Author Topic: is it racist to argue in favor of...  (Read 4527 times)

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Offline Harry Black

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Re: is it racist to argue in favor of...
« Reply #30 on: September 12, 2018, 09:30:56 AM »
Yeah. Its tribalism.

Not the fact that the entertainment industry clearly pays differently based along racial and gendered lines and that execs are on record as saying (in private emails, unchallenged as its 'common wisdom') that Denzel cannot open a movie outside the US due to his skin colour.
We know that the American (and UK) entertainment industry as it exists today has grown to its current form based on decades of an assumed white audience with cishet men and women as the default.
This is part of a white supremacist structure, in just the same way that unfair sentencing on black people is and in just the same way that companies have implicit hiring biases.

Its not necessarily or even usually the classic frothing at the mouth, hood wearing and tiki torch racism, but it is racially based predjudice none the less.
No one really needs to be villified and cast out over it, but it should be pointed out where we see it so we can begin to make a change.

Offline Guillermo

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Re: is it racist to argue in favor of...
« Reply #31 on: September 12, 2018, 09:52:05 AM »
No one really needs to be villified and cast out over it, but it should be pointed out where we see it so we can begin to make a change.
I agree with calling out everything that is prejudiced. But I am also of the mind that this current culture is calling out situation that could be marginally considered insensitive, and the overflow of said calling out is actually causing more harm than good, because it gives valid munition to those that are racially motivated.
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Offline Harry Black

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Re: is it racist to argue in favor of...
« Reply #32 on: September 12, 2018, 11:13:28 AM »
No one really needs to be villified and cast out over it, but it should be pointed out where we see it so we can begin to make a change.
I agree with calling out everything that is prejudiced. But I am also of the mind that this current culture is calling out situation that could be marginally considered insensitive, and the overflow of said calling out is actually causing more harm than good, because it gives valid munition to those that are racially motivated.
I may need you to rephrase that as I'm not sure I understand.

The good is that we are clearly seeing more talented people of colour starting to get the roles and recognition they deserve.

What harm is being done?

Offline daniel1948

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Re: is it racist to argue in favor of...
« Reply #33 on: September 12, 2018, 11:22:28 AM »
If a movie casts a white person to fill a role established as a minority, because said actor has a following and would gain many times more viewers, and thus more profit.

vs

If a movie casts a minority in a in a role established as a white person, because adding diversity would gain many times more viewers, and thus more profit.

If a person argued in favor or against both cases, then they are consistent and not racially motivated. But I often see one sided arguments, rage for one and not the other.

I get tired of said discussions but am quite interested in the motivation and psychology behind the argument. This seems to be part of the tribal nature of humans.

For me (though I'm repeating myself here) it's about equal opportunity in the entertainment industry. I think that diversity is good. Historically, minorities have only been cast in negative roles. We need more minorities in positive roles. If that means putting more minority actors in "traditional" white roles, and avoiding putting white actors in the few roles previously played by minorities, then I think that's fine.

Affirmative action is not "reverse discrimination." It's an attempt to correct present discrimination.

There are roles like Othello where the race of the character is integral to the story. But there are extremely few such roles.
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Offline Soldier of FORTRAN

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Re: is it racist to argue in favor of...
« Reply #34 on: September 12, 2018, 12:28:44 PM »
But I often see one sided arguments, rage for one and not the other.

'Load balancing' appears to be the constant factor
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Offline Jeremy's Sea

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Re: is it racist to argue in favor of...
« Reply #35 on: September 12, 2018, 02:40:29 PM »
No one really needs to be villified and cast out over it, but it should be pointed out where we see it so we can begin to make a change.
I agree with calling out everything that is prejudiced. But I am also of the mind that this current culture is calling out situation that could be marginally considered insensitive, and the overflow of said calling out is actually causing more harm than good, because it gives valid munition to those that are racially motivated.
I may need you to rephrase that as I'm not sure I understand.

The good is that we are clearly seeing more talented people of colour starting to get the roles and recognition they deserve.

What harm is being done?
This is the gist of it all right here. There isn't any harm to point to, it's all hypothetical and smacks of hand wringing about some slippery slope we're on. Scarlett Johansen may have lost a role due to this, however, was she really harmed? It's not like she's never going to be cast and paid $10M again...

I have some personal anecdotes about "potential harm" as a white man in Hollywood, but in the larger perspective, I'm fine and can get work on my own merits. A friend (who is a minority woman) who writes for Marvel comics and on a popular fantasy TV series once pointed out to a whining white bro about "diversity" hiring that "now you just have to work hard to be better than everyone else in order to get your recognition, like I have always had to."
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Offline Guillermo

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Re: is it racist to argue in favor of...
« Reply #36 on: September 12, 2018, 03:50:37 PM »
No one really needs to be villified and cast out over it, but it should be pointed out where we see it so we can begin to make a change.
I agree with calling out everything that is prejudiced. But I am also of the mind that this current culture is calling out situation that could be marginally considered insensitive, and the overflow of said calling out is actually causing more harm than good, because it gives valid munition to those that are racially motivated.
I may need you to rephrase that as I'm not sure I understand.

The good is that we are clearly seeing more talented people of colour starting to get the roles and recognition they deserve.

What harm is being done?
Complaining and raging against something that is not racist as being racist would hurt the movement and a racist person a way of saying "This is getting out of hand" and then with enough of those, people will start thinking that there are too many snowflakes and that the government needs to do something about that and end up voting for Trump. include social media bubbles and people are going to side with the racist debater.

It's about the same effect as when a woman calls rape when there is no rape.
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Offline Nosmas

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Re: is it racist to argue in favor of...
« Reply #37 on: September 12, 2018, 04:01:07 PM »
Is it racist to argue in favor of not changing a character's race to a different one as described in the original source material?

Comes down to motive, I think.  With adaptations, I think it's usually some combination of pedantry and people wanting the product to match what's already in their head. 

But, as has been discussed already, there's more to life and art than pedantry and fidelity.  People like recognizing themselves in media, do not like feeling shut out out of the mainstream, etc.

Agree with all of this. I think there's usually not racist motivations but sometimes I'm sure there are. People who are big fans of a thing really want adaptations to match the original content even in small details for no rational reason. When something I'm moderately familiar with is adapted into a movie I don't care at all if someone is suddenly black, or blonde or a grey alien is blue etc. If it's something I'm a big fan of or nostalgic about then it does bug me a little for no good reason. I don't care enough to rant about it or even complain but it's still a feeling. Some people are also straight up racist and may disguise it in the same way as an irrational fanboy.
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Online John Albert

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Re: is it racist to argue in favor of...
« Reply #38 on: September 12, 2018, 04:38:52 PM »
OK. First of all, I would appreciate if, after basically starting this coversation with gamergate-esque slurs

I made no such slurs. You misinterpreted my argument and went all bonkers on me, so I called you on it. Then you made the ridiculous connection to Gamergate to try and slander me.


try addressing the argument of the person

That's what I did. I addressed the argument, and you didn't even bother to read it through before misinterpreting it into something you could easily rage against, in your zeal to paint me out as some sort of racist. 

I can't help it that you won't be bothered to attentively read posts and consider the person's actual argument before hitting the keys to blast out a knee-jerk reaction.


Secondly, I sense some confusion

Gee, you think? Maybe you need to learn how to read and respond to actual arguments instead of projecting your own animosity onto others.


BTW, having a non-white protagonist would break the mold of white-dominated fiction. That is the opposite of "generic".

So you're saying that simply having a white person playing the character makes a character "generic," and casting a nonwhite person in the exact same role suddenly renders it non-"generic"?


Finally, your original post, if you read it was markedly not about the decision to cast a white actor. It was about giving support to the "critics" of the idea that the TV series could maybe try to cast a non-white person, who you said ""have a point".

Yes.


Those critics come from Reddit

Who the fuck cares? I'm not interested in your small-minded hasty generalizations about Reddit.


You also argued that changes to the appearance of the characters is OK (if it is within historical reality), but changing skin colour is seemingly an exception (screw historical reality)

No, I absolutely did not argue that. That is a strawman that you created.


the people who argue against such an artistic choice are not necessarily racist.

This snippet is the only part of your post that even acknowledges my point. Thank you for that.

The rest of what you said is a projection of your own ideological baggage onto me.


Their underlying argument is that they just  don't want brown people in particular to soil their white fantasy.

No, I never presumed any "underlying argument" or motive on the part of the people who made the argument. That's another strawman of yours.

« Last Edit: September 12, 2018, 06:16:58 PM by John Albert »

Offline seamas

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Re: is it racist to argue in favor of...
« Reply #39 on: September 12, 2018, 05:27:37 PM »
I think it depends on the character.
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Online John Albert

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Re: is it racist to argue in favor of...
« Reply #40 on: September 12, 2018, 05:44:30 PM »
Is it racist to argue in favor of not changing a character's race to a different one as described in the original source material?

Comes down to motive, I think.  With adaptations, I think it's usually some combination of pedantry and people wanting the product to match what's already in their head. 

But, as has been discussed already, there's more to life and art than pedantry and fidelity.  People like recognizing themselves in media, do not like feeling shut out out of the mainstream, etc.

Agree with all of this. I think there's usually not racist motivations but sometimes I'm sure there are. People who are big fans of a thing really want adaptations to match the original content even in small details for no rational reason. When something I'm moderately familiar with is adapted into a movie I don't care at all if someone is suddenly black, or blonde or a grey alien is blue etc. If it's something I'm a big fan of or nostalgic about then it does bug me a little for no good reason. I don't care enough to rant about it or even complain but it's still a feeling. Some people are also straight up racist and may disguise it in the same way as an irrational fanboy.

I expect that the reason why it bugs you, is because to some degree it feels like a bastardization of the original work.

One one hand, artists create a work in a complex medium for entertainment purposes, and audiences appreciate and cherish the work, relate to the characters, and engage with the story as it is presented. One needn't be a racist to watch a show, read a comic or play a game, and come to an acceptance of the characters as they're represented. Whenever you have a very different actor playing a well-established character, it's going to be perceived as a change in the personality of that character in the new medium. That's unavoidable.

Then on the other hand you have disconnected third parties in the form of ideologues, political activists, producers, and financiers with no emotional investment in the work, who see it only as a way to profit or promote their own ideals. So when it comes time to adapt that existing work to a new medium, they try to inject their own influences over the work to turn it into something to serve their purposes, regardless of the original artists' intent and audience expectations.

Whenever this kind of thing is done, it smacks of injecting somebody's identity politics or financial motives into a cherished work of art. If you go in with an expectation of seeing your favorite character as you know them and then the movie switches it up for some obvious political or financial reason, that takes you out of the experience. That's one reason why so many people react so badly against it. It's not necessarily because they're racists.

Of course some of them are also racists to boot, but I'd rather give most people the benefit of the doubt. I don't believe that hasty generalizations, namecalling, and projecting ulterior motives really serve the ends of social justice as much as some other people seem to think.

For a non-racial example of what I'm talking about, take the movie Constantine, which was a film adaptation of the Hellblazer comic series. That movie was lambasted by fans of the comic, largely because Keanu Reeves appears nothing like the John Constantine character. Even though John Constantine is a 'white' character and Keanu Reeves is also a white guy, Reeves looked, spoke, acted, and carried himself nothing like the character from the comic.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2018, 06:13:52 PM by John Albert »

Offline Harry Black

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Re: is it racist to argue in favor of...
« Reply #41 on: September 12, 2018, 06:09:10 PM »
No one really needs to be villified and cast out over it, but it should be pointed out where we see it so we can begin to make a change.
I agree with calling out everything that is prejudiced. But I am also of the mind that this current culture is calling out situation that could be marginally considered insensitive, and the overflow of said calling out is actually causing more harm than good, because it gives valid munition to those that are racially motivated.
I may need you to rephrase that as I'm not sure I understand.

The good is that we are clearly seeing more talented people of colour starting to get the roles and recognition they deserve.

What harm is being done?
Complaining and raging against something that is not racist as being racist would hurt the movement and a racist person a way of saying "This is getting out of hand" and then with enough of those, people will start thinking that there are too many snowflakes and that the government needs to do something about that and end up voting for Trump. include social media bubbles and people are going to side with the racist debater.

It's about the same effect as when a woman calls rape when there is no rape.
So we shouldnt point out things that are fucked up in case it turns people more racist or makes them vote Trump?

Im sorry, I dont buy it and I dont buy the idea that Trump is a result of this kind of progress.
I certainly dont think we should be telling people to accept such bias in case it makes some thin skinned racists more racist.

Offline Soldier of FORTRAN

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Re: is it racist to argue in favor of...
« Reply #42 on: September 12, 2018, 06:20:01 PM »
I took his point as, "false Positives blunt rhetoric, benefit reactionaries."  An easy example being what happened to, "socialism."
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Online John Albert

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Re: is it racist to argue in favor of...
« Reply #43 on: September 12, 2018, 06:21:48 PM »
Harry, I think Guillermo said that calling "racist" on things that aren't really racist is not helpful. On the contrary, it actually hurts the anti-racist movement by making anti-racists into The Boy Who Cried Wolf.

Before long, people will start to think the activists are irrational hysterics who consider everybody a racist, and will just ignore them. Same thing happens when antifa refer to all conservatives as Nazis.

Steven Novella has called this phenomenon "alarm fatigue," where people become so accustomed to hearing warnings all the time that they eventually just ignore them.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2018, 06:26:56 PM by John Albert »

Offline Jeremy's Sea

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Re: is it racist to argue in favor of...
« Reply #44 on: September 12, 2018, 06:48:52 PM »
I took his point as, "false Positives blunt rhetoric, benefit reactionaries."  An easy example being what happened to, "socialism."
This goes back to hand wringing though, as it assumes we know that it is a significant adverse reaction. How often does it happen when someone's concern truly is guided by ignorance and not hate? How much energy do we need/want to spend separating all of that out?
Like most of us, I'm only human and sometimes in exhaustion I'll lump them both together, but also, we're all adults and have to be responsible for our feelings. When someone on a forum calls me racist, my hackles don't immediately go up and I don't double down. I kinda feel like I'm not the one who needs to be responsible for those who do. If I have the time and energy to really parse, but we have enough 88s wasting everyone's time in bad faith.
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