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.
…even when they reach the highest rungs, women are still paid less than their peers. They make up just 8 percent of the top earners at Fortune 500 companies. They are similarly 8 percent of the top five compensated executives at S&P 500 companies, or only 198 total. Not a single company has more than three women among the best paid execs. In fact, there is just as wide a gender gap at the top as elsewhere…
Image source and full article: http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013/10/22/2816041/white-men-ceos/
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/
“She read the poem like a slave, basically,” Shumate told the Post. When he asked whether she thought all black people speak that way, he was reportedly told to take his seat and reprimanded for speaking out of turn.
Click through to read full article and see the heartbreaking/infuriating video: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/18/george-c-marshall-high-sc_n_1358044.html
Today, the only ethnic or racial iconography/imagery being used for team mascots in the United States is done at the expense of Native people, and that reality shows the depths to which we have forgotten about the mass genocide that took place on the land we occupy, and how profoundly we dehumanize the cultures of Native people.
Image source and article: http://goodmenproject.com/ethics-values/hesaid-poster-puts-the-racism-of-the-cleveland-indians-iconography-into-embarrassing-context/