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*sigh* It seems that because of certain big name movies being close to release there's a lot of talk about whitewashing movies lately. And, yeah, from what I've seen the racefail is strong with Hollywood lately, and that actually confuses me. Okay, sure, there's probably never been a majority of shows with leads (or full casts) of non-white leads, but back in the day there was more than a few.

There's two movies I can name off the top of my head where the main character was black - (the original) Night of the Living Dead and (the big one) the Beverly Hills Cop movies. And I'd say lots of people had no problems relating to/identifying with main characters who didn't look like them. Shocking, I know. <- That last bit was sarcasm, in case you didn't know. So this current idea (in Hollywood, and possibly other places) that a white audience can't identify with/relate to/root for black (and other non-white) characters is (in my not so humble opinion) bullshit!

And last night (after I went offline, of course) I remembered two more movies that did/do just fine without whitewashing - Sister Act and Blade. To be honest, I'm more than a little stunned that I forgot about both of these. Sister Act is still today among my all time favorite movies, and with Blade it's only been a couple months since I re-watched one of those movies, so I can't believe I totally forgot about it when doing all this thinking.
Again, granted these are movies with a non-white main character pretty much surrounded by white, but still they count cause the main character ain't white.
End NEW note...

And it was while thinking about the above that I realized there used to be more shows on regular broadcast networks with black main characters, and in some cases full black casts, and that I've actually watched (and really loved) many of them, and in many cases I find it hard to believe I was the only person watching and liking them.

227 - Sanford and Son - The Jeffersons - Sister Sister - Bagdad Cafe (the one show on this list that you've probably never even heard of) - Family Matters, and those are just the ones I can actually remember watching off the top of my head. There's others, and of course the mega hit The Cosby Show, which I personally didn't watch, but it was clearly a big hit show, and since this was all off the top of my head, I'm sure there's other "non-white" shows that I watched and loved back in the day, not to mention probably more still that were popular but just not shows I watched.

So, really all this leaves me honestly confused about the current Hollywood idea that everything must be whitewashed because (of their deluded belief that) white people won't watch shows with more than one token black character in them. Seriously? Where the sam hell does that idea come from? Cause personally I'd rather watch a full non-white cast rather than just having the token non-white shoved in.

"Hey, Hollywood. Yes, that's right, look at me. STOP IT!" You're making us all look bad with this BS idea you're trying to sell. Okay, fine, yes, I admit there are racists in this country who'd rather have everything all white all the time, but after looking back, I feel reasonably certain that there are more of us (those who have no problem with non-whites in lead roles) than there are of them. *shrug* My personal theory is (and probably always will be) that if you actually make a good show/movie people will watch no matter what color the lead (or cast) is, but, hey, I guess I could be the one smoking something rather than Hollywood, but I kind of doubt it.

Weirdly, after actually writing this out I'm left feeling that Hollywood has moved backwards in this regard rather than forward, which leaves me scratching my head.

(Final Note: For the record, I am aware that in the two movies (not the other stuff, but the movies) I listed where the main character ain't white the not white character was pretty much surrounded by a white cast, BUT (at least) with the Beverly Hills Cop movies I loved seeing the black lead with a white side-kick rather than the way that cookie usually crumbles. And in Night of the Living Dead how awesome was it to see how competent the lead was vs the other whacked out characters. Still the point I was trying to make here wasn't that that a movie or show can't have a balanced black/white cast (I think they should), but my point was that movies/shows can honest to goodness have a non-white lead and still be hits - meaning that (at the very least) a certain amount of white people will actually (*gasp!*) watch.)
Referring to your small text:

~ Iiiiiiii am calling youuuuuuuuu ~

Never saw the series, but the movie is in my dvd collection :)

I'm the opposite of you, I've still (to this day) never watched the movie, but I LOVED the (short-lived though it was) series.
(Of course, I don't have the series on DVD, and I'm not even sure it is offered on DVD.

Okay, unless you meant something other than Bagdad Cafe - on the off chance you were talking about something else, ignore this. ;)
No worries, Hope, we were talking about the same thing. ;-)

I'm also sick of this patronising crap. Why do TV commisioners think I have to be able to relate to every single character on a show? Ninety per cent of the time when I watch TV or a movie I can't relate to ANY the characters; they don't live the same life I do, they don't make the sort of decisions I'd make, or they feel differently about certains issues or topics.

For example, most of the shows I loved and grew up with were American - I can't really relate to an American lifestyle because I'm English. So why did I love those shows anyway? Because even though they were nothing like me or anyone I knew, the characters were believable, interesting and well-written. Likewise, the plots and subplots may not mirror anything going on in my life, but they entertained me. Heck, I could say the same for most British TV.

I can't relate in anyway to Sister Sister or Fresh Prince because none of the characters act like me, and my life is very different. They were still two of my favourite shows growing up. Why is that so difficult to comprehend?
Why do TV commisioners think I have to be able to relate to every single character on a show?

I can almost see where that comes from. The more you relate to/identify with a character the more likely you may be to actually stick with that character past the point of reason (or you know past the point where the show/movie stopped being even remotely watchable) - I've been there more than a few times.

But I agree that the main pull for me (most of the time) isn't whether or not I can relate to/identify with a character it's whether or not I like said character enough to root for them. If I can root for a character then it's not really important whether or not I can identify with/relate to them.

I mean for example (just from the shows I listed above) I didn't really identify with/relate to anyone from Sanford and Son or The Jeffersons, but I loved watching those shows because they (gasp) entertained me.

As for Hollywood not getting it... I don't honestly know, though there are a lot of things Hollywood fails to get, but in this case I just don't understand why whitewashing shows/movies has become such a to-do thing, because it's obviously not necessary.

Edited at 2010-05-31 02:35 am (UTC)