'Girls' Race Problem: Why Lena Dunham Isn't Out of the Woods in Season Two

The race problem on her show is not fixed by including a black character, or strategically placing a “random” black guest at a party.

I know, Lena, I know. Everyone was all up in arms over the fact that there were no black people on Girls last season (or more specifically, in the Brooklyn where the show’s four white main characters live), and now that you’ve written a black character into the show for season two, people are still complaining. You can’t win for losing. But here’s the thing—dealing with racial inclusion is not like wearing press-on nails. You can’t just put a black person in a scene, or in your vagina, and call it racial awareness.
To be sure, the shock factor of introducing the show’s first black character with a speaking part in a fairly graphic, if entirely unsexy, sex scene is in keeping with the general vibe of Girls. And we all know by now that Lena Dunham likes to be naked. But it struck me as not only contrived, but slightly offensive. With his dark dark skin and her alabaster flesh mashing together, and their overeager dirty talk, it seemed more like some cross between a pretentious student art project and a white-girls-do-black-bucks porn flick, rather than a fun and carefree sex scene. There is zero chemistry between Hannah and her new boyfriend, Sandy—not in the bedroom, and not when he’s chasing her around the coffee shop and tells her, “I love how weird you are,” although I’m open to this changing as his character is further developed.
As one among the many media writers who openly criticized the first season’s lack of racial inclusiveness, I did then also contend that what offended me the most was feeling like I could identify with the girls on the show but they couldn’t (or didn’t want to) identify with me. I felt left out and invisible, which in a day-to-day context, is largely what nonviolent, subtle and systemic racism feels like to a black person. With season two, that Dunham chose to respond to race-based criticism by casting a really good looking black guy as her boyfriend seems especially self-serving, and oddly dismissive of the fact that a good deal of the more pointed critical commentary came from black women who felt excluded. So, I still don’t see you, black women, but I do enjoy fucking your men?
Particularly in light of the continuous (and in my opinion, egregious) onslaught of studies that indicate over 70 percent of black women are currently single and are going to die that way—many of whom, if heterosexual, would prefer to marry a black man—it feels almost covetous. That said, I am quite certain this did not occur to Lena Dunham, which presents its own set of problems. And while I do admire Dunham’s balls-to-the-wall approach to creating the show, putting her work out there, taking great pleasure in her independence and agency as a woman, the race problem on her show is not fixed by including a black character, or strategically placing a “random” black guest at a party. It will be fixed by bringing in black writers, consultants, production assistants, asking lots of questions, and evolving the mindsets of both Hannah Horvath and Lena Dunham so that the worlds in which they live are more a matter of course than of calculation.
Image via Wikipedia\n

For more than 20 years. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has served the citizens of Maine in the U.S. Senate. For most of that time, she has enjoyed a hard-fought reputation as a moderate Republican who methodically builds bridges and consensus in an era of political polarization. To millions of political observers, she exemplified the best of post-partisan leadership, finding a "third way" through the static of ideological tribalism.

However, all of that has changed since the election of Donald Trump in 2016. Voters in Maine, particularly those who lean left, have run out of patience with Collins and her seeming refusal to stand up to Trump. That frustration peaked with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Keep Reading Show less
NHM Vienna/Hans Reschreiter

Wealth inequality has been a hot topic of discussion as of late, but it's something that's occurred all throughout history. Class structure is a complicated issue, especially when you consider that haves and have nots have been in existence for over 4,000 years.

A study published in Science took a look at over 100 late Neolithic and early Bronze Age skeletons found in a burial site in southern Germany. The study "shed light on the complexity of social status, inheritance rules, and mobility during the Bronze Age." Partly by looking at their teeth and the artifacts they were buried with, researchers were able to discover that wealth inequality existed almost 4,000 years ago. "Our results reveal that individual households lasting several generations consisted of a high-status core family and unrelated low-status individuals, a social organization accompanied by patrilocality and female exogamy, and the stability of this system over 700 years," the study said.

Keep Reading Show less
via / Flickr and Dimitri Rodriguez / Flickr

Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign looks to be getting a huge big shot in the arm after it's faced some difficulties over the past few weeks.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a leading voice in the Democratic parties progressive, Democratic Socialist wing, is expected to endorse Sanders' campaign at the "Bernie's Back" rally in Queens, New York this Saturday.

Fellow member of "the Squad," Ilhan Omar, endorsed him on Wednesday.

Keep Reading Show less

When former Pittsburgh Steelers' center Mike Webster committed suicide in 2002, his death began to raise awareness of the brain damage experienced by NFL football players. A 2017 study found that 99% of deceased NFL players had a degenerative brain disease known as CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy). Only one out of 111 former football players had no sign of CTE. It turns out, some of the risks of traumatic brain injury experienced by heavily padded adults playing at a professional level also exist for kids with developing brains playing at a recreational level. The dangers might not be as intense as what the adults go through, but it can have some major life-long consequences.

A new PSA put out by the Concussion Legacy Foundation raises awareness of the dangers of tackle football on developing brains, comparing it to smoking. "Tackle football is like smoking. The younger I start, the longer I am exposed to danger. You wouldn't let me smoke. When should I start tackling?" a child's voice can be heard saying in the PSA as a mother lights up a cigarette for her young son.

Keep Reading Show less
via ICE / Flickr

The Connors family, two coupes from the United Kingdom, one with a three-month old baby and the other with twin two-year-olds, were on vacation in Canada when the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) turned their holiday into a 12-plus day-long nightmare.

On October 3, the family was driving near the U.S.-Canada border in British Columbia when an animal veered into the road, forcing them to make an unexpected detour.

The family accidentally crossed into the United States where they were detained by ICE officials in what would become "the scariest experience of our lives," according to a complaint filed with the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security.

Keep Reading Show less