"In the original Trek, Khan, with his brown skin, was an Übermensch, intellectually and physically perfect, possessed of such charisma and drive that despite his efforts to gain control of the Enterprise, Captain Kirk (and many of the other officers) felt admiration for him.
And that’s why the role has been taken away from actors of colour and given to a white man. Racebending.com has always pointed out that villains are generally played by people with darker skin, and that’s true … unless the villain is one with intelligence, depth, complexity. One who garners sympathy from the audience, or if not sympathy, then — as from Kirk — grudging admiration. What this new Trek movie tells us, what JJ Abrams is telling us, is that no brown-skinned man can accomplish all that. That only by having Khan played by a white actor can the audience engage with and feel for him, believe that he’s smart and capable and a match for our Enterprise crew."
Marissa Sammy on Star Trek: Into Whiteness.
perfect commentary which parallels what Rawles was saying earlier about the possibility of Moriarty being a person of color:
- “…The actual issue is that black people aren’t often allowed to play full and complete characters, and an antagonist who isn’t unintelligent, thuggish cannon fodder is just as much of a rarity for black men as the stubbly hero who saves the world or wtfever. “
- “…The stereotype in no way intersects with brilliant geniuses who choose to step outside of the boundaries of society in order to exercise their intellect while having no concern for lesser beings.
Or to break it down further: the problematic stereotype regarding black people is that of being, in essence, subhuman. Characters of the Moriarty (and Holmes) archetype are rooted in being superhuman.”
You see? It’s more complicated than “people of color get typecast as villains.”
Black people get typecast as an extremely specific type of villain - they’re thugs, brutish and animalistic. South Asian actors are similarly typecast as scary oppressive (usually coded Muslim) terrorists.
But when your villain is of the superhuman archetype? When they’re brooding antiheroes, when they’re nuanced, when they’re multi-faceted?
(And check out this post on the glorification of white criminality in shows like Dexter, Breaking Bad, Weeds, Boardwalk Empire, The Sopranos, etc.)
"I will give you an example of how race affects my life. I live in a place called Alpine, New Jersey. Live in Alpine, New Jersey, right? My house costs millions of dollars. In my neighborhood, there are four black people. Hundreds of houses, four black people. Who are these black people? Well, there’s me, Mary J. Blige, Jay-Z and Eddie Murphy. Only black people in the whole neighborhood. So let’s break it down, let’s break it down: me, I’m a decent comedian. I’m a’ight. Mary J. Blige, one of the greatest R&B singers to ever walk the Earth. Jay-Z, one of the greatest rappers to ever live. Eddie Murphy, one of the funniest actors to ever, ever do it. Do you know what the white man who lives next door to me does for a living? He’s a fucking dentist! He ain’t the best dentist in the world…he ain’t going to the dental hall of fame…he don’t get plaques for getting rid of plaque. He’s just a yank-your-tooth-out dentist. See, the black man gotta fly to get to somethin’ the white man can walk to."
— Chris Rock
(Source: wordsandturds, via ecstvsy)
"19% of prime time television characters are non-human while only 17% are women"
A Profile of Americans’ Media Use and Political Socialization Effects: television and the Internet’s relationship to social connectedness in the USA ― Daniel German & Caitlin Lally
There are more “non-humans” on TV than women. Talk about unequal gender representation in the media.
and like 2 are women of colour. *sigh*
"If your ancestors cut down all the trees, it’s not your fault, but you still don’t live in a forest."
— Pam Oliver, a professor in the UW-Madison sociology department, explaining the historical roots of racism in the United States to her undergraduate students (mostly middle-class and White). I try to use this when I teach race now, too, to get past the defensive “but why are you BLAMING ME” reaction. (via cabell)
"Not all stories are only about race. But none of our lives are untouched by our racial identities. Colorblindness is a form of privilege, of refusing to connect with people by hearing about their experiences, and of refusing to benefit by understanding the role race plays in your own."
— Alyssa Rosenberg, NBC’s ‘Deception,’ And Why Colorblindness Is Not Progressive