January 23, 2007

White men to the rescue

Tarzan's children:  Why movies about Africa require white saviors"White Folks to the Rescue!" is a glorious tradition that stretches back at least as far as the Tarzan movies, in which a selfless Caucasian—for mysterious self-actualization reasons—has taken up residence in the bowels of the primeval forest and repeatedly ensures that truth and justice prevail in sub-Saharan Africa, something the local black community has been unable to effectuate.

In all these films, the underlying theme is the same: If you're black and you're poor, and your nation is torn by horrendous strife, and your neighbors are dropping like flies, there's no reason to get down in the dumps because sooner or later the Great White Hope will come through for you. Which, of course, is exactly the way things happen in real life.
Comment:  This applies to many mainstream movies about Natives, too.


Rob said...

Roughly 30% of the US population is minorities. Therefore, shouldn't 30% of US movies star minorities? Yes, in a rational and unbiased world.

Rob said...

I'm not advocating quotas, I'm advocating common sense. If studios want to grow their flatlining audiences, they should make movies that reflect the nation's changing demographics. That means more movies starring minorities, especially Hispanics, Asians, and Indians.

Rob said...

"That is not how the film studios operate"...which is why their audiences are flatlining. You're talking about the way the industry does work while I'm talking about how it should work. That is, if the industry wants to reverse its stagnant or declining fortunes.

You're not paying attention if you think movie and TV producers aren't aware of their audience demographics. They clearly produce movies for different age groups and for one gender or the other. They've produced enough successful black-oriented movies and TV shows that that demographic can hardly claim to be underserved. Now we're talking about doing the same for Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans, who still are underserved. Hispanics are America's largest minority, so why aren't there as many Hispanic-themed shows as there are black-themed shows?