director and founder of Cambridge Diversity Consulting, which provides diversity training to businesses, schools, and government organizations. Racebending.com collected questions from readers and submitted them to Professor Baran via e-mail.