Minorities Get Little Respect On The Big Screen

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Listen to the commentary on 'Morning Edition.'

Michelle Yeoh at the Japan premiere of 'The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor' on Aug. 4.

Michelle Yeoh at the Japan premiere of 'The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor' on Aug. 4. Toru Yamanaka/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Toru Yamanaka/AFP/Getty Images

Well, that's it. Summer's about over. Hope yours was good. How was mine? Thanks for asking. Well, I'm not given to absolutes, so I'm gonna say in terms of what Hollywood gave us, this was just the demi-most offensive summer ever at the multiplexes. Offensive, if you happen to be a person of color whom Hollywood in turn mocked, lampooned or humiliated ... that is, when we weren't just being completely ignored.

There was Jack Black supplying the voice of a Chinese bear in Kung Fu Panda. I guess the producers of the movie thought that it would be alright for an occidental to voice one of the most revered symbols of China, since they gave actual Asian actors Jackie Chan and Lucy Liu all of like five lines in supporting roles.

We had Mike Meyers entertaining himself by flogging Hindu and Indian stereotypes. And the lovely Jennifer Hudson playing a 21st century Hattie McDaniel to the Sex and the City gals. Excuse me, Jennifer's the one with the Oscar. Shouldn't they be fetching Jennifer's coffee?

Yes, there was Will Smith as a superhero. An alcoholic, abusive, foul-mouthed superhero. And, yes, there was redemption at the end of Hancock, but the path was so coarse as to be unsuitable for my kids to watch. So, the only hero of color they saw this summer was The Incredible Hulk. Which, by the way, why does a movie with nary a minority in it have to end with the Hulk destroying Harlem?

Honestly, this summer's offerings couldn't have been any more offensive if they released the director's cut of Birth of a Nation. On Blu-ray.

Out of 36 films put into wide release between May 2 and Aug. 22, only four had any minorities in leading roles.

In fact, the two performances that really stand out in big summer Hollywood films are Michelle Yeoh in The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor — she manages to bring grace and gravitas to every performance. And Robert Downey Jr. playing a white guy playing a black guy in Tropic Thunder. Sorry, but that one passes the funny test. It was funny. What can I tell you?

Now, maybe you think this is just complaining to complain, but remember this is the summer that featured Tiger Woods gutting out one of the greatest performances in sports history on a shattered leg, China having its coming out party with the Beijing Olympics, and Barack Obama making history in Denver. Now, I know truth is stranger than fiction, but when did reality become more fantastic than fantasy?

So, to all my dear, dear friends in Hollywood — particularly the ones who can green-light — maybe before you finalize next summer's slate of films, it's time to put down your trade papers and pick up some real newspapers.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

The number of Black people onstage at the Democratic National Convention during Michelle Obama's racially historical speech supporting her husband, who could make her the first Black First Lady in the White House -- 1 (Michelle Obama)

The number of Black journalists seen on ABC, NBC, CBS and CNN combined as anchors covering the racially historical DNL -- 0.

It's not just Hollywood. By the way, why don't we hear Black folks regularly as panelists on NPR's "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me"? Hmmmmm?

Loved hearing this essay on the air. I felt the same way this summer.

Sent by Robert Rivers | 6:39 AM | 8-27-2008

The last I checked, Hollywood was still a for profit organization. Studios that have lost money on films due to copyright infringements, piracy, and simply box office flops can not afford to make movies that every person will feel good about. Hollywood is more interested in making movies that will get paying customers in seats with ever increasing ticket prices. Taking offense to what types of movies were released is like taking offense to the color tie that a coworker is wearing. Give it a day, it may change, or in the case of the movie industry each week has the chance for new releases.

Sent by Jerry | 7:10 AM | 8-27-2008

This is the kind of useless commentary and whining that hinders progress.

Sent by Yopino | 7:51 AM | 8-27-2008

Ummm... Did you forget the highest grosing movie of the summer, The Dark Knight, featured Morgan Freeman as Lucious Fox, the engineer who designs all of Batman's wonderful toys? What about Terrance Howard as Rhoadie in Iron Man? Not to mention Don Cheadle in Traitor coming soon.

Sent by Kris Willams | 7:57 AM | 8-27-2008

Another dead on effort. But I wonder what I think had I not known its author was a person of color? Would I be so ready with the raised fist if these were the observations of say, a white guy who was also a successful screenwriter and culture commentator? Honestly, I really don't know. Which troubles me. Because I fear anyone reactions to my comments would be colored (pun intended)by whether they think I am black or white. That's the trouble with the race card. It always seems to be pulled from the bottom of the deck.

Sent by L. Britt | 8:24 AM | 8-27-2008

Whoa, You refer to Jackie Chan and Lucy Liu as "Asians" and yourself as "a person of color" and then Jack Black as an "Occidental"? Why didn't you call Jackie and Lucy "Oriental"? You didn't because that would be offensive. But it's ok to use the word which describes everything not oriental when refering to a caucasion? Isn't there an even more offensive way to refer to a white guy that would have fit the tone of your commentary even better?
I was with you until you ruined your credibililty.

Sent by Kevin | 8:35 AM | 8-27-2008

It is exhausting hearing John Ridley's commentary regarding minorities getting little respect on the big screen. He tries to position himself as a champion against racism when in fact all he does is perpetuate it by labeling it, even if it doesn't exist. Jack Black was chosen to play a karate kicking panda because both he and the subject manner are popular with the 10-15 demographic that the producers wanted to reach- it's called capitalism not racism. And how is it that Mr. Ridley finds Kung Fu Panda so offensive, yet Robert Downey Jr.'s blatant portrayal of an over-the-top 60's mod black man as "funny". I guess for John Ridley racism is in the eye of the beholder.

Sent by David Barry | 8:51 AM | 8-27-2008

Good article! It will not happen in Hollywood. Hollywood is fantasy land. Even minorities don't want to see it. They have proven it via the box office.

Sent by Sleepless g | 8:53 AM | 8-27-2008

I don't ordinarily comment. But I am getting so frustrated with this never-ending whining about why Minorities don't get equal time....My Mother was like that with my sister and I. I found it boring and childish. Why should someone have to stop the creative process and be guilted into "adding" a black man, a chinese person, etc to a film so everyone gets equal time. If you don't like it, make your own movies. I am not an unsympathetic person, but it seems lately that racism is exacerbated by minorities constantly crying foul about everything. If all movies have to have equal parts of every color skin- we will have a lot of silly movies. I Love films of all types, and have always gone to see films made by every culture and race. The bottom line seems not to be about being treated fairly and being free to express yourself, but about not making a ton of money and being jealous. Admit it... If your culture has become boring and annoying, then it is up to the members of said culture to become interesting to others. Why does our culture feel that this race guilt is any more acceptable than race whining. Shut it....

Sent by Michael L | 9:22 AM | 8-27-2008

Thank you, Mr. Ridley, for making me think and laugh at the same time so early in the morning. When, indeed, did fantasy become so... predictable?

Sent by Fred Vaughn | 9:32 AM | 8-27-2008

There are always the Arab/Arab-American roles in movies and tv. You can tell if the character is a good guy because he is portrayed by a European. If he is a bad guy, he is portrayed by an Indian or Pakistani. The Arab actors are trying to pass themselves off as Italians and Greeks.

Sent by Melissa | 9:53 AM | 8-27-2008

Sir - You highlight Tiger Woods and Barak Obama as black celebrities worthy of emulation. They certainly are fine people with traits worthy of praise. Trouble is, Tiger Woods is 50% Asian and only 25% African American while Barak Obama is 50% African American and 50% Caucasian. There is a plethora of black politicians, musicians, scientists, teachers, philosophers, etc. without citing these two.

Sent by Richard Starr | 9:53 AM | 8-27-2008

First off why do minorities have to be in all movies? They are MINORITIES, not majorities. As of the 2006 census blacks make up 12.8% of the population. Do you think black actors appear in more than 12% of movies? Also I don't see anything offensive about any of the movies you listed. Hancock was funny because he was a super hero who happened to be a drunk, not because he was a black guy who was a drunk. Black America is over sensitive to issues like this, you guys need to chill out and actually take theses pieces of work for what they are SATIRE.

Sent by Matt | 9:59 AM | 8-27-2008

Where as I agree with most of what you were saying, I do question your questioning of Jack Black playing the Kung Fu Panda. Having a problem with that is like having a problem with Phil LaMarr playing Samurai Jack in the cartoon show of the same name.

But for the most part, I agree with you.

Sent by Andrew | 10:00 AM | 8-27-2008

First let me say this, I never really noticed the lack of "Minority actors" in films this summer. You know why, because I do not go see movies based on whether or not they have "minority stars". When I think of Will Smith, I do not think "Black actor" first, I think of good actor I like. I mean seriously, do you think Hollywood sets out saying" We need to make less movies with minority actors in them." NO, it is merely coincidence. There is no color or race preference going on here, they do not care if you who you are as long as you can sell their product!!!! But hey as long as we are playing the minority game here, lets talk NBA, Because man, during the finals last year, there was little or no caucasian men on the floor during the games. Where is the caucasian respect in the NBA??? Please stop with the respect thing, it really clouds your ultimate goal, and builds contempt for your cause.

Sent by Ryan | 10:03 AM | 8-27-2008

All good points but did you mean to omit Venus Williams and her victory [again] at Wimbledon? How about Brian Clay and his gold medal in the decathalon at the olympics?

Sent by a. gardos | 10:17 AM | 8-27-2008

I sent in a very interesting and fair comment which was not added due to it's being honest and truthful.

Sent by Michael L | 10:17 AM | 8-27-2008

For me, it's pretty simple. When I can
look on the streets and see black men with
their children being the fathers everyone
expects them to be, when I can see accomplished well spoken black folks of all stripes, on PBS and other channels, hear them
on the radio, or read them in the newspaper, I don't ask for much,
just a reflection on the big screen
of my day to day reality.

Whoopi Goldberg knew there was hope
when she saw Nichelle Nichols in the
first Star Trek series because it meant
there would be black folks in the future. Fantasy can lead anywhere one's
mind can take it. So, knowing that,
when I see predominantly white or
stereotypical minorities in movie
flights of fantasy, I know there's
a lack of imagination and an insulting
disconnect from reality. When I saw
a quiz which asked of Disney films
who was the good guy, the bad guy, the
love interest, and the wacky sidekick,
I knew why. I don't expect Barack Obama
to be the "Great Black Hope" but, in a
nation on the verge of possibly electing
its first black president, perhaps we
can expand the silver screen characterizations not just of blacks, but of all ethnic minorities to reflect
their changing demographic realities.

Surely there's a way to do that and
make money too.

Sent by Mike Moore | 10:29 AM | 8-27-2008

Heard you on the air this morning and you were great. I had to laugh out loud at the "Birth of a Nation" line.

Yes, Hollywood needs to do a better job with minorities. They should take a tip from television commercials where black folks and black hair from bushy to sleek can be seen doing everything with everyone.

But give "Hancock" a break. I want to see African-Americans in all kinds of roles, not just playing Sidney Poiter do-gooder types.

Sent by sharon | 10:32 AM | 8-27-2008

I thought this was really funnys and spot-on when I heard it on NPR this morning. It really highlighted how out of touch Hollywood is. Especially when you consider that whites will be a minority in this country in a couple decades. It's time for those Hollywood liberals to catch up a little bit.

My motivation for applauding this post is also kind of selfish-I find Will Smith kind of fun but shallow in a Tom Cruise kind of way, and Denzel Washington just leaves me cold. I want more options!

Sent by Claude | 10:37 AM | 8-27-2008

It's sad that someone so offended by the way his group is being portrayed would give a high-sign to a movie like Tropic Thunder. The rest of the country is outraged by its portrayal of the special needs community and is boycotting this film. I guess insults are only offesive if they pertains to you?

Sent by Tommi Stephenson | 11:03 AM | 8-27-2008

There is as always a fine line with this subject. Art imitating life or life influencing art. As an Asian I was equally offended when Chinese women were cast in roles for 'Memoirs of a Geisha' as if all Asians look alike?

I think its important to bring these topics up not just for African Americans but all Asians. I thought there was a statistic that 1 in 4 doctors in the US is of Asian decent, but watching television you wouldn't see that.

On the flip side one role I think you did miss was Terence Howard as Tony Starks close friend Rhodey Jones. Although not a major role in this movie if they stick to the comics he should play a role as War Machine in the next as well as continue being Iron Man's moral compass.

Thanks for the commentary.

Sent by Brian Moe | 11:10 AM | 8-27-2008

What about Morgan Freeman in the Dark Knight? He runs the company for Bruce Wayne and he is a brilliant scientist that can create any odd, illusive need that Bruce Wayne requires. Did you forget him, John?

Sent by M Mills | 11:21 AM | 8-27-2008

there is so little about "Hollywood" that is actually art, that I would certainly prefer to never be associated with it.

Sent by kyle meyers | 11:30 AM | 8-27-2008

Unbelievable that you're offended by the fact that Hollywood didn't have as many "actors of color" as you would prefer this summer. Get over the fact that people of color are the minority in America and Hollywood. Perhaps Hollywood needs more decent actors of color. Put down your keyboard and start acting. With any luck I'll enjoy your movies more than your commentary.

Sent by Daniel Underwood | 11:44 AM | 8-27-2008

Interesting piece. Most Hollywood movies are terrible, though.
What got my goat this year was the NAACP Image Awards ignoring the Wire. That is a travesty.
Another issue about poor representations of black people is the minstrel show of rap videos.

Sent by Sean K | 11:51 AM | 8-27-2008

"Tropic Thunder. Sorry, but that one passes the funny test..."

Unless you care about mentally retarded folks.

Sent by Carson Park Ranger | 11:51 AM | 8-27-2008

hahahaaaaaaa I see some of the angry people here do not get it. They think everything is AOK alright! I guess you must be a social worker or so-called ethnic person to get it. Does anyone realize the affect images have on children? LOL!

Sent by Sleepless G | 11:58 AM | 8-27-2008

WHOA! NPR published this and sent it out on the airways! I'm touched.
Thank you, Mr. Ridley, for this wonderful piece full of truth and humor--neither of which overshadowed the other. I am constantly shocked and angered at how the media ignores people of color--hispanics as much as any minority. When will we learn that we cannot ignore our minorities? Do we have to wait until they are no longer a minority?
And, no, Mr. Ridley, you were not complaining for the sake of complaining. This piece just states the obvious to those that choose to turn a blind eye to the facts. So, if you're in a position to change things in your industry, hit yourself over the head with a 2 x 4 while repeating: "I am an agent of change. Change is good and much desired. I am an agent of change..."

Sent by Ginger Graham | 12:05 PM | 8-27-2008

Tropic Thunder is good. Really not what you think - and, the turn-around in who ends up leading the group is amazing. Really turns the geeky extra into the lead star - and he, un-named guy, while white definately opens up the field for future geek actors! YEAH DIVERSITY!

oh, and my ex-boyfriend and I went to see it together - he loved it. And, he is black. And, successful, well spoken, sweet, kind, intelligent, and well - works too many hours for his venture capital firm for any sane woman to have a relationship with him. lol.

thanks! - oh, first comment, my friend's dad is a major movie producer - send scripts you like and if enough good scripts come, then they'll make it.

Sent by Web-a-Deb | 12:06 PM | 8-27-2008

What about Tyler Perry? According to THB.com, his five movies have grossed $250 million, and he's sold 25 million DVDs. But, as an occidental (ha, ha), I don't get his movies (I still don't get the cross-dressing as an extremely overweight old woman thing(see Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence, and Tyler Perry)). He appeals to and is recevied by a certain audience, as his profits indicate. And I don't think he needs (or needed) token white males in his movies. Part of the problem too is that I don't think anyone can pull off portraying "black culture" as Tyler Perry pulls it off, and I don't know if any mainstream Hollywood director would even attempt it. I do see your point about minorities being under-represented in the movies, but there's always a double standard that you have to contend with as well. I'm Irish- you have a drunk Irishman in a movie, it's "Oh, those silly Irish, always drunk"; you have a drunk black man, you get your above comment on Hancock. Are your comments creating more problems than solving them?

Sent by Martin Goetz | 12:15 PM | 8-27-2008

I'll have to agree with an earlier commenter -- it's capitalism, not racism at work in Hollywood. When black people make movies they give us crap like "Are We There Yet?" "College Road Trip" and "Barbershop." Movies that the majority of Americans don't want to see.

Sent by Jason | 12:31 PM | 8-27-2008

Yup, it is not just movies, it is high time for American media to get a taste of reality. Otherwise, they just spreading misconception rather than preparing our next generation for real multicultural world around us.

Sent by Shantanu Sardesai | 12:33 PM | 8-27-2008

Thanks John. I've been feeling that way for a long time. This is a little earlier than the period that you were talking about. But one of the movies that got to me was "21". The book "Bringing Down the House" documented a bunch of Chinese-American MIT students led by a Hispanic math genius who took card counting to new heights. The protagonist was only half Chinese, and that was a big deal to the group. Of course, the movie made the Hispanic math genius white along with the main character. Talk about fantasy, a gang of white nerds organizing to take on the casinos! It's easy for white people to dismiss this as whining. But when I lived in Japan, the biggest whiners were American whites. It is nice to once in a while see a familiar type of face. More Americans need to live a few years in a foreign country. They'll come back to see things in a slightly different light.

Sent by Takeo | 12:34 PM | 8-27-2008

To Micheal L.

Ridley has made his own movies. And to he people citing Morgan Freeman in Batman and Terrence Howard in Iron Man (rhoadie...enough said)as an example; it doesn't quit cu it for me. Those are classic portrayals of the super negro.
They have power and intelligence and wisdom but it is all for the service of a white character, without whom they would not have a purpose. To some people it sounds like whining but it's not. They are observances followed by opinions.

Sent by Jeremy Johnson | 12:39 PM | 8-27-2008

No offense, but from the perspective of a gay American, we can only dream of receiving the lackluster amount of positive representation people of color have.

Sent by Jeff M. | 12:56 PM | 8-27-2008

You made some interesting points. I agree with some of the comments here, and some I do not agree with. My husband is a Afro Cuban (yes, that's Black) who is co-staring this Sat at The Fine Arts Theatre in Beverly Hills on Sept 6th in the film, Love & Suicide (indie-excuse the plug) and he has first hand experienced about this exclusion.

He has been nominated best actor at The American Black Film Festival, two nominations at The Spirit Awards, but major studio's? Well, that's another story. I have dated Mexican and Caucasian actors before my husband Luis Moro, and I must say the difference is astonishing.

The Latino community embraces their own (which I am Spanish, and I have seen it) and I have seen lots of love for Hispanic actors. I have seen 'doors wide open' for Caucasian actors with half the talent of my husband.

So, my husband continues to plug away, working 20 hours a day, no breaks...to get people to see our film, and to get work...and continue to prove to audiences over and over as a Black African American Latino Actor (yes, they do exist) that he kicks ass at the box office (a record 10 week at AMC theatre).

Crickets. Is this a racial thing? I don't know. Good films are good films, right? Well it's had awesome reviews. So, it's not that. What is it?

Well, let's pick up the newspaper. I was a Republican from birth, my ancestor goes back to Stockton, the signer of Declaration of Independence. I am voting for Democracy today. I am voting for the people to take back the government. Who will get us there? A Black man with a funny name, Barack Obama.

I have been in rooms (some family) who have outwardly, and with no shame denounced Obama for the color of his skin. This is 2008, and we still can't get a Black man into office? Are you kidding me?

So, as this article reflects, maybe there is some truth, from one filmmaking family with a Black man actor/writer/producer who is going through it, to watching the USA, our country... in groans of labor before the birth of a new future, a new country.

We are waiting. While we continue to fight, while we continue to bring light (thank you John Ridley) to what IS REALLY GOING ON in the African American community. Your commenter's named maybe a handful of Black Actors in these films this summer. What is the percentage of Caucasian & Hispanic actors in comparison?

Let's end the ancient prejudice of color. Let's go back to when we were kids and 'forgot' or didn't even know the color of the skin of our friends.

So, I am taking this opportunity continuing where Ridley left off, 'well, what are we going to do about it?' Let's enjoy each others differences, and color, lets get together, and prove that color, in all shades is beautiful.

See you at the box office.

Sent by Bobbi Miller-Moro | 12:56 PM | 8-27-2008

Hard to argue with the your overall point, but I did find most of your arguments pretty flimsy. For instance, how can you be upset that Will Smith played a complex, interesting character in a film that garnered good critical reviews and made tons of money? And as for Jennifer Hudson -- she's OK, but you'd have to be pretty naive to think one Oscar win will earn her respect in Hollywood. If you really think that, then perhaps you should have a chat with Cuba Gooding Jr.

Sent by Ray | 1:01 PM | 8-27-2008

I rarely if ever feel the need to comment but after hearing this post I felt I had to. After reviewing the other comments, most have said exactly what I wanted to. Hollywood is profit driven, as is most of our society. Companies don't market to "whites" instead of "people of color" to discriminate. Every company is in business for the profit and tailors to the consumer society. You want more feature films with minorities, then influence the market through the consumers. You can't force a company to make something just so every race, religion and sexual orientation is represented. Instead show Hollywood there's a reason, other than racial equality, to make the movies you want to see.

Sent by Natalie H. | 1:07 PM | 8-27-2008

I, too, was very bothered by the Hancock plot. Why did the only black superhero, unless you count Spawn, or whatever it was, have to include a stint in jail for the hero? I thought that was not only ridiculous, but indicative of how Hollywood really sees non-whites. But, it's par for the course. Thank you for your expert analysis.

Sent by Dan Hardman | 1:29 PM | 8-27-2008

In response to some of the comments I've
read here. I, for one, and in contrast
to John's commentary here, don't expect
blacks (or minorities) to be in every

I think it would be nice to see them
considered more often for roles for
which they are not ordinarily considered.

When they are in movies, I'd like to see
more than just the stereotypes.

Black movies in general, several of
Spike Lee's movies come to mind, as
do the works of Gordon Parks. There's
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, The
Last Emperor, Joy Luck Club, Namesake and numerous other movies either about
or with the significant involvement of
ethnic minorities for me to accept the
statement that "When black people make movies they give us crap".

I've seen equal opportunity "crap". I'm
not so sure it's limited to or disproportionately represented by any
one ethnic minority (maybe whites only
because they represent the majority of
people and of those involved at some
significant level in the making of

I concluded my comments with an understanding that the movie industry
is a business. But, as our population
becomes increasingly more diverse, "business" people can understand that
there's money to be had in making
more (and more quality) films by and
about people of color. And in doing
so, I'm not so narrow-minded as to
think that the current majority of
people in this country will not also
be interested in quality movies by
and about people of color.

That's not, I don't think, prejudicial.
I think it just makes good (business)

Sent by Mike Moore | 3:43 PM | 8-27-2008

I am not surprised that caucasions don't seem to see any problem with the dearth of people of color (especially black people) in film. They refuse to acknowledge their privilege simply because of their white skin which is exactly why Obama won't get enough votes to ascend to the "Whitehouse". Mark my words.

Sent by SWhite | 3:45 PM | 8-27-2008

Whew! I just read all of the comments before mine...First, I was really surprised by comments from folks that actually were listening to this piece before 8 this morning AND the unenlightened responses I thought they submitted. To paraphrase that theme..."you are minorities get over it". A bit scary to read. And NPR listeners too. There goes that stereotype. Second, profit versus social action/awareness...Sad but so true. I would like to add that you tend to see the world you live in and most producers do not live in worlds that are that diverse ethnically or racially. Lastly, I am a mental health therapist and a 53 year old African American man. It just plain hurts to so rarely see me (older women, as well I could list all of us slighted folks...) in a lead role. Profit or no profit. It just hurts. 2008 and invisibility is the still the word for all but a hand few. I think that was the real truth behind your commentary this morning.

Sent by Esokay | 4:01 PM | 8-27-2008

According to the census bureau website (http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/00000.html)for the US as a whole:

Black persons, percent, 2006 (a) 12.8%

According to your numbers 4/36 (~11%) had black persons in leading roles.

This leaves a 1.8% disparity for Hollywood to be ashamed of. Unfortunately, with one more movie this population segment would be over represented at ~13.9% so I suppose a case could be made for 4/36 being an acceptable percentage.

Perhaps we could suggest to our government representatives that they pass some laws forcing the entertainment industry to employ a quota system based on census bureau statistics for selecting their entertainers.

Sent by Tim C. | 4:18 PM | 8-27-2008

As someone who has lived in Latin America, including Mexico and Brazil I can honestly say the "Latino Community" generally only "embraces their own" on television if they are white. I think Ms. Miller-Moro is confusing nationality with race. Her statement should read "I have dated Mexican and Anglo actors" or I have dated "mestizo and Caucasian actors" Since being Mexican does not also exclude one from being Caucasian. Not taking this truth into account diminishes the very real problem of racism within the "Latino" community. Which judging by television in even a predominantly mixed race country such as Mexico is a much larger problem than in Anglo society in the United States. (i.e. you are much more likely to see a Mestizo Latino in quality roles in the United States than you are likely to see one in Latin America.)

Sent by Paulo Jensen | 4:32 PM | 8-27-2008

The fact that there are so many negative stereotypes is a double-edged sword. Some of the worst crap is being created by black people. On the other hand, white people usually don't watch anything involving minorities unless it involves degrading and ridiculous stereotypes because it runs counter to hard-wired racism. Many black people don't watch entertainment that involves positive images (or even diverse ones) because they find minstrelsy like Tyler Perry and Flava Flav more watchable. The offensiveness of many of the portrayals of minorities depends on who is percieved to be controlling the images. When black people control them, it is viewed as opportunity. When white people control them, it's racism.

Sent by MilesEllison | 5:38 PM | 8-27-2008


Do the math!!

6 movies on this list came out this year!! Regardless of minorities in entertainment, people are still seeing these movies-regardless who stars in them.

Sent by Caleb Nehring | 5:53 PM | 8-27-2008

I was saddened and somewhat surprised that so many listeners (especially NPR listeners) lacked the ability and/or willingness to step outside their own realities in order to view this issue from the perspective of many people of color. It is, in my view, a sad commentary on the state of race relations in this country and a strong indicator that more dialogue needs to take place.

Beyond this observation, Mr. Ridley's piece and the many responses to it brought to mind an old proverb I once heard that goes something like this: "Until stories of the hunt are told from the perspective of the lion, they will always glorify the hunter."

For many years, the lack of non-stereotypical film and television roles for blacks and other people of color angered me, and I believed the problem was purely one of racism. A bit more experience and maturity brought me to the conclusion that several others have voiced--namely that Hollywood produces film and television programs and films it believes will result in profit. Additionally, like one other responder noted, those who are creating the stories do not, I presume, include many people of color. Clearly, the stories and the characters within them reflect this reality.

The bottom line is that until the film and television industry can find a way to profit from programs and films that feature the plural realities of people of color and their experiences, we are likely to see more of the same on the big and small screens.

We who care about these issues are not powerless, however. The profit about which many of us have spoken today is generated by dollars we spend to support the films the industry produces. If we genuinely care enough about changing what we are seeing (or not seeing), we can choose to withhold our dollars and speak out until things begin to shift.

Sent by B. Spraggins | 7:14 PM | 8-27-2008

I got a kick out of your complaint that the panda wasn't played by a Chinese actor. Hey you missed the worst part, Jack Black isn't even a panda. I mean seriously my friend he's an ACTOR the whole point is that he's playing someone he's not. And Jennifer Hudson was given a supporting role just because she isn't one of the principal characters? You're right, that's obviously racism. I mean just for a second take a break from victimhood and move forward.

Sent by Dan Cooper | 10:21 PM | 8-27-2008

I'm glad that John Ridley has to work this hard to fuel his outrage. It's a sign that we've made real progress toward equality.

Sent by Brien William | 5:44 AM | 8-28-2008

If you are offended by the comment of the movies you discussed and are surprised by the lack of minorities represented then do something about it. The simple fact is, is that the majority of the population is not and that is why those movies are popular. I believe that the majority of the population is very tired of worrying about every aspect of their lives and who may be offended by it. Am I offending poor people by making a good living? Am I offending less educated people by pursuing higher education? Am I offending minorities by watching a movie that doesn't have minority representation? When does it end? I got an idea. Why don't we all where the same clothes, go to the same schools, eat the same food, work at the same job and put our pants on the same way. Lets make a society of uniformity that way nobody gets their feelings hurt. Get over it. People are different. People have different interests. If you don't like what is being shown in movies then don't support them. The movie companies do generally try to make movies that will attract an audience. They'll change if they aren't making money.
Was I offended by your report? No. I wouldn't say I was offended. I didn't agree with it and I turned the station off. Maybe that's what you should try instead of griping about being offended.

Sent by Peter | 10:15 AM | 8-28-2008

I agree with you up to a point. Although, yes I was offended by even the premise of a drunken loser for a superhero, let's stop and think. In this day of U-tube and editing software available on your basic Vista program, maybe it is time for people of color and people of genre to start making their own movies. If you could get even a small group of black stars together to pool some money, come up with an intelligent script, etc. Hollywood would be forced to copy the trend (as seems to be the way of it). Though I am glad you pointed out the crappy way Hollywood treats people, I get sick and tired of the belly-aching. It is time to actually make the change, not wait and hope for change.

Sent by Jonathan Christopher Martin | 10:27 AM | 8-28-2008

I really didn't notice how many "minorities" were in the movies I watched this summer. I try to see a person for his/her own individual characteristics, not callously throw them in a category based on their skin color. Maybe the author of this piece should try to do the same. I can not believe NPR would waste air time on such a racist, offensive, and discriminatory piece. I can listen to tripe such as out on the sidewalk. How will we ever move on and progress as a nation with people so willing to gain fame from spreading hate?

Sent by Tom | 12:32 PM | 8-28-2008

It is interesting that you picked this topic today. Along my route to work I noticed the sinage for the upcoming new televion shows for the fall television season and saw that Taye Diggs is part of the cast in "Private Practice" and Emerson Cod is a cast member in "Pushing Daisies". Still my thought was these are not "period" stories where minorities didn't exist at all except as domestics or slaves. What I don't get is how in 2008, minorities still only get cast in single digits on shows set in cities where they are in abundance. Take "Sex in the City" for example. Yes, they highlighted Jennifer Hudson, but where were all the other minorities who would normally be standing next to you as you wait to cross the street?
Unfortunately what it comes down to is that shows and films with predominately minority casts are relegated only to offensive and embarrassing dialogue (Tyler Perry films & anything that Katt Williams stars in) and situations that are perceived to be how all of us live. When does it end, probably never because it doesn't concern Hollywood that other people exist in the world and want to be respectfully represented.

Sent by Anita M. Samuels | 1:19 PM | 8-28-2008

John, I hate to break it to ya', but Hollywood is by no means a bastion of intellectual or artistic honesty. Profit trumps artistic merit any day there.

And sadly, it's more profitable for them to put out movies with less minorities, little integrity, or black men in fat suits and granny outfits. Such is the state of things.

Hollywood is a tool of the masses, so to speak. They make what people want. Maybe if people wanted something different, they'd get it.

Maybe if the American public wasn't bursting at the seams with rubes that can't think critically, they'd demand something better.

Sent by jonathon | 2:07 PM | 8-28-2008

Good article, but I don't feel that your point on Will Smith is valid. Sure, he was one of the few African American leading men this summer and yes, he did play a character with deplorable morals, but this isn't any actor, it's Will Smith, one of if not the most powerful actors working today. If it weren't for him, Hancock probably would never have been made. Smith has played mostly good guys in his career so far, and if he plays something against type for once, it's not "the man"'s fault, it's his own choice. Smith has proven he can just about do what he wants in Hollywood these days, institutional racism or no. So rather than focusing only on the negative, why not focus on how someone like Smith can consistently make hundreds of millions of dollars on his pictures. The people of color may have been scarce on the screen but Smith has proven that we can also make some serious green.

Sent by Zach | 4:59 PM | 8-28-2008

As a minority, I am appalled at articles like this. I don't judge movies by the number of roles given to people of color. In fact, just the opposite; typically when I see a movie that I feel is "overly diverse" I laugh because it's clear the director when out of their way to include "one of everybody". I think actors should be cast based on talent. For example, I applauded the use of Michael Clark Duncan as Kingpin in Daredevil, a few years back. As bad as that movie was, the director cast talent OVER race and chose the best person for the part even though Kingpin is a white character in the comics.
Likewise, in The Dark Knight, Two Face, who is often depicted as black in the comics, was a role given to a white actor. I think the day in which all directors look at talent first is the day in which we truly have made progress.

Sent by Kris | 5:56 PM | 8-28-2008

John -
You make some valid points but you're way off the mark on Jennifer Hudson's role in Sex in the City. She made the movie for me. I was much more interested in her potryal of Louise than the whining, faded yuppies Carrie & Co. Of course it was a supporting role - very little about the movie strayed from the TV series - but the character did a lot more than fetch coffee, and Hudson made the most of it!

Sent by JM | 6:37 PM | 8-28-2008

Man this guy is way out there. I think he see's what he wants too see. I think he likes being the under dog.

Sent by j | 4:29 AM | 8-29-2008

This piece is offensive. Barack Obama and Co. have no time for you and your ilk (self-pitying sloths too rooted in the convenience of woe and victimization to make any real effort toward achievable progress). I must say that, as a man of Teutonic, Anglo-Saxon, European, Caucasian-American descent, I find your lamentations to be pitiful, and every time I read smut like this I experience serious reservations about lending any credence to the "black" cause. You are divisive. For that matter, 4 of 36 is 1/9, or about 11% of films, whilst blacks comprise about 13-14% of the population, so you are recognized in due, just proportion!

Sent by Heinrich | 9:41 PM | 8-29-2008

cry a little more, only someone with a racist mind would think of something like that.

You think anyone sat in the theatre thinking


No they didn't. So get your head out of your a**

Sent by asd | 9:49 PM | 8-29-2008

For some reason my comments where put up on here earlier for whatever reason (probably because everything I said was true.)

But let me just say for one John Ridley your just a bigot like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, & Spike Lee. Get over yourself. If you have such a problem with the white race in America let alone in Hollywood then leave America & go back to Africa. Jacka**!

Second off, some of the comments on here on this board are so inaccurate & laughable let alone this lame article. To begin...Kris comments "Two Face, who is often depicted as black in the comics, was a role given to a white actor."

Kris, you surely don't know much about Batman (it shows!). Two-Face has always been known as a white man not black (what are you smoking?). Your statement says you don't judge by race but by talent. But really, you do judge by race not talent. Aaron Eckhart was perfect for Two-Face & accurate like Nolan has been all through his Batman franchise.

Your comment on Michael Clarke Duncan, yea he's a good actor (nothing special) but "Daredevil" was inaccurate from the comic book material. Kingpin is a white male figure not black/latino/asain. Maybe you would be more happy if everyone was played by a minority & lets just leave out all whites. Would that make you happy? I know it would make John Ridley happy. Right John?

And to the women (Bobbi Miller) who thinks her husband is better actor then most actors in Hollywood today. Lady, Hollywood is in need of male actors today (there isn't enough according to most in Hollywood.) So, if your husband is so damn good then he would have already made it big. He hasn't which pretty much means he isn't that good to begin with.

A great portion of comments on here are just ludacris & absurd towards Hollywood (it's shows you don't understand the Hollywood system & just listen to what the media tells you). It just amazes me how minorities will never be happy with anything until they just basically rule America & get rid of the white race all-together. I'm not racist but I'm sick of the complaining from minorities. If you hate it in America so bad then go back to where you came from.

I won't even comment on Barack Obama. But I will say he is not right for America. Joe Biden is really going to be the president. Barack Obama is all talk with no walk. He's an utter joke. Colin Powell should have been the first black president not this joke.

Seriously this whole article should be deleted. This is just a racist rant from John Ridley.

Sent by Scott | 1:26 AM | 8-30-2008

Are you seriously that blind? How can you be offended by movies? And what about Hollywood and Tyler Perry? I am so tired of Spike Lee and his minions proclaiming every white person to be a fiercely ignorant bigot.

Sent by Patrick | 6:47 AM | 8-30-2008

Relax folks, this is just another race baiting "journalist" trying to do his job. Instead of pointing out the lack of black people in movies or wherever, let's all be thankful that black "people" proliferate the dregs of the music industry without nary a complaint from an angry white male.

Sent by anonymous | 9:49 AM | 8-30-2008

Is this how we want our hard earned tax dollars spent, funding a public orgnization that spewes this nonsense? How do we get this guy fired for promoting racism?

Sent by Xavier Napier | 12:16 PM | 8-30-2008

quit bitching..boo hoo they had a funny guy play a panda..a good actor play a superhero..a black woman playin on a horrible tv show made into a movie..and your getting upset because they are just that..movies. if you want to play the race game..well im offended that you would even start to talk about race when you are clearly biased against other races; such as hispanic. there are more hispanic people in america then black..so you are even lucky that your seeing faces of your own color and culture up there when your not even a big player anymore. you have your own history month, they dont. and there is more of them. see..we can play the race game but its stupid to. and the people that do are stupid quite like yourself. i do not think that corporate executives are plotting a huge war against the black man and have strategically placed people of races in compromising roles to demean they're people. and apparently its not bothering the actors who are in the films much either. and if you want to do somthing about it..well write a good movie..or be a good actor..and then ya know what..you might get to be like hmm.. morgan freeman one of the best african american actors of his age rather than sweet from sweetbacks badass song. i dunno..if you want to sit in your chair and bitch about how you feel you were wronged by seeing a movie..then go ahead..and word to from the wise..its a movie..its not real. and if black people didnt act like that in real life..then it wouldnt be shown on the screen

Sent by paul motherfucking wall | 1:15 PM | 8-30-2008

My previous comment wasn't posted even though there was no swearing or prejudice in it so I will try a different approach.

Everybody is a minority in some way, in fact its prejudiced of you to talk about Hollywood as if they are all one race of people, with the same goals and ideals.

My country is small (Northern Ireland) so I understand that there are not many movies made about it, and when they are made they focus only on the most well known aspects i.e. the Troubles.

This is not because people hate my country, its because there are so many things in the world to take note of that the exact details slip past them. I can tell you that most people in my country live very normal lives, unaffected by the Troubles, and this was true even before the recent ceasefires.

Sent by Windywoo | 1:57 PM | 8-30-2008

What a pity party. Let's see who is the most oppressed. The black guy? The gay guy? The latina? We are talking about movies here folks. Lets save all the racist crap and whining for the morons in the KKK and Nazis.

Sent by David | 4:31 PM | 8-30-2008

But it cannot be argued that non-whites get the short end of the straw. You look at films and YES, there are black people in them. But that's only because we've highlighted our country with the Civil Rights Movements of the 60's and have come to associate racism in this country with whites and blacks only. Our textbooks don't teach us a damn thing about the racism towards Asians or Hispanics.

I'm saying this, because I noticed that it is very rare to give an Asian or Hispanic person the leading role in a film. Unless the Hispanic person looks generally white or the Asian has rounder eyes or has the name Jackie Chan (who had surgery to make his eyes more round), they won't get a leading role. And even if they do, there is a pretty good chance it is a stereotypical role full of accents or cheesy culture portrayals.

Yeah, I hear the 'projection' argument. I hear people say that people who see the racism in this are racists themselves for being able to even think this in the first place. That might be true to some extent, but tell me this...why are there little roles then for actors of Arabic descent, unless they want to play a terrorist (and even then, Hollywood may just hire a Mexican or Indian actor to play that role). Or why are Asians forced to have dumb accents and play villains and not even be attributed the regular qualities of a human being (Hell, watch a film, they don't pay the bills, they don't complain about work, they don't have to go out and eat....no they're a different color and so they just exist there just for the sole purpose of "DIVERSITY").

That can't be argued.

I will say this though. I can see why this is possible. It's a biological and physical attraction thing. People are more generally attracted to their own physical traits. Pure projection. That's why they prefer to watch films starring their own race and compare other races to their own. It attracts people and makes money for Hollywood.

Sent by Josh | 9:55 PM | 8-30-2008

Does everyone not understand that there are a lot more white people than black people. Logically, there will be a lot more white people in leading roles. It's common sense. Everyone should realize this by the time they are 6 years old.

Also, when did Asians become "people of color". Aren't Asians whiter than white people?

Sent by M | 10:13 PM | 8-30-2008

My spouse and I have noticed the lack of diversity as well, and find it disappointing. To add to the problem, except for Sex and the City, it's been hard to find films with women in lead roles or interesting roles (thank you Esokay for noticing this, too).

The people who suggested the current state of affairs is just fine seem to forget that "white" males are really the minority - only about 1/3 of the US population is a white male, with 2/3 female and/or a person of color.
Perhaps a better business model would be to tap into this greater population by diversifying the film industry product.

As for the argument that the market is dictating the product, who knows if the market really won't support diverse films? It's possible many people can't find a product that suits them. I know we can't, and many of my friends are in the same circumstances. Without a concerted effort to reach the 2/3 of the population that isn't "white" male, who can say for sure?

For the record, I too am of Teutonic, European, Caucasian-American descent but do not share Heinrich's view at all.

Sent by Laura | 10:40 PM | 8-30-2008

John, you're counting minorities in the media? (And just what is a minority, anyway?) That is so 20th century!

Sent by Mike | 11:49 PM | 8-30-2008


Dear Sir: The reason Senator Barack Obama is doing so amazingly well is that Hollywood and the media have rolled out the red carpet for him...that is, positive film portrayals of African Americans have exploded exponentially over the past 20 years, ranging from heroic major characters (usually played by Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman) to small but subliminally effective bit parts (i.e., a plethora of black judges, police officers and other upstanding folk in supporting roles).

On the other hand, Americans of Italian descent continue to be tainted with the same gross, one-dimensional stereotypes that our ancestors were subjected to over 100 YEARS AGO: thugs, buffoons and other anti-social types.

Things are so bad that Tony Soprano (the olive-faced counterpart to black-face) is accepted as a "normal" portrayal of Italians; and even Senator Obama failed to call his ex-pastor, Rev. Wright, publicly to task for referring to Italians as "Garlic noses" in one of his sermons.

Substitute "Bagel Noses" for "Garlic Noses" and consider how the media would have reacted (and justifiably so).

And one cannot, of course, underestimate the harm that a filmmaker like Spike Lee has done with his obsessively negative caricaturing of Italians in "Do The Right Thing," "Summer of Sam," and "Jungle Fever." Perhaps his upcoming film, "The Miracle of St. Anna," is his attempt to right the balance--which would, indeed, be a true miracle.

For now, we'd settle for a much smaller one: an Italian surnamed character in any movie (or TV show) who isn't inherently scummy or cartoonish.

Bill Dal Cerro
National President
Italic Institute of America
Floral Park, NY www.italic.org

Sent by Bill Dal Cerro | 12:59 AM | 8-31-2008

Hey and for all the Mexicans, Chicanos and Latinos....What about "Beverly Hills Chihuahua"? What were they thinking? And it's a Disney movie? What the heck is up with that picture? There's another one to add on to our list, my Latino brothers and sisters...
we got maid, leaf blower, and now chihuahuas. Woo-hoo!!! Great potrayals of Latinos.

But seriously, not all is as bad as it seems. At least for Latinos there seems to be some great actors and great movies coming up. Look at Benicio Del Toro.

But this article was sure funny.

Sent by MAV | 1:05 AM | 8-31-2008

I saw so many movies this summer and 2008 was one of the best summers EVER, movie wise. Morgan Freeman had great supporting roles in The Dark Knight and Wanted.
I liked Jennifer Hudson in SATC. She was the breath of fresh air who helped Carrie remember romance and love. Whoopi was a Best Supporting Oscar too and she's cohosting The View.
The new actor who played Alpha Chino in Tropic Thunder was hilarious. I look forward to seeing Brandon T Jackson in more films.
America Herrera revisited her role in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.
Hancock was a pleasant surprise and I was fully entertained which is more than I can saw about most of Will Smith movies.
Eddie Murphy starred in "Meet Dave", future Razzie nominee.
Fred Durst, of all folks, just directed Keke Palmer and Ice Cube in "Long Shoots". Talk about new family values.
I loved the summer. I'll see what the fall with bring.

Sent by Casey | 3:21 AM | 8-31-2008

This is not our fault that there's not enough talented actors from the minorities for which you're offended. Hollywood will always make movies with actors who are popular and who are suitable for the role. At least it's supposed to. This is actually not the case lately. Because sometimes they cast black actors who are not suitable for the role. Just for the pleasure of people like you. So be happy.

Sent by Ginger | 6:18 AM | 8-31-2008

There are lies, there are damned lies and then...there are Statistics.
Minority affiliation and color are becoming increasingly meaningless terms, since many Americans are becoming "blended", and the privileged single-race Caucasians (like myself) need these wake-up calls occasionally, to remind us of how we are catered to disproportionately. (Thanks, John.)
I live in a city where I, a non-Hispanic white male, am the minority. Over 50% of the population in my city is Hispanic, leaving the remaaining percentage to be carved up by Asian, Black, White and other ethnic minorities.
Everyone using statistics in commentary for this article is guilty of wearing single-color blinders; talking about "minorities" and quoting only 12.8% blacks is leaving out the rest of the minorities. What about the 15% Hispanics of White, Black, Asian or Other race?
Using the latest Census Bureau statistics (July 2007) if you total all of the minorities together, you can easily see that White, non-Hispanic Americans now total only 66% of the population--which means that in a fair world, 1 out of every 3 films should have a non-White lead.
The only question is: in a Capitalist, market-driven economy, can a failing industry (like the movie industry) afford to cater to only a third of the population? Just like the majority of manufactured items ignore designing for the 8% of left-handers and the majority of software programs (until recently) did not create both an Apple (Mac) version and an IBM-compatible version, Hollywood follows the money stream...so until non-Hispanic Whites are less than 50% of the population, we can expect this trend to continue. (Assuming race has anything to do with movie choice...which I increasingly doubt.)

Sent by TRCIII | 6:47 AM | 8-31-2008

What about the 50.7% of women who didn't get slightly over half of the lead roles...or even close to that percentage?
Call Hollywood what you will, but they're not intentionally slighting anyone. They're after the money, not the race...or gender.

Sent by TRCIII | 7:01 AM | 8-31-2008

Jennifer Hudson was a Hattie McDaniel in "Sex and the City?" I saw a warm, intelligent character who brought a grounded perspective to the Carrie character who is anything but. Jennifer Hudson got a flattering role in huge hit movie about "older" women and a few well-loved gay men who barely got onscreen. This 41 year old woman was so happy to see great roles for women over 40 onscreen that I could have cried.

Hollywood movies are disproportionately about young, attractive white men, with exceptions made here and there. Minorities are short changed, and women are too - especially over 35, but so are gays and lesbians, people with disabilities, and many others -- often including people who don't look like Barbie and Ken. If this critique had a broader view of how disconnected Hollywood is from the broad range of characters and actors many of us would like to see, I'd be on board.

And a white guy can't voice a cartoon panda bear? If a Chinese actor voiced the part, I suspect you would be complaining that Chinese actors are relegated to voicing panda bears.

Sent by Tracy M | 8:51 AM | 8-31-2008


If you think Kung Fu panda was made to show a panda hero instead of make a family freindly animated movie with comedy favorite Jack Black, your mistaken.

Iron Man- you forgot about Terrance Howard, who plays a great supporting role that is essential to the character. Also introduced one of the most revered characters in the Marvel U (Nick Fury) as a black man instead of white like originally intended. Just because they are considered supporting other than leading doesnt make them less important. When it comes to the alcohol storyline in Iron Man, Rhodey will play a big part im sure.

Jennifer Hudson doesnt deserve an Oscar or a good role. Unless theres singing involved I doubt she'll get a second shot. Plus is she is supposed to do more than what she did in Sex and the City maybe she should have picked a movie without 6 seasons of history and more pop culture iconicism than she'll ever have.

Mike Meyers was offensive but no more offensive than RDJ in Tropic Thunder. Just because it fails to be funny does not mean that it was intended to be offensive.

Hulk and Batman were created in white male dominated society and are too iconic to change. Im sure the women arnt made that they are men, you shouldnt be mad that they are white.

Hancock I believe was written as race nonspecific. Smith got and took the role because his comedy, action, and drama experience suited the character. Im sure that other actors are suited for the role, game of chance with Smith and it becomes offensive. Biggest stretch on this whole nit picky list

Sent by Rick Regan | 4:45 PM | 8-31-2008

Mr. Ridley, you seem to be blinded by your own need to be a victim. Beyond profit, beyond racism, the reason that most of the people employed in Hollywood (actors, producers etc.) are white is because the majority of the population is just that...white. 68% of the population is white. The choices presented to the industry reflect the populace. More white people pursue careers in Hollywood than anyone else, therefore MORE white people are cast in lead roles. It's comparable to going to China and complaining that there aren't enough white actors in lead roles there, which is completely ridiculous and to some degree, racist. A country's art (movies, books, music etc.) REFLECT the populace.

I do not judge a movie based on the race of the lead actor and I really doubt most people do (of any race). If the part is good, if the movie is good, most people will watch and enjoy it.

I really cannot believe you are complaining about Hollywood diversity because 1/4th of the year didn't seem to have enough minority roles to you. Clear your mind and think positively before making such inflammatory and racially biased remarks, otherwise you will only serve to feed the fire of mutual racism.

Sent by Javelenti | 5:10 PM | 8-31-2008

Jack Black does the panda, therefore it's a bad movie. That sums up the whining mentality of Phil Yu, aka angryasianman.
Meanwhile mainland Chinese are thoroughly impressed but troubled that the west took grasp of their culture made an admirable film, and wonder if they'd done it first, the panda would have been a total bore.

Sent by Max | 11:13 PM | 8-31-2008

All the negative comments you have gotten make me sad. So many people want to believe so badly that race issues are non-issues. The irony is that their voice only adds to the weight of non-white, non-male, non-rich, non-straight oppression.

Sent by Rachel | 12:25 AM | 9-2-2008

Wow, are these the replies of NPR-listening hipster liberals? I guess I was always right - white people can't see their beyond their racist mentality no matter which side of political spectrum they're in. I think Obama's doomed.

Sent by JC | 3:48 AM | 9-3-2008

There are not enough talented minority actors to fill acting roles? I would argue that talent doesn't matter. There are a lot of talentless white people in movies simply because they're white, not because they have talent. The movies make money because studios appeal to the lowest common denominator, and there are lots of white people who love unfunny, talentless white actors and actresses. Do people actually believe that Adam Sandler is "talented?" Ben Affleck? Madonna? There are many others at all points of the spectrum. That argument is ridiculous.

Sent by Miles Ellison | 4:03 PM | 9-3-2008

Didn't you see THE VISITOR? Two of the most attractive, sympathetic, best-acted roles I've seen in years--a young man from Syria and a young woman from Senegal, and the Syrian youth's mother, charm a depressed middle-aged white American into becoming a good friend. The ending is realistic, not Hollywood sappy, so if you haven't see this one--rent it. Yes, I know it isn't strictly a summer film since it came out in NY City early in the year. Here in Philly, we didn't get this one till June or July. That makes it a summer film to us--and probably to most of the country--after it began winning multiple awards.

Sent by Jenny Hanniver | 2:26 PM | 9-4-2008

Trying to find racism in tiny cracks when it isn't even racism anyway. On the court where I live there are 8 houses. No minorities! So I guess the Home Owners association is to blame?

Sent by Nick | 5:20 PM | 9-5-2008

You sit in your bloggers chair and click your keys with a continued focus on ethnicity. You have nothing else. You have no substance. Your words are dripping with disdain for anything that doesn't edify you or your BLACK race. You perpetuate racism witin YOUR own community. You do not heal or create unity. You have no sense of humor nor a sense of community with anyone that is not black. Actually, I take that back. In this recent blog, you only take aim at Hollywood. Wait, you are excluding every race, but the white race, and then you coin the problem as Hollywood....white Hollywood. We get you don't like white people. So? You wonder why you are not respected outside of a community of whiners? You have no substance and continue to blame the whiteman for every wrong in the black world. You take no responsibility. None. First, I have seen many a black film in which the redneck, the bubba, the NASCAR fan, the stupid white kid who can't dance, the racist, the dictator, the guy with a reaaaaally lame white accent have been mocked, teased, denigrated. Hypocrisy runs rampant in your words and those of your fellow racists. You have become that which you disdain. You yourself have referred to white people with words that are offensive, bubba. They are offensive because you can't take it, but you can dish it. I was at a grocery store. Walking out, I saw the machines that dispense candies. My son wanted some gum. So, I gave him a quarter and accompanied him to the machines. I noticed in one machine they had "bubba teeth." Mocking white Southerners. Are you kidding me? How stupid. But, those teeth didn't make a statement of truth. So, I chose not to run to the ACLU that day. What would you have done if it were a depictions of something black? The entire class is raising it's hands. We know the answer. You would stomp, scream, kick, cry, call some religious leaders to get on t.v., and of course write a stupid blog. There is a group of black people, of which you are a member that always whine, complain, and blame the white community for everything. You have a sense of entitlement that is stupid. You want everything to be black. You are not looking for balance. You want everything just...black. It is not. Get over it. There are other races playing in our playground. You want political correctness. You need to find it yourself. You have a definition of political correctness for white people and you redefine it for your own race. You whine and complain. Do you or do you not want to be a member of the American society? It is white, black, asian, hispanic. You won't have the spotlight. You will have to work. You can't have a sense of entitlement. You will have to actually talk to people of another race without a chip on your shoulder. But, you could actually grow, learn something about yourself, and see beyond your own skin color. Honestly, you need to relax, work hard, and live. And, you might want to check yourself. Because, your whining, complaining, and racism is getting old. You are holding yourself back. You are too sensitive. The movies you quoted were not racist. They were mocking stereotypes, they were intended to be lighthearted. But, you, being overly sensitive can't hear the word black being uttered out of a white person's mouth without becoming incensed...you stomp around, crying, and wailing. Then you get your big boy dictionary and your computer out...and you start to write....ahhhhh...the plight of a blackman and the big bad useless white "bubbas".

Sent by overit | 10:30 AM | 9-6-2008

You are a racist, yes indeed. You are a horrible representation of the black community! By the way...it is ASK not ax....dang! Most black people are professional, hardworking, honest and intelligent. They are talented and just amazing. You, blogger, try to veil the truth with your own insecurities and self-pity. If you would look at yourself, you must realize you are attracting negative energy because that is what you are giving off. People don't like you because of your personality, not because of your color.
Have you ever wondered why our country is one in which people flock to? People die to come live the American dream everyday. Notice how the Indians come and are making money and are living in America happily. Notice how the Asians are here building lives and are becoming part of the American community. Notice how hispanics are starting to appreciate America and are becoming one with the American culture? Notice how everyone except for you is getting along (for the most part) and is able to achieve success? The racism crap you are talking about is a joke and you know it. You are sooooo wrong. I say get rid of BET, get rid of the "black" chambers of commerce, get rid of Black History month, and become American. Not black, not white, not hispanic, not European, not heinz 57, just American. Learn that being American means: be tough, be fair, be innovative, think outside the box, be hardworking, stand-up for justice, learn from your mistakes, your handshake and your word is firm, charity, unity, respect of others. Honestly, Americans must UNITE and stand-up for themselves. We have been the punching bags too long. Americans need to have standards. If people want to come here...they must come with a desire to become American. America is not a whore and should not be treated as such. This is not a place to just come make money and then go back to your country. The pledge is not an option...it is a passion.If you don't like it LEAVE...LEAVE...LEAVE@!!! We don't ask you to leave your culture, bring it. But, don't you dare raise your old flag here. Our ancestors came to be Americans. If you aren't here to be American...go find another place to make money or hang-out. Don't come here because your country is corrupt or government sucks, and then come tell me how we need to improve. Don't mooch. Get rid of your sense of entitlement. You deserve to be treated with respect and given an opportunity...but you better work and pay taxes or GO HOME. And you, blogger man, get some therapy.
If all you want to do is create division...get on a plane and go find a private island...go live, yell and be stupid all by yourself. We don't need your crap here!

Sent by done | 12:29 AM | 9-7-2008

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