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View Diary: Is Tyreese "Made to Suffer"? In The Walking Dead TV Show There Can Be Only One Black Male Character (342 comments)

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  •  My husband & I noticed, too. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jbearlaw, Aspe4, Storey, fidel

    When Oscar got shot, my husband said, "I guess they can only have one black guy at a time."  Then we talked about how as soon as "black guy with a hammer" showed up, Oscar had to go, apparently.  I liked Oscar, I liked T-Dog, and as a fan of the show (haven't read the comic), I feel kind of offended.  Do the creators of this show think my husband and I, and others like us, don't want to see black people on television?  Do they think we'll turn if two black guys live at the same time for more than one episode?  

    It's like, the moment Oscar got shot, black characters on this show officially all became "Token" from Southpark.  The Star Trek "red shirt" comparisons in this thread are very appropriate.

    I do NOT think you're reading too much into this.  

    •  If I Were a White Person, I Would Feel Insulted (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JesseCW

      The writers aren't giving them enough credit. They assume white people will not like the show anymore if too many black males are on it. They're so afraid of losing money they just don't want to take the risk.

      "The problem with posting quotes off the Internet is you never know if they're genuine."--Gen. George Washington at the Battle of Gettysburg, February 30, 1908

      by Aspe4 on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 07:17:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I do know a producer who is of the opinion (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Aspe4, Prof Haley

        that they don't want more than one "Big black guy" because they don't think their largely white audience can tell the difference between black actors of similar build and age.

        "the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared material at these facilities and LOFs."

        by JesseCW on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 10:24:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  they have good reason not to include (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Aspe4

        too many black people in their show. there is marketing research which suggests that white audiences will not watch tv shows or movies with more than one or two black characters as it is then perceived to be a "black show."

        •  Except for (0+ / 0-)

          The Cosby Show, The Jeffersons, Family Matters, Apt. 227, ER, Law and Order (some incarnations), Sanford and Son, Good Times, A Different World, Homicide: Life on the Streets, Star Trek TNG, Star Trek DS9, The Wire, Treme, Grey’s Anatomy, Scrubs, 30 Rock  - that’s all I can think of right now.  

          •  if you can name them, that is a problem (0+ / 0-)

            and look at those types of roles--30 rock? Tracy Morgan is an exemplary negro huh?

            Sanford and Son?

             you are out of your league on this one, the data is pretty clear. do more work as they say..

            http://colorlines.com/...

            you remind me of that joke about "some of my best friends are black" as a white deflection on these matters.

            do you really want to suggest that black and brown people are fairly represented, in a proportional way, on TV or in mainstream film? have you ever seen the list of oscar nominees, winning films, directors, etc.? almost uniformally white.

            as i have said repeatedly Hollywood is run by white men, 95 percent of the creative and marketing positions are white men. is that normal to you? do you feel that their gross over-representation is influencing the type of mass media that is being created?

            the white racial frame has you caps. grow out of it; you will be better for it.

            •  Don't put words in my mouth (0+ / 0-)

              You said white audiences won't watch shows with more than one or two black characters.  I named almost 20 off the top of my head.  So now you take issue with how black people were depicted in some of the shows.  

              The data you cite as definitive is one study based on data from fewer than 100 white students at a mid-western university.  Hardly representative of all white people in America.

              So let's look at that study.

              Though a sample group of 79 white undergraduate college students who participated in the study generally indicated that the race of cast members in a film did not influence whites’ desire to see a film in general, researchers say those results need context.
              So the study found that race wasn't a factor.  But that's the opposite of what you said and what the researchers concluded.  What was missing was context, right?  No, what it sounds like is the researchers had a pre-conceived notion and when the results didn't match that they needed to find some explanation why.
              “This is not to say that race does not matter, of course,” Weaver explained in the paper. “Preexisting racial attitudes moderated this relationship, such that whites who were low in color-blind racial attitudes were more interested in films with mostly black casts than they were in films with mostly white casts."
              I'm not certain what "low in color-blind racial attitudes" intends to mean, but what it says is that there was a group of whites in the study who were interested in movies with mostly black casts.  
              “A more complex relationship between actors’ race and selective exposure begins to emerge when other factors are considered,” he added. “For example, those who were frequent movie viewers preferred white casts to black casts in the celebrity condition, but light movie viewers showed no such preference.”
              In other words, frequent moviegoers have an affinity for celebrity actors, with which they are familiar - as it happens they are more familiar with white movie stars.  But people without a lot of familiarity with actors already, showed no preference.

              A second part of the study focused solely on romantic comedies and found a greater degree of racial preference.  But the questions were based on whether the person felt like they identified with the cast.  Is it not logical, all things being equal, that a white person will identify more with a white cast?  After all, I keep hearing that I can't possibly understand what it's like to be black.

              While I agree that nonwhites are underrepresented in film and television, the same can be said in many other areas.  And there are some endeavors where whites are underrepresented if you want to look just at percentage of the population.  By the way, the group that really should be screaming about under representation is the Hispanic community, since they are the largest minority group in the US.  

              So what do we do about it?  Besides complaining about a zombie show on basic cable.   Are there other shows that have the kind of black characters that you want to see that I should be supporting?  What about movies?  Give some recommendations.  (FYI, when the Derek Strange movie is made I will be one of the first in line, what a great character.)  What about books (fiction)?  Any with black heroes or by black authors that you'd recommend?  

              Last, you keep talking about the white racial frame and how folks like me need to get out of it.  How?  Attempting to be "colorblind" is apparently still racist.  So the goal is to see color, recognize differences, but not assign any value to those differences?  Then what's the point?  All that is doing is reinforcing the racial class structure right?  There's something about rejecting "white privilege" but what does that mean?  In practical terms how do I do that?  

              Really, what is the desired end state here?

               

              •  black celebrities are a draw because they (0+ / 0-)

                by definition "transcend" race.  see Will Smith, Denzel, etc.

                you are also misrepresenting the findings and the broader context...the latter which is called out by the article.

                from that research and a summary of some followup work:

                "“The higher the percentage of black actors in the movie, the less interested white participants were in seeing the movie,” Weaver reports. “Importantly, this effect occurred regardless of participants’ racial attitudes or actors’ relative celebrity.”

                A separate study that used the same technique to assess non-romantic films produced different results. For the participants, 79 white undergraduates, the race of the actors did not influence their desire to see the film.

                But a follow-up study by Weaver, which has yet to be published, suggests that result may be an outlier. In it, he used the same technique, but his participants were drawn from a more diverse group in terms of age and education. Specifically, he analyzed the responses of 150 white people between the ages of 18 and 69.

                “White participants were more interested in seeing films with white actors than films with black actors,” he found. “This main effect was quite robust, occurring regardless of gender, age, previous movie viewing or the genre of the movie.

                “Moreover, this effect was significant despite the very subtle race manipulation. The movie synopses, which were front and center on the page, were unaltered. The only manipulation was in the thumbnail pictures attached to the actors’ names.”

                is there any evidence that would convince you that race matters for white audiences in terms of screening preferences and movie attendance? is there any evidence that could convince you that films are packaged in a certain way to appeal to white audiences? is there any evidence that could convince you that whiteness and hollywood--and popular culture more generally-intersect?

                as for your evidence of all sorts of black movies and fair representation etc., do you want to suggest that there is any evidence of fair or even proportional representation in the mass media for people of color?

                do you want to include Friday and Soul plain as great correctives for the whitewashing of Hollywood? What is the breakdown by race of those movies, actors, etc, who have been nominated for Oscars?

                Again, you are so invested in denying the obvious. What is your personal fight here? General racism denying? Colorblind racism? Do you think that people of color and others who dare to talk about racism are making stuff up, exaggerating, confused?

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