For white people, the only representation of humanity that exists, is white

(…) This line of thought demonstrates a real struggle to identify with black humanity in any conceivable way. To them we are an unidentifiable shifting mass, a simplistic, animalistic herd. They [white people] don’t believe that black characters have the capacity to be sophisticated like James Bond, or intelligent like Hermione Granger.

But those of us who aren’t white have been subjected to having to identify with the lives of white main characters since film began. Fear of a black planet destroys good fiction, and it demonstrates how racism gets in the way of human empathy. Seeing non-white characters relegated to sidekick or token status has been routine for so long that, for some, attempting to try and relate to black skin in a main character is a completely alien concept. We’ve been positioned as the ‘other’, only taking centre stage to portray subjugation or provide comic relief. White people are so used to seeing a reflection of themselves in all representations of humanity at all times, that they only notice it when it’s taken away from them.

6 thoughts on “For white people, the only representation of humanity that exists, is white

  1. Perhaps what you are seeing is the Americanisation due to the ubiquity of American entertainment, movies, tv, books etc. And to be commercially viable many smaller producers need to appeal to the American market. Look at the way different European nationalities are lacking in representation or are ridiculed and demeaned. My only problem is lumping all ‘white people’ together. Two wrongs don’t make a right. And this disempowers moderate white people from the debate. Without the moderates from all sides race will remain a polarising issue.
    I submit this for your consideration as I do not know too much about your situation or personal experience.

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    1. Insightful… Finance versus fairness and inclusivity. Don’t you think having a black James Bond will lower the sale of bond movies. We’ve many black actors that can play that role. Denzel Washington, Will Smith….

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      1. Don’t get me wrong, those are two fantastic actors, but apart from an skin pigmentation do the lives of either of these millionaire Americans represent your life experience. I don’t have the answers.
        James Bond is fictious but based on the life experiences of the writer a white English man. And frankly if we keep to the original books who would want to identify with the womanising arrogant killer.
        The American tendency to amalgamate everything is a dangerous thing to aspire too. Cultural differences, not just racial but economic, geographic and many more exist, as does individuality. But in the great Western Melting pot we are all the same. Femininity, cultural pride and individuality are the sacrifice.
        Take the women’s movement, woman are to be treated as equal, yet many of the features that were once valued feminine traits are taboo for either gender. And the feminization of history by Western media has created a generation of young women who have no idea what their ancestors were even fighting for.
        Equality at the cost of difference is not equality.

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        1. You’re right… And is the reason why many white people, not necessarily Americans grow with these superiority mindset as enshired in the fictional books turned into film. As to the life representation, I’ll say that a black poor kid used to seeing black people playing big roles in big screens is more likely to grow up being hopeful than a poor black kid who only sees black people playing villains and gangster roles.

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          1. You are definitely right. I suppose I am being idealistic. I would like to see all people represented on the screen, but also see people who don’t conform to the Western middleclass cookie cutter. Directing, writing, editing are all a part of it, but also production companies that recognise that their audience isn’t all the same.
            But you are completely right if young people don’t see heroes they can relate to on the screen it damages their confidence in the future. Seeing no human I could relate to as a child reinforced my belief that I would never fit in.

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            1. You see… I know money has a big part to play in our society… But can’t people get to the roots of humanity.. Compassion, care, love… I believe they make the world way better than money does

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