Sunday, February 02, 2014

How racist is Wikipedia?

It started innocently enough, as these things often do.  Betty's daughter had been flipping the channels and caught an episode of A Different World that Leslie Uggams guest starred on.  Who was this woman?

Betty explained that she was Leslie Uggams, a singer and actress.  Her daughter went to Wikipedia to learn more and found only disappointment.

"She only made one film," Betty's daughter announced, "Poor Pretty Eddie."

"Who?" asked a passing C.I.

Leslie Uggams.

"Oh, no, no, no," C.I. said in that dismissive tone she uses for what she and Ava dub Crapapedia.  "Leslie's film debut was Skyjacked and her first leading role was Black Girl which was directed by Ossie Davis."

Not seeing it in Leslie Uggams Wikipedia entry, Betty's daughter went to Ossie Davis.

"What year?" she asked C.I.

"Try 1972."

And on Ossie Davis' entry, it was there.

C.I. stepped over to the laptop to look at the Uggams' entry.

"This is such crap.  They don't even have Fantasy, the NBC daytime game show she hosted for one year and won a Daytime Emmy for..  In fact, they don't even note that she's an Emmy winner."

So we thought of other things, people and projects,  to look up.

A Martinez, Ava and C.I. suggested, noting he has had a long and steady career.

He got an entry.  But no "filmography."

IMDB notes the Latino actor who came to fame as Cruz on the soap opera Santa Barbara has 130 acting credits.  But Wikipedia doesn't think he rates a filmography.

Chris Calloway?

She doesn't get an entry but is briefly mentioned in the entry for her father (jazz great Cab Calloway).  She debuted singing on The Ed Sullivan Show with her father, she was a singer for the Lionel Hampton Orchestra, she also sang for many years with her father's Hi-De-Ho Orchestra, her Broadway debut was in Hello Dolly, she performed in the touring company of Eubie, she was back on Broadway with a revival of The Pajama Game, she played Ivey Goodling on the soap opera The Doctors and she played Billie Holiday in the touring company (US and in Europe) of Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill, she performed regularly in cabaret, was one of the first African-American dee jays in Los Angeles . . .  When you consider how many White males seem to have to do little besides sprout their first pube in order to get an entry on Wikipedia, the fact that Chris Calloway doesn't even rate an entry is alarming.

Get Christy Love was the next suggestion.  Teresa Graves became the first African-American woman to be the star of a TV drama with ABC's Get Christy Love.  But the TV show doesn't even get an entry at Wikipedia.  They do have an entry for the 70 minute TV movie that launched the TV show the following season but they can't be bothered with doing an entry on what remains a historical TV program which aired 22 episodes.

Peter De Anda.


We typed it in and nothing.

C.I. said search Ellen Holly.

Ellen Holly is an actress most famous for playing Carla on One Life To Live.  Wikipedia explains:

When Holly began on One Life to Live in October 1968, her African-American heritage was not publicized as part of the storyline; her character, named Carla Benari, was a touring actress of apparently Italian American heritage. Carla and a Caucasian physician, Dr. Jim Craig, fell in love and became engaged. But she was falling for an African-American doctor. When the two kissed onscreen, it was reported that the switchboards at ABC were busy by fans who thought that the show had shown an African-American and Caucasian kissing. The fact that Carla was actually the African-American "Clara Grey" posing as Caucasian was revealed when Sadie Grey, played by Lillian Hayman, was identified as her mother. Sadie would eventually convince her daughter to embrace her heritage and tell the truth.

Do you follow that?

Probably not because Carla's mentioned and the White guy Jim Craig.  "But she was falling for an African-American doctor.  When the two kissed onscreen . . ."  The what what?


Dr. Price Trainor was who Carla kissed and he was played by Peter De Anda.  The kiss was notorious but they're not going to mention the name of the Black character or the actor who played him?

He's got movies and mini-series and TV guest spots (Police Woman, Beverly Hills 90210, Cannon, What's Happening Now!, etc.) to his name and he was part of the TV kiss that prompted  'racial outrage' but he's got no Wikipedia entry and when they write about the kiss on Ellen Holly's page, they don't even mention his name or his character's name?

Fernando Alvarado?

The Latino actor appeared in 17 US films, 8 of which were credited roles. A Medal for Benny, is a historic film with a story co-created by John Steinbeck.  Then there's Thrill of a Romance, a film Wikipedia has an entry for but fails to note him in the cast list -- despite noting 19 performers including seven of which who were billed after him in the actual credits of the film.  And as was often the case, he's the sole Latino in this Esther Williams film.

Adela Sequeyro?

No entry at Wikipedia.

From Columbia University Libraries' Women Film Pioneers Project:

Adela Sequeyro was born in the port city of Veracruz, Mexico, to Federico Sequeyro Arreola and Virginia Haro y Gutiérrez Zamora. The Mexican Revolution, which extended from 1910 to 1917, devastated the family fortune and compelled them to move to the town of Cuautitlán on the outskirts of Mexico City. Sequeyro studied at a French-English school in the capital and, at an unusually early age, began a career in cinema journalism in 1921.
The recent discovery (in the Agrasánchez Film Archives) of well-preserved 16mm copies of two films directed by Adela Sequeyro —Más allá de la muerte/Beyond Death (1935) and La mujer de nadie/Nobody’s Woman(1937)— sparked an overdue reevaluation of Sequeyro’s importance in the history of Mexican cinema. Before the discovery of these two films, Sequeyro was known primarily for her acting roles in Mexican silent film melodramas and as a journalist whose work appeared in many Mexico City newspapers and periodicals.

As C.I. and Ava continued to throw out titles and names, we saw that the "W" in Wikipedia really does stand for White and we agree that it has more than lived up to the nickname Ava and C.I. long ago gave it in the early days of this site: Crapapedia.

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