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Kristen Bell Responds After Critics Accuse Her of Teaching “Color Blindness” in Children’s Book

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  • Kristin Bell co-wrote a children’s book titled, “The World Needs More Purple People,” which is about a “purple person” who “looks at similarities before differences.”
  • She hopes teaching children to do this will allow them to be open-minded when hearing other people’s differences or connecting with people they thought were different. 
  • Critics say it teaches color blindness, which ignores people’s history, culture, and personal experiences.
  • Bell responded by saying the book was not intended to be a tool to teach kids about race but was meant to help kids see past political divisiveness.

Kristen Bell’s Book 

Kristen Bell is facing a slew of backlash online for co-writing a children’s book that many feel promotes color blindness rather than recognizing people’s different races and ethnicities. 

The book causing all the outrage is titled, “The World Needs More Purple People,” which she co-wrote with Benjamin Hart. In a recent interview with AP Entertainment, Bell explained her thought process behind the project.

“Adults love debate, I do, and debate talks about differences. It’s layering difference upon difference upon difference, ‘I think this’, ‘no, you should think this’, it’s just constantly pointing out divisive narratives,” she said.

“Our kids are absorbing all of that and maybe we needed a bit of a road map to show them that it’s actually great to start with similarities first.”

She went on to explain this idea that if people can find a connection to each other first, they can better hear each other out on their differences. So for this book, she created a “purple person” who “looks for similarities before differences.” 

“Hopefully that will allow kids to have a little bit more of a social identity and be able to see similarities and through that have their mind opened by some people who they thought were different.”

Responses 

While Bell may have had good intentions about unity and understanding, she faced a lot of backlash from those who argued that this wasn’t the best way to teach kids about race. 

In general, people felt this was essentially promoting an “I don’t see color” message, which ignores people’s history, culture, and personal life experiences. On top of that, many felt this was already an outdated education strategy that people have warned against. 

One user said, “Purple people don’t exist. They aren’t oppressed and actual BIPOC aren’t asking for white people to find the similarities with them in order to be humanized. Also BIPOC don’t get to dance around the topic of race to their own kids.”

And another user gave a personal experience, saying, “As a brown kid who grew up in an all white community, I remember trying to fit so that I could feel more similar to the white kids around me. It made me shrink myself. When we tell poc kids to look for similarities it makes them think their differences are wrong.”

That same user was also frustrated by the fact that Bell equated “differences” with “divisive narratives,” calling that gaslighting. 

Fans Defend Bell

This is not the first time Bell has come under fire for trying to address racism in America. Last week, she also faced criticism for participating in the #ITakeResponsibily campaign video. That movement calls on white people to stand up for the black community through education and action, but some found the style of the PSA disingenuous since it featured trained actors passionately reading a scripted message. 

That PSA was even spoofed by the white actors from the Netflix series “Dear White People,” who filmed a similar black and white video with slow piano playing in the background.

But even with all this recent backlash, many have defended Bell for at least trying to use her platform for good, pointing to how vocal she’s been about racism on social media. 

She’s been similarly vocal on television. When appearing on CBS to talk about her book Friday, she continued to call on white people to not let these conversations about race fade away. “It has to be stated it does not fade away for Black Americans. This is the reason why white Americans need to choose to keep it at the forefront of their mind.”

So with all this in mind, fans noted that she may have missed the mark, but is clearly trying to educate herself and be a good ally. 

At the same time, however, people argued that she doesn’t seem to understand the subject she’s trying to tackle, calling at an example of how good intentions can cause harm.

Bell Responds

After seeing the backlash, Bell took to Twitter Sunday night and Monday morning to respond to several people who were confused about the book, saying, “Its being looked at like [a] book intended to teach kids abt race, which its not at all,&I am also not qualified to teach on. Its a book abt kids finding things in common, being inclusive, being kind,&being uniquely themselves.”

In other replies, she said she wrote the book two years ago to help kids see past political divisiveness and apologized if her words were confusing. “I think through the lense of today my sameness was interpreted as colorblindness, which I do not believe in or condone,” she said.

When asked if she consulted with any black people about the book, she said, “random house participates in ‘authenticity reads; as part of the editorial process. Those readers were asked to evaluate with an eye toward inclusion and to help us recognize any blind spots.”

Ultimately, she said her book is about standing up for what you believe is right and she’s been actively trying to explain that message in conversations with people online.

Bell’s book is already on sale, however, she also uploaded a free read-along version to YouTube in partnership with PBS kids.

See what others are saying: (Complex) (The Independent) (Vulture)

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Lil Nas X Starts Bail Project Fund After Releasing Prison-Set Video for “Industry Baby”

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The singer said he is working to address “the disproportionate impact that cash bail has on the black community.


Lil Nas X Starts Bail X Fund

Following the release of his latest single “Industry Baby,” Lil Nas X launched a partnership with The Bail Project that aims to cover bail funds for people across the country. 

The music video for the song took place in the fictional “Montero State Prison,” a reference to the title of his upcoming album and the singer’s real name. While Lil Nas X spent much of his time online promoting the video with memes, he put a pause on the jokes Saturday to announce the Bail X Fund and bring attention to issues regarding incarceration in the United States. 

“On a serious note, I know the pain that incarceration brings to a family,” Lil Nas X tweeted. “And the disproportionate impact that cash bail has on the black community. That’s why I teamed up with @bailproject to create the Bail X Fund.”

The Bail Project aims to eliminate cash bail in the U.S.  It has posted over $47 million in free bail for over 17,000 low-income people across the country. It also provides post-release support and services to those who need them.

“Music is the way I fight for liberation. It’s my act of resistance,” Lil Nas X wrote in a statement on the fund’s website. “But I also know that true freedom requires real change in how the criminal justice system works. Starting with cash bail.”

The Fight to End Cash Bail

According to the Prison Policy Initiative, like many issues within the criminal justice system, cash bail disproportionately harms Black Americans. The group claims that Black and brown defendants are somewhere between 10% to 25% “more likely than white defendants to be detained pretrial or to have to pay money bail.” It also argues that Black men are 50% more likely to be detained pretrial than white defendants, and says Black and brown defendants generally “receive bail amounts that are twice as high as bail set for white defendants – and they are less likely to be able to afford it.”

Lil Nas X said he is “doing something” to address these issues and invited his fans to join him. He hopes that his efforts will encourage other artists to use their platforms to likewise speak about these injustices.

“Ending cash bail is one of the most important civil rights issues of our time,” he wrote. “Donate what you can to the Bail X Fund. Let’s bring people home & let’s fight for freedom and equality.”

A donation tab was attached to the song’s music video, where it says nearly $44,000 has been raised for the Bail X Fund. The video has blown up on YouTube, racking up over 31 million views. It remains the number one trending video in music as of Monday morning. 

The song has likewise found success on Spotify, where it debuted at number two and eventually reached the number one spot.

See what others are saying: (Billboard) (NBC News) (A.V. Club)

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Fire at Home Reportedly Owned by Beyoncé and Jay-Z Under Arson Investigation

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Officials said there were no injuries or evacuations during the fire, which was put out in around two hours.


Fire Breaks Out at Famed Couple’s Reported Residence

A Wednesday fire at a historic home in New Orleans, Louisiana believed to be owned by music titans Beyoncé and Jay-Z is being investigated as a possible arson. 

On Thursday, a New Orleans Police Department spokesperson confirmed to multiple outlets that it had received a tip about a suspicious person in the area. Further details about the suspicious person and the cause of the fire have not been revealed.

Neighbors told local media that there is an unlocked gate on the property that outsiders sometimes use to gain entry.

Officials told The New York Post that it took 22 firefighters over two hours to extinguish the blaze, with no reported injuries or evacuations. The extent of the damage currently remains unclear, but a spokesperson told The Post that given the age of the residence, the situation could have been far more severe. 

“If [the firefighters] didn’t get there when they did, it could have been much worse,” the spokesperson said. “It’s a historic home.”

About the Home

The building was first built in the Garden District neighborhood of the city in the 1920s as a church. It was later used as a ballet school and then became a high-end residence in 2000. Realtor.com says it is currently valued at $3 million.

The home was purchased in 2015 by Sugarcane Parkin LLC. According to The Washington Post, this company has the same registered address as other entities owned by Beyoncé. Sugarcane Parkin is also allegedly managed by Beyoncé’s mother, Celestine Lawson, better known as Tina Knowles.

Representatives for the “Lemonade” singer and her husband have not issued any public statements about the incident, nor have they confirmed that the home is owned by the couple. 

In March of this year, storage units in Los Angeles belonging to Beyonce were burglarized. According to TMZ, over a million dollars of goods were stolen, including expensive dresses and handbags.

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The New York Post) (NOLA)

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Cleveland’s Baseball Team Changes Name From Indians to Guardians

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The move marks the team’s first name change since 1915, and it comes after decades of criticism from Native Americans. 


Name Change Announced

Cleveland’s Major League Baseball team said Friday that it will change its name after the 2021 season from the Indians to the Guardians.

The team announced the name change with a just over two-minute video narrated by actor Tom Hanks.

“You see, there’s always been a Cleveland — that’s the best part of our name,” Hanks says in the clip. “And now it’s time to unite as one family, one community, to build the next era for this team and this city.”

This marks the team’s first name change since 1915, and it comes after decades of criticism from Native Americans. 

Despite long-running calls to change racist and offensive team names — including the Washington Redskins — such campaigns did not gain significant momentum until the nationwide racial reckoning that followed the murder of George Floyd.

Why Guardians?

Officials behind the Cleveland team first pledged to change the name last year and previously removed the “Chief Wahoo” logo, a caricature of a Native American character, from its uniforms following the 2018 season.

It toyed with several options before ultimately landing on Guardians, which draws from Cleveland’s architectural history. 

“We are excited to usher in the next era of the deep history of baseball in Cleveland,” team owner and chairman Paul Dolan said in a news release. 

“Cleveland has and always will be the most important part of our identity. Therefore, we wanted a name that strongly represents the pride, resiliency and loyalty of Clevelanders.”

“‘Guardians’ reflects those attributes that define us while drawing on the iconic Guardians of Traffic just outside the ballpark on the Hope Memorial Bridge. It brings to life the pride Clevelanders take in our city and the way we fight together for all who choose to be part of the Cleveland baseball family. While ‘Indians’ will always be a part of our history, our new name will help unify our fans and city as we are all Cleveland Guardians.”

Guardians will be the fifth name in franchise history, joining Blues (1901), Bronchos (1902), Naps (1903-14), and Indians (1915-2021).

See what others are saying:(ESPN)(Axios) (Cleveland)

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