‘Forced Diversity’ in Modern Media

The expression“pushing identity politics/representation” is just the beginnings of addressing racism in problematic cinema

Image for post
Image for post
Exhibit A: The Guardian of the Bifrost, Heimdall, portrayed in the Marvel Cinematic Universe by Idris Elba.
Image for post
Image for post
On the heels of a recent leak regarding the casting preferences for Netflix’s The Witcher series and their Ciri as a woman of colour, a new report has emerged claiming the exact opposite. Why is this news?

Tears on your pillow…

The latest crop of whining over ‘forced diversity’ has made me get out of my sickbed to point out an obvious thing most of the whiners have failed to remember about American media.

Most American media is racist. It depicts a nation controlled, managed, maintained, lead, and deemed successful through primarily the efforts of White men and to a far lesser extent, White women.

The goal of White-run media is to create a culturally acceptable engine of White propaganda promoting the White experience, whether it be historical or fantastic, as the only experience worth knowing.

The latest series of whining about “blackwashing” white characters from books (even when the writer makes the character Black in the books — see Rue, Hunger Games) is not about the integrity of the work, but the intolerance of the audience.

Image for post
Image for post
Described as a dark skinned and kinky haired in the novel, fan outrage still existed because they assumed she was white and was surprised to see her played by Amandla Stenberg.

White people are in almost every movie and paint themselves as the heroes of every event, no matter how great or small. The complete invisibility of people of color, even in our own stories has been part of the American experience since mass media began. Even after we began to appear, it was always in subservient roles, either taking care of Whites or subservient to them.

White media paint White characters as indomitable, unstoppable juggernauts overcoming any obstacle. From seaside Viking raids to intergalactic alien invasions, no matter where it happens, the perception is, only White people will be leading the way and will WIN, because of their <insert ability inherent to and uniquely held by White protagonist here.>

This failed perception, this false worldview, is both problematic and reductive. It makes White people seem to be the only problem-solvers in movies and the lack of participation by other groups is because they have nothing to offer. The world view which says Whites are the ultimate expression of knowledge, culture, significance, beauty and creativity is a lie and it has been promoted through mass media since the turn of the last century.

Why This Matters

When you cry about insisting a character from a story, book or comic be of a different “ethnic persuasion” because it HAS to be a certain way, you are, in essence, being racist. I know it’s hard to see this but you have to understand why.

Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Exhibit B: Another character who experienced push back from fans was the role of Valkyrie, played by Tessa Thompson in Thor: Ragnarok.
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Characters from the Golden Age of Comics. Most of the superheroes of the period are White and male. This is not a coincidence, but a factor of the systemic cultural racism of the period. The Justice Society is a DC Comics property, the Invaders, on the right are a Marvel Comics property.

The Comic Connection

If you look at comics and anything related to them, unless the stories were written after the 90s, almost the entire cast of every comic made was White. Any Black characters were usually an afterthought or token characters, who brought very little to the plot being nothing more than White characters in “blackface” — they had little to no social or cultural relevance to the story.

Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle

Ironically, whenever a piece of media comes out and does not include Whites and yet manages to make money (See: Black Panther, 2018), the third highest grossing movie in history, the first thing racist Whites (yes, fanboys I am talking about you and your slavish devotion to White purity in comics, movies and book adaptations) want to say is: Why should we change our movies to suit you?

Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post

Once More for the Bigots in the Back…

Mass communication media has been racist (positively reinforcing the superiority of Whiteness) for almost the entirety of its existence. It’s hard to hear. I know this, but that is the reality.

Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
The Phantom is an American adventure comic strip, first published by Lee Falk in February 1936. The main character, the Phantom, is a fictional costumed crime-fighter who operates from the fictional African country of Bangalla. The character has been adapted for television, film and video games. The series began with a daily newspaper strip on February 17, 1936, followed by a color Sunday strip on May 28, 1939; both are still running as of 2018. In 1966, King Features stated that The Phantom was being published in 583 newspapers worldwide. At its peak, the strip was read by over 100 million people daily.
Image for post
Image for post
The Egyptian court or so we are told in the highly forgettable “Exodus and Kings.” (2014)
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post

Written by

Author | Editor | Futurist | Activist | http://bit.ly/thowzebio | http://bit.ly/thpatreon

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store