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Old 03-24-2007, 01:10 AM   #16
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some of the responses in this thread are too hilarious!
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Old 03-24-2007, 07:27 AM   #17
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I would imagine that many of the more "hilarious" responses are by people who are used to seeing themselves reflected in their culture. If you resemble the person in the ads, in the movies, in the textbooks, on the cover of the gamebox, in the interviewer's chair when you go in for a job interview, and in the leasing office when you go to rent an apartment, you may get constant reinforcement that you can indeed access all or most areas of a culture that reflects and celebrates people like you. If you are constantly having to deal with images that suggest that you are "other" and that you are "less" than all of these images, in all likelihood it's harder to believe that you can access the positive self-image and actual benefits of the society in which you live.
Sure, it's nice to look on one particular cartoon as trivial. But entertainment reflects society. Being included and reflected in these images isn't as trivial or innocuous as it might initially seem.
And neither is NOT being reflected in these images -- or constantly being reflected as the sidekick rather than as the hero/ine.
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Old 03-24-2007, 10:26 AM   #18
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I think that Will Smith and Denzel Washington are two examples of actors that continously play the lead hero in major motion pictures.

The bottom line is this - if the story is well written and the film is well made - I don't think most people these days really care what race the hero is.
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Old 03-24-2007, 10:42 AM   #19
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some people here need to read Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye...for too long the white aesthetic standard has hurt too many...it's really easy for those seemingly unaffected by such a standard to scoff.
Part of the anti-separate-but-equal case that was brought forward to the supreme court was a case involving little girls and dolls. In a room full of dolls, black girls and white girls were asked to pick out the doll or dolls they thought were beautiful. Black and white girls both picked out white dolls; many black girls realized they didn't look like what they thought was beautiful.
Still to this day, the white aesthetic standard of beauty holds true. How many beautiful black actresses are there compared to white? And, many herald as black beautiful actresses are fairly skinned as well. Not that this makes them, internally less "black" but it certainly makes them more accessible for our culture.
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Old 03-24-2007, 11:23 AM   #20
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The Bluest Eye was an excellent read!!! Great post, blueeyedpoet.
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Old 03-24-2007, 11:57 AM   #21
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Diversity in entertainment is important. Other than one's everyday life, it probably has the most impact on what one's view of self in society. As DILETTANTE mentioned, being reflected in mainstream entertainment isn't trivial.

The film industry is just one of the forms of entertainment to make strides to include minorities in the media. Many traditionally white characters have recently been replaced by black actors. For example, Lawrence Fishburne's character Whitey Powers in Mystic River was white not black, Smallvilles' Pete Ross is white not black like the actor Sam Jones III, Kerry Washington is playing Alicia Masters in the Fantastic Four movies who was created as a blind, white girl........so they are making an effort to represent minorities. Although, most roles for minorities continue to be background gang member or Triad/Yakuza, African mob, Korean or Middle Eastern store owner and so on. For years, entertainment just perpetuated stereotypes instead of reflecting the real world.

As adults, it's easy to suggest that it's not important and it doesn't matter but it does. The success of a handful of actors like Denzel Washington or Halle Berry are exceptions. Name 5 Latino and Asian actors on the same level as Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman, Tom Hanks, Robert DeNiro, Renee Zellwegger, Jodie Foster,Ben Stiller, Jim Carrey, Will Ferrell, all actors who carry a film on their back...I could go on all day. As blueeyed poet mentioned, the domination of white women in our culture as the ideal beauty for so long impacts the self-esteem of little girls. It's not just beauty, it is a person's view of many attributes whether it be monetary success, being a leader and saving the day, being intelligent, being successful in school, or being well educated.

If someone from another country watched Friends or Seinfeld, they would have thought almost everyone in New York was white. Of course, the reverse is true for some shows with predominantly black casts too. But that has only happened recently as a result to provide programming that minorities can relate to.

Television shows like Grey's Anatomy, Lost, ER and Heroes are great examples of diversity in entertainment. Cabbage patch dolls back in the 80's were breaking new ground with their non-white dolls. The trends are heading in the right direction but don't discount the effects of the lack of minorities in entertainment. The more diversity shown in all forms of media is a positive thing.
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Old 03-24-2007, 12:36 PM   #22
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If Disney's new movie is compelling and entertaining - then I'll take the kids to see it. If it's not, then I won't. I don't care if the princess is olive drab - it is all about the quality. Alladin is one of my favorite cartoons - and Ali is a Middle Easterner not a Spartan.

My basic theory is that if you feel your race is under-represented in the movies - then go make one. If people pay to see it, great. If not, then what are you going to do? Make it illegal for people NOT to see it?
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Old 03-24-2007, 01:37 PM   #23
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I think you missed the point.
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Old 03-24-2007, 02:02 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally posted by AEON


My basic theory is that if you feel your race is under-represented in the movies - then go make one. If people pay to see it, great. If not, then what are you going to do? Make it illegal for people NOT to see it?
Thanks for the "go play in your own sandbox" response. Very telling.
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Old 03-24-2007, 02:05 PM   #25
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There's certainly no one magic-bullet ingredient for minority children developing a positive self-image, and I don't think that's really the point. As trevster said, the most important teacher is always going to be what you see around you in everyday life, and that's where you'll draw most of your conclusions. Though they're often not the ones parents expect--no one really remembers clearly how they saw the social world as a child, but it can be revealing to think back on what your own earliest memories of being aware of, e.g., race and gender as qualities with something to say about people were, then maybe comparing notes with a few friends, and reflecting on what kind of conclusions you'd already come to by 3 or 4 or whatever...of course you'll find some of them comically or painfully off-base or misguided in retrospect, but on the other hand chances are you'll also be able to recognize some tendencies that remain with you today. I remember doing a project in college that involved interviewing students of both sexes about what their earliest memories of having attitudes about gender were, and one thing that sticks in my mind about it was the consistency with which the female students' memories revolved around looks, appearances of 'femininity', and evaluations of mothers, sisters or friends in those terms. A few also recalled more experiential things, being told "You can't play 'cos you're a girl" or whatever, but the dominant pattern was appearance-based stuff, whether that was recalling disgust at noticing cellulite on their mothers' arms and thinking she was a 'failure' or feeling disdain towards other girls who were very 'girly' and therefore 'stupid' in their clothing and accessories. Even at preschool age, they were very, very aware that looks tied directly in to social status and standing in various ways for women, even if their understanding of what exactly social status is was fuzzy and incomplete compared to an adult's. I'm sure a project about earliest memories involving race would likewise find certain distinct trends, but anyhow, I think one should keep things like this in mind when approaching a topic like why the appearance of a Disney princess might have some real significance, if only symbolically and in context. Because we are talking about kids here, not adults.
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Old 03-24-2007, 02:14 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally posted by trevster2k


Thanks for the "go play in your own sandbox" response. Very telling.
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Old 03-24-2007, 02:29 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally posted by AEON
If Disney's new movie is compelling and entertaining - then I'll take the kids to see it. If it's not, then I won't. I don't care if the princess is olive drab - it is all about the quality. Alladin is one of my favorite cartoons - and Ali is a Middle Easterner not a Spartan.

My basic theory is that if you feel your race is under-represented in the movies - then go make one. If people pay to see it, great. If not, then what are you going to do? Make it illegal for people NOT to see it?
Are you saying that you don't think children are cognizant of a dominant race representation in disney movies?

I feel as though your responses are providing us a clear example of why this has carried on for so long. With you being white, of course you probably haven't noticed it like us nonwhitefolk have. Therefore, it hasn't been an issue for you. I just want you to understand our perspective and why we have it.
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Old 03-24-2007, 03:05 PM   #28
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I think it's great. Will it solve all the world's problem? Of course not, but I think it's a step anyway (as were the other Disney films with non Caucasian lead characters). Every step toward a more diverse society is good, no matter how small.
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Old 03-24-2007, 06:13 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally posted by redhotswami


Are you saying that you don't think children are cognizant of a dominant race representation in disney movies?

I feel as though your responses are providing us a clear example of why this has carried on for so long. With you being white, of course you probably haven't noticed it like us nonwhitefolk have. Therefore, it hasn't been an issue for you. I just want you to understand our perspective and why we have it.
Yes - I am white. So? I think movie makers want to make money. The majority of the people in this country are in fact white - so it easy to see why white people are more "represented" in movies. I am sure if Africa was churning out movies - they would probably have a majority of the characters as black. Would that be wrong?

It is simple mathematics - not some conspiracy.
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Old 03-24-2007, 06:42 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally posted by AEON


Yes - I am white. So? I think movie makers want to make money. The majority of the people in this country are in fact white - so it easy to see why white people are more "represented" in movies. I am sure if Africa was churning out movies - they would probably have a majority of the characters as black. Would that be wrong?

It is simple mathematics - not some conspiracy.
my friend, i think you are missing the point. what i am saying is that growing up, every single one of us, undergoes an ethnic identity development. obviously it is different for whites than it is for nonwhites. but ultimately we undergo a process, and when growing up, all we see in the media is a bunch of white people, when we live in communities that are more diverse, then that definitely has an effect.

disney is finally recognizing the impact ethnic identity development has on children, and they are acknowledging this. no math involved. and certainly no conspiracies. i don't even know where that comment came from.
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