This photo of a Native American protestor in Standing Rock, North Dakota was shared on Twitter on November 4, 2016. The image shows a solitary protestor on horseback, facing a line of uniformed police officers and armored police and military vehicles. The photo was originally taken by photojournalist Ryan Redhawk as part of a crowd-funding site to support his work at Standing Rock. But it was not until the photo was tweeted by filmmaker Larry Wright that it became a viral phenomenon—retweeted tens of thousands of times.
This short documentary video introduces viewers to the leaders and controversy surrounding opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline (sometimes called DAPL). The video explores North Dakota’s oil boom, and the pipeline company’s decision to reroute the DAPL away from a predominantly white community and instead cross the Standing Rock Sioux lands. Tribal leaders and anti-DAPL activists explain how this pipeline construction will disturb ancestral burial grounds, and be an unfair imposition upon their lands—paralleling historical patterns where tribal lands have been taken or destroyed in pursuit of resources. They explain how the Sacred Stone Camp was established to oppose the pipeline construction, and how the North Dakota government and police have supported the oil company and allowed them to commit acts of violence and arrest peaceful protestors.
This 2015 video from Aisha Harris at online news, politics, and culture magazine Slate.com uses scenes from popular U.S. television shows to illustrate how people of color continue to be represented stereotypically and as peripheral minor characters in television shows because the roles and characters written for them are created by predominantly White writers. The video points out a range of stereotypical tropes such as the token minor or first to get killed off Black characters (such as T-Dog in The Walking Dead), or one-dimensional token Black, Latino, or Asian sidekicks (such as Winston in New Girl, or George from Law & Order: SVU), or servants (such as Rosario in Will & Grace, or Sum in Sex and the City) in contrast with complexly portrayed White characters in the same shows. There are also the exotic, sexy Latinas with a foreign accent (such as Gloria in Modern Family), or emasculated Asian male foreigners (such as Raj in The Big Bang Theory or Han in Two Broke Girls) who serve as the comedic relief because of their foreignness, which in turn makes the White characters look better and reinforces that they are what is “normal.” The video also connects these limited and damaging representations with how they affect viewers’ perceptions and behaviors in everyday life. At the end, the video creators argue that while some shows are now getting better at depicting people of color in leading roles (such as Grey’s Anatomy), it is because the writers and producers behind the show reflect diversity and include people who actually know what it’s like to live as a multi-dimensional person of color.
This 2015 video from Refinery29 explores a trend within the world of fashion to use Navajo and other Native American designs in products that are made by and marketed to non-Natives. It critiques the use of Native aesthetics by people who do not understand their meaning, even if they see themselves as honoring Native Americans. The video showcases the work of Navajo, or Diné, designers creating a combination of traditional and contemporary fashions and jewelry. It shows how these designers are collaborating to build a creative community. They use their work to resist and remix what they see as harmful appropriations of their culture, while emphasizing their right to represent themselves.