Monday, June 14, 2010

Race and Contemporary Hollywood Part 02

Wow...I was actually supposed to post this a long time ago. I guess I could blame my old laptop, a lack of free time, or whatever, but those are poor excuses so I'll just apologize. Sorry for the long wait, those of you who were waiting that is. Now, without further ado, onto Race and Contemporary Hollywood Part 02!

Now, when I last left off I was discussing a myriad of things, but I'd like to address one issue in particular that I merely glossed over. That issue is the continued pigeon holing of POC in what are considered major films. Here's a quick test for you, how many "major motion pictures" can you think of, off the top of your head, that featured a POC who was not portrayed in a stereotypical manner that, I assume, most white people within the audience are meant to feel comfortable with? Do you have a number in your head? Good. Now, take those films and ask yourself how many times, if any, a POC was the lead or a major character and did not die; get reduced to a secondary character; or did not abruptly start playing into a "Hollywood Standard" stereotype? Do you have another number? Good. Now, if that number is less than 10 films, I want to know if that's a problem for you.

Personally, off the top of my head, I can't think of one "major motion picture" that didn't screw up in one of the ways listed above.

-Aside- Also, has anyone else noticed how Eastern Europeans tend to be depicted in major films? I don't think I can think of many, if any, positive depictions of Eastern Europeans off the top of my head, which is also disconcerting.-End Aside-

And thus I, at least, have a problem because, despite what many may claim, I've seen far too many movies, recently, depicting that good old favorite form of white American entertainment. That's right, that age old form of buffoonery exceeding the antics of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck; comedy so vulgar, offensive, and jarring that you'd have to be, quoting Green Day, an American Idiot to enjoy it; comedy that makes every intelligent POC want to boycott Hollywood until the end of time. That's right my friends I'm talking about: Cooning! (Here's a link for those of you who don't know, and perhaps blessedly so, what cooning is - *It's the fourth definition under the Verb header*)

Now I know what some of you might be thinking. "Well X I don't remember seeing much blatant cooning lately!" To those of you who are thinking this, or thoughts that closely mirror it, I would have to kindly ask for you to view these links: (not two of the best links admittedly, but what were you expecting for a movie that was just released?) (once again, not the best link (someone actually thought this scene was funny enough to add ridiculous music?), but I'm working with what I've got right now. Also, from what I've heard, this scene NEVER existed in the book, so that begs the question-Was it neccesary!?)

And I could go on and on, but I think you get the point. And these are just the depictions of African Americans! I could do a whole series of posts on this kind of deprecating humor and how it affects Africans (because we all know that the peoples of Africa are just one big hegemonic group with no individual states, cultures, or identities. Or at least that's what Hollywood would have you believe) and other POC.

Anyway, I think that's it for right now. If I keep going I'm likely to start foaming at the mouth and spewing green fluid out of my eyes, and I've already had to clean up that mess once today. I'm not sure what my next post will be on (maybe something on the music industry, or Hollywood's troubled history with women *especially WOC*, but I'm not sure yet; however, I am open to suggestions), but it won't be on this, at least not for right now...I have to wait for the boiling blood and deeply embedded snarl to recede from my face otherwise it might get stuck like this.


  1. I couldn't open youtube links so I have no idea what the examples were, but I can imagine they were pretty disrespectful to say the least.

    I don't think I can remember any decent POC characters in mainstream productions. Now, I admit, I don't watch TV, but when it comes to movies... No, I'm still not sure. Even if a character is supposed to be a positive one, there's always a significant othering and/or exotization of a character. He or she is rarely a true lead. It's just a token, either made into an offensive stereotype, or painfully boring. And what's up with the deaths? Why does POC characters have to die (as soon as possible)? Why do they do that?

    It's all down, of course, to the old belief that all (insert group) are the same, and all of them, cute and sympathetic or not, are not as good as white people (unless they are Magical Negroes, which is disrespectful on itself).

    PS-Thank you for the aside note. I rarely mention this, because it's not the same as offensive portrayal of POC, but I am glad someone noticed. Eastern Europeans are reduced to terrorists, gangsters, prostitutes or "sympathetic" but stupid foreigners.

  2. Concerning the videos...

    *cue fountain of vomit*

  3. @Ankhesen: I've actually come across worse recently, but yeah...