“John Wayne Day” would also be “Day Honoring a White Supremacist”

California lawmakers shot down a bill to make May 26 of 2016 official John Wayne day by citing various racial comments Wayne made during his life.

The bill was proposed by Assemblyman Matthew Harper of the Orange County district, the same district that houses the John Wayne Airport.

Other members of the California legislature were quick to point out some of Wayne’s more racist comments, like the time he defended America for stealing land from Native Americans because they were “selfishly keeping it to themselves,” or when he said he believed in white supremacy because blacks are “irresponsible people” but he’d consider giving them some rights if they were educated.

The bill was voted down 35-20 in the end, which Harper claims is the same as opposing things like apple pie and the Free Enterprise system. Just un-American. And it’s true that John Wayne represents a culture of America, but is it a culture that we want to be proud of?

Wayne was at his peak at the same time as the Civil Rights movement. He was a white man who played an American hero with other white people (unless he was shooting them, then they might have been a minority). You could try and argue that Wayne was a product of his time, but there were so many men and women who were fighting racial injustice at the same time that he was making blockbusters, so why not give the day to one of them?

Wayne was a talented and successful actor, but one who used his platform to further injustice and mistreatment. Let’s just be glad he wasn’t successful about that.   tumblr_o1hyb3lb6a1r5mbvpo1_400

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Even with the New Companion, Doctor Who is too White

The BBC has recently announced the newest cast member to replace Jenna Coleman on Doctor Who. Pearl Mackie, who is best known for appearing the stage version of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, will be joining Peter Capaldi for the tenth season that will air in 2017.

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Doctor Who has a loyal fan base that has being going strong since its premiere in 1963. Though Doctor Who may appear to have made significant strides in the representation of minorities in its cast, when it really boils down to it, it hasn’t come very far. William Hartell was the first Doctor of the series and his era held an all-white cast from the beginning. Now, this isn’t all that surprising for 1963, but what about the more modern Doctors?

Since the revamp of the Doctor Who series in 2005, we have seen significant strides in representation, for every character except the Doctor. Since 1963, only white men have played the main character of the story, even though it would be much more interesting and completely plausible when it comes to following the rules of the Doctor Who universe to have a person of color in the title role.

So why doesn’t this happen? Probably for the same reason that women on the show are treated as replaceable companions that are really just foils to show off the Doctor’s genius. That reason is current showrunner Steven Moffat.

Moffat has been cited numerous times for his sexism, but no one’s has ever looked into the possibility that he’s racist too. But why else would we still not see a person of color as the Doctor when fans have been asking for it for 11 years?

Mackie will surely add depth and interest to the show for season 10 and I can’t wait to see what she can bring to the table, but the show is over 50 years old and the old white guy solving everyone’s problems is getting old.

 

Embrace the Period

The New York state senate has passed a bill that will do away with the 4 percent tampon tax in 2017. The bill came into being after five women sued the state of New York for required a tax on tampons as “luxury” items. As many women around the world would note, tampons and sanitary pads are anything but a luxury. They’re a necessity.

Maryland and New Jersey are the only states in the country that do not tax tampons and sanitary pads by deeming them as a medical necessity. Though it varies from state to state, other items like prescription drugs, lip balm, adult diapers and dandruff shampoo are also considered necessary medical items and are not taxed. So what makes tampons different from these “necessities”? The fact that only women use them.

Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia has proposed a similar bill in California. Even in the considerably liberal state, Garcia is struggling to make ground with her proposal. She blames the stigma on periods and the reluctance for men in government to talk about the issue, even when it affects half of their constituents.

But the United States isn’t the only country dealing with the tampon tax. Women in Great Britain staged a tampon tax protest, and Canada only recently repealed their own tax after thousands signed an online petition.

An issue that should be a no brainer and an easy fix has become complicated by the reputation of periods and, as a result, of women as well. We’re told not to talk about our periods, to hide our tampons deep in the furrows of our purse, to be ashamed if it’s mentioned in public. To fix issues like this, we first have to fix our attitudes. Periods are natural and affect half the population, and shouldn’t be a taboo topic.