[Discussion] On Television, Cinema and Race

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Thread for race issues in media.

Birth Of a Nation
This movie isn't do so good. I think this is because black people are tired of slave type movies, white people don't want the white guilt, and everybody else is turned off by the rape case. I mean this in general. This is just a perfect storm for the downfall of the movie.

Surviving Compton
Straight out of compton left out the ladies. This lifetime show means to correct that. I believe all of the production was done by women.

Mulan live.
All Chinese cast. Maybe the dumb choices of Gods of Egypt are over.

When I first saw the Trailer for Mr. Church I dismissed it as yet another Magical Negro movie.. and lo and behold its by the same guy that did Driving Ms. Daisy another Magical Negro trope movie.

https://blackgirlnerds.com/mr-church...

Hollywood can't seem to get past putting black actors into their familiar buckets.. my guess is less a problem in Hollywood and more a problem with society at large. Just like my Facebook feed has been filled with the story of Delta Airlines rejecting assistance from black women doctors because they can't accept that a black person let alone a woman could be a doctor, America can't get their head wrapped around the concept of black actors portraying anything but what they are comfortable seeing.

Can we include stage performances as well? I need somewhere to mention that this ish happened:

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/v7LpBe4.jpg)

I honestly didn't notice she was Asian at first. All you need to be Ariel is red hair, a shell bra, and some fins.

sometimesdee wrote:

Can we include stage performances as well? I need somewhere to mention that this ish happened:

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/v7LpBe4.jpg)

I honestly didn't notice she was Asian at first. All you need to be Ariel is red hair, a shell bra, and some fins.

The last response make me think of how to work the following line into the song, but my skills aren't up to it:
Under the sea
there's no ethnicity

sometimesdee wrote:

Can we include stage performances as well? I need somewhere to mention that this ish happened:

IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/v7LpBe4.jpg)

I honestly didn't notice she was Asian at first. All you need to be Ariel is red hair, a shell bra, and some fins.

Especially since mermaids are completely fictional, and The Little Mermaid not set in a strong historical context that would suggest any specific demographics.

Like, if it were a stage production of Mulan, I'd probably have the expectation of Asian actors being cast, and would find it off-putting with a white person as Mulan. Or for a white counterpart, Brave and its Gaelic setting is pretty central to the story, and a person of color as Merida maybe wouldn't be the most natural feeling fit. Not that you can't take these stories and intentionally flip those expectations on their head, but if someone were complaining, I'd at least have some understanding of where their expectation comes from and why they feel thrown off by having those expectations run counter to.

But with The Little Mermaid, that doesn't even register. It's a made-up underwater kingdom that sits beneath a generic kingdom above ground.

Another branch of the media: photography

Film was actually created based on a white woman
. It wasn't until people selling brown furniture started complaining that they calibrated it for a variety of colors.

sometimesdee wrote:

Another branch of the media: photography

Film was actually created based on a white woman
. It wasn't until people selling brown furniture started complaining that they calibrated it for a variety of colors.

Funny you should mention this.

Back in the 90's I was doing a lot of film photography and decided I needed some formal training in order to take my art to a level with which I could be satisfied. I started taking classes with one of GHWB's official photographers and the insight into the physics of light and the mechanics of film was pretty illuminating.

One of the things he mentioned was that the degrees of lattitude in film (and in digital btw) make it impossible to properly expose both edges of the extremes. I learned this in a hurry when I tried to shoot a friend's wedding where he and his groomsmen were all wearing white tuxes (he and they were very dark skinned African Americans) and the spot meter revealed I was going to have to give something away. Sure enough, when the proofs came back, I was stuck with either way underexposed faces or blindingly luminescent tuxes.

Ever since then, I have made the suggestion (and have often gotten criticism) that grey tuxes turn out a lot better in the pictures.

Grey is "dirty", white is "pure". Funny how ingrained that is in our culture...

The new Star Trek series will have a black female captain. The actress from The Walking Dead will be playing her. I'm sure the internet will be calm and rational and not spew racist comments about this.

Oh this probably means The Walking Dead will be killing off a black actor. I don't see how she can do both shows. hmmm I guess she could just leave the group for parts unknown.

I would say that Gina Torres would make a perfect captain, but viewer would not let her be anyone but Zoe.

Baron Of Hell wrote:

The new Star Trek series will have a black female captain. The actress from The Walking Dead will be playing her. I'm sure the internet will be calm and rational and not spew racist comments about this.

Oh this probably means The Walking Dead will be killing off a black actor. I don't see how she can do both shows. hmmm I guess she could just leave the group for parts unknown.

I thought she was the lead, but the show was focusing on a Lieutenant, not the captain? Last I heard she would be on both shows for a while.

Certis wrote:
Baron Of Hell wrote:

The new Star Trek series will have a black female captain. The actress from The Walking Dead will be playing her. I'm sure the internet will be calm and rational and not spew racist comments about this.

Oh this probably means The Walking Dead will be killing off a black actor. I don't see how she can do both shows. hmmm I guess she could just leave the group for parts unknown.

I thought she was the lead, but the show was focusing on a Lieutenant, not the captain? Last I heard she would be on both shows for a while.

Yup

Sonequa Martin-Green, who plays Sasha Williams on AMC’s "The Walking Dead," is joining Starfleet as Lt. Cmdr. Rainsford on the upcoming CBS All Access series "Star Trek: Discovery."

Rainsford had been touted by the project’s original show runner, Bryan Fuller, as the central character of the show, and casting a female, nonwhite actress was a priority.

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment...

The other commander-centric Trek was pretty good IMO.

Baron Of Hell wrote:

The new Star Trek series will have a black female captain. The actress from The Walking Dead will be playing her. I'm sure the internet will be calm and rational and not spew racist comments about this.

Why would they? Member Deep Space 9? This is not new ground for ST.
My main concern about Discovery is how are they going to make a compelling show by focusing on a Lt. instead of someone in charge of all the important and meaningful decisions.
More generally speaking, I'm against affirmative action/quota hires, just get the best person for the job (which in turn is what the story calls for), the rest doesn't matter.

liquid wrote:
Baron Of Hell wrote:

The new Star Trek series will have a black female captain. The actress from The Walking Dead will be playing her. I'm sure the internet will be calm and rational and not spew racist comments about this.

Why would they? Member Deep Space 9? This is not new ground for ST.
My main concern about Discovery is how are they going to make a compelling show by focusing on a Lt. instead of someone in charge of all the important and meaningful decisions.
More generally speaking, I'm against affirmative action/quota hires, just get the best person for the job (which in turn is what the story calls for), the rest doesn't matter.

Pretty much impossible to divorce your last sentence given the context of your post. Do you feel this was an affirmative action hiring?

By all accounts she's a fine actor, I don't think I've seen any news stories indicating they're on a quota. Have you?

I actually first heard of this on a forum where a lot of the posts were racists losing their minds over a black female captain. No one pointed out that she was a Lt Commander but I don't think that matters since she is still the lead of the show.

As for DS9, it came out when the internet was still young. If it came out today there would be people claiming it was some PC action or reverse racism.

liquid wrote:
Baron Of Hell wrote:

The new Star Trek series will have a black female captain. The actress from The Walking Dead will be playing her. I'm sure the internet will be calm and rational and not spew racist comments about this.

Why would they? Member Deep Space 9? This is not new ground for ST.
My main concern about Discovery is how are they going to make a compelling show by focusing on a Lt. instead of someone in charge of all the important and meaningful decisions.
More generally speaking, I'm against affirmative action/quota hires, just get the best person for the job (which in turn is what the story calls for), the rest doesn't matter.

Did you miss the comments when other PoC were dared cast in roles that the internet deemed "unworthy" for all sorts of bullsh*t reasons that ended up being racism?

Baron Of Hell wrote:

I actually first heard of this on a forum where a lot of the posts were racists losing their minds over a black female captain.

Where was that? I haven't seen much of a negative response at all.

The Star Trek series has always striven to be racially diverse. I can't imagine a Trek fan being upset by a PoC in a primary role given the trail blazed by their predecessors.

Certis wrote:

Pretty much impossible to divorce your last sentence given the context of your post. Do you feel this was an affirmative action hiring?
By all accounts she's a fine actor, I don't think I've seen any news stories indicating they're on a quota. Have you?

Oh, no, that wasn't my intention at all, I was just surprised he would say that in the context of Star Trek.

No, I don't feel she's such a hire and from what I've seen from her she's a very and talented actress (even though TWD puts me to sleep nowadays). What I mean is that in general I don't like diversity for diversity's sake in terms of the hiring. This can only hurt or at best not improve anything.
I think a lot better and more natural way to approach diversity is to start at the writing stage where you can craft genuine narratives and characters so when you start hiring people you only care about getting the most talented person who fits the role.

@TheGameguru, we're not talking about changing race or gender or w/e of existing/established characters here.

Trophy Husband wrote:

I can't imagine a Trek fan being upset by a PoC in a primary role given the trail blazed by their predecessors.

Correct. But don't you dare mess with the established canon unless you want to fear for your life

liquid wrote:

I think a lot better and more natural way to approach diversity is to start at the writing stage where you can craft genuine narratives and characters so when you start hiring people you only care about getting the most talented person who fits the role.

It's weird how the more natural way of doing things has resulted in a disproportionate number of roles for white people. I guess being white just confers more talent.

Disproportionate to what? Certainly not by %age of population (well, maybe hispanics are technically under represented). In a free society you will never get a 50-50% of almost anything and especially in one as diverse as the US one, must there be a 50-50-50-50 split between all races and ethnicity?
What about representation of white actors in India or China then, they surely need a boost by that logic, right? Not all imbalances are bad or are caused by prejudice.

I would guess that from an entire population, a small percentage of people chose arts as their career path, and a part from that go into writing/acting/directing/etc, some chose other disciplines. Now if you break it down by each race, that would lower this amount significantly. It's not that white people are more talented, but the pool of people is much larger so in a predominantly white population you get more white people and in other countries you get whatever the population there is. That to me seems a lot more plausible.

I'm confused are you arguing that there is an acceptable and representative % of PoC roles in US media?

I mean do I have to link the YouTube of all the spoken lines of PoC in the entire Harry Potter series?

I think you might be on the side of acceptable representative %ages(well, Hyetal at the very least seemed to suggest there is under representation and I argued that this is not entirely the case ), not me.
I'm curious, since you seem to notice a problem and one that you think is based in prejudice. Tell me, what is the ideal situation according to you and how do you see the current one? It would be helpful to know each other's starting position.

I'm not arguing for a 50% split, I'm arguing for roles being given to people who fit the part. In an industry where movies like this are made:

IMAGE(http://www.impawards.com/2016/posters/gods_of_egypt_ver21_xlg.jpg)

and

IMAGE(https://furiousreviews.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/exodus-gods-and-kings-poster-bale-and-edgerton.jpg)

... I do think there's some level of bias involved in the casting process.

Just a skosh.

Yeah, those are stupid decisions and while there might be racial bias involved, there is no way to know that or the extent of it. Far more likely that studios want to get the most famous actors they can afford to drive sales. They are in the business of making money. In those particular movies, nothing they did would have saved them from being crap movies, though. Couldn't you find bigger pictures?

liquid wrote:

I think you might be on the side of acceptable representative %ages(well, Hyetal at the very least seemed to suggest there is under representation and I argued that this is not entirely the case ), not me.
I'm curious, since you seem to notice a problem and one that you think is based in prejudice. Tell me, what is the ideal situation according to you and how do you see the current one? It would be helpful to know each other's starting position.

I don't care what you call it. In the end it sucks.

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-w...

Given all the consternation is over one solitary casting, apparently for some people the acceptable percentage of PoC characters is 0%.

What I mean is that in general I don't like diversity for diversity's sake in terms of the hiring. This can only hurt or at best not improve anything.

The first sentence is an opinion, so despite being mildly racist it's not false. The second sentence is lacking any factual basis. to the contrary, diversity for diversity's sake can only help.

What you call it matters a great deal. It's one thing to claim that it's because of racism and completely different picture when it's part of a whole string of intertwined factors such as %age of the population, market demand/profitability, target audience(kind of connected to the previous one), genre of movies, interest in under-represented groups in the industry in terms of consuming and creating, budget and who knows how many more factors can be at play.

Again I ask, given what you think on the subject, what do you think is the ideal situation in which there wouldn't be a problem? Is it only a matter of every movie (other than period pieces, and other more specific settings) having an equal %age of cast that represents each group in the US population or is it something else?

@Seth,
1. I don't see how thinking that hiring people based on arbitrary characteristics outside their control instead of merit is even remotely racist. Can you elaborate?
2. I didn't say diversity is bad, I said hiring someone just so you can have a diverse workplace is not helpful, even if the person is qualified. It is essentially putting race/gender/etc over capabilities. Especially if others know about the hiring policies, quotas and things like that, it can lead to people doubting the capabilities of said hires - is he/she in because he/she deserves the job or is it because of race/gender and someone better qualified was left out?
It's like seeing the boss hire his son in law for a position, especially one with more authority, of course it is going to raise some suspicions.
https://hbr.org/2016/01/diversity-po...
Also comparing a regular workplace to a cast for a movie/tv which is based on a script is not the same thing as your regular business office workplace. What will surely help is hiring the best people for the job.

The current situation isn't based on merit. To say that we have mostly white actors because they just happen to be the best actors is a load of BS mostly pushed by racists. When you have actors having to changed their names to white sounding names just to get an audition that isn't a merit based system. The system is rigged for white not on purpose but it still is. The only way to combat this is to make a effort to hire non white actors. Saying these actors aren't also the best for the part is the thing of racist propaganda to make them feel superior.

liquid wrote:

2. I didn't say diversity is bad, I said hiring someone just so you can have a diverse workplace is not helpful, even if the person is qualified. It is essentially putting race/gender/etc over capabilities. Especially if others know about the hiring policies, quotas and things like that, it can lead to people doubting the capabilities of said hires - is he/she in because he/she deserves the job or is it because of race/gender and someone better qualified was left out?

Similarly, it's bad to douse your burning house with water because your stuff will get wet.

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