“If the US media were a person, he’d be an old white guy.”
That’s a line from the beginning of an article on the website Mother Jones called “Hollywood’s White Dude Problem”. In summation, the article lists a bunch of charts that exemplify the ways in which women and people of color get discounted from high profile media exploits. Some notable stats include that only 6.6% of the top-grossing films made between 2007 and 2012 were directed by black directors…and of those 6.6% (or 33 out of 500), only two of them were women. It shouldn’t be shocking then, to read that first line again. Why else do we get so many heroes (and occasionally genuine heroines) who are white? A lot of the films that feature black actors are “black” films, not just films. That is to say, they’re often made with the purpose of telling a story unique to the African American experience. Movies and other media work directed specifically at African Americans isn’t a negative thing in the slightest, but it’s troubling when we have to separate “normal” (i.e. “white”) experiences from something experienced by black people, because those experiences are so distinctively different. The article goes on to display that when in 2013, when films had a black director, over half of the speaking characters were black. When the directors were white? 10%.
These numbers were really troubling to read about…so how can we change these statistics? There needs to be a way of generating movies and TV shows that don’t alienate groups of people. What kind of reaction do you think there would be to more movies and films that featured majority people of color actors? Would there be a major backlash from white communities? Or if enough of those types of films were created, would it just become socialized as the norm?