Tag Archives: movies

Borat: just plain funny? or racist and xenophobic?

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

boratQuite a few of you have brought up the upcoming movie Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan to us lately. I’ve watched the Ali G Show on HBO and am familiar with the character, but to be honest I don’t know a whole lot about the premise of the movie.

So I thought I’d make this an open thread and pose a question to all of you. What do you think of the Borat movie? Is it just silly and funny? Or do you think Sacha Baron Cohen is tapping into a racist and/or xenophobic vein in the United States?

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Hey Hollywood, Black, Asian, and Latino Men Do Fall In Love!

by guest contributor Rachel Sullivan, originally posted at Rachel’s Tavern

empty bedI saw this great post on the All Things Considered Blog about love scenes in the top grossing movies. The author, Steven Barnes, reviewed love scenes in the 350 films that have earned more than $100 million dollars. Barnes found that 50 of these movies had loves scenes, which he operationalizes as scenes that insinuate sex, but not one of those scenes included a male actor who was not white.

From PG through R, from Bond through Basic Instinct, you’ll find such scenes in about 15 percent of the most popular films ever made. And every single one features a white guy.

If you scan the same list for American films with non-white leads (again, there are about 50), you’ll find love scenes in zero percent. That’s right, zero. No blacks. No Latinos. No Asians. Hollywood makes such films; you can find them further down on the list. But America won’t watch them.

Barnes goes on to make an argument that I don’t agree with. He says that the problem is about “male territorial behavior,”

I’m convinced that the problem is not just “Hollywood executives.” They’re no better or worse than the rest of us. They simply try to keep track of what the audience wants and rejects, as measured by box office receipts.

And I don’t believe there’s something especially twisted or limited about the white majority. I think this little statistical blip has to do with human perception itself — and most specifically, male territorial behavior.

When confronted with this statistic, some people ask why I don’t count movies such as Will Smith’s delightful Hitch. Simple: There are no love scenes. Hugs and kisses don’t make babies. I suspect that it’s the depiction of specific reproductive behavior, even at a genteel When Harry Met Sally level, that triggers the most powerful negative response, especially in male alpha-warrior types.

This is where he and I part ways. This can’t just be reduced to male on male competition, and better analysis would incorporate the structures of race, gender, and sexuality.

I think one of the primary ways that groups are marginalized is through control of their sexuality. The control can be exercised directly through sexual violence (i.e. rape), forced breeding, and coercion. It can been done indirectly through stereotyping and erasure. I think one of the primary ways that Black, Asian, Latino, and American Indian sexuality is controlled today is through what Patricia Hill Collins calls controlling images. Popular movies, TV programs, music, and almost every other major form of popular culture contribute these controlling images when they avoid showing African Americans in intimate, loving relationships. Not only are people of color not shown in loving relationships, we also rarely see intimate family relationships. Continue reading

YouTube Wire: conservatives, yellowface, and white teachers in the ghetto

by guest contributor Luke Lee, Racialicious’s senior YouTube correspondent

Check out Luke’s own blog at real men are not

michelle malkinRecently Michelle Malkin has been trying to finagle a piece of the YouTube pie by posting a bunch of crappy videos from her “Hot Air” series. Latest on the list is a staunchly conservative version of “The View” where she talks with some other women about current events as well as some of the comments they receive as women bloggers and women bloggers of color. Michelle and La Shawn Barber,specifically, mention how they’ve been called “race-traitors” and “sellouts” in addition to (though this applies more to Michelle) all the physically and sexually violent threats that they receive. Now, I loathe Michelle Malkin as much as anyone else because of her comments about Japanese internment, about racial profiling and such but I think it’s a sad comment when people will make the most vile sexist and misogynistic attacks at her not for her screwed up politics and baloney ideas but rather that she’s a woman and a woman of color saying her opinion (however much you may disagree with it).

And speaking of conservatives…

ann coulterThere’s an interesting collection of clips of Ann Coulter spouting off her trademark hyperbole and hate. Some material about “illegals” and “democrats are the real racists”…

yellowface kim jong ilI understand that given any political/global climate, the comedians and the impersonaters are going to come out and make fun. So when North Korea starts to dominate the breaking news, what do folks do? Impersonate Kim Jong-Il and make videos called “Spam fly lice.” That’s all fine and good and I almost expect people to crack the usual jokes about how he’s crazy and about how he’s got a funny haircut but I mean seriously, do we really have to make the usual Breakfast At Tiffany’s joke again? MrCook, the creator the video, is trying to entertain along with his god-awful “cooking” instructions so expectedly the quality of the video, the food, the humor, everything is just rock bottom…

mr pregnantRemember MrPregnant from last time? Well, he’s back again except this time he’s decided that the world must know this: MrPregant doesn’t like dark skinned women. MrPregnant likes women who look like his mother (blonde hair, light eyes) and this doesn’t make him prejudice because, uh, he only has “a preference.” What an idiot. In the beginning, I think people (as I admittedly did) assume that he’s talking about lighter skinned Black women but of course as he goes on, he gets all Freudian but wont really say that he likes white women specifically. I imagine mixed race folks get a ton of crap like this (this, “oh, your dad/mom is X so that must mean that you naturally prefer X’s!”) and this only heaps onto that stereotypical way of thinking. Honest to God, I don’t know why people feel compelled to tell others (strangers, I might add) information like this… Continue reading

Time machine: October 2005

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

Here’s another installment of our Time Machine series… when we take a look back at what we were blogging about a year ago this month.

Terrence Howard’s real-life “Crash” moment

crashWhen Oprah interviewed the cast of Crash, she asked each person to tell their own “real-life Crash moment.” No, not a moment in which they were embroiled in a completely unrealistic situation with two-dimensional Asian caricatures and absurd dialogue, but a moment in which they personally experienced the effects of racism.

Terrence Howard told the story of how his father got into a fight that ultimately put him in jail and landed his family in poverty. But according to some of the comments that were left in response to our post, some believe he took a bit of artistic license in his interpretation of the story. Here’s the beginning of Terrence’s story:

“I’m the product of a mixed marriage: My father’s actually mixed and my mother is mixed but my father looks more white than my mom,” Terrence explains. “We’re at a department store in 1972, right before Christmas, and my mom’s taking us all around to go get clothes and my dad’s standing in the Santa Claus line. … My dad is 5-foot-8, weighs 125 pounds. There’s a guy standing behind him [who is] 6′-4″, weighs about 260. The man said, ‘Why did you let those niggers cut you?’ And my daddy said, ‘This is my wife.’ … The man turned around and my father turned back to talk to us…

National survey on interracial relationships leaves out Asians

yellow missing piece of the puzzleAsians? What are those? I guess we were all too busy getting good grades and doing kung fu to take time to talk to The Gallup Poll about interracial relationships:

The Gallup Poll published their findings from their annual Minority Rights and Relations poll. Part of the survey questioned Americans on how they feel about interracial relationships — specifically between blacks and whites. Not surprisingly, they didn’t bother to survey people’s attitudes on any other couple configurations! :| Next, they surveyed people on their own dating trends. Apparently, Asians and Native Americans (if we are going by the usual 5 category “racial” breakdown) are not important enough to figure into any of this. The survey asked white, latino and black correspondents whether or not they had ever dated other races, including Asian, interestingly enough. But then Asians were not included in the questioning at all. Strange to say the least.

Continue reading

Brangelina and the Temple of Doom

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

brad pitt angelina jolie pune rickshaw maddoxAs we’ve discussed before on Racialicious, Angelina Jolie has been cast to play Mariane Pearl, the wife of the late murdered journalist Daniel Pearl.

They’re currently shooting the film in Pune, India and the crowds are going crazy:

The couple were chased by photographers, cameramen and reporters, forcing them to turn back after a 20-minute ride that took them past stores in downtown Pune, in western India.[…] Several traffic signals slowed their short rickshaw ride. At every red light, security men traveling in a rickshaw behind jumped out and surrounded the three-wheeler to prevent the media from snapping pictures of Pitt and Jolie.

indiana jones and the temple of doomIs there something familiar about the scene? It was nagging at me but I couldn’t figure it out, until one of the commenters over at Sepia Mutiny made the connection:

Ok, humor me for a second folks. In the picture where they are in the rickshaw don’t Pitt and Jolie look like Harrison Ford and Kate Capshaw in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom? Really. The part of Short Round is being played by Maddox.

See here. Re-make!

Bingo! Total 80s flashback! :)

Halle Berry to star in movie based on white woman’s life

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

colorblind? not so much“Color-blind” casting somehow always seems to benefit white actors. Think of the new CBS sitcom The Class, for example. Although it’s set in the rather diverse city of Philadelphia, the show features an all-white cast. Just like Friends did. The producer David Crane responded to critics by saying this: “When we wrote the script, we wrote it color-blind…and then we auditioned. For six months we saw just a huge range and diversity of actors and at the end of the day these were absolutely the eight actors who were absolutely right for the parts.” Uh-huh.

That’s why it was so refreshing to read this news story about Halle Berry’s upcoming project. It’s based on the true story of a teacher who accepted a challenge from her sixth grade class to run for Congress. But get this: the original woman was white. For once, “color-blind” casting done right! From EURweb.com:

Halle Berry’s next movie role will center on the true story of Tierney Cahill, a teacher from Reno, Nev. who accepted a challenge from her sixth grade class to run for Congress in 2000.

The actress will portray Cahill in the DreamWorks drama, titled “Class Act.” The filmmakers have taken a rare turn in casting an African American actress to portray a woman who is white in real life. Sources close to the production tell Variety that it was more important to find the right actress for the role rather than the right white actress.

In 2000, Cahill decided to grant the wishes of her students and run for Congress on the condition that they would help with her campaign. The single mother ultimately lost her bid to an incumbent, but she ended up winning 35% of the popular vote.