An interesting project, and once again points out an obvious thing that I, as a straight white male, never ever notice about mainstream entertainment.
Every time I see a project like this, I think about how much easier it would be if all of our video had extensive metadata on them. Imagine if your video included information about what actors/characters are onscreen (or speaking) in a given frame/time span. You could cross-refernce that with lists of actors by gender/race/nationality/etc. and script these rather than meticulously cut them by hand.
As for where we get the metadata, crowdsource it and CC-license it.
There are still some obvious technical challenges, but the results could be amazing.
Can we do this for gender next?
I love the gender flip script reads. All the ladies get to talk and talk and the dudes get bored. Ya don’t say!?
With the appropriate metadata, we can do this for everything.
How about “Number of romantic pairings between a man and a woman >20 years younger” vs the inverse?
The infographics could practically draw themselves.
It’s kind of begun, but only for “buy the thing from the movie” purposes. Capitalism!
Amazon has done something along those lines with X-Ray. I think it just shows who’s in the current scene, and is not fine-grained enough to show who’s on screen or speaking at that moment, though.
Wow. If someone is watching Still Alice and thinking, “I wonder where I can buy those glasses…”, they may not be watching in good faith. I know both Amazon and Google do this with their movie and TV show offerings, but they are both proprietary and limited.
Here’s an example that doesn’t have (obvious) commercial purpose, and uses the limited metadata that we have easy access to, namely subtitles: http://quotacle.com/
Now let’s see Boing Boing edited down to only the articles written by non-white authors.
I like this as a supplement to the Bechdel Test.
It doesn’t tell you if the movies are any good or thoughtful or whatever, it just points out the issues with representation, powerfully.
Add to doesthedoglive.com too please!
Many BB article authors and several on the BB masthead are Jewish, these ‘white’(Jews go from passing Aryan superman, to Asian, to darkest black appearance despite having common DNA ancestry, I guess what we call race is very epigenetic) people are from across a variable gap uncanny valley and while in a few generations of hard work and suppression of memory might become truly white they do not qualify as anything other than passing model minority especially considering the last 2500 years experience with ‘White’.
I always find it hard to notice any problems with the racial representation in American movies, as I am unaware of what the proper percentages should be (the racial mix here in Austria is different). Whatever the mix shown in any given movie, I basically have to take their word for it.
Suburb A of city B in state C is all-black? I don’t know. Suburb D of city E in state F happens to be all-white? If they say so.
What’s the racial mix among the directors and producers in Hollywood? Are the films produced by Hollywood more diverse than the people in charge? Or is it the other way around? Are we dealing with a homogeneous group of privileged white male directors and producers trying their best to see beyond their privilege but still failing? Or are we dealing with a diverse group of directors being forced to make white-dominated movies because they have to cater to a white-male-dominated market?
It’s far easier for me to notice other “asymmetries”, gender-related, LGBT non-representation, or the fact that when an American science fiction movie shows some future unified Earth, the people crewing United Earth’s starships will always be 70% American and 20% from other (mostly-white) English-speaking countries.
Try telling that to Karen Brodkin.
What a silly comment. Just because white supremacist cranks have a problem with “the Jews” doesn’t mean that those in the U.S. who look “white” aren’t. “Jewish” is a religion and in the U.S., an ethnicity, not a race.And by the way, there’s no such thing as “truly white.”
To answer your first question: predominantly straight white males. To answer your second question: no, not particularly.
Mazel tov for the soothing lonely voice of Professor Brodkin, her personal anecdotes, overly America-centric study, and her privileged position in academia relative to many Jews; but like the many well lettered authors writing up to the last crazy days of the dot-com boom that the economy was finally different; so to many say of Jews in America. This was also once said of modern Europe(where mostly you can no longer safely walk in public as a Jew), Poland, Germany, Spain, etc; these turned out in time to not be new different special tolerant new Jerusalems as Berlin of the 1920s was called, just temporary historical respites to rebuild our again decimated numbers.
Jews live a double standard, we are white when convenient and the other when not convenient, especially at the hands of White. It matters not that Jews are not a race, contrasting a born ethnicity with race is a distraction, hate is hate and when it comes to genocide, ethnic cleansing, and tolerated criminal persecution it falls disproportionately onto Jews from our allegedly fellow whites.
My wife’s Aunt was the first Jewish sorority sister ever allowed at the University of Oregon in the late 50s, my non-religious grandmother had to keep her ethnicity quiet and hide inside her pale skin and fortunately small(for our family) nose in depression era Wisconsin, things got better, but history and progress is not linear, there is no reason to expect that the positive momentum we see now on race relations or optimistically perceived Jewish ‘whiteness’ will stick. We face the same dilemma as the temporary when convenient white-like privilege applied to well off and favored Asians, and though less well accepted even favored or famous blacks and hispanics. As Professor Michael Lerner, a leader in the progressive movement, stated in the VIllage Voice “Jews can only be deemed white if there is massive amnesia on the part of non-Jews about the monumental history of anti-Semitism.”
The Jews(and Asians) will never became white or white society become truly color blind in the foreseeable future, some of us have only been entering as invited +1 guests to the privilege club, and only for as long as we continue to delight, enrich, and entertain our hosts by meeting a standard far higher than theirs.
(edit)I am digging around in boxes for some of our old(from the 30s-50s) Jewish whitening program books, mostly from the then German-Jewish lead Reform movement. This whitening program included denying the holocaust as it happened to prevent domestic antisemitism and to show solidarity with FDR. Also featuring over the top Fox News grade patriotism in inappropriate places, the most stark was replacing singing the traditional hashanna haba byerushalim (next year in (a rebuilt) Jerusalem) to singing America the Beautiful at the conclusion of a Passover seder which also compared the travails of the Jews with the difficulties the US had faced; or the Chanukkah candle lighting book which ascribed an all American virtue and meaning to each night of lighting the menora while reminding the reader that the feeling of nation must now be fully attached to the new home as much as the old ethnic/tribal affiliation.
Setting aside the irony of your comment about the ever-present threat of persecution of Jews appearing in a thread about racial representation in Hollywood films, I certainly acknowledge that as a stereotyped bogeyman, “the Jew” will likely long be available for those who decide to use it to focus dissent in a lateral direction, rather than a more united upwards one. But in the U.S. (where the films under consideration in this thread are made), and in many other places, those who wish to do so will continue propping up other Others before they get to “the Jew.” And let us not forget, of course, that many in the U.S., especially, who are both Jewish and white are all too willing to help do what has long been done to them. Brodkin’s voice is not at all a “lonely” one, nor is her work merely anecdotal; it instead expresses the consensus among those who understand how racial formation works in the U.S.
As for Lerner’s claim (“Jews can only be deemed white if there is massive amnesia on the part of non-Jews about the monumental history of anti-Semitism”), again, yes, the threat of prosecution has not disappeared, and I don’t see a problem with citing it as a distant possibility. However, I do find it delusional to hold up that threat as a more significant factor in white Jewish American lives than the power and privileges that come along with not only being perceived and self-declared as “white” today, but also with being “Jewish” (as opposed to, say, Palestinian, let alone black, Mexican, Native American, and others).
Notice they did not do Shaft.
[quote=“milliefink, post:18, topic:61325”]
the consensus among those who understand how racial formation works in the U.S.
[/quote] A consensus has finally been reached? Great we know how to fix racism now!
Perhaps I see the disconnect we are having.
White is a permanent condition, and you claim for now US+Jew=white.
Even assuming that the above is true, a temporary or even long term regionally granted privilege is hardly the same thing as actual membership in the dominant ruling white majority who enforces and protects it’s own group privilege and that of it’s favored pets. Jews in the diaspora have through known history famously farmed temporary privilege, there is hardly a Jewish settlement in the history of Europe and the middle east where some level of favor for the community or individuals was not gained and then lost.