[Discussion] On Television, Cinema and Race

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.

This is the only post I am going to make on this here.

From the original quote:

A white male character explains his martial art — which was made up by white men in the 1970s as a nonspecifically Asian but definitionally more powerful technique than those invented by actual Asian cultures — to an Asian-American, female expert in actual martial arts developed by actual Asian cultures.

Note that "actual Asian cultures" is used twice in there. That's a huge red flag.

The only true thing you can say about "actual Asian culture" is that the cultures are actually in Asia and doesn't include the Russians. It's a hugely vast continent with an enormous variety of peoples, languages, customs, etc. You have the Indians and Pakistani. You have the southeast Asian population including the Thai, Vietnamese, and Filipino peoples. You have the Chinese, the Japanese and the Koreans. All of them have vastly different cultures, religions, etc.

But the quote is bundling all of them into the "actual Asian cultures". In bundling them, it is implying that those "actual Asian cultures" are all producing something that shouldn't be better than a fictional martial art(But if we're honest, here it's used as shorthand for "Chinese/Japanese and something something Kung Fu", which, again, ignores pretty much the entirety of actual real living breathing Asian cultures and peoples).

Furthermore, the implication is that there's something with the "actual Asian cultures" that produces those martial arts that are so powerful. That there's something about being Asian that makes one better at them than mere white people. It's the magic minority trope, and the reviewer is clearly expecting it to be true.

This is like saying:
"The non-European guy explained that he found a better way to invade Poland to a European expert on techniques on invading Poland developed by actual European cultures". Which is complete and utter bullsh*t. It's racist stereotyping.

The second implication is that a white dude can't make up a new way to punch someone that's better than something from Asia, which brings me to your quote here:

That's what you got out of that? Because it read to me as if the show is hamfistedly claiming that white men are better at developing Asian martial arts than Asian people.

Let's skip the posts and I'll go through the natural questions and real answers to said questions:

Q. What the hell are "Asian martial arts"?

A. Well, you have a ton of different ones from different places. You have things like Judo and Karate, which were originally from Japan. You have other ones like Kung Fu, which covers a lot of stuff from China. You have Taekwondo, which is from Korea. What do they all have in common? They originated in Asia or around it, in the case of the Japanese and the SE Asian island chains, I guess.

People get punched in some of them, too.

Q. How the hell are "Asian martial arts" different than other martial arts?

A. They're all from Asia? Let's go with that.

Q. What makes "Asian martial arts" so special?

A. Stereotypical Asian mysticism, I guess. Also Bruce Lee. And to be fair, that's been cultivated by a lot of very smart businesspeople for decades to package and sell around the world.

Q. What makes Asian people doing said "Asian marital arts" so special?

A. They're on the biggest continent in the world when they do it? Unless they're in the US. Or the UK. I guess genetics plays a role, since their ancestors were from the biggest continent in the world. Or something.

Q. Why do people think that it's perfectly fine to claim that Asians are better at martial arts than other people?

A. Bruce Lee?

Q. Why can't white people do them as well or better?

A. Because when white people do it, it's not Asian. Even if Russians do it. They're on the Asian continent, but don't count for... reasons.

Q. This is pretty racist stereotyping, huh?

A. Yes.

I'm talking about cultural appropriation (and I'm positive she is as well), but you seem to think I'm claiming only Asians can make martial arts or something.

The cultural appropriation argument is making that exact claim. You said "hamfistedly claiming that white men are better at developing Asian martial arts than Asian people". The "Asian" modifier to martial arts is bullsh*t, as I went through above.

So this means that the cultural appropriation argument, especially when applied to Japanese or Chinese cultural things, is: "because they're white, they shouldn't do this". Not because of lack of skill, or because of lack of a teacher, or lack of drive, but because of their race. The implication is that only Asians should do Asian things, and white people shouldn't attempt to master them. It removes the agency of the teachers of the martial arts or other cultural things, because they're suddenly a part of the problem if they teach it to white people.

I'm 4th generation Japanese American. I go out of my way to share the culture that I grew up in, and that my family has taught me. Why? Because if I don't, my culture will die.

It's also depressingly close to what white supremacists want. And f*ck those guys.

I know you probably won't answer this, cube, but I thought it needed to be said.

The issue here isn't that a white dude is being displayed as better at an Asian martial art than an Asian person.

The issue is that representation matters and this is just one more point in a long trend of showing the white person as better at [minority trait/skill/history] than [minority]. Taken individually there's great leeway for creative license, casting, etc. Taken as an industry it's a damning indicator of our collective assumption of white superiority.

Edit: And perhaps with a little extra sauce in this case, since Netflix has recently made some good strides in the other direction, specifically with an associated IP (Luke Cage).

Jolly Bill wrote:

I know you probably won't answer this, cube, but I thought it needed to be said.

The issue here isn't that a white dude is being displayed as better at an Asian martial art than an Asian person.

The issue is that representation matters and this is just one more point in a long trend of showing the white person as better at [minority trait/skill/history] than [minority]. Taken individually there's great leeway for creative license, casting, etc. Taken as an industry it's a damning indicator of our collective assumption of white superiority.

Edit: And perhaps with a little extra sauce in this case, since Netflix has recently made some good strides in the other direction, specifically with an associated IP (Luke Cage).

Every time I see yet another "White martial arts savior" movie trailer, all I can think of is....

Note that "actual Asian cultures" is used twice in there. That's a huge red flag.
The only true thing you can say about "actual Asian culture" is that the cultures are actually in Asia and doesn't include the Russians. It's a hugely vast continent with an enormous variety of peoples, languages, customs, etc. You have the Indians and Pakistani. You have the southeast Asian population including the Thai, Vietnamese, and Filipino peoples. You have the Chinese, the Japanese and the Koreans. All of them have vastly different cultures, religions, etc.
But the quote is bundling all of them into the "actual Asian cultures". In bundling them, it is implying that those "actual Asian cultures" are all producing something that shouldn't be better than a fictional martial art(But if we're honest, here it's used as shorthand for "Chinese/Japanese and something something Kung Fu", which, again, ignores pretty much the entirety of actual real living breathing Asian cultures and peoples)

I agree with everything, but I'm a bit confused by the bolded. Do you mean it's implying that stuff from "Actual Asian cultures" should be better than a fictional martial art? Because I could see that implication. I mean, I agree that lumping all of these cultures and products thereof into one blanket category diminishes them individually, as well. I guess I'm just having trouble parsing the bolded line in the context of the rest of your post.

Furthermore, the implication is that there's something with the "actual Asian cultures" that produces those martial arts that are so powerful. That there's something about being Asian that makes one better at them than mere white people. It's the magic minority trope, and the reviewer is clearly expecting it to be true.

Again, I don't think that was what she implied at all. If she had extrapolated in that direction, I'd be right there with you. But again, her beef was only that an outsider stepped into a martial arts master's house and said "I'm better at your thing than you are." Not "I've improved upon your thing," or "My thing is better than your thing."

Let's skip the posts and I'll go through the natural questions and real answers to said questions:

I'd rather you not skip the posts, as I feel like your skipping over what I've said and instead implying that I'm being racist, but I can appreciate the need for brevity.

Q. What the hell are "Asian martial arts"?

A. Well, you have a ton of different ones from different places. You have things like Judo and Karate, which were originally from Japan. You have other ones like Kung Fu, which covers a lot of stuff from China. You have Taekwondo, which is from Korea. What do they all have in common? They originated in Asia or around it, in the case of the Japanese and the SE Asian island chains, I guess.

People get punched in some of them, too.

Q. How the hell are "Asian martial arts" different than other martial arts?

A. They're all from Asia? Let's go with that.

That's all I'm saying as far as what differentiates "Asian" martial arts from other forms from other cultures. Just as Krav Maga is an Israeli martial art, or Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art. They're borne of the cultures and regions from which they were invented and initially practiced. This isn't to imply that they can only be practiced or improved upon elsewhere, and frankly I find it insulting that you keep skipping my comments saying as much yet repeatedly implying that I'm saying otherwise.

Q. What makes "Asian martial arts" so special?

A. Stereotypical Asian mysticism, I guess. Also Bruce Lee. And to be fair, that's been cultivated by a lot of very smart businesspeople for decades to package and sell around the world.

Q. What makes Asian people doing said "Asian marital arts" so special?

A. They're on the biggest continent in the world when they do it? Unless they're in the US. Or the UK. I guess genetics plays a role, since their ancestors were from the biggest continent in the world. Or something.

Q. Why do people think that it's perfectly fine to claim that Asians are better at martial arts than other people?

A. Bruce Lee?

Q. Why can't white people do them as well or better?

A. Because when white people do it, it's not Asian. Even if Russians do it. They're on the Asian continent, but don't count for... reasons.

Q. This is pretty racist stereotyping, huh?

A. Yes.

It is pretty racist stereotyping. It is also not what I or Susana Polo said. And while I can't speak for her, I certainly did not imply any of this, and I feel like I've explained how what I wrote does not imply any of this.

I'm talking about cultural appropriation (and I'm positive she is as well), but you seem to think I'm claiming only Asians can make martial arts or something.

The cultural appropriation argument is making that exact claim. You said "hamfistedly claiming that white men are better at developing Asian martial arts than Asian people". The "Asian" modifier to martial arts is bullsh*t, as I went through above.

So this means that the cultural appropriation argument, especially when applied to Japanese or Chinese cultural things, is: "because they're white, they shouldn't do this". Not because of lack of skill, or because of lack of a teacher, or lack of drive, but because of their race. The implication is that only Asians should do Asian things, and white people shouldn't attempt to master them. It removes the agency of the teachers of the martial arts or other cultural things, because they're suddenly a part of the problem if they teach it to white people.

Again, what I'm trying to say is this: If I'm white, invent a thing similar to a Chinese thing, claim it's Chinese but better than the actual Chinese thing by virtue of being invented by a white person, it's problematic. It wouldn't be problematic if I said I developed it based on the Chinese thing, or I learned the Chinese thing then improved upon it. I'm not saying a white person can't learn things from other cultures, or even improve upon them.

Jolly Bill wrote:

The issue is that representation matters and this is just one more point in a long trend of showing the white person as better at [minority trait/skill/history] than [minority].

I agree, the white savior trope is bullsh*t and needs to end.

But why is everyone upset about this particular property?

Daredevil is a mother f*cking ninja, trained by another white dude (master ninja) whose girlfriend is a a greek ninja, no one got upset.

Green Arrow is essentially IF, the origin is the same (minus a dragon), no one got upset.

Batman was trained as a ninja by Liam Neeson (master ninja), no one got upset.

So why are we upset about IF, a character that's as old as most mentioned above?

Saying IF needs to be portrayed as asian because kung fu isn't right. The fallacy there, and the reason cube is upset, is that the assumption behind it is martial arts = asian.

The origin of IF is: Crazy billionaire dad takes family to find magic city, mom and dad die on the way and orphans kid, kid makes it to city and is taken in by city and trained like their kids and manages to punch a dragon in the heart and is now magic af. That's Iron Fist.

Is that the white savior trope? YEAH PROBABLY. Should we be better? ABSOLUTELY.

But is it any worse than the examples I listed above? I don't see how.

The thing of it is, this discussion may very well be sparked because the show is bad. I believe Polo when she says the writing is bad and that scene with Danny and Colleen that is mentioned in the review is problematic on a number of levels but to me the glaring one is sexism. It's also not being true to the character of Colleen Wing who is an incredible martial artist.

Look, I'm all for increased representation. Straight white male heroes are done, bring on diversity. Write out the old white versions of these people and give me interesting people of color instead. But if you're going to do that, do it to tell a better more representative story, don't do it because you're hung up on a racial stereotype. Saying it would be better if kung fu guy from magic city was asian because... martial arts is like saying that he's also good at math and drives slowly. It's horse sh*t.

oily wrote:

Look, I'm all for increased representation. Straight white male heroes are done, bring on diversity.

Exactly. Your list above really nails home how this is just one in a long list of similar stories.

Saying it would be better if kung fu guy from magic city was asian because... martial arts is like saying that he's also good at math and drives slowly. It's horse sh*t.

I'd agree. I don't think anyone said this. Closest I've seen is saying that the particular scene where IF walks into a dojo and insults the master has been implied that it would be less problematic (no less sexist). It's that scene mainly under discussion here, with the backdrop of "white guys have always been martial arts heroes" setting it up.

I'm not trying to start a fight (which is good because cube is asian and as we all know, is naturally good at punching).

Jolly Bill wrote:
oily wrote:

Look, I'm all for increased representation. Straight white male heroes are done, bring on diversity.

Exactly. Your list above really nails home how this is just one in a long list of similar stories.

Saying it would be better if kung fu guy from magic city was asian because... martial arts is like saying that he's also good at math and drives slowly. It's horse sh*t.

I'd agree. I don't think anyone said this. Closest I've seen is saying that the particular scene where IF walks into a dojo and insults the master has been implied that it would be less problematic (no less sexist). It's that scene mainly under discussion here, with the backdrop of "white guys have always been martial arts heroes" setting it up.

I believe there's 2 discussions here: The first is that we all seem to be on the same page that there should be more diversity in literally all media. I think we can all agree on that.

But the second was Wipeout's first comment to cube:

That's what you got out of that? Because it read to me as if the show is hamfistedly claiming that white men are better at developing Asian martial arts than Asian people.

That he's since gone on to explain isn't racist because of baptists? I wasn't following the logic but ok, benefit of the doubt.

But that's the genesis of this discussion which began with the stereotype that it's problematic that a white dude is "better at developing Asian martial arts than Asian people." Which set cube off (for good reason) because what's really problematic is the assumption that someone outside the culture can't be as good or better than someone from that culture at what is a learned skill. Meaning there is an inherent, in this case, racial bias towards a skill from that culture, which is ridiculous. Essentially, the entire premise of that comment is based off of some kind of cultural/racial purity or primacy.

So that last bit I wrote, if we're going to use stereotypes, I say go whole hog. It was a sh*t post sentence which I'll own but it's purpose was to further illustrate how stereotypes (even positive ones), hurt us.

The thing is: This show biggest problem won't be racism or sexism, it will be that it's bad.

Right. That whole comment thread seemed to be drawn out of the specific confrontation between Iron Fist and dojo lady. Which is where the baptist allegory came from (baptist explaining catholicism to the pope being equated to Iron Fist explaining martial art to dojo lady).

The idea that other people are offended that a white guy is good at martial arts is imagined. It's the white guy being good at martial arts and then embarrassing an Asian dojo leader (in the context of many other white guys being good and embarrassing minorities, as your earlier list demonstrated) was the issue. Rather than change the white guy in that scene what if the dojo lady was changed to street fighting champion or Krav Maga school? Doesn't solve the representation issue but it at least obliquely addresses problematic elements.

I mean, this is a much deeper subject and the complicated interplay of the martial arts movie trope of "fight/embarrass the leader of local or opposing dojo" with representation with other things.

I was writing out a whole thing but Bill was far better and more succinct at saying what I wanted to say.

I will say this, though:

I will say in earnest, Cube, that I'm sorry that I said something that offended you, and that it was offensive at all. Couching what I said in a term like "Asian people" was too flippant of a shorthand and too dismissive of the varied cultures and societies that reside in & around Asia, it detracted from my original point, and I did not mean to come across as such. I hope that the rest of my part in the discussion will better explain what I meant by my initial comment, and I hope you understand that I wasn't intending to imply any kind of negative racial stereotypes.

garion333 wrote:

There’s Nothing Funny About the ‘Cash Me Ousside’ Girl
The teen’s bad behavior helped make her a viral star, but it’s also highlighted the double standard between the ways Black and White teens are treated

But perhaps what’s most infuriating is that 13 year old Black girls who have to be tough, who really did procure their language “from the streets,” who steal and fight to literally survive when they are left to fend off poverty and unwanted sexual advances, are handcuffed and fingerprinted for their “troubling behavior.” They don’t get to make money off their authentic struggle. They aren’t redeemed by think pieces spinning their story in their favor. Their social media doesn’t blow up. They aren’t selling t-shirts and blankets. Nah, they are demeaned and degraded and kicked out of school.

Even more, we all know that in a few years, when Bregoli is 18, they’ll have her back on Dr. Phil to reflect on her immature antics. They’ll have a carefree laugh at how she’s blossomed into a beautiful young woman despite her start. Then she’ll have her own reality show where we’re privileged to watch her apply for college and try to shake the unfair image everyone has of her, while she collects checks for speaking engagements warning teens of the dangers of their “troubling behavior.”

The whole while, her Black peers will have rap sheets. Their Black parents will have permanent records of child protective service investigations as to why they couldn’t control their children. And nobody will give a damn about the double standard.

I'd say it's pretty optimistic to see her making it to age 18. The most horrific thing about all this is not her role as some kind of role model (I think it's pretty obvious to like 99% of the people watching that she's the butt of the joke, not someone to be emulated), it's the number of adults who are ready and willing to take a girl who's in pretty obvious need of help, and encourage her most destructive tendencies. Like, who's working for the reality show for this girl. Are any of these people so desperate for work that they're willing to ignore any sense of professional ethics or personal morality?

I dunno, this IF thing doesn't really bother me as much (it still does but not as much) as Ghost in the Shell starring a non-Japanese lead female does. Or Matt Damon white hero rescuing China in Great Wall.

Oh and here's some more education to help deconstruct the "actual Asian cultures" thing: China has 56 ethnic groups. Even Japan has its very distinctive demographics (classic difference might be in Osaka-ben and Okinawa vs the rest of Honshu and the other main islands).

tldr; culture is very nuanced and very easy to stereotype

Bfgp wrote:

I dunno, this IF thing doesn't really bother me as much (it still does but not as much) as Ghost in the Shell starring a non-Japanese lead female does. Or Matt Damon white hero rescuing China in Great Wall.

Oh and here's some more education to help deconstruct the "actual Asian cultures" thing: China has 56 ethnic groups. Even Japan has its very distinctive demographics (classic difference might be in Osaka-ben and Okinawa vs the rest of Honshu and the other main islands).

tldr; culture is very nuanced and very easy to stereotype

The IF thing bothers me personally in as much as Marvel has recently had a decent record (read: better than others in their field) of diversifying their characters and actors, but Iron Fist seems to be breaking that streak for the sake of staying somewhat true to the source material in some way. I'm not going to boycott Iron Fist-- I still want to give the show a chance, I'm just disappointed that Marvel & Netflix didn't take this chance to do things a little differently that might better modernize the show.

Ghost in the Shell, however, I'm torn. I like ScarJo, I love GitS, but I'm worried about the representation of her character. On one hand, I personally never looked at the Major's body as distinctly Japanese, as it was a robot body built separately from her. On the other hand, her mind and "ghost" are distinctly Japanese. So with Scarlett playing the Major, I'm hoping beyond hope that the movie somehow recognizes and respects that separation between physical form and spiritual/mental, as that was what I always felt was the core takeaway from the original movie and manga. But it's "Hollywood," so they probably are going to botch that aspect. Weta's props are amazing though.

And The Great Wall-- I dunno. Maybe it's like Tom Cruise in The Last Samurai, where he wasn't actually the last samurai but followed the actual last samurai around, and the trailers were cut to seem otherwise. Which was still dumb, though.

Marvel has a long row to hoe here. They've intentionally chosen franchises born from whatever racist psychosis happened in the 70s where people thought Asian mysticism was the cure to western....stuff.

I do believe they pretty much nailed a modern version of Luke Cage; the source material for that show was racist AF and they handled it with care and thought. Daredevil, significantly less so. Jessica Jones stands on its own as one of the best comic book adaptations of all time imo.

I think the real problem here is that a disgraced writer was given a complex and nuanced topic, and rather than elevating the material, he debased it. Basically we are all hoping for Trinity Killer Dexter and we are getting Lumberjack Dexter.

(Still gonna watch it though. Just sad that the show starts with such a huge disadvantage.)

Seth wrote:

Marvel has a long row to hoe here. They've intentionally chosen franchises born from whatever racist psychosis happened in the 70s where people thought Asian mysticism was the cure to western....stuff.

I do believe they pretty much nailed a modern version of Luke Cage; the source material for that show was racist AF and they handled it with care and thought. Daredevil, significantly less so. Jessica Jones stands on its own as one of the best comic book adaptations of all time imo.

I think the real problem here is that a disgraced writer was given a complex and nuanced topic, and rather than elevating the material, he debased it. Basically we are all hoping for Trinity Killer Dexter and we are getting Lumberjack Dexter.

(Still gonna watch it though. Just sad that the show starts with such a huge disadvantage.)

The thing that annoys me is that these issues were mosrly solved in the Brubaker/Fraction run. When Danny Rand is just one of many Iron Fists, most are Asian and some are women it's much less egregious that he is a white guy. And be up front that his literary origin is racist but you want to talk about mixed race friendship and relationships.

It's also not helped by the fact that, apparently, the white guy they chose is super lame.

Oh hey look! Susana Polo basically explains what she meant by her comment in the previously discussed Polygon review on Iron Fist!

She also recommends the same run of Iron Fist books as NathanialG, by Brubaker/Fraction.

SpacePPoliceman wrote:

It's also not helped by the fact that, apparently, the white guy they chose is super lame.

From the moment it was announced that Iron Fist was the fourth leg of the Defenders I kept wondering how they could explain having another white martial arts-centric hero after Daredevil.

Why would they have to explain that?

I am not your Negro is now out on dvd.

Just watched American Gods first two episodes. Main character is a black man. Race is a issue in this show and is done well. I'm not completely sure of the status of the characters but I think there are at least two black gods or at least black people playing gods.

That brings me to another thing. There is some sex and nudity by a beautiful older black woman. I never see nudity by black women on shows that aren't mostly . And I never see older women nude doing some serious sex scene. She really isn't old just older for tv. I think we don't see this much is because the standard for beauty is young and white.

Interestingly also that the main character is a extreme attractive black man, not the usual choice for tv shows. Side characters sure but not the main character.

Baron Of Hell wrote:

Just watched American Gods first two episodes. Main character is a black man. Race is a issue in this show and is done well. I'm not completely sure of the status of the characters but I think there are at least two black gods or at least black people playing gods.

That brings me to another thing. There is some sex and nudity by a beautiful older black woman. I never see nudity by black women on shows that aren't mostly . And I never see older women nude doing some serious sex scene. She really isn't old just older for tv. I think we don't see this much is because the standard for beauty is young and white.

Interestingly also that the main character is a extreme attractive black man, not the usual choice for tv shows. Side characters sure but not the main character.

Curious what the end of your sentence here was to be!

The book is great, and is essentially a story on immigrants of all kinds wrapped up in fantasy/god elements. So far they've given it an amazing treatment and I can't wait to see how they handle the rest.

Orlando Jones's performance in the 2nd ep opener was friggin' amazing. His character is one of my favorites from the book and it looks like he's gonna knock it out of the park.

In 2 episodes they've already chopped things up and moved things around, but it is all done with a clear sense of what the book was trying to accomplish, and Neil Gaiman seems to be really happy with how they're handling it.

garion333 wrote:
Baron Of Hell wrote:

Just watched American Gods first two episodes. Main character is a black man. Race is a issue in this show and is done well. I'm not completely sure of the status of the characters but I think there are at least two black gods or at least black people playing gods.

That brings me to another thing. There is some sex and nudity by a beautiful older black woman. I never see nudity by black women on shows that aren't mostly . And I never see older women nude doing some serious sex scene. She really isn't old just older for tv. I think we don't see this much is because the standard for beauty is young and white.

Interestingly also that the main character is a extreme attractive black man, not the usual choice for tv shows. Side characters sure but not the main character.

Curious what the end of your sentence here was to be!

Oh I left off black. Same with Asian nudity. You almost never see it unless the show is mostly Asian.

I'm really enjoying Queen Sugar which airs on the Oprah Network (watching it on Hulu). It has a fabulous cast with realistic characters that act in believable fashion. Sad that there are so few shows that show black actors in a wide array of roles and situations beyond the stereotypical.

Baron Of Hell wrote:
garion333 wrote:
Baron Of Hell wrote:

Just watched American Gods first two episodes. Main character is a black man. Race is a issue in this show and is done well. I'm not completely sure of the status of the characters but I think there are at least two black gods or at least black people playing gods.

That brings me to another thing. There is some sex and nudity by a beautiful older black woman. I never see nudity by black women on shows that aren't mostly . And I never see older women nude doing some serious sex scene. She really isn't old just older for tv. I think we don't see this much is because the standard for beauty is young and white.

Interestingly also that the main character is a extreme attractive black man, not the usual choice for tv shows. Side characters sure but not the main character.

Curious what the end of your sentence here was to be!

Oh I left off black. Same with Asian nudity. You almost never see it unless the show is mostly Asian.

Ah, yes, that makes sense. I don't think I ever really noticed that. People talk so much about overall representation in films/tv, especially when it comes to streotypicial portrayals and who gets the lead in a given project, that I didn't realize it trickles down to nudity! I mean, why wouldn't it? This issue is systemic.

TheGameguru wrote:

I'm really enjoying Queen Sugar which airs on the Oprah Network (watching it on Hulu). It has a fabulous cast with realistic characters that act in believable fashion. Sad that there are so few shows that show black actors in a wide array of roles and situations beyond the stereotypical.

Just looked up the trailer for the show and it looks pretty good so I'll check it out. I noticed one actress that I liked that is on it that unfortunately almost always gets the angry black woman part. I hope she gets to play a normal person here. I don't know her name but she was Sookie's friend on True Blood and played Lady Cop on Arrow.

Baron Of Hell wrote:
TheGameguru wrote:

I'm really enjoying Queen Sugar which airs on the Oprah Network (watching it on Hulu). It has a fabulous cast with realistic characters that act in believable fashion. Sad that there are so few shows that show black actors in a wide array of roles and situations beyond the stereotypical.

Just looked up the trailer for the show and it looks pretty good so I'll check it out. I noticed one actress that I liked that is on it that unfortunately almost always gets the angry black woman part. I hope she gets to play a normal person here. I don't know her name but she was Sookie's friend on True Blood and played Lady Cop on Arrow.

She is angry.. in so much that probably pretty much every black person in America wakes up angry every day.

I have to admit, I fall in in line with the author of this opinion piece. I think the cultural appropriation wars have gotten so carried away that they no longer any relevance to to how people actually live and make their way through the world.

WAPO: To the new culture cops, everything is appropriation

Welcome to the new war on cultural appropriation. At one time, such critiques were leveled against truly offensive art — work that trafficked in demeaning caricatures, such as blackface, 19th-century minstrel shows or ethnological expositions, which literally put indigenous people on display, often in cages. But these accusations have become a common attack against any artist or artwork that incorporates ideas from another culture, no matter how thoughtfully or positively. A work can reinvent the material or even serve as a tribute, but no matter. If artists dabble outside their own cultural experiences, they’ve committed a creative sin.
Some of this critique was rightly directed at literal cultural theft — the pilfering of art and artifacts by colonial powers — or glaring injustices, such as white entertainers in the pre-civil rights years profiting off black musical styles while black performers’ careers were hobbled by racism. Critics such as Edward Said offered valuable insight into Orientalism, the West’s tendency to fetishize Asians as exotic stereotypes.
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But the hunt for wrongdoing has gone run amok. The recent anti-appropriation rhetoric has targeted creative products from art to literature to clothing. Nothing is too petty for the new culture cops: I have seen them rebuke a Filipina woman who purchased a bracelet with a yin-yang symbol at a fair and earnestly discuss whether it’s appropriation to eat Japanese, Indian or Thai food. Even Selena Gomez, a Latina artist, was assailed a couple of years ago for sporting a Hindu forehead dot, or bindi, in a Bollywood-style performance.
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In some social-justice quarters, the demonization of “appropriative” interests converges with ultra-reactionary ideas about racial and cultural purity. I once read an anguished blog post by a well-meaning young woman racked with doubt about her plans to pursue a graduate degree in Chinese studies; after attending a talk on cultural appropriation, she was unsure that it was morally permissible for a white person to study the field.
Most critics of appropriation, including some anti-kimono protesters, say they don’t oppose engagement with other cultures if it’s done in a “culturally affirming” way. A Daily Dot article admonishes that “an authentic cultural exchange should feel free and affirming, rather than plagiarizing or thieving.” A recent post on the Tumblr “This Is Not China” declares that “cultural appropriation is not merely the act of wearing or partaking in cultural symbols & practices that do not belong to you, it’s a system of exploitation & capitalisation on cultural symbols & practices that do not a) originate from b) benefit c) circle back to the culture in question.”
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It makes sense to permit behaviors that encourage empathy and genuine interest while discouraging those that caricature or mock a sampled-from culture. But such litmus tests leave ample room for hair-splitting and arbitrary judgments. One blogger’s partial defense of “Kimono Wednesdays” suggests that while it was fine to let visitors try on the kimonos, allowing them to be photographed while wearing them was a step too far. This fine parsing of what crosses the line from appreciation into appropriation suggests a religion with elaborate purity tests.
Appropriation is not a crime. It’s a way to breathe new life into culture. Peoples have borrowed, adopted, taken, infiltrated and reinvented from time immemorial. The medieval Japanese absorbed major elements of Chinese and Korean civilizations, while the cultural practices of modern-day Japan include such Western borrowings as a secularized and reinvented Christmas. Russian culture with its Slavic roots is also the product of Greek, Nordic, Tatar and Mongol influences — and the rapid Westernization of the elites in the 18th century. America is the ultimate blended culture.
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So don’t let anyone tell you that there is art, literature or clothing that does not belong to you because of your racial, ethnic or religious identity. In other words: Appropriate away.

Tribalism continues to rise, and you're not supposed to signify anything outside your tribe. It's the steady fracturing of society.

We're all becoming X-Americans, whether that be African-, Asian-, Hispanic, White-, or whatever, but the part before the hyphen is now MUCH more important than the part after it. America itself has stopped standing for anything at all. We don't believe in things here anymore, and so people are retreating to tribal identities, and the broader society is falling apart.

We've often not been very good at living up to our ideals, as a country, but at least we once had them. We don't, anymore. There's nothing larger to identify with.

This is reflected in politics, too... Team Conservative and Team Liberal. We're supposed to be Team America.

For many, many years, America was The Great Melting Pot... the whole point of the country was to incorporate everything, from every source.

Culture is not property, and it never was.

This is what happens when you start dealing with people in terms of groups and not on an individual basis. White people this, Black people that, Mexican the other, evil men and so on. Divide and conquer in action. It doesn't have to be a giant conspiracy, but you see the erosion of enlightenment values and the fever upholding of the constitution and especially free speech. You are in this group, therefore, you are personally responsible for everything I hate about it, regardless of facts. "Cultural appropriation" is just one side's way to do that.
Scandal and conflict sell and bring the eyeballs, it's like a closed feedback loop.