Race, Intersectionality, and the End of the World: The Problem with The Handmaid’s Tale

by Shannon Gibney and Lori Askeland

Hulu’s reboot of The Handmaid’s Tale opens with a car chase: the protagonist (Elisabeth Moss), who will later be called “Offred,” is racing with her husband Luke (O-T Fagbenle) and daughter Hannah (Jordana Blake) in their faded, old model Volvo through a frozen landscape, sirens of their invisible pursuers wailing.

The decision to introduce us to Offred as a member of an interracial family revealed an obvious break from the overwhelmingly white world of the novel and 1990 movie. Many reviewers construed that fact — and the powerful presence of Samira Wiley in the role of Offred’s badass lesbian friend, Moira — as undeniable evidence that the series would be more intersectional in its approach to feminist themes than the novel had been.  (“There’s intersectionality, too, with Moira, a lesbian, played by a black actress, Ms. Wiley,” was the breezy quip of the New York Times’ Katrina Onstad.) But sadly, bodies of color alone do not a liberatory racial narrative make. Indeed, a deeper look at the series shows the uncomplicated, and therefore, problematic effects of this “colorblind” casting.

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One-on-One with Into the Badlands’ Daniel Wu

AMC’s Into the Badlands is in their second season and are going strong with their viewership, storyline, and martial arts. Unlike other series that attempts the martial arts genre, Into the Badlands’ stellar moves can be attributed to executive producer, and star of the series, Daniel Wu.

The Nerds of Color got a chance to sit down and chat with the actor about the second season and what makes the show so appealing to audiences.

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Netflix is 3% Closer, but Still Fighting White Supremacy Saviors

At this point, it’s damn near impossible to keep up with the onslaught of Netflix original programming. Along with all of the film and series content, the tentacles of the entertainment Kraken inevitably started reaching out for more international collaborations. Around Thanksgiving we were treated to the Brazilian series 3%. In terms of originality, it doesn’t score high: another variation on the theme of a future world where young adults do what they have to do to survive.

It does have its points of deviation though from say The Hunger Games and Divergent with a touch of Elysium. Brazil has had a long and appalling history of income inequality, which I’m sure is where the idea of the tagline came from: “In a dystopian future there is a clear divide between the rich and poor, but when a person turns 20, they have the opportunity to cross the divide.” As implied, by free will all the candidates get to try to make it from the miserable mainland to the utopian island Mar Alto; that looks kind of like Recife to Fernando de Noronha on the map. The tests they undergo are less physical and more psychological until they are whittled down to the fabled 3%. The setting, albeit futuristic, feels closer to present as we undergo our own survival in the collapse.

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Butler, Dystopia, Propaganda, and a Way Through?

This is an excerpt from a book I started in 2008. I wanted to take a more academic approach to afrogeek and afrofuturist culture and cultural artifacts. I felt this section was important in the present, in light of our new political reality. The books is done, but I’m not sure how I feel about publishing an academic text in a time when we need information to be as clear as possible. Continue reading “Butler, Dystopia, Propaganda, and a Way Through?”

NOC Recaps Into the Badlands: Bloody Barons

After last week’s episode ramped up the stakes for our heroes, we headed into the first season finale with a lot of questions that needed answers. Who poisoned Jade? Will Quinn take advantage of M.K.’s gifts? Will Sunny turn on his young apprentice to secure passage on the River King’s ship? Did the Widow survive her duel with Sunny? Will Veil blame Sunny for the death of her parents? Will the show come back for a second season? And why are there only six episodes for the season?

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NOC Recaps Into the Badlands: The Butterfly Effect

Continuing our recap catch up, the penultimate episode of Into the Badlands was clearly the most interesting of the season. And that’s too bad because after this weekend’s season finale, we don’t know if AMC will be bringing the show back for a second one. We hope so since all the pieces are finally in place for an epic showdown between good, evil, and everything in between.

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NOC Recaps Into the Badlands: Warriors vs. Clippers

Last night’s Into the Badlands — clunkily titled “Two Tigers Subdue Dragons” and not to be confused with this — was tasked with propelling us into the end of the season. In addition to a promised Baron v Baron showdown, the episode was the first to effectively use an episode-ending cliffhanger to guarantee viewers will tune in for the final two entries of its debut season. But did it deliver?

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NOC Recaps Into the Badlands: Who Run the World? Girls!

The third episode of Into the Badlands — “White Stork Spreads Wings” — will be the last one to follow The Walking Dead since last night was the mid-season finale for everyone’s favorite zombie show. How Badlands will fare without its massive lead-in will be a question to be answered next week. If this episode is any indication, viewers should be coming back in full force even without a zombie pre-show.

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NOC Recaps Into the Badlands: #WheresWidow

For obvious reasons, we’ve been riding the Into the Badlands train from jump, and now that it’s here — and a huge hit — we couldn’t wait to add the show to the Recap rotation. We’ve been holding on to this one for a while too, since we got an early look at episode two a few months ago. As much as I dug the pilot, I always thought the second episode was where the series was going to take off with audiences. And if nerd twitter was any indication Sunday night, everyone else agreed.

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NOC Recaps Into the Badlands: The Time is Now

Originally posted at Angry Asian Man

As we near the end of 2015, one thing is for sure: it’s a great time to be an Asian American television consumer. For the first time in history, you’ll need two hands to count the number of major television programs to feature Asian American leads! On ABC alone, you have shows like Fresh of the Boat, Dr. Ken, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and Quantico.

This Sunday night, the biggest network of them all — AMC — throws its hat into the ring with Into the Badlands, a dystopian martial arts drama starring Daniel Wu. And I can safely say the show is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.

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