Race in movies

Here’s a review of “Rocky Balboa” from the Guardian. It’s a light discussion on the racial implications of the movie/Rocky series.

Americas great white hope? | Front | Guardian Unlimited Film

It makes some sense. Rocky didn’t always win, but he always was in it, against more physically gifted foes. The point made about the assumption that black athletes are just gifted and white athletes work hard is SO pervasive. And while there are a few notable examples of the hard work many black athletes put in, there aren’t many stories about it and the prevailing attitude is still the gifted vs. hard-working dichotomies.

In more race in movies, here’s an analog to the “Mystical/Magical Negro“, the “Caucasian Angel“.

Wherever you are in the world, especially in the greatest depths of dark-skinned human suffering, you’re sure to find a smokin’ hot white woman. Usually she’ll be struggling to rectify the situation single-handedly on behalf of her uncaring compatriots, carrying the conscience of the western world on her shoulders, and bravely maintaining immaculate skin tone despite the absence of cosmetics.

(BTW in the article I linked to to define “Caucasian Angel” it says this about Black Hawk Down: “Did anyone keep count of how many nameless dark people were wasted so that the US could get their boys out in Black Hawk Down?” It’s making a point about the value of life in movies (especially white versus minority). While I don’t have a problem with the sentiment, I do have a problem with the example. In the incident in Mogadishu, there were 18 US soldiers killed, 73 wounded. Estimates on Somali deaths reach the THOUSANDS! So yes, in the movie countless “nameless dark people were wasted” but that was a depiction closer to the truth.)

While the “Mystical/Magical Negro” term is older (according to the above linked Wiki, it’s been around since the 1950s), to me it’s also suspect (and no, I’m not a person who thinks EVERYTHING is racist) that it’s called the “Mystical/Magical Negro” versus the “Caucasian Angel.” Though I guess “White Angel” might be mistaken for a general description based on the view of angels being pure, etc.

There’s also the whole “Asian guy doesn’t ever get the girl” bit. I’m tired and don’t want to search for it (though Wiki has decent enough entries of ethnic portrayals in media). It’s replacing (though slowly) the “Asian guy as a nerdy, math/science, supporting friend” role. Think about action movies starring Asians (Jet Li movies are a good example). They hint at the Asian guy getting the girl, but never really show it. If I eventually get around to finding examples or literature on this versus just telling you I’ve read/heard about this, I’ll update the post with the support. Oh and of course the over sexualized/submissive Asian woman, a staple in the movies.

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