Excerpts from: "Straight White Male" - The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is.
What is this anime with a black girl looking too nice!?
[Note: When J. Elliot refers to her being classed as one of ‘your people’ in relation to black people of color, it’s based on her reputation of being an outspoken, anti-racism ally].
ladymargo-deactivated20140523 said: Have you seen the trailer for the upcoming FOX series HIEROGLYPH? It takes place in ancient Egypt, with yet another inexplicable white guy at the center of things, in a period fantasy that takes place in Africa. This is rgw reason why white people insist that they are what ancient Egyptians looked like. This is the reason why this spaceis so very necessary.
Yeah, I’ve seen it. Considering some common responses to Ancient Egyptian art I’ve posted, that more or less aligns with the “white default” formula. The reason for “inexplicably white male lead” is pervasive racism in how media is produced. And this invariably affects how we view history, no matter how fantastical or “loosely based on” something that particular piece of media is.
The fact that there are any people of color on a TV show at all is often enough for people to describe it as “diverse”. Which only makes sense if your ideas of “diversity” align with, say, the co-screenwriter of the film “Noah”:
What we realized is that this story is functioning at the level of myth, and as a mythical story, the race of the individuals doesn’t matter. They’re supposed to be stand-ins for all people. Either you end up with a Bennetton ad or the crew of the Starship Enterprise.”
So, race “doesn’t matter” as long as everyone is white? But race “matters” one sentence later, when people of color ARE cast in a show or film, since “you end up with a Bennetton ad”, right? Because people of color can’t possibly be “a stand-in for all people” (which plays into the whole “eternal white male lead” thing). Because casting anyone other than white people is somehow irrelevant and controversial. Just, wow.
It seems like a pretty classic example of a phenomenon described here by bell hooks:
What does it mean that media has such control of our imaginations that they don’t want to accept that there are conscious manipulations taking place and that, in fact, we want to reserve particularly for the arena of movie making a certain sense of magic?
And it’s not about magical thinking, it’s not about like
pure imagination, creativity, it’s about people consciously knowing what kinds of images will produce a certain kind of impact.
Nobody wants to lay claim to consciously constructing these images that perpetuate white supremacy, racism, etc. And the ironic thing is that I can sit in classrooms in universities where my students don’t want to accept that someone consciously creates that representation.
It’s interesting how we only seem to hear that “race doesn’t matter” from the makers of million-dollar media when they’re defending the questionable casting of white actors and actresses, and not to address the overtly racist backlash against casting, say, Idris Elba in Thor, Quevenzhané Wallis in Annie, Amandla Stenberg and Lenny Kravitz in The Hunger Games, Porthos in the Three Musketeers, Angel Coulby in Merlin, Sinqua Walls in Once Upon a Time, and I could really go on.
Race seems to matter a lot when (specifically) Black actors play any role that isn’t some kind of stereotype.
^ All of that exists in this context:
And in the end, due to these casting practices and attitudes conveyed by the creators of “Historical” films and other media, people in the United States believe that everyone in “History” was white, which is basically why this blog exists.
Because for better or worse, a picture seems to be worth a thousand words.