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How is it racist?
Posted by Musicaldudepeter 2012-02-29 09:50:09


How is it racist that the Academy didn't award Viola Davis her first Oscar for Best Actress when clearly the better performance won? Streep stole the show with her Thatcher, and Davis was never going to win for what was clearly a Supporting Role. If anyone else would have won, surely it would have been Michelle Williams. I just don't get how this is perceived as 'deep-seated racism,' so-called by various critics. Octavia Spencer was deservedly awarded Best Supporting Actress for The Help.. The better leading actress won. If Davis was a white woman, there would be no noise made about this.

How is it racist?
Posted by henrikegerman 2012-02-29 09:52:25


Loved Davis's performance. Any one of those women arguably gave an oscarworthy performance - the same can be said of several other women, of various colors, who were not nominated this year - and don't believe Streep's oscar is at all racist. Who is saying it is?

How is it racist?
Posted by Musicaldudepeter 2012-02-29 09:54:11


These clowns:

http://www.workers.org/2012/us/viola_davis_oscar_snub_0301/

How is it racist?
Posted by themysteriousgrowl 2012-02-29 10:03:19



lol did what is practically a blog post in the "Workers World" Party newspaper really warrant its own thread on this?

How is it racist?
Posted by themysteriousgrowl 2012-02-29 10:06:42



Also, wrong board.

How is it racist?
Posted by Musicaldudepeter 2012-02-29 10:06:52


Yes it did. I feel quite strongly about it.

How is it racist?
Posted by themysteriousgrowl 2012-02-29 10:11:37



Awesome. I overheard some guy say something the other night in a bar that really ground my gears. If I can remember what it was, I'll start a thread right away.

How is it racist?
Posted by Musicaldudepeter 2012-02-29 10:13:20


Brilliant. That's neat-o.

How is it racist?
Posted by Broadway Joe 2012-02-29 10:15:10


I blame Tyler Perry.

How is it racist?
Posted by themysteriousgrowl 2012-02-29 10:16:31



Well, that's because you're racist.

How is it racist?
Posted by Broadway Joe 2012-02-29 10:18:01


Well, I am a white male so it must be true!

How is it racist?
Posted by wonderfulwizard11 2012-02-29 10:22:50


Not to comment on the racism question or anything, but of course Streep stole the show with her Thatcher- the entire movie was about her! It's pretty easy to steal the show when you, ya know, are the show.

How is it racist?
Posted by themysteriousgrowl 2012-02-29 10:25:53



"Oh, you GUYS. I just honestly don't KNOW. I mean... I'm just not THAT good. Well... OKAY... if you SAY so, but -- Oh, I'm just SO embarrassed! You all must HATE me by now! Well... THANK you. Oh, my WORD."

-- Meryl Streep

How is it racist?
Posted by newintown 2012-02-29 10:30:01


Ev'lyone's a rittle bit lacist.

How is it racist?
Posted by JoeKv99 2012-02-29 10:54:55


Every year "they" make predictions on who will win. This year "Everyone" predicted Viola Davis would win and when she didn't, "they" have to point to some reason why.

Meanwhile Streep won because more people preferred her. And "they" have no idea why.

How is it racist?
Posted by Jordan Catalano 2012-02-29 11:07:51


I fully agree with the OP. When a black actor or actress is nominated for an award the simple fact is that they deserve to win it. When a honkey hack like Meryl F-in Streep takes it home (and seriously who the hell is she to take anything MORE from the black community than she's taken already) it shows that the nomination was a "pity" nomination just to show that the academy isn't really racist but deeply cares about the "colored folk" and then SURPRISE SURPRISE - White Devil (or should I say White "She-Devil") gets the statue. The deep hatred of anyone of color in these awards is appalling and has been ever since they gave an award to a Mammy back in the 30s and we ALL know that when these white folks deem it appropriate to give an award to a black person it's only out of the sense of guilt they feel for having done what they did when they did those things they did all those years ago and this is retribution and a more public form of reparation to ease their black hearts (black as in evil, not black is in Viola Davis who will always be the true winner of the Academy Award for Best Leading BLACK OR WHITE Actress!)

How is it racist?
Posted by newintown 2012-02-29 11:22:06


Preach, Jordan.

How is it racist?
Posted by Jon 2012-02-29 11:39:20


Thank you, Wonderful Wizard. I hate when people use "steal the show" refer to the star performance. Who exactly did Meryl steal Iron lady from?

How is it racist?
Posted by Musicaldudepeter 2012-02-29 11:49:01


Jim Broadbent

How is it racist?
Posted by henrikegerman 2012-02-29 12:16:09


What we need is a blog on how anti-Semitism robbed Lauren Bacall of her oscar for The Mirror Has Two Faces.

How is it racist?
Posted by whatever2 2012-02-29 12:19:10


not to be a buzz-kill, but the LA Times released a study last week indicating that the Academy voters do not "look like America" (to resurrect a phrase). now i'll agree it's a quantum leap to go from (badly) skewed demographics to charges of racism, but the lack of diversity amongst the voters does in fact give one pause ...

How is it racist?
Posted by themysteriousgrowl 2012-02-29 12:19:54



"What we need is a blog on how anti-Semitism robbed Lauren Bacall of her oscar for The Mirror Has Two Faces."

YES. And then we'll post it on a music message board.

How is it racist?
Posted by Jordan Catalano 2012-02-29 12:21:31


Aaron Eckhart didn't get an Oscar for LOVE HAPPENS because he's a Mormon. I KNOW that's why.

How is it racist?
Posted by Blactor 2012-02-29 12:22:42


To answer the OP, no it's not racist.

However, it should be noted that ignorance and indignation from white people--such as many of those that frequent this message board, dismissing or scoffing at any legitimate concerns of performers of color--is just as big an obstacle to tackling this subject meaningfully as black overzealousness.

The beef that black performers have is that there is a scarcity of quality roles for us. After there were NO black nominees last year--which wasn't a surprise, seeing as how very few of us were in any major movies in substantial roles--this year feels like a slap in the face to many black people, as the only actresses nominated this year were playing maids--shades of Hattie McDaniel. I think anyone with a modicum of sensitivity and knowledge of American history would see why Black people might have a problem with this, despite the fact that the story is an intriguing one and that the film moved many people (I personally hated it, for various reasons, but it's not necessarily a terrible movie). On a side note, adding further fuel to the fire surrounding this film is the fact that a white woman wrote the original novel--a topic that had many tongues in the black community wagging. But that is beside the point.

The indignation propelling Jordan's rant seem to stem from white people's belief that black people are looking for handouts, irritation that black people seem to feel they are owed something, and exasperation that black people can't just "get over" racism or this country's racist past.

Jordan asserts that blacks who are nominated for and win awards receive those accolades based solely on merit, which ignores the political aspect of the awards, the overwhelming lack of minority membership in the academy (which was recently exposed by the LA Times), the scarcity of opportunities available for blacks in the industry in front of or behind the camera (in an industry heavily reliant on relationships, you can see how devastating that can be), and general discrimination in Hollywood--see George Lucas on "The Daily Show" openly explaining that studios wouldn't back "Red Tails", for no other reason than the film had Black leads.

The George Lucas example is interesting, because days later Spike Lee was chastised at a movie premiere when he spoke briefly about Hollywood refusing to back a sequel to his film "Inside Man", which was a critical and box office success. These are two successful and influential American filmmakers, yet George Lucas received no criticism for his claims of industry racism, and Spike is always condemned when he highlights the same problems.

Similarly, when blacks anywhere raise issues of inequality they are often dismissed and ridiculed (by the very people least likely to experience oppressive racial discrimination), and accused of wanting favors and told to "get over it".

Bringing the topic back to theatre--where many of these same issues persist--myself and all of the talented black professionals that I know need no favors, our talent speaks for itself--but there are far fewer avenues for us to express that talent on the mainstream level. We want a more level playing field, but honestly I think in this environment that will never happen.

How is it racist?
Posted by Jordan Catalano 2012-02-29 12:24:29


Leave it to Broadwayworlds resident cry baby racist, Blactor, to chime in. I'm sure he'll whine to the mods to have most of this thread deleted like he usually does.

Oh and as usual, in your "reverse racist" fog of blind hatred, you completely missed the point of what I wrote. You, blactor, are a blidiot.




How is it racist?
Posted by JoeKv99 2012-02-29 12:26:28


Not to kill the buzz-kill, but America looks JUST like America and hardly ever elects black people, either.

How is it racist?
Posted by newintown 2012-02-29 12:34:17


"The beef that black performers have is that there is a scarcity of quality roles for us."

Honey, there's a scarcity of quality roles for everyone.

It's a lot easier to say "The world has caused me to fail because of the color of my skin (or gender, religion, sexual preference, height, hair color, accent, body odor)," than to say "I failed."

No actor is guaranteed a career. Actually, let me amend that - no one is guaranteed a career. Our failures are not someone else's fault, they're our own. One of life's most difficult lessons, and one learned by few people.

How is it racist?
Posted by Jordan Catalano 2012-02-29 12:38:14


Newintown if you say anything remotely like that you ARE A RACIST! BLIDIOT SAYS SO!!

How is it racist?
Posted by newintown 2012-02-29 12:40:46


Sorry, Jordan, I have to go to my blaccountant and invest all my white devil money I stole.

How is it racist?
Posted by whatever2 2012-02-29 12:41:02


JoeKv99: i don't take your point ... your observation is undeniable, but i don't see its relevance to the fact that the Academy's demographics are out of sync with the larger society's.

How is it racist?
Posted by Jordan Catalano 2012-02-29 12:41:51


Well in this blinstance, it's blacist.

How is it racist?
Posted by henrikegerman 2012-02-29 12:53:29


Mysterious, Viola Davis is a Broadway star. I don't see that this thread is out of place on the Broadway board just because it's about her not winning an oscar. It's no more out of place than threads about Cheyenne Jackson's getting married or Jan Maxwell getting hit by a car.

Newintown, the complaint that black actors aren't getting commensurate quality roles isn't primarily, if ever, made by black actors to vainly justify their not being successes. To the contrary, it is a complaint made by highly successful black actors, and people of all colors, most of whom are not even actors, who simply note the obvious injustice of it and of the underrepresentation of non-whites in movie roles.

If you can't see that injustice, if you think non-white actors are given equal opportunity in the movies, then there is no arguing with you.

You're deluded. But there's no arguing with you.

How is it racist?
Posted by newintown 2012-02-29 12:55:47


Jan Maxwell was hit by a car?

How is it racist?
Posted by Jordan Catalano 2012-02-29 12:57:43


No. A hot dog cart.

How is it racist?
Posted by themysteriousgrowl 2012-02-29 12:58:21



Oh, I don't care on any serious level about this being posted here. I was 99% joking. If I were the arbiter of things appropriate, personally, I'd say it *more* belongs on the Off-Topic Board. If any story were appropriate to post here just because it involves someone involved in Broadway theater, just imagine the things we'd see. It sits in something of a gray area, but it's certainly about the movies and the Oscars and specifically Viola Davis' work in film, not theater. You can make a case for it "belonging" here, but you'd still be making a case.

And I agree with the rest of your post 100%.

How is it racist?
Posted by themysteriousgrowl 2012-02-29 13:00:24



No. A hot dog. Jan Maxwell had a hot dog in her bag.

How is it racist?
Posted by newintown 2012-02-29 13:04:49


But seriously.

"...if you think non-white actors are given equal opportunity in the movies, then there is no arguing with you."

Who's arguing? Entertainment isn't an equal "opportunity" sector. It's a supply demand sector. Sure, I think there should be smarter entertainment out there, but there isn't much demand for it, so we get Jonah Hill. The money goes where it will make more money, plain and simple. Whether that's right or wrong is a problem no one will ever solve.

Complaining about employment opportunities/quotas/whatever in the arts is more useless in the real world than a grad school debate on semiotics.

How is it racist?
Posted by tazber 2012-02-29 13:14:52


I think the entire entertainment industry is racist. I wish someone would have the balls to do a color blind version of an American classic.

Something by Tennessee Williams perhaps.

I'll be it would look really good.




How is it racist?
Posted by Jordan Catalano 2012-02-29 13:16:40


Just the idea is blacist.

How is it racist?
Posted by Fosse76 2012-02-29 13:34:44


Most of the replies in this thread are racist. It's absolutely disgusting.

How is it racist?
Posted by newintown 2012-02-29 13:35:55


Including yours. Racist.

(It's just so fun to say.)

How is it racist?
Posted by JoeKv99 2012-02-29 13:50:41


Of course it's "out of sync" with America. It's mostly actors. Actors are nuts.

How is it racist?
Posted by whatever2 2012-02-29 15:47:13


oooooohhhhhhh .... now your post makes perfect sense ...

How is it racist?
Posted by The Distinctive Baritone 2012-02-29 18:06:54


Jesus Christ.

Newintown, you made some good points. So did that article on workers.com, but any validity it had was wiped out by the writer's indignant, whiney, bleeding heart outcries of racism. Mankind is strange and complicated. Our workforce and socioeconomic constructs are no exception. Saying "that was racist" is, from my experience, often just as ignorant and small-minded as actual racism is. It's an easy way for people of any color who are lacking in certain areas of intelligence to explain something they don't like or don't understand.

Viola Davis' Oscar loss was not an act of racism. It was the result of many factors--mostly that Meryl Streep got the most votes.

I'm white, straight, and male. Sometimes I wish I were a black lesbian so I could take the easy route and blame my failures on others instead of myself.

Are some people held back because of racism and other forms of bigotry? Yes. Is our socioeconomic makeup "even"? No. But life isn't fair to anybody.

How is it racist?
Posted by Gaveston2 2012-02-29 18:24:15


I wish we could find a middle ground here.

I don't think it's so difficult to appreciate Jordan's satire of the narrowest sort of political correctness while at the same time appreciating the truth in what Blactor writes.

Yes, racism persists. And because it does, it shouldn't surprise us if now and then somebody overreacts.

How is it racist?
Posted by Borstalboy 2012-02-29 18:30:44


America is racist. But the Oscars aren't. Get it???

How is it racist?
Posted by The Distinctive Baritone 2012-02-29 18:33:18


Care to elaborate, Phyllis?

How is it racist?
Posted by Almira 2012-02-29 18:52:20


I don't think Phyllis needs to elaborate.

The original quote speaks VOLUMES.


Just for fun...

Warning: Don't watch if you are an angry white man:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6uH0vpGZJCo



How is it racist?
Posted by Reginald Tresilian 2012-02-29 18:58:38


"I'm white, straight, and male."

You didn't need to tell us.

How is it racist?
Posted by tazber 2012-02-29 19:01:45


Of course racism exists. But Meryl's win probably had nothing to do with the Academy not wanting to honor an African American.

I mean, I think that Octavia Spencer would agree with that assessment.



How is it racist?
Posted by Almira 2012-02-29 19:07:04


"I'm white, straight, and male."

Who wants us to believe he daydreams about being a black lesbian so he can feel better about himself.

That is some seriously funny sh*t.

How is it racist?
Posted by Jordan Catalano 2012-02-29 19:18:55


Meryl should turn her Oscar over to the NAACP and askfor the American people's forgiveness ASAP. Even her accepting it proves she believes slavery should be brought back.

How is it racist?
Posted by henrikegerman 2012-02-29 19:35:49


Newintown, I'm not the one who injected equal opportunity in the discussion, you did, when you responded to blactor's complaint that there aren't enough quality roles for black actors with the claim of a false equivalency that there aren't enough quality roles for anyone.

So which is it? First, you argue that there is this level playing field because there aren't enough quality roles for anyone.

Then you do a 180 and excuse the lack of a level playing field because entertainment's free market status exempts it from offering equal opportunities.

You can't have it both ways.

How is it racist?
Posted by tazber 2012-02-29 19:37:40


It's been common knowledge that Meryl is a racist ever since Out Of Africa beat The Color Purple.

How is it racist?
Posted by Gaveston2 2012-02-29 19:39:37


Of course racism exists. But Meryl's win probably had nothing to do with the Academy not wanting to honor an African American.

I mean, I think that Octavia Spencer would agree with that assessment.


It IS an odd year to accuse Academy voters of racism, IMO. I think most of us agree that Viola Davis is brilliant. Jesus, she managed to walk away with DOUBT even though Streep was the star and Davis only had two scenes. I trust her Oscar day will come.

But when I think of THE HELP, it is Spencer's performance that stands out most in my mind.

And while two actors from the same film have occasionally both won, I think it's far more common for voters to spread the wealth around a little.

None of this is to say racism has disappeared from Hollywood, no more than from America.

How is it racist?
Posted by Musicaldudepeter 2012-02-29 19:48:09


Agree with above poster. Spencer's win was a win for all. Davis's role wasn't strong enough and I don't know why she was put in the leading category - it's clearly a supporting role. Davis is the next Meryl Streep in my opinion and of course she will win an Oscar in the future if not a handful of them. And totally agree re Doubt, that was the definition of a scene stealing performance, Davis was incredible.

How is it racist?
Posted by Reginald Tresilian 2012-02-29 19:50:28


I'm asking this sincerely: Has there really been an outcry of "racism" regarding Streep's win? I read a bunch of stuff in the days following the Oscars, and I've only come across this claim in the OP's post and the link to Workers.com (whatever that is).

How is it racist?
Posted by Idiot 2012-02-29 19:53:06


There are people who think printer paper is racist because it primarily comes in white. What're ya gonna do?

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Almira 2012-02-29 19:54:43


The better leading actress won. If Davis was a white woman, there would be no noise made about this.


I'm still trying to figure out where all the so-called "noise" is.

Outside of the knee-jerk "I'm-so-appalled" tone to the original post and the equally ridiculously emotionally charged responses, I ask: Where is the actually noise?

Has this debate been on the 24 hour Entertainment news cycle? Granted I don't watch it much so it could be, but something tells me this is much ado about nothing.



Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Reginald Tresilian 2012-02-29 19:58:15


"There are people who think printer paper is racist because it primarily comes in white."

Name two. Hell, name one.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Idiot 2012-02-29 20:04:54


Dearest Reginald,

Getova Yosef (a prominent rabbi)
Chompma Hol (an Indian sadhu)

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Jay Lerner-Z 2012-02-29 20:07:04


I once heard someone say that in actual fact there has never been a black winner of Best Actress, Halle Berry not counting because her mother was white. People have some crazy notions sometimes.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Reginald Tresilian 2012-02-29 20:07:32


Sorry. I didn't realize it was Live Up to Your Profile Name Day on BWW.

Carry on.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by PalJoey 2012-02-29 20:08:33


OP stated a false premise and proceeded to argue against it. Bad debating skills. Everyone else just took the bait...because it's fun for us to feed trolls around here. (At least, for a little while.)

Yes, racism exists. And so does misogyny. And so does antisemitism. And so does homophobia. And so does Islamophobia. And so, I suppose, does Christo-phobia or whatever those people who think they're protecting Christmas like to call it. They all exist.

And none of them has anything whatsoever to do with how the Oscars are voted on.

Nothing whatsoever.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Idiot 2012-02-29 20:11:49


Well. Reginald, that would certainly explain why you're being such a prissy, effete prick.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by PalJoey 2012-02-29 20:13:04


And, by the way, Meryl's foundation--the Silver Mountain Foundation for the Arts--donated $10,000 each to two of Viola Davis's favorite charities: Upward Bound and the Segue Institute for Learning.

Because that's what you do when you're Meryl Fucking Streep.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Jordan Catalano 2012-02-29 20:13:55


The very definition of white guilt.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by The Distinctive Baritone 2012-02-29 20:15:23


Well said, PalJoey.

I'd like to apologize for my "black lesbian" remark, as obviously that upset some people and I didn't mean to cause such offense. I am sorry for my crudeness.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Reginald Tresilian 2012-02-29 20:16:03


I see what you're aiming for, Idiot, but the words "reginald" and "tresilian" don't actually mean anything. (Well, they might, but I doubt any of us know what.)

Whereas "idiot" kind of speaks for itself.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Idiot 2012-02-29 20:21:16


...and then the volley died due to a profound lack of wit.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Reginald Tresilian 2012-02-29 20:22:33


I couldn't agree more.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Jay Lerner-Z 2012-02-29 20:24:07


How 'bout them Knicks, huh?

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Jordan Catalano 2012-02-29 20:24:51


Aren't they owned by a white man?

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by PalJoey 2012-02-29 20:25:33


Hey, Idiot--are you as much of an idiot in real life or do you just come to BroadwayWorld to be an idiot.

I'd like to believe you were actually an intelligent human being, but since you've never exhibited a single intelligent syllable in the 1 year, 4 months and 20 days you've been posting here, I'll just take you at your word.

You're an idiot, Idiot.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Gaveston2 2012-02-29 20:47:31


Because that's what you do when you're Meryl Fucking Streep.

Worth repeating. And aren't we fortunate that one of our finest actresses is also such a classy human being?

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2012-02-29 21:05:46


I'd like to apologize for my "black lesbian" remark, as obviously that upset some people and I didn't mean to cause such offense. I am sorry for my crudeness.

If you think the problem was that what you said was crude, you're wrong.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Jordan Catalano 2012-02-29 21:11:25


Crude? Like a "bubbling crude" like "black" gold?

RAY-CIST!

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by The Distinctive Baritone 2012-02-29 21:57:42


I was apologizing, Phyllis, geez.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2012-02-29 22:18:00


I know, baby, and I'd love this to be a chance for all of us to just talk openly and honesty about a whole host of things like white privilege -and straight privilege - and how even though it doesn't matter whether a there was a cabal of people voted against Viola Davis by voting for Meryl Streep. There was no cabal, by the way.

I guess it's not too different from people crying homophobia when Brokeback didn't win a few years back. I didn't agree with that either, but that doesn't change the real issues this country does have with racism and homophbia.

But these things but we just can't here on BWW. This board can have some thought-provoking discussion, and some that are just a hell of a lot of fun, but race just never works. People get defensive, others crying "PC Police" and inevitably people cry racism in jest until it just starts to go from being a little funny to being a little obnoxious. I get it, we can't do it. But can we please just stop the "OMG THAT'S RACIST" jokes? They're really just nothing but wearying at this point.

So offensive to anyone, because I genuinely dig most of the posters in this thread.

I do agree with PalJoey about Idiot, though.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by TracyLord 2012-02-29 22:21:54


Baritone, I'm not sure if you grasp the magnitude of the ignorance displayed in your "black lesbian" comment. Crudeness is hardly the issue.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Jordan Catalano 2012-02-29 22:27:30


I heard that Stephen Sondheim and David Ives are writing a musical about this very thing.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by The Distinctive Baritone 2012-02-29 22:38:32


Look, I apologized. Stop being self-righteous and move on.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Broadway61004 2012-02-29 23:18:55


They're racist in the same way they were homophobic when they gave the Oscar to Philip Seymour Hoffman over Heath Ledger for Brokeback. You know, a huge arts organization clearly would be homophobic for giving an Oscar to a guy playing TRUMAN CAPOTE. Yet according to many, apparently they were.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by TracyLord 2012-02-29 23:26:23


Baritone, I think that you should take some time and educate yourself about the myth of reverse discrimination. I understand how saying this may come across as self-righteous, but you don't strike me as a stupid person. I think you'll quickly be able to see how a comment, like your "black lesbian" one, is stemming from the belief that minorities are seeking special treatment. Understand that, even if I were able to successfully blame my failings on white or straight men, we are not standing on a level playing field.

Alright, now...

I want to move on
I want to explore the light
I want to know how to get through,
Through to something new,
Something of my own...

Signed,
A Black Lesbian (who usually blames her problems on her parents)

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by PalJoey 2012-03-01 00:06:22


A Black Lesbian (who usually blames her problems on her parents)

Which makes you, when all is said and done, a gay white jew.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by TracyLord 2012-03-01 00:27:47


Oh, dear... I don't know if I can come to terms with that this late in life. What'll I wear?

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by StageManager2 2012-03-01 08:15:12


"Of course racism exists. But Meryl's win probably had nothing to do with the Academy not wanting to honor an African American.

I mean, I think that Octavia Spencer would agree with that assessment."

Spencer's was an affirmative action win. There, I said it. There was nothing extraordinary about her performance, and God knows she wasn't the best in her bunch. And that standing ovation for her was just ridiculous. I'm willing to bet that if Jessica Chastain had won instead no one (except maybe her co-stars) would have stood up.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by henrikegerman 2012-03-01 08:37:10


StageManager, the fact that you feel that way about Spencer's performance doesn't mean that a great many people don't genuinely believe it was an outstanding performance.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by themysteriousgrowl 2012-03-01 08:40:32



While I don't agree that it was an "affirmative action win" (whatever that's meant to mean) I do agree that she didn't deserve the win. I haven't seen "Albert Nobbs" yet, so I can't speak to Janet McTeer's performance, but Jessica Chastain was certainly better in "The Help," and Brnice Bejo was light years ahead of both of them in "The Artist."

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Jordan Catalano 2012-03-01 08:51:34


Well I (respectfully, of course) disagree with you. Streep transformed herself in a way that even for her was extraordinary for this film. I think she more than deserved the statue for THE WHITE IRON LADY.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by themysteriousgrowl 2012-03-01 08:57:56



I'm talking Supporting, beyotch.

I haven't seen "The White Iron Lady Who's Not Black and Does All the Better for It."

Also, on the subject of Spencer, let's not forget that she also won the BAFTA, so she must have ridden that white American liberal guilt ferry all the way across the pond.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Jordan Catalano 2012-03-01 09:01:04


Excuse me for being confused. It was not my intention. Please go on with your day.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by themysteriousgrowl 2012-03-01 09:05:03



I may. I may NOT.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Jordan Catalano 2012-03-01 09:10:13


Christ, you're such a tease.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by newintown 2012-03-01 09:20:45


Wow, you gals were up all night on this one weren't you?

Henrik, clearly you have a passion for this topic that I suspect precludes a dispassionate exchange of opinion.

However, to me, my two posts are far from antithetical - they both support my main thesis that no one is guaranteed employment as an artist, and that issues of race (and all those other bugaboos) is irrelevant when discussing opportunities as a commercial artist (which isn't exactly true - there are some times and places where being of color or a woman or someone else seen as disadvantaged works as a benefit - when a theatre company devotes a season [or entire mission] to African American, for instance).

But another big point is that any lack of opportunities for actors of color (whether real or perceived) is not due to the man viciously trying to keep them down, but only because the money goes where people think it will make more money.

Personally, the actors of color I know are (on average) working more than the white actors I know these days. I'm not saying that's a global average, just what I see in my part of NYC. But I think this particular thread is more about complaints over leading, starring, Oscar-worthy roles in expensive movies than general "work."

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by juggles 2012-03-01 09:23:22


Why don't blacks apply to be on the Panel for voting who wins what at the Oscars and why don't blacks set up film companies/theatre companies etc? Instead of being reliant or think they are, on white companies.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Jordan Catalano 2012-03-01 09:25:07


Where is the actual noise?
Posted by TheatreDiva90016 2012-03-01 11:42:46


I thought the standing ovation for Octavia was racist.

'Look! We gave it to ONE blactor!'




And, go!

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by dreaming 2012-03-01 11:57:39


I saw all of the nominated films in the acting categories, and here's how my so-called racist voting would have turned out (I, for the record, do not consider myself a racist, I just vote for the actor or actress I think was the best in their category):

Best Actor: Jean Dujardin (who did win)
Best Actress: Tie: Viola Davis, and Glenn Close (loved both very different performances)
Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer (who won)
Best Supporting Actress: Berenice Bejo (who really deserved it-her luminescence was amazing-she just owned the screen without saying a word)

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2012-03-01 13:20:12


Jesus. Just stop. All of you.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Idiot 2012-03-01 13:27:49


PalJoey: Hey, Idiot--are you as much of an idiot in real life or do you just come to BroadwayWorld to be an idiot.

I'd like to believe you were actually an intelligent human being, but since you've never exhibited a single intelligent syllable in the 1 year, 4 months and 20 days you've been posting here, I'll just take you at your word.

You're an idiot, Idiot."

Hmm. Okay.

Yesterday I made a comment that was meant to imply that there are people who see racism in ridiculous places. This is true. Not idiotic.

Some poster I'm not familiar with decided to take me to task as though the clearly absurd phrasing of said comment was literal -- as though someone would actually think copy paper was racist. In other words, they didn't get the turn of phrase. Not seeing anything idiotic so far.

I decided, "Ah what the hell, I'll play," and ribbed him back without concern for decorum or politeness -- the same way he was treating me. A little nasty to be sure, but nasty is certainly not off limits around here. Not idiotic yet.

I'm still quite pleased with 'Getovah Yosef'. The other one needed work.

So that's what happened, Pal Joey. What's your problem?

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by uncageg 2012-03-01 14:09:37


"The beef that black performers have is that there is a scarcity of quality roles for us. After there were NO black nominees last year--which wasn't a surprise, seeing as how very few of us were in any major movies in substantial roles--this year feels like a slap in the face to many black people, as the only actresses nominated this year were playing maids--shades of Hattie McDaniel. I think anyone with a modicum of sensitivity and knowledge of American history would see why Black people might have a problem with this, despite the fact that the story is an intriguing one and that the film moved many people (I personally hated it, for various reasons, but it's not necessarily a terrible movie). On a side note, adding further fuel to the fire surrounding this film is the fact that a white woman wrote the original novel--a topic that had many tongues in the black community wagging. But that is beside the point."

my 2 cents....

So since good nominated roles are few and far between, are we just supposed to give a black actor an award because it may be 2 years or so before another one comes up? I don't feel like this year was a slap in the face. These two woman turned in wonderful performances in a very good movie. It is a movie based on a book. Yes, the writer was white and wrote it based on what she thought might be going through the mind of the black domestic worker that kind of raised her. She lived in Jackson. So did you want Meryl and Julia to play the parts? Like it or not, these things ARE a part of our history. As a black person I am glad they have been brought to the big screen and even to the stage (Caroline or Change). If they weren't than black people would be screaming that hollywood is ignoring that part of history. You can't have things both ways. And black actors have not just played nannys, etc over the years. It just seems that when they do and don't get awarded for it, black people get all upset. And here are just a few Black actors who have won an Oscar that weren't playing maids, nannies, etc: Whoopie Goldberg, Jennifer Hudson, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Louis Gossett, Jr. Not to mention other African Americans who have won in other categories. Yes, it would be nice to see more black people win but it would also be nice to see Asians and Hispanics win also. Just my random thoughts.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by TheLadyoftheWood 2012-03-01 14:17:41


Great point uncageg! I think that people of other nationalities and races deserve recognition, besides those that are taped in Documentary films.

Random Question? Has an Asian won Best Actor or Actress? Also where in the world is Cate Blanchett? She needs to get back on the screen and give that Meryl a run for her money!

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by tazber 2012-03-01 14:33:48


Random Question? Has an Asian won Best Actor or Actress?

Jonathan Pryce!


Where is the actual noise?
Posted by themysteriousgrowl 2012-03-01 14:37:52



An Asian or Asian-American?

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by dreaming 2012-03-01 14:40:11


Yul Brynner and Ben Kingsley are of Asian descent.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by tazber 2012-03-01 14:40:52


Or an American-Asian?

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by givesmevoice 2012-03-01 14:43:24


Miyoshi Umeki is the only person of East Asian descent to win an Oscar for acting, and she won for Best Supporting Actress.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by theatreguy 2012-03-01 14:48:04


Haing S. Nor, from Cambodia, won Best Supporting Actor in 1984.

For reference, Wikipedia has articles on Asian and Black Oscar nominees and winners:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Asian_Academy_Award_winners_and_nominees
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_black_Academy_Award_winners_and_nominees

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by newintown 2012-03-01 14:50:29


Ben Kingsley is of Asian descent, and won for Gandhi.

Whoops - someone beat me to it...

I'm not sure, however, that Brynner actually was Asian - his background was always so murky. He was, probably, almost entirely Russian; he definitely was Russian culturally.


Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Borstalboy 2012-03-01 15:04:44


Of course, Tilda Swinton was snubbed this year because she was TOO white...but no one ever talks about that.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Jordan Catalano 2012-03-01 15:08:12


And it's obvious why poor Betty "White" has never won.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by newintown 2012-03-01 15:12:02


What about Jack Black and Karen Black? Robbed!

Although Dustin Lance Black did win...

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Jordan Catalano 2012-03-01 15:17:41


But he's a gay black which is different.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by uncageg 2012-03-01 15:18:33


This is part of an ABC News/AP piece done after the Oscars:

"The fear was Viola winning or 'The Help' winning would've validated keeping alive an image that many black folks found stereotypical, inaccurate and overall problematic," he said in an interview. "A win was seen as a setback."

Not for Barbara Young, who has worked for 17 years as a domestic worker and is an organizer for the National Domestic Workers Alliance. Watching the film, Young cried when Davis' character was separated from a white child  she had endured several such partings in real life.

Young traveled from New York to Los Angeles for an Oscar viewing party organized by the National Domestic Workers Alliance. When Streep's name was called instead of Davis', the room of 50 people let out a huge groan.

"It was a very sad situation in that room," said Young, an immigrant from Barbados. "I was disappointed, but I was very grateful to the producers of the movie for bringing domestic work to the forefront."

She saw a simple reason for the criticism of the maid role: "It's not recognized as real work."

Davis certainly knows that it's real work  her mother and grandmother both toiled as maids.

During Oscar season, Davis consistently advocated for a wider range of black roles. "I've played a lot of drug addicts," she said in an interview with Terry Gross of NPR.

And she told Tavis Smiley that black people who are ambivalent about "The Help" have a mindset that is "absolutely destroying the black artist," because it forces black actors to water down their performances  to avoid character flaws that might offend oversensitive black audiences.

"The black artist cannot live in the place  in a revisionist place," Davis told Smiley. "The black artist can only tell the truth about humanity, and humanity is messy."


The people quoted in the article don't even mention the black actors I mentioned in my earlier post.

http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/wireStory/blacks-mix-emotions-oscar-night-15803783



Where is the actual noise?
Posted by themysteriousgrowl 2012-03-01 15:20:50



'And it's obvious why poor Betty "White" has never won.'

?? She was nominated for "Lake Placid."

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by henrikegerman 2012-03-01 15:34:49


"Has an Asian actor or actress won best actor or actress"

Kingsley's father was Indian and Brynner's grandmother was 1/8 Mongolian. That makes Kingsley 1/2 Indian and Brynner 1/32nd Mongolian.

So I guess you could say that 17/32 of an Asian actor has won a best actor or actress oscar.

You'd sound like a fool, of course, but you could say that.

Brynner was also born in Siberia, but if we were to consider that, we should also consider that Julie Christie was born in India and Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine were born in Japan.

Merle Oberon is said to be the first oscar nominee who was at least partly Asian (her exact origins are unclear, but she was most likely part Ceylonese and Chinese). More recently, Asian acting nominees have included Topol (Israeli born Israeli), Jennifer and Meg Tilly (half Chinese Americans), Salma Hayek (half Lebanese Mexican American), Shohreh Aghdashloo (Iranian American) Noriyuki "Pat" Morita, Mako and Sessue Hayakawa (Japanese Americans) and Rinko Kikuchi and Ken Watanabe (Japanese). In addition to Umeki and Ngor who have won.

Of course, a great many highly acclaimed Asian actors, including a great many who are not American (like a great many celebrated foreign actors who are not Asian) have not received oscar nominations.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by TheLadyoftheWood 2012-03-01 15:39:09


Just looked over those lists and really Academy? "It's Hard Out Here for A Pimp," wins best song?

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by henrikegerman 2012-03-01 15:59:20


Let's try to put this in perspective.

If Norm Lewis were to lose the tony to Danny Burstein, that would not be racist.

On the other hand, if he were to lose it to Harry Connick, Jr...

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by tazber 2012-03-01 16:08:33


If anyone lost to Harry we would have a much larger problem than racism to deal with.

Epic bad taste.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Mister Matt 2012-03-01 16:46:17


Sorry, but the idea that this much thought goes through the mind of each member of the Academy when checking a box on a ballot is even more ludicrous than the idea that Meryl won because she is white and Viola lost because she is black or that racism had anything to do with it. Meanwhile, apparently Obama murdered Breitbart.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by sondhead 2012-03-02 02:23:12


This all sounds like placing agendas on things... awards... movie roles...

The Help was a story. The fact that it featured black maids was part of the story and is part of our nation's history. Are we to never tell stories that take place in the past so that we can never cast an african american in an "offensive" role? Pretending the past never happened will get you no where. I'm pretty sure the point of The Help was not that all black people are maids or should be maids, so...

Also, Meryl Streep won an award against SEVERAL other actors. She wasn't up against only Viola Davis, no matter what the pundits said beforehand. Saying that it had anything to do with race is to place an agenda on something without merit. It's a subjective process and Meryl streep is definitely a wonderful actor, soooo....

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by henrikegerman 2012-03-02 08:59:46


Also, let's examine what makes these "offensive" roles offensive. Because, frankly, I don't get it.

The premise that the role of a black female domestic is on its face offensive seems on its face racist, sexist and classist. Let alone the role of a black female domestic who, like Abilene and Minnie, dares to stand up to power at great risk to herself.

No one seems to think, nor should they, of an oppressed laborer in a factory as a per se offensive role. Perhaps an oppressed laborer inside the home has some kind of stamp of demoralization (at least when that domestic laborer happens to be black and a woman). Perhaps that has something to do with the fact that we consider domestic work to be less valuable because it is work traditionally done by women.

Then again, no one seemed to have any problem with Anthony Hopkins playing a male domestic servant who doesn't stand up to power in Remains of the Day and getting an oscar nomination for it. No one seems to have a problem with Jean Marsh returning to Rose in Upstairs, Downstairs either, or to the many fine perforrmances in Downton Abbey by actors playing domestics. (Maybe it's different in Merry Old White England). And, it must be said, these characters were hardly oppressed relative to Minnie and Abilene. Far from it. But why should playing an oppressed woman equate with playing an objectionable role? And one need look no further than Bronte and Dickens to see a multitude of English servants (and non-domestic workers) who were oppressed. No one argues that playing these parts is beneath an actor's dignity.

Underlying all of this perhaps is the valid concern that there should be an increased quantity and quality of roles for black actors and actresses. I couldn't agree more. But that doesn't make the subject matter of The Help (no matter what one thinks of the movie itself or its precise treatment) any less worthy of dramatization. Nor does it make the roles of black female domestics in 1960s Alabama offensive roles.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by StageManager2 2012-03-02 09:23:51


Henrikgerman, the reason people found it offensive is that it is basically a white savior film. Neither Minny nor Abileen would have been inspired to stand up for herself had it not been for a white girl. Skeeter is the catalyst that gets Abileen and Minny to tell their stories, and Celia Foote and her husband promise Minny lifetime employment (it is also implied that they give her the guest house), which gives her the courage to leave her abusive husband. According to the movie, none of these things would've happened had it not been for the encouragement and support of white people. Surely, there are other, better ways to tell the plight of Southern Civil Rights-era domestics than through the eyes of a white protagonist.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by henrikegerman 2012-03-02 10:08:55


I realize that Stagemanager. But it's rather simplistic. The Help has its problems, sure. But discounting what black women have done for white women raising them and teaching them is not one of them. Black women mother white women all through The Help. Skeeter, whom Minnie is guardedly cautious of, and with good reason, may hold a key to getting the Help's story out, but the story is theirs, supplemented by Skeeter's own story only as it reflects on what happens to Constantine.

This putative "one white woman raising black women up" theme of The Help while on the surface troubling (and certainly the movie has those trappings, and its marketing campaign didn't help matters) is, on closer inspection, false.

The Help insists that the white women in the story owe their lives and nurturing to black women, their white parents having generally abrogated their childraising responsibilities to the help. Constantine raises Skeeter. Aibileen raises Mae Mobley, until she can't anymore. And Minnie becomes the child woman Celia's only friend.

There have been countless stories in which an oppressed group is allowed to - or attempts to - escape and or stand up to tyranny through the intervention of a central protagonist who is not a member of the oppressed group (from Schindler's List to Cry Freedom to Another World to Dances with Wolves to Glory to The Mission to Wallenberg to Hotel Rwanda (Hutu saves Tutsis) ....)

The Help (and I don't mean to imply it is as good a film as Schindler's List or Hotel Rwanda; it's not; but that is a different discussion entirely) seems to be one of the few films in this general category which confronts that power imbalance in a thought-provoking way rather than simply overlooking its implications.

The movie begins and ends with Aibilene. Aibilene tells her own story with her own voice.







Where is the actual noise?
Posted by newintown 2012-03-02 11:00:15


"Underlying all of this perhaps is the valid concern that there should be an increased quantity and quality of roles for black actors and actresses."

That's really a well-meant and good-hearted sentiment, but don't you think that sort of statement is useless without any exploration/addressing of how it could ever practically be implemented?

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Idiot 2012-03-02 11:15:28


Black maids deserve to have their stories told. So do white women who try to help oppressed minorities. I find the 'white savior' moniker very very offensive when used to insinuate that certain stories should not even be told.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by uncageg 2012-03-02 12:22:04


"Henrikgerman, the reason people found it offensive is that it is basically a white savior film."


I did not see this film as totally being a white savior film. The maids pretty much were in control. Had they not decided to tell their stories, Skeeter would not have been able to write her book. And the maids set the boundries. It was Minny who was smart enough to do what she did. So yes, they "needed" Skeeter to get their story out but Skeeter also needed them. They didn't go to Skeeter initially for help to "save" them. It was totally their decision. Just my random thoughts.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by henrikegerman 2012-03-02 13:05:08


Practical implementation is, of course, an important discussion, newintown. One far beyond the scope of this thread. And I'm not about to play the great white savior who offers suggestions

Not to suggest, Dear Idiot, that great white saviors don't deseve to have their stories told - they do, it's a question of how often those stories manage to get made in relation to stories of liberation that don't require a great white savior at their helm - and I don't think The Help qualifies as a story that did rely on a great white savior for reasons I already stated.

Having said that, I am a member of other underrepresented groups (not to imply that such memebership gives me greater qualifications to speak my mind on this subject), I think getting stories out there which portray people who are underrepresented, no matter whether the moving force is a person directly representing the underrepresented or not, requires the balls to just go ahead and do it, and for those in power who control the pursestrings of big bucks (the people who usually control the movies that get seen, for better or for worse) simply having the guts to defy the idiocy of conventional wisdom.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Idiot 2012-03-02 14:22:40


"it's a question of how often those stories manage to get made in relation to stories of liberation that don't require a great white savior at their helm"

Agreed, henrikegerman. But the reasons behind such decisions are strictly business - numbers. Commercial fare is made (or not made) based on stats about who pays to see the end product -- how big is the known audience for X kind of story. From within the film industry I have not observed these decisions being made out of entrenched racism. They tend to be purely financial.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by henrikegerman 2012-03-02 14:44:48


^Agreed. It's a business just like any other. And in many ways an ugly one, like most. However, the assumptions about what will succeed and what won't need to be challenged. Those that do shake up the system, sometimes triumph. On that very subject, see another recent movie, the excellent Moneyball.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by newintown 2012-03-02 15:02:07


"However, the assumptions about what will succeed and what won't need to be challenged."

Once again, there's just no way to implement such an idea. There's no reason any artist or arts funder, commercial or otherwise, should be coerced into employing affirmative action.

If they want to, fine, but it's their choice.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Mister Matt 2012-03-02 15:15:51


uncageg - I agree with you completely. I think chalking this story up as a "white savior" story is more about making a statement than objectively analyzing the story itself. Had this been a story about a black maid uprising in Mississippi where they independently show up the white society in the early 60s might have been exciting and interesting, but would it even be believable? At least in a story that doesn't end with the maids lynched or jailed? Or is it true that there simply were not any white people in Mississippi who assisted in the Civil Rights movement? Or if there were, the story shouldn't be told?

Bottom line is, the movie got produced because the book was a massive best-seller and a sensation, just like most films based on novels whether they are about "white saviors" or any other topic that make up 99% of the novels that receive film treatments. I would be curious to know if the "white savior" attitude towards this film or novel is a more common sentiment among the white or the black communities (or both). This is actually the first time I've heard this attitude towards this story, but I was preoccupied when the novel came out, so I could have missed it.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by henrikegerman 2012-03-02 16:22:53


"There's no reason any artist or arts funder, commercial or otherwise, should be coerced into employing affirmative action."

If anyone is suggesting coercion of anyone in the arts, it certainly isn't me. There is nothing coercive about encouraging certain arts funders to make different kinds of films with different kinds of roles or to think differently about what might bring in an audience in a pluralistic culture. There is nothing coercive about asking certain movie producers to stop assuming that the public only wants crap and crap alone.

In fact, it's part of the free market system for those consumers who recognize the need for something that goes against ingrained presumptions of what will sell to make that need known (if they wish to be heard, which is their choice). Isn't that why we are at times asked for our input by those controlling the purse? No one asks participants in a focus group to please begin the coercion process.

History is not stagnant. No one coerced the producers of Will and Grace and Six Feet Under. No one coerced the studio system to recognize that Poitier could be a movie star. No one coerced Mike Nichols to cast Dustin Hoffman as Benjamin Braddock. No one coerced the creation of Brokeback Mountain and Slumdog Millionaire and The Artist, as unlikely candidates for an adoring audience as those films may have seemed to many at the time.

No one coerced hbo, showtime and amc to start making beautifully written television that far surpasses 99% of what is shown on the big screen.





Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Gaveston2 2012-03-02 16:32:57


I'm a bit leery of the defense of racial inequalities on the ground that market demands dictate artistic content. Not because the argument isn't true, but because it is being argued here as if focus on white characters and their concerns are essential for films to be profitable.

It isn't that simple and good movies about black characters have been and continue to be quite successful. Even Tyler Perry moves makes fortunes.

On the other hand, taken to an extreme, one might even claim that slaveowners "weren't racist", they were just following market demands that dictated they acquire free labor to harvest their cotton. I'm certainly willing to admit that it's easier to go with the flow of market demands than to buck them, but we ask people to resist the pull of market forces in the name of ethics all the time.

I see no reason why artists should be exempt.

That being said and though I am as offended as anyone (anyone white anyway) at "white savior" narratives, I didn't think THE HELP was as bad as I feared it might be. As others have pointed out, the white narrator doesn't exactly "save" the African Americans. The latter have their own acts of resistance and the white writer is merely there to report them.

I suspect for some the problem is in that last sentence: that the problems, concerns, tragedies and triumphs of African American characters only become relevant to Hollywood when a white character chooses to investigate. And that's a fair criticism.

Personally (since I remember the final years before integration), I was happy to see African American housekeepers recognized as the heroic figures they often were (and in some cases still are): raising their own children PLUS those of the very people who oppressed them, and all the while finding ways to rebel against Jim Crow laws. One needn't pine for a return to that hateful system to recognize the valiant struggles of those it was designed to control.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by newintown 2012-03-02 16:33:47


Well, henrik, I think we'll just have to acknowledge that we disagree on some of these points.

Several of things you seem to be citing as ground-breaking or revolutionary were (I believe) not quite as radically different from many other works happening prior or at the same time - they just received greater visibility and have been remembered longer by a public that has a hard time remembering much of anything (or at least remembering it accurately).

And as for Will and Grace or Six Feet Under - I don't see anything groundbreaking there. Will And Grace was just another sitcom with sexless gay characters. Nothing new there. Maybe they spoke more than before, but the representation of gay men wasn't enormously different than it would have been on Love American Style.

But more importantly, none of the things you cite came about because of public complaints about lack of opportunities for anyone - they happened because either a) someone thought it would be good, and/or b) someone thought it would make money. Those are the only things driving entertainment.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by 3bluenight 2012-03-02 16:46:54


for me, the issue is not about being saved by a white character, but that the voice isn't theirs. they are given voice by the white character to the wider public. it implies that stories of minorities struggles can't be told and heard, unless filtered by a white panacea.

i think what's interesting about these conversations on this board, is how sarcastic the racist statements are. they are told in pseudo jest, but with the edge and sting of sincere truth.

We live in a culture that has incorporated discrimination into the foundational structures on which the culture operates. we see it blatantly in the criminal justice system and education system. we see it more subtly (for some) through media representations and marketing stereotypes.

for the issue of whether an actor is snubbed because of racism is just that - an issue for discussion. but the vehemence with which some people reply makes me wonder just who liberal we are on these issues. what's the harm in a public dialogue. it's not like the award will be reawarded. if we can't have conversations about issues that are clearly still sorting themselves out - i do i worry about just how far to the middle right we've flung.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by henrikegerman 2012-03-02 16:51:40


Newintown, of course we can agree to disagree. And I am more than willing to acknowledge that my examples may not be groundbreaking. My point was I that many in the entertainment industry likely saw them as huge risks, whether or not they were radically iconoclastic ventures or not.

More to your point, even if my examples were not the best, my point is the same. At some point, someone takes a chance and proves the naysayers who rely on notions of the tried and true wrong in terms of financial and or critical return.

And, more importantly, people who make the need for what they want known, when what they want aligns with what they deem to be social and artistic progress, are not engaged in coercion. Rather such people are an integral part of the free market model that is a premise of your argument.

Gaveston, as you know I didn't raise the market model as a concern, here. It was Newintown who did and I endeavored to respond on those terms. I didn't presume (nor do I presume that you have so presumed) that Newintown is necessarily justifying racial inequities (or for that matter cultural nadirs) based on market motives. In fact, Newintown has acknowledged that the complaint about these inequities is well-meant and good-hearted.

Rather, I believe Newintown was pointing to the difficulties of correcting the market, and that it cannot be accomplished through coercion. My point is that making what one wants - and one's opinion that what one is getting is objectionable - known, is not coercion. It is simply communication of demand (aesthetically, "demand" in the sense of proclaiming affinity, not in the sense of duress; economically, demand in the sense of supply and demand, not in the sense of duress).

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Gaveston2 2012-03-02 16:55:25


Maybe they spoke more than before, but the representation of gay men wasn't enormously different than it would have been on Love American Style.

I trust you mean no different than "it would have been on LAS" for heterosexual characters. Charles Nelson Reilly notwithstanding, I don't remember any openly gay characters on LAS.

Look, I understand that WILL AND GRACE wasn't an adaptation of a Larry Kramer novel, but it certain brought gay subject material out into the open to an extent not seen previously in episodic TV. Particularly in the first few years before the quality began to decline.

And in terms of your market argument, SOME show with major gay characters had to come along and be a smash hit in order to enable those that have followed.

newintown, I'm sure you are right that nobody in Hollywood is willing to lose millions just to explore neglected subject matters. On the other hand, producers and network executives are human beings; they don't like being labeled racists and homophobes any more than you or I do.

To say groups such as the NAACP and GLADD have NO effect, that every decision is entirely market-driven overstates the reality.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Idiot 2012-03-02 18:01:05


^ "...they don't like being labeled racists and homophobes any more than you or I do."

Particularly, I would add, when the accusations are completely false.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Gaveston2 2012-03-02 19:03:11


Probably so, Idiot, but my point was that while nobody is denying the power of market forces, human beings also value prestige. (If they didn't, movie stars would never pass on blockbuster sequels to make movies for Sundance.) Being on the right side of civil rights issues conveys more prestige than being on the wrong side.

To henrikegerman:

Gaveston, as you know I didn't raise the market model as a concern, here. It was Newintown who did and I endeavored to respond on those terms.

henrik, I certainly understood your position and I didn't accuse newintown of actively supporting racism, homophobia or the like. Rather, I understood his argument to be that money rules all and "all the rest is talk". I don't have a copy handy, but I think there are numerous studies showing that primates (including humans) will often opt for status over material gain. (This becomes particularly likely when basic biological needs have been met. Maslow's Hierarchy and all that.)

That "status" is the reason GLAAD gives awards.

newintown is correct that no amount of message board discussion is going to force Disney to throw away money on something they are sure will fail. But pressure from advocacy groups does tend to increase the prestige of a BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN (or even THE HELP, despite objections) over BACHELOR PARTY 3. (Which isn't to say we won't see the latter at the neighborhood multiplex someday.)

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by juggles 2012-03-02 19:12:43


Roots?

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Gaveston2 2012-03-02 20:47:19


Roots?

...would be on HBO or Showtime today, and thankfully so. But that's a great example of a compelling story told well and few turned it off because the main characters were African-American.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by sondhead 2012-03-02 22:24:11


"for me, the issue is not about being saved by a white character, but that the voice isn't theirs. they are given voice by the white character to the wider public. it implies that stories of minorities struggles can't be told and heard, unless filtered by a white panacea."

...The Help takes place in the early 1960's. For the story to make sense, it would of course take a white person to publish their stories.

Again, it's a STORY. It was Kathryn Stockett's way of telling the story of the maid who raised her if I'm not mistaken, and are we saying that she shouldn't be able to tell that story because she's white? That's ludicrous. I guess men should only write about men, women about women, homosexuals about homosexuals, so on and so forth.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by uncageg 2012-03-03 00:37:15


"Roots?

...would be on HBO or Showtime today, and thankfully so. But that's a great example of a compelling story told well and few turned it off because the main characters were African-American."

Roots was originally aired on ABC. Why should it be "rightfully so" broadcast on HBO now? That is a pay station. Why not air it on network television? Not everyone has HBO, practically everyone can get one of the "big 3" stations?

But you are right that it probably would be on HBO simply because the network station don't do mini series like that anymore.

Juggles, if your "roots" post was in response to Gaveston2's post about pressure from advocacy groups, roots wasn't aired because of that. It was a best selling novel that got filmed for tv.


Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Kad 2012-03-03 00:46:53


I'm not really sure how one can dismiss Six Feet Under as a groundbreaking depiction of gay characters in a wildly popular television drama. I don't think we've seen gay characters as good since that serious ended.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by uncageg 2012-03-03 01:01:16


Kad, I agree. The characters were depicted as gay men that I knew and were in my life. Not stereotypical. And that is groundbreaking, in my opinion.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Gaveston2 2012-03-03 17:23:58


Roots was originally aired on ABC. Why should it be "rightfully so" broadcast on HBO now? That is a pay station. Why not air it on network television? Not everyone has HBO, practically everyone can get one of the "big 3" stations?

Point taken, uncageg; I wasn't trying to narrow ROOTS' audience. But I was thinking that the broadcast networks have changed a great deal since ROOTS was first broadcast. You're right that they rarely if ever do miniseries. And though I admit to watching too much TV, I can think of only one decent drama on broadcast TV (PARENTHOOD) that isn't about cops, lawyers or doctors. (And we all know what NBC recently tried to do with its 10pm "drama" slot.)

I shudder to think what would happen to ROOTS by the time it made it to the airwaves.

So maybe we should compromise and put our ROOTS remake on basic cable?

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Gaveston2 2012-03-03 17:47:55


Black maids deserve to have their stories told. So do white women who try to help oppressed minorities. I find the 'white savior' moniker very very offensive when used to insinuate that certain stories should not even be told.

The "white savior" label is more about HOW stories are told than WHICH stories are told. Put another way, the term is a reference to narrative strategy, not an insult to any particular character, fictional or historic. So unless it's your work which is being so labeled, I don't know why you would be offended.

A variation of the "white savior" narrative is what one (white) director I know called the "Didn't we learn a lot?" play or movie, in which the point of African-American civil rights seems to have been that white people learned about tolerance and social justice. (See Ally Sheedy in HEART OF DIXIE. Not to blame Miss Sheedy; that's just the first example that comes to mind and Sheedy actually says to her maid, "Kizzie, you are my light!")

There's nothing wrong per se with stories about white FBI agents or white activists working in the South in the 1960s. It's just that Hollywood has approached the civil rights struggle through the eyes of white characters so often, it's as if white people were the primary actors in that conflict rather than black people.

And ultimately that's a misrepresentation of history (however unintentional and no matter how accurate any one story of a particular white person may be).

(NOTE to henrik, it's a matter of emphasis through sheer repetition, not that any one narrative is untrue or unfair.)

To be clear, this is a general observation and not a specific comment on THE HELP. As I said above, I think THE HELP goes well beyond the "white savior" narratives of the past to show black women who take actions of their own. Of course, white people are also involved; whites and blacks have always lived in close proximity in the American South.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by juggles 2012-03-03 18:24:22


White Chicks??
Many black actors in this and they are superb!!!!!!!

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Idiot 2012-03-04 11:10:01


G2 :"The "white savior" label is more about HOW stories are told than WHICH stories are told."

Though you make thoughtful points, I disagree with your reasoning above.

How the story is told (not from a directorial point of view but the point of view of the script) is the story, in my view.

The criticisms around THE HELP that I've read all insinuate that the story shouldn't be told. I say this because if the story's main character had been one of the domestic workers, it wouldn't have been THE HELP as we know it at all.

If you'd care to put a finer point on it I'd be very interested to hear it.

For the record, I found the film 'okay' at best. I'm not defending a work that I love here.

(And yes, I did have one film studio refer to one of my scripts as 'too great white hope for our demo', and though nobody else who read it agreed, that was my introduction to the sensitivity we're discussing here.)

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by henrikegerman 2012-03-04 12:13:29


^perhaps this relates to the issue of whether Davis is a lead or a featured character in The Help.

In my view, she and Stone are both principles. The script dealt square on with the power imbalance raised by the so called "white savior" template, rather than ignore its implications, and dealt with the imbalance maturely and in multiple interesting ways - not only Minnie's wariness of Skeeter and Minnie's being Celia's "black savior," the fact that Celia is very good to Minnie and becomes Minnie's help at the end when she most needs it isn't a bad thing - it simply means that we are watching a feel good movie that needs to be judged on those terms; on those terms it was well above average, a movie I expected to hate but enjoyed. Moreover, I give the movie credit for presenting Celie as another kind of outcast/misfit and placing class issues on the screen through her. Watching Spencer and Chastain together in these roles was pure joy, not only because of their great talent and teamwork, but because - to my eyes - these two women (whom could so easily be relegated to stereotypes) were portrayed with a refreshing absence of condescension by the screenplay and direction.

But especially it deals with this power imbalance by having Aibileen insist on writing her own story and in her becoming a writer. Would this have happened without Skeeter? Almost certainly not? And Skeeter couldn't achieve what she wants without the women she writes about. Moreover, Skeeter wouldn't be the woman she is without Constantine. I wouldn't go so far as to say that it would be impossible for the domestics of The Help to tell their own stories without Skeeter - black women accomplished a great many things much more impressive than that in that period of American history, and long before it. But I don't see anything wrong with the way the relationship between a young Southern white woman who wants to explore the lives of the black women who take care of white families and those women is explored in this movie, precisely because the movie has the intelligence and self-consciousness to examine the power imbalance and not sweep it under the rug.

The result may be simplistic, tame, shy on brutality, Hollywoody, not a great movie, etc., etc., etc.

But, on its own terms, as a feel good movie treating a very serious subject, an entertainment blending comedy, drama, camp and all-star extravaganza, a postmodern answer to Stanley Kramer , it's surprisingly well done, emotionally satisfying and intelligent.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Idiot 2012-03-04 12:56:02


^ "it's surprisingly well done, emotionally satisfying and intelligent"

As is your comment (except the surprising part).

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Gaveston2 2012-03-04 16:04:54


So okay, Idiot, then one of your scripts WAS basically called a "white savior" narrative. I'm sure that was very reductive and I don't blame you for being offended.

Your original post read to me as if you were offended on behalf of white characters themselves and I was just trying to point out that it isn't the characters themselves who are being slandered by the label.

I'm not sure what to make of your argument that form IS content. I recognize the truth of the statement, in postmodern terms, but if we can't distinguish between the two for purposes of discussion, it's hard to address any work.

Yes, if THE HELP had been written from the p.o.v. of one of the maids and the white writer had been reduced to a secondary and largely bystanding character, it would have been a very different film. No question.

But the same plot and characters could have been dramatized in that very different manner.

(BTW, I'm with you: I didn't find THE HELP an outrage, but it didn't exactly rock my world either. I was glad to see black domestics treated as human beings, neither invisible nor traitors to their race.)

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Idiot 2012-03-04 16:45:15


^ G2, yes -- when I started to try to flesh out the 'form is content' thought succinctly enough for a message board, my brain started to melt.

As to the original post and being offended on behalf of the characters, no -- and thanks for bringing the point to clarity. The concept of certain stories being verboten because of their perceived lack of political correctness offends me as a storyteller.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Gaveston2 2012-03-04 17:07:10


I'm a playwright myself, Idiot, and the idea of "verboten" stories or characters offends me, too. What a slippery slope to argue that only blacks can write about blacks, gays about gays, etc. We'll be left with nothing but monodramas and memoirs, and those forms are overused (particularly in the theater!) as it is.

But I like to think we can still have a conversation about which archetypes have been over-used and how certain narratives might be approached in a fresher manner.

And of course the notion that form also conveys meaning is a linchpin of modern and post-modern literary and dramatic criticism, so no argument there.

(On a related note: I sat through Act I of the video of MEMPHIS last night. Talk about a "white savior" narrative! Sheesh! Maybe Act II will be better...)

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Idiot 2012-03-04 19:12:06


G2, I started to watch MEMPHIS on Netflix and turned it off after about 5 minutes.... if it ends up being worth it, by all means let me know.

From a storytelling perspective, go see A SEPARATION if you haven't already. (I think of it as Kramir vs. Kramir, but more complex.)

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Gaveston2 2012-03-04 19:14:55


I haven't seen it. Thanks for the recommendation.

But BTW, I just rewatched KRAMER V. KRAMER a few months ago. It is plenty complex, I think, particularly in its treatment of the wife.

(ETA oh, I see. I looked up the film and see what you mean. The legal, political and social contexts of SEPARATION are far more complex. Got it.)

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Insider2 2012-03-05 10:10:23


.......and this seven page thread is on a theatre chat board because........????????

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by themysteriousgrowl 2012-03-05 10:54:48



Viola Davis does theater.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Insider2 2012-03-05 11:02:36


duh

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Gaveston2 2012-03-05 16:55:06


Whether it's sufficiently related to live theater or not, at least there has been an honest and relatively open exchange of ideas in this thread. It isn't 20 pages of unsupportable yet irrefutable subjective opinions on Lupone v. Peters.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by uncageg 2012-03-05 17:44:48


This has turned out to be a very good thread. I have found myself looking for it as soon as I sign in.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Blactor 2012-03-06 01:01:16


I find that people like Jordan, who become indignant when someone uses the word racist, have real issues within themselves that they need to resolve. I've found that those who dismiss and devalue Black views concerning racism don't really have a high regard for black people in general. I hope I'm wrong, but that's what I've observed 90% of the time.

Dismissing me as a "cry-baby" and calling me a "blidiot" for stating truth is an asinine way to go about things. I generally enjoy your snark, Jordan, but at the same time I'm a working professional and see and experience firsthand what goes on in this industry. I've worked with some of the most respected and acclaimed Black actors working in the theatre today, and they will all agree on the fact that there are simply inequities when it comes to opportunities and quality roles. As another poster said, if you can't see that, then there's no arguing with you.




Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Blactor 2012-03-06 01:27:02


I have to say that I'm happy that there are voices of reason on this board, or who are at least willing to engage in a frank discussion, rather than resort to name-calling and insults.

Uncageg, Henrik, Gaveston have all made awesome points.



Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Jordan Catalano 2012-03-06 01:48:25


Blactor, shut the hell up. You know nothing about me. Where have I EVER devalued black views or concerns? Where? Show me. I dare you.

You can't always blame whitey as being a racist when he doesn't agree with you on everything, which is what you do. You throw out that "R" word hoping it shuts people up but guess what - It doesn't shut ME up. So you can throw it around all you want. The only thing it does is make you look like more of a blidiot than you already are.

And as I've said many times before, my lunch lady in elementary school was black so how the hell can I be a racist??

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Idiot 2012-03-06 02:36:16


Blactor -- you said, "and they will all agree on the fact that there are simply inequities when it comes to opportunities and quality roles."

My question to you is this: If these inequities were corrected in your view, how would the business be different? What would these changes look like in practice?

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by henrikegerman 2012-03-06 10:24:03


On a lighter note, I would compare Streep's win for Iron Lady with Lupone's win for Gypsy. A legend wins the biggie for the first time in three decades for playing a Mt. Everest of a role. For those reasons, and because this is just an award (for heaven's sake), among various other reasons (including the Academy's proven track record in recent years of honoring African American actors, long overdue as that is) I'd compare Davis's not winning a much deserved oscar to O'Hara's not winning a much deserved tony, rather than to an act of racism.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Patash 2012-03-06 13:57:28


blactor, I read your posts and while I see where you're coming from, the only real interpretation I can give your posts as they relate to the original question is that you seem to be saying, "since there are so few roles for black actors, when one comes along then it should be rewarded". The idea that there are few roles for black actors (which I DO agree with) really has NOTHING to do with whether or not a particular black actor wins an award over a white actor -- or how winning that award or not has anything to do with racism. Hard as it may be to admit it (or impossible in your case) it is just possible that the academy awarded the person they thought was the BEST in the category without any regard for race. Isn't that just possible?

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Jordan Catalano 2012-03-06 14:01:17


Nope! That's blimpossible!

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by newintown 2012-03-06 14:06:26


I have to agree with the above, blactor. As Gramma always said, "no one likes a complainer at the table."

If there's a situation you don't like, your complaints about it are pointless if you can't assuage them with actual practical theories on how things could be made different.

Any whiner can moan about a bad situation; an interesting person does something about it.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by henrikegerman 2012-03-06 14:53:46


"blactor, I read your posts and while I see where you're coming from, the only real interpretation I can give your posts as they relate to the original question is that you seem to be saying, "since there are so few roles for black actors, when one comes along then it should be rewarded"."

Patash, when did blactor imply that? Granted this thread is now seven pages long and I may have missed it.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Jordan Catalano 2012-03-06 15:12:41


It's also in all the other posts blactor has had removed when it comes out what a complete and utter racist HE is.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Huss417 2012-03-06 15:40:23


Some posts just don't die. I say mark this as closed and continue on to something else.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Gaveston2 2012-03-06 15:40:50


So now we're not allowed to point out problems unless we can also offer solutions simple enough to suit an internet message board? I guess I'll keep my worries about the impending energy crisis to myself.

But IIRC blactor's original point had to do with why someone might think Streep's win over Davis reflected the racial make-up of Academy voters. That's not the same thing as claiming people refused to vote for Davis because she is black and the voters are racists.

And instead of considering his thoughtful post, some people immediately jumped to "there they go again, complaining about racism". Maybe such remarks were just jokes, since snark is our fallback position here, but it was hard to tell.

Frankly, as a fair-skinned person of Northern European ancestry, I see enough overt racism, unconscious racism and (most commonly) unintentional stereotyping that I'm not surprised if a person of color thinks every decision is somehow motivated by racial thinking. Yes, that person is sometimes wrong, but surely we can understand why the world appears as it does to him. (This is a general point and in no way a reference to blactor as an individual.)

And I'm sorry, but no, I don't have a simple solution to offer here. I think the best we can do is continue to discuss such issues openly. But to do that, we have to do two things: (1) stop ridiculing people of color every time they wonder whether race is a factor in somebody's thought or deed; and (2) refrain from accusing white people of racism every time they make a thoughtless remark. (I'm not saying anyone has done the latter here, but I think it's only fair to mention both sides of the equation.)

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by newintown 2012-03-06 15:49:10


Continuing to "talk" (or complain) about a problem without discussing solutions really is akin to picking at a scab so that the wound will never heal.

And as I said - anyone can complain. It's just not interesting, because it's easy and common. What's interesting it thinking a problem through and considering solutions (because it's harder and rarer).

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by henrikegerman 2012-03-06 16:01:02


To the contrary, Blactor's first words on this thread were "No, it's not racist."

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Gaveston2 2012-03-06 17:58:01


Continuing to "talk" (or complain) about a problem without discussing solutions really is akin to picking at a scab so that the wound will never heal.

And as I said - anyone can complain. It's just not interesting, because it's easy and common. What's interesting it thinking a problem through and considering solutions (because it's harder and rarer).


newintown, sometimes the discussion IS the solution. Nobody here has suggested the government should intervene and enforce casting quotas.

The gay rights movement has made strides that were unimaginable when I came out in 1972. Why? Because thanks to Larry Kramer, Harvey Milk and many others, we simply refused to shut up about it.

Your cynicism about the benefits of free speech is rather disheartening, because as a rule I very much respect your posts.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by newintown 2012-03-07 09:14:20


"Benefits of free speech?" Did I mention "benefits of free speech?"

I'm all for free speech; I just have no patience for people who want to complain about life's problems and yet do nothing towards finding a solution, insisting that's someone else's job.

As for the philosophy "sometimes the discussion IS the solution;" sorry, I don't buy that. I see that in the workplace, where people mistake taking a meeting for doing work - everyone wants to be the idea man, the actual work is for someone else.

I'm all for hearing someone's objection, as long as they've thought about a potential solution (or two).

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Broadway Joe 2012-03-07 13:05:24


The Wayans brothers dressed up in white face and pretended to be women.

That's racist and sexist at the same time. Where is the outrage?

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Phyllis Rogers Stone 2012-03-07 13:16:24


Broadway Joe is right. Racism against white people is REAL problem! (Hopefully he's got some solutions!)

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by 3bluenight 2012-03-07 14:09:39


I tend to think that being offensive in general is problematic. inequality, discrimination, bigotry, these are things we express everyday. all of us. we discriminate against this restaurant in favor of another. we unequally divide our time between work and family and personal time. and we're making judgements - who we want to spend time with and why, why this company is one i want to support, but not this one.
in this light these become tools that we use to create a life-style.

but racism, that's something is much larger, much more a cultural and/or political policy that is transmitted, infused with, permeates into our interpersonal actions.
but in my opinion, racism is structural - foundational.

Bell Hooks, Vijay Prashad, Helen Zia (ethnic studies writers and professors) have all suggested in one way or another that we look at the differences between multi-culturalism and poly-culturalism. That multi-culturalism and affirmative action, are really pathetic bones that are thrown to minority groups in the wake of the Civil Rights Movement in lieu of actual equality, because that would have meant reexamining the very structure of American Society.

It is my (very rudimentary) understanding of Physical Anthropology that one of the large driving questions is 'Why Racism?' Why did humans evolve this mechanism? (right along with 'Why Domestication?') Some have suggested that evidence of racism seems to coincides with move towards domestication.
I keep this in mind when thinking about these discussions, because these are ancient issues according to some lines of thought; to suggest we have somehow evolved beyond racism, seems insulting because to me, it's pretty clear that isn't the case.

I think that action is important. Having a plan that can be discussed is crucial. But perhaps that action is making people aware of their conditioning and assumptions and..just all of the baggage we each bring to the table. An acknowledgement opens the dialogue to a level of humility, but also shows a willingness to change and grow and want to learn new things.

I (in my brief 31 years on earth) have noticed that many people harden into the perceptions, if that makes sense. They're beliefs and ideas become much harder to change. Perhaps because they feel they have the experience to back up their assertions. But if i've learned anything from life, it's to truly not anticipate. because reality is a strange and unpredictable place.

When I hear people make comments about others whining, to me that is evidence that I as a Asian American haven't been able to frame my argument in a way that the intended audience can understand. Because I think that most modern people believe in a level of equality. and believe that because we can see a surface that appears to be equal, that we are then free from the bonds of history. But history has a way of complicating the future and i do not think we're done sorting that out.

moreover, the illusion of a "post-racial society" allows genuine and legitimate criticisms to be dismissed as "whining, liberal minorities who want a hand-out." Which is extremely degrading to suggest that everyone of an ethnicity is the same and that none of us want to earn our success.

Dialogue is important. And sometimes, that happens in concurrence with action. sometimes that is the action. it is not masturbatory. it is necessary. crucial. vital.
Shooting people's deeply personal ideas down and then to be willfully rude, or flippant is evidence to me that we are still living in a very complicated racial climate.

Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Gaveston2 2012-03-07 16:42:46


"Benefits of free speech?" Did I mention "benefits of free speech?"

I'm all for free speech; I just have no patience for people who want to complain about life's problems and yet do nothing towards finding a solution, insisting that's someone else's job.

As for the philosophy "sometimes the discussion IS the solution;" sorry, I don't buy that.


The admonition, "Stop complaining and do something about it!", is often a good one. Here, however and as 3bluenight more eloquently explains, we are talking about a problem in people's perceptions. And I don't think there is a magical physical action (except for hiring more minority actors, directors, etc.) that will change how people think. (But we can't get more minority hires UNTIL we change thinking.)

You and I both know that most people in the theater tend toward the progressive side of the political spectrum and overtly racist actions and speech aren't consistent with our images of ourselves. There is no meeting of white directors and casting directors sitting around talking about how to keep blacks, Asians and Latinos out of the theater.

But those same white progressives will tend to read a character as white unless the script specifies otherwise and the character deals quite specifically with racial issues. I think that's the biggest hurdle people of color face when it comes to casting: the fact that the director automatically imagined Newspaper Reporter #1 as white when the director read the script.

The second biggest hurdle is our culture's continuing fondness for Realism, a style based in faithful replication of external appearances, in which a black Harold Hill and a white Marion Paroo are historically impossible. So it isn't just casting directors who need to think about why they think what they think, it's playwrights as well.

Discussions like this one serve to remind us to examine our own pre-conceptions. And, yes, that is supposed to be the purpose of freedom of speech: a more open exchange of ideas. The first amendment wasn't written just so everyone could vent in the town square without listening to anyone else; it was written to promote a free "marketplace" of ideas.

Such as this thread.



Where is the actual noise?
Posted by Gaveston2 2012-03-07 17:03:31


There is no meeting of white directors and casting directors sitting around talking about how to keep blacks, Asians and Latinos out of the theater.

Sorry to reply to my own post, but while this relates to the original topic of this thread, I think it would be confusing to add to my post above.

This thread began with the question of why one blogger might think the ethnic make-up of Academy voters tends to favor Meryl Streep. I don't know whether that blogger is black or white, but the discussion quickly shifted to claims that people of color supposedly see racism where none exists.

We of Northern European descent need to keep in mind that people of color never get to sit in on all-white meetings. So if an individual of color misunderstands how our thinking about race leads to certain results, well, how could s/he not?

There is growing scientific evidence that human beings tend to be imprinted with the images of their early caretakers (usually their parents) and then later gravitate toward people who look like those caretakers. Now that we're both older, I'm rather shocked at how much my husband looks like my maternal grandfather, the latter being the primary male role model of my childhood.

As a rule, this process is unconscious, of course, but we should be able to understand how it may appear to be a conspiracy to someone on the outside of the group wielding power.