Where Are the People of Color in the New ‘Cinderella’ Movie?

Back in August, Cinderella on Broadway announced its first African-American lead to wear the glass slippers, Keke Palmer. Your standard reaction to the diverse casting was probably something like, “Oh, that’s nice,” or “It’s a little weird we’re still having ‘firsts’ like this in 2014,” but somewhere in another building, Cinderella’s movie casting director leapt from her chair, fingered through her filing cabinet, and studied their lineup like, “ah sh*t.” Disney released its official trailer for 2015’s reboot of the Cinderella and it has the diversity of a Klansmen meeting.

Introducing the classic fairy tale to a new generation of children, Disney tossed the memory of 1997 for a cast more homogeneous than identical twins. Hollywood made a Dorian Grey-style wager for Sony Pictures’ Annie: to be greenlit, and one day someone will find the Blu-Ray of Cinderella in an attic getting older and whiter. In fact, the only non-white person in the trailer is the same forgettable Black throwaway character from season 2 of Game of Thrones. The casting director, let’s call her Lucy Bevan, frantically fanned through piles of headshots for her token before Robb Stark walked in her office like “I know just the guy.” She thanked him graciously, and they hugged.

Surprisingly, after the addition of Xaro Xhoan Daxos, Cinderella actually includes some riveting characters of color, according to IMDB. The official cast reveals complex characters of color such as “Captain.” We can assume he is the captain of an army platoon, or maybe a boat. I can’t wait to see the dynamic struggles of “Palace Guard.” The characters “Ball Guest” and “Ball Dancers” are rumored to offer commentary on queer identities of ballroom dance in 17th century France. And who is likely to forget the nuanced portrayal of the character “Townsfolk”? A female character of color, Princess Mei Mei, even has a name and is speculated to speak in a complete sentence with a verb.

This isn’t an indictment on the soundness of the film — it might be very good — but I’m less than excited because I don’t care about films that show a world without my family in it. I dedicate my time to family movies that dedicated theirs to consider the messages they send to children, and include inclusiveness and beauty, because, yes, they’re that important.

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Read more from Lauren Bullock at blacknerdproblems.com

Even Tech Pioneer Ken Coleman Can’t Escape Racism’s Persistent Grasp

Ken Coleman still faces racism despite impressive achievements

Technology pioneer Ken Coleman has earned an MBA, worked in the technology space since the ’70s and has held several leadership roles at Silicon Graphics.

Despite such an impressive resume, Coleman knows none of that really matters when it comes to racial profiling by police and racial bias in the industry.

There is a common misconception that if African-Americans simply “pull themselves up by their bootstraps,” they can overcome racism completely.

Coleman knows that’s not true.

If anyone has worked hard and managed to reach incredible feats despite racism in America, it’s Coleman; but that hasn’t changed how others perceive him.

During an interview with USA Today, Coleman revealed that when he gets pulled over by police officers he is very well aware that to them he is just another Black man – and that puts him in a dangerous position.

“When I’m stopped, I want to say, ‘I’m not what you think, I’ve got an MBA, I live in Los Altos Hills, I own a home in Maui,’ ” Coleman said. “I want to say that because I know through experience that person might have an image of what I might be and view me as dangerous. And to not feel that way would be foolish.”

Some people may look at all the things Coleman has managed to accomplish and believe he serves as living proof that there is no real diversity issue or racial bias in the technology space.

Once again, Coleman knows that’s not the case.

While he certainly boasts an incredibly impressive resume, Coleman asked a very important question during his interview with USA Today.

“The real question is — what might I have done or been if I had been white?” he said while still holding a smile, according to USA Today.

The 69-year-old Silicon Valley veteran explained that there were many times he was passed up for opportunities that were given to his white counterparts who were less qualified for the position.

While the same white counterparts were being added to company boards, Coleman accepted numerous requests to join nonprofit boards that sought diversity.

From there, he “worked it hard to show people how [he] could be helpful as an adviser to a company.”

The unfortunate truth is that we will never know how just much more accomplished Coleman could have been had he been white in Silicon Valley.

Recent diversity reports released from major tech companies like Google, Yahoo and Apple revealed the stunning lack of diversity in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers.

Only 2 percent of many of the companies’ employees were African-American and those employees rarely held any leadership positions within the company.

“Diversity doesn’t happen naturally,” Coleman said. “Social systems, which a company is, want to reproduce themselves. If a founder went to Harvard, they’ll want to replicate that.”

The solution to the diversity issue, in Coleman’s eyes, is to look at things a little differently.

“I don’t think diversity should be a deficit model,” he explained to USA Today. “It’s an opportunity model. If I know something you don’t know about the marketplace because of my staff, I will beat you. And that’s something every company out there should be concerned about.”

Watch Coleman’s full discussion about the lack of diversity in the tech industry below: