Daily Archives: May 22, 2008

Minorities Report

By Cynthia De Castro/Asianjournal.com

LOS ANGELES – America is a nation of immigrants. When you walk down the streets of Los Angeles or New York, for example, you see a mixture of Hispanics and Latinos, Asians, African-Americans, and Europeans blending in with the White Americans. Yet, our television screens do not reflect this mixture.

The millions of minorities that are so visible on our streets and in shopping malls, in our offices and health care centers, are quite invisible on TV. Most of the time, minorities are portrayed as the “bad guys”, or given secondary roles in poorly-paid professions, or “mere props” in the background.

The US organization, Children Now, came up with a 1998 study entitled A Different World: Children’s Perceptions of Race and Class in Media which supports this sad fact. Their research found that because of what they see on TV, children associate white characters with various attributes: having lots of money, being well educated, being a leader, doing well in school, and being intelligent. Conversely, they associate minority characters with breaking the law, having a hard time financially, being lazy, and acting goofy.

Commissioner Michael J. Copps from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) noted this poor representation of minorities in media. In a recent media interview  organized by the Filipino American Leadership Council (FALCON), and Mabuhay Alliance, Commissioner Copps admitted that the media does not reflect the significant contributions of other ethnic groups in society.

“The way to address this problem is to help the minorities own more media companies so that they will have a voice in how their race is being reflected,” Copps said.

Another FCC Commissioner, Jonathan Adelstein, said that you don’t see enough good role models of minorities portrayed in media. “Media must be obligated to reflect the many contributions of other ethnic races to American society. It must truly reflect what America is all about. But if only the whites control and own media, minorities lose a voice,” he said.

Copps and Adelstein said that they are not in favor of media consolidation – if most media companies will be owned by one same group. “This is the enemy of diversity,” they said.

The interview with the FCC Commissioners was organized by FALCON as a result of the media disparagement of Filipino health care professionals in the TV show, Desperate Housewives. FALCON is a coalition of major Filipino American professionals, humanitarians, businesses, and socio-civic organizations in the United States which serves as an advocacy group that works to safeguard, protect, and defend the constitutional rights, honor, image, integrity and general welfare and interests of Filipino Americans in the United States.

Back in 1993, the American Screen Actors Guild (SAG) began to collect statistics on the number of ethnic and minority actors appearing in American television and films. The results were grim. The face of North American entertainment was overwhelmingly white, mostly male and young. Members of visible and ethnic minorities were significantly under-represented across the whole range of entertainment media.

Critics and advocacy groups began to pressure the industry to produce shows and films that adequately reflect the racial and ethnic diversity we find in our communities and there have been significant gains.

In its 2000 report, SAG announced a seven per cent increase in industry jobs and record numbers of roles for performers of color, with African Americans accounting for 15 per cent of all characters in television and film.  However, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) pointed out that of the four major networks’ 26 new prime-time shows for the 2000 season, none featured people of color in lead roles. The NAACP’s 2000 survey of Hollywood and Beverly Hills screen writers found that only 7 per cent of the 839 respondents were members of minority groups

Another study in 2002 by UCLA concluded that “minorities are even more under-represented in key behind-the-scenes creative and decision-making positions than they are on the [television] screen.” Many analysts are concerned that the dearth of minority executives, producers, directors and screenwriters is fuelling the tendency to ignore or misrepresent ethnic groups.

FCC said there are incentives being given to minorities who want to own media companies like tax credits and such other programs to promote diversity.

“If more minorities own media companies, then we can have diversity,” Copps said.

“You can have more models of various ethnicities in front of the camera if the one who owns the camera is of another ethnic background too, “ said Adelstein.


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Healing Priest Blesses 14,000

by Rene Villaroman/Asianjournal.com

LOS ANGELES – Approximately 14,000 faithful attended Heal LA at the Los Angeles Sports Arena event last Saturday, May 17. It was the largest ever organized in the United States by “healing priest” Fr. Fernando Suarez.

The acclaimed healing priest had been to more than 40 countries with Fr. Jeff Shannon of the Mary, Mother of the Poor Foundation in Los Angeles, according to coordinator Frances Atienza. Fr. Fernando, as he is addressed by his volunteers, was in his element on Saturday at the multi-ethnic Mass, and during the healing session that followed. He strode to the front of the purpose-built stage that served as altar and addressed the cheering faithful.

“It is Trinity Sunday, and you are here because God loves you,” he began his homily. “God is the one who called you here today one by one. God gave us Jesus and this Jesus is the healer,” he said. “I’m not the healer. I am only God’s instrument. He is going to manifest his healing power and he is going to touch each and every one of you.”

“Are you ready to receive God’s healing? God is just waiting for that disposition. We are all God’s instrument,” Fr. Fernando said. “I am not the only healer here.” Then he thanked the more than 700 volunteers who worked to make the event a success.

Among those who attended were 56-year-old FilAm Teresita de la Cruz of  Norwalk, California, and Dana Beier and her 6-year-old daughter, Brooke, of Belleville, Ohio.

De la Cruz had been “healed” by Fr. Suarez in a healing Mass in San Pedro, California last year. She attended Saturday’s healing event because her cancer recurred, invading her brain this time. She was one of the first congregants to have her head touched by Fr. Fernando. De la Cruz was accompanied be her 26-year-old daughter, Janelle Hinahon, who is her caregiver.

Dana Beier took her daughter Brooke, 6, who suffers from scoliosis and who could not walk and talk. They had attended a healing event by Fr. Fernando in Ohio last year.

Alex Cuadra and his friend, David Tupaz, a couture fashion designer, arrived at the arena earlier than most attendees. They had brought hundreds of flowers that they arranged on the altar. Cuadra, who knows Fr. Suarez from past healing events in Southern California, was delighted that he had done is part.

The Mass and healing event was graced by celebrities including KTLA’s morning news anchor Cher Calvin,  actor-singer Cocoy Laurel, American Idol’s Jasmine Trias, and Tricia Magsino-Barnabe. Their performances were projected on two giant screens hanging on both sides of the stage. The super production went without a hitch, owing to the well-oiled organization that organizer Rosie Chua put into motion to shepherd the largest healing event ever put up for Fr. Fernando Suarez.

Also present were FilAm community’s who’s whos, including Consul General Mary Jo Aragon, civic leader Zeny Sabocor, Rosie Chua, David Tupaz, Doris Magsaysay and her son, Vics, Ted Benito and her mother, Johnny Pecayo of FAMEGATE Magazine; Dan Baltazar of the Press Photographers of the Philippines, and Carol Evangelista of the St. Denis Catholic Community in Diamond Bar, among others.

Owing to the success of this event, De la Vega predicts that another one would be organized sometime in December, probably in the San Diego area.


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