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“Look, without our stories, without the true nature and reality of who we are as People of Color, nothing about fanboy or fangirl culture would make sense. What I mean by that is: if it wasn’t for race, X-Men doesn’t sense. If it wasn’t for the history of breeding human beings in the New World through chattel slavery, Dune doesn’t make sense. If it wasn’t for the history of colonialism and imperialism, Star Wars doesn’t make sense. If it wasn’t for the extermination of so many Indigenous First Nations, most of what we call science fiction’s contact stories doesn’t make sense. Without us as the secret sauce, none of this works, and it is about time that we understood that we are the Force that holds the Star Wars universe together. We’re the Prime Directive that makes Star Trek possible, yeah. In the Green Lantern Corps, we are the oath. We are all of these things—erased, and yet without us—we are essential.” — Junot DíazEver since I saw this quote I’ve been thinking about my favorite fantasy franchises like Star Wars, and how they function in entirely white worlds while depending on racial tropes and stereotypes in order to build that world. For example, the Jedi Knights very clearly draw from Buddhist philosophies, and yet they are almost all played by white men.Another striking example though is the costuming of Padme, played by Natalie Portman, in the newer SW movies.For example:
This exquisite and elaborate regalia is based directly off off Mongolian royal attire, pictured below:
I mean they weren’t really trying to be subtle about it. They just assumed, as most white people do, that nobody watching Star Wars would care or know enough about Asian cultures to notice.
This exquisite hairstyle is also borrowed from a POC culture, specifically an NDN one.
The above image is titled simply “Hopi Girl” and was taken by a white male photographer named Edward S. Curtis who obviously didn’t care to differentiate his subjects with names. The Hopi nation is based in the Southwestern United States.
Sleepyheads represent, yo!
Except for the secret formula for success thus far (although I’m not great at math so my calculations might be off):
a couple things…
Mako Mori is played by Rinko Kikuchi.
Rinko Kikuchi is 169cm (that’s over 5’6” to you funny folk stuck on the imperial system).
Which actually makes her TALLER than the average American woman. Hell, she’s probably taller than the average tumblr user given this age demographic.
So unless you also honestly conceive of everyday average Americans as super small, please stop referring to Mako Mori as “tiny,” “doll-like,” “child-sized,” or some equally nauseating, factually inaccurate descriptor.
Charlie Day’s Newton Geiszler is actually shorter than her. He’s also far less capable of defending himself. Pentecost, Raleigh, Hannibal Chau all tower over his puny ass.
AND YET: no one’s constantly referring to him as some itty bitty child/doll gee I wonder.
Stacker Pentecost: awe-inspiring, sure. Respected, definitely. But scary?
Raleigh greets the Marshal on how dapper he looks, then spends their subsequent scenes trailing after him like an over-enthusiastic golden retriever.
Mako repeatedly asserts her mission to avenge her family despite his reservations.
Herc comforts him on a first-name basis. Chuck pitches a tantrum in his own office. Newt and Gottlieb squabble at the top of their lungs and throw shit at each other in his presence.
Most of them disobey his orders. None of them hesitate to interrupt him. On what planet does this behavior signify fear to anybody? Did we see the same film?
I get it, we’ve been bombarded with one-dimensional portrayals of black men as scary. Black men with unrivaled expertise & dignity in positions of authority? “Terrifying,” to quote verbatim from countless fanworks.
If you’re writing some fluffy high school date AU and need to cast someone as the requisite shotgun-wielding dad, then ok whatev.
But if you think Stacker Pentecost’s terrifying, that’s your ish, because NONE of the characters do.
IDK, it would just be nice if we could enjoy these characters and their fandoms without mindlessly allowing the usual boring old bullshit preconceptions to intrude on the fun and creativity?
Can I reblog this to racebending?HAY! And yes, of course! I adore Racebending, many many thanks for the work yall are doing :) X
hey new followers hey and welcome
judging by the recent influx of asks, yall probably signed on expecting non-stop or at least 90% adoption industry child trafficking ethnocidal transracial transnational weaponized realness
and as such most of you are likely thrown for a loop when i blog about popular media and representation
but pro-tip: for adopted kids who grow up raised in white households away from our cultures and countries of origin, books/films/TV/fictional characters are often the ONLY opportunity we have to regularly interact with people who look like us or at least aren’t beige as hell
you should know how important media representation is for children of color. well It’s even more crucial for adoptees of color who don’t even get just ONE family member who shares our ethnicity, much less our culture, much less our DNA
So when I blog about media & fandom made and/or starring POC, it’s absolutely relevant to the whole kyriarchy clusterfuck that is the “global orphan crisis” and international adoption industry
Yours in eternal ingratitude*,
I finally processed the information on the leads for the top 250 grossing films (I’m going to do 500 in all), and I have some really, really great facts:
- Of the films, 209 starred a straight white man, or had a straight white male voice actor. This translates to 83.6% of all these films having a straight white male protagonist.
- This left only 41 films with a protagonist who was a person of colour and/or woman (no films had a queer protagonist). This translated to 16.4% of all the films.
- "So what? Straight white men are the majority group in America." a) no, the largest demographic group in America is actually technically straight white women, and b) not by 83.6% they fucking aren’t.
- If we look at American demographics (America is where these films are being made and mostly marketed for, after all) we find that only 31.3% of people in the USA are straight white men, while 68.7% are not.
- This means that 31.3% of the US population is recieving 83.6% of the representation, and the remaining 68.7% majority are squabbling over the remaining 16.4%. That’s unbelievably, amazingly shit.
BUT: The world isn’t split into straight white men and everyone else, so let’s break this down further. Of the 41 films left over for the rest of us:
- 10 starred a straight black man. (8 of these leads were played by Will Smith.), making up 2.5% of all the films.
- 26 starred a straight white woman, making up 10.4% of all the films.
- 2 films starred straight South Asian men, making up 0.8% of the films.
- 1 film starred an East Asian man and 1 starred a Middle Eastern man - 0.4% of the films each.
- A grand total of ONE of the 250 highest grossing films of all time stars a woman of colour. Scraping in at number 242, and made in 1995, it’s Pocahontas; which is racist as fuck and demeans the memory of a real Native American woman. Fantastic. It’ll also probably have fallen out of the top 250 by the next year, while no other films with WoC leads seem likely to replace it.
- This means that huge demographic groups are missing. 16.3% of people in the US identify as Latin@, and not a single film on this list has a Latin@ protagonist.
- Roughly 10% of the US identifies as LGBT+. None of these films has a queer protagonist.
- The reason that these films are so high grossing is because of the marketing they recieve. Studios are putting all of their money into films with straight white men, preventing casting of women and people of colour and just generally fucking people over; but this isn’t any necessary indication of what people are willing to see at all. It’s worth noting that the single most successful actor on that list is Will Smith. People are clearly willing to pay out money to watch Will Smith doing stuff, and studios are backing this and enabling more and more films of Will Smith (and his son) doing more and more stuff. His popularity shows fairly clearly that cinemagoers are definitely willing to watch (and probably actively demanding of, seeing as people of colour and white women are more likely to go to the cinema) men of colour in film, and the success of franchises such as Twilight and The Hunger Games shows audiences backing white women (women of colour have yet to be given a real chance). As such, we can definitively say that this is especially a problem with Hollywood, and withe the people making these films - a problem which obviously needs to change.
Tl; dr: Representation in Hollywood is really, really shit.
- Straight white men are 31.3% of the population, 83.6% of the leads. Lucky bastards.
- People of colour are 28.6% of the population, 6.4% of the leads (2.8% if you remove Will Smith, thanks Will.)
- Women are 51% of the population, 10.8% of the leads.
- There’s no intersection here. If you’re a woman of colour, a queer woman and/or queer person of colour, then you’re getting fuck all.
Just in case you had any doubt of just how little representation most of the population are getting.
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