The fact that audiences are seeing such a varied, nuanced spectrum of black faces isn’t just a matter of poetics, but politics — and the advent of digital filmmaking. For the first hundred years of cinema, when images were captured on celluloid and processed photochemically, disregard for black skin and its subtle shadings was inscribed in the technology itself, from how film-stock emulsions and light meters were calibrated, to the models used as standards for adjusting color and tone.
That embedded racism extended into the aesthetics of the medium itself, which from its very beginnings was predicated on the denigration and erasure of the black body.
Image source and full article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/movies/12-years-a-slave-mother-of-george-and-the-aesthetic-politics-of-filming-black-skin/2013/10/17/282af868-35cd-11e3-80c6-7e6dd8d22d8f_story.html
The fact that the mere suggestion of “Hey, why don’t we have a black Spiderman?” could rile up such hit-your-face-against-the-deeply-entrenched-racist-wall racism highlights the greater need for diversity in mainstream cinema.
Stated another way…
The Mexican starring a white man (Brad Pitt). No reaction.
The Last Samurai starring a white man (Tom Cruise). No reaction.
The mere hint of a mention just the idea that the next Spiderman might be black and people go bonkers.
But if race is such a huge topic in American studies, why is it that I never learned about the Asian & Chinese Exclusion Acts in my classes or the fact that we only briefly touched on the Japanese Internment camps?
Image source and full article: http://www.connie-zhou.com/asian-american-awakening/
He was going to college and he had started working with a reader. She was very attractive to him, and he started seeing her. Then, somebody told him that she was black, and he broke it off. He broke off the relationship. He justiﬁed it by saying that it would not have worked, in the South, for a white man to be involved with a black woman.
Image source and article: http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2013/09/29/226833165/studying-how-the-blind-perceive-race
…these kinds of race-based comments are always being made, some with malicious intent and others simply out of a lack of sensitivity. When I hear or see these kinds of things there are always choices to be made. Sometimes I just sit there while the theater in my head acts out a mighty ass-whooping that I then unleash upon the offender. Sometimes I do feel that it’s important enough to say something directly. Most times however, I just get up, direct a little stink-eye their way and walk away. Honestly, having to measure my response is just is exhausting.
Image source and article: http://reyes-chow.com/2013/08/how-i-survive-everyday-racism/