Thumbs Up

Thumbs Up

Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund for providing a full ride to Alan Newton, who was recently freed after serving a 22-year prison sentence for a crime he did not commit.

Newton was 23 years old when he was given a 40-year sentence for the rape, robbery and assault of a young woman in New York City. Thanks to the Innocence Project at the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law, Newton was exonerated in July after DNA testing proved his innocence.

While in prison, Newton enrolled in college and is now only five courses away from completing his bachelor’s in business administration. He will attend Medgar Evers College. Newton has said he’s not angry because “if you stay angry, you can’t grow.”

Says Dwayne Ashley, president and CEO of the Fund: “We’re so impressed with his leadership and his tenacity and commitment to put his life back together and to overcoming this injustice. We’re going to be hearing good things from him.”

The TMSF offers financial assistance to students attending the nation’s 47 public historically Black colleges and universities.

Thumbs Down

Diversity on television — good. Segregating teams by race for the sake of competition — not so good.

In what CBS producers are calling a “race against races,” “Survivor: Cook Island,” will host four teams —  Asian, Black, Hispanic and White, in efforts to “bring more ethnic diversity to the competition.”
Everyone else, though, is saying that the show is exploiting racial tensions for ratings.

“If they shoot the show in a way that blows the roof off of stereotypes, that would be one thing,” says Leigh Hallisey, a professor of television and film at Boston University. “But TV is very conservative. They play into type and when they do so, it’s to stratify people, not bring them together.”

“Cook Island” sounds like a fine opportunity to reinforce stereotypes and highlight differences — although we expect only tame references with few surprises — after all, this is Hollywood. The new season debuted Sept. 14.



© Copyright 2005 by DiverseEducation.com