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Why The Standard Hollywood Narrative About Female Roles Is Bunk

So there's this thing called the Bechdel test for movies (a link to that is under the image below). What it does is rate movies based on qualifications.A movie passes the Bechdel test if:1) It has two or more female characters ...2) ... who talk to each other ...3) ... about something other than a man.And it fails the Bechdel test if:1) There are fewer than two women; 2) There are two or more women, but they don't talk to each other; or3) There are two or more women, but they only talk to each other about a man.Turns out, those passing the test had a combined $1.5 billion more in revenue than those that didn't. Hmmm...

Photo by Andre Hunter on Unsplash

Just a couple hundred years ago, in much of the United States, teaching African Americans to read and write was illegal. In the antebellum south, this was part of a strategy to maintain racist, unjust systems. There was good reason for white enslavers to see Black Americans' literacy as a threat. Inspirational abolitionist texts brought uprisings to the Caribbean, and deep biblical readings led Nat Turner to revolt in Virginia.

Slavery ended well over a century ago, so the slave codes that outlawed teaching African Americans to read should be relics of the past. However, as a woman of color and educator, I see that their spirit lives on today.

According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), fewer than one in five African-American 12th graders reach reading proficiency, and Black students fared far worse than all other racial and ethnic groups that NAEP tested. The percentage of white seniors "at or above proficiency" was nearly three times that of Black seniors. Despite the immensity of African-American teens' literacy crisis and its role in their oppression as adults, we're doing little to address it.


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