Tuesday, January 20, 2015

This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things...

I tried writing this before but this time, I think I got it. This is gonna be a LONG and possibly very angry (but well thought-out and accurate) article so you might want to put on a pot of coffee as I'm gonna address a few things. Over the past 2 years or so I've noticed a disturbing trend that has grown and has become a re-occurring thorn in my side, so much so that I've written two articles addressing it already (HERE & HERE). But unfortunately, this topic continues to resurface and grow many heads like some undying (Hail) Hydra. So in case you didn't read the previous articles I'll tell you what the trend is. The trend is people suggesting and changing previously White Characters into Black Characters or Male Characters into Female Characters all in the name of diversity. I'll be addressing that and another problem I've noticed. This other problem is the one that frustrates me the most and that's African Americans who complain NON-STOP about African American portrayals in film and DO NOTHING ABOUT IT! I'll address all these things and more. It's a tall order, let's get started...

First let's address the Race Bending, the current discussion is why James Bond can't be Black? I'm almost 100% certain that most of the people calling for The Black James Bond are still working with the theory that James Bond is actually a code name and not the agent's actual name. Considering they're rebooting the entire James Bond franchise (after all SPECTRE is about to be introduced in the next film & Moneypenny just got introduced in "Skyfall") and James' parent's headstones were seen at the end of "Skyfall", it's safe to say that James Bond isn't a code name and is in fact his actual name...which makes sense, he's simply an agent and he's not constantly working undercover.

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Anyway, I've raised the same issue with this as I raised with the new Black Wally West, The Black James Bond won't be standing on his own, he'd be riding the coat tails of his famous and well liked White predecessors. For the people demanding a Black James Bond, I ask you, how is riding the coat tails of White people a victory for diversity? As I've suggested with The Flash, wouldn't it be more diverse to...oh I don't know...MAKE UP YOUR OWN BLACK SECRET AGENT!? It's not rocket surgery & brain science! It's not that hard to come up with your own James Bond analogue (I've done it already...although in my case he's an anthropomorphic animal and not a Black guy...but still). What I'm suggesting is ACTUAL diversity! You remember when diversity meant many different kinds and not let's gender bend and put everything in Black Face? After all, why get the same secret agent in Black Face when you can have James Bond & A WHOLE NEW SECRET AGENT...who's Black! Gee, what a novel idea!

No, because James Bond is well liked, famous, and White all of sudden he needs to be changed. Why now? Why after 50 Years of Bond did people suddenly decide "Hey, let's make James Bond Black.". They're not actually doing this (THANK GOD!) but the fact that it's been suggested annoys the crap out of me. Which leads me to why this was suggested in the first place.

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By the way, ya'll want Idris Elba to be James Bond (an established character), but won't f*ck with him when he's an original Black Character (Luther).

African Americans are under represented in a lot of Geek culture areas, specifically sci-fi & comic books, African Americans are underrepresented because African Americans aren't as interested in sci-fi and comic books as everyone else is. African Americans are the minority in sci-fi & comic books, because they're the minority a lot of comic book writers and readers are mostly White men. Sure we all know African Americans who are interested in those things, but if we ourselves are interested in something, the likelihood of finding those who share your interest is considerably high. But as a general rule, African Americans aren't interested in sci-fi & comic books. Because of this, certain people get it in their heads that if they just had more Black characters Black people who wouldn't normally read comic books and watch sci-fi would read comic books and watch sci-fi. So Black characters are made to generate a Black audience that otherwise wouldn't have come if it was just full of White people. Anecdotally it may work but as a blanket practice it does not.

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These are not new characters, they're White characters in Black Face...YAY, Progress?

But these days, those same people are realizing that Black People are interested in these things and so they're trying to generate more Black interest by changing White characters Black...the problem is...these Black People who are interested were interested in it as it was...with the White people...and making them Black is just pandering and annoying. The problem is Black People have this notion that if they're not represented in something it's disrespectful and when they are represented in something it's still disrespectful. In order to make my case I'll point to "Django Unchained".

For those who haven't seen "Django Unchained", it's the story of Django, a freed slave who teams up with a German bounty hunter to rescue his wife from vicious slaver Calvin Candie. The film is directed by Quentin Tarantino, the director of such notable films as "Reservoir Dogs", "Pulp Fiction" and "Kill Bill". "Django Unchained" shares the lineage of the 1960s Italian "Django" film, however that film featured an entirely different story and character from "Django Unchained", and therefore the only thing those two films have in common are the names of the lead characters (and not really since the character's name in "Django Unchained" is Django Freeman and not just Django as it is in "Django"). So this is hardly a case of race-bending. Django Freeman is an entirely different and original character with his own backstory and everything.

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No one will care or celebrate the fact that you're an original African American character who's a good guy, who does something noble and heroic and wins in the end, the only thing they'll remember about you is that you were made by a White Man and you're a product of "White Guilt". Also see

Rather than celebrating the upcoming release of a film which featured an African American lead and dealt with the very brutal reality of slavery, African Americans gathered together and debated whether or not it was proper for Quentin Tarantino to use the word "Nigger" in the film...which takes place during the slavery era...where Black People were called nothing but "Niggers".

"Quentin Tarantino thinks he can say the N-word. But I checked with all of Ni**adom and nobody knows where he got his pass from. I hope he didn't get it from Samuel L. Jackson and Jamie Foxx cause they aren't going to help you when I see you."

Furthermore, some Black People, namely Spike Lee was horribly offended that Quentin Tarantino was writing and directing a movie about slavery;

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If Spike Lee feels that Quentin's movie is exploitative, it'd probably behoove Spike Lee to come up with something better. After all, wouldn't Spike Lee be the best guy to write a Slavery Era revenge fantasy film? But no, rather than do it himself, Spike Lee would rather bitch and complain. The level of bitching and complaining from Afrocentrics has gotten to the point where I gotta phone call from a friend of mine who said that "Django Unchained" was a bad film because it was saying that there weren't any Black Women who were strong in mind during that time...yes, that's a literal argument against the film I've heard.

Maybe the primary reason that Black People are underrepresented in these areas is because maybe there people who are afraid of offending them. Case in point, a White friend of mine was telling me about a story idea he had about a time traveller who basically travels through time solving problems while looking for this bad guy, on one of his adventures he travels to the slavery era and rescues an escaped slave who eventually becomes his partner. Immediately after telling me about this idea he awkwardly looked at me and promptly apologized, much to my confusion until I realized he was worried about offending me.

One of the reasons why slavery isn't talked about is because we don't know how to talk about slavery and as a response, no one else does either. However, on the other side of the scale, there's the Holocaust, which has been exploited like crazy and therefore is universally known: "Schindler's List","Sofie's Choice", "X-Men: First Class", "The Outer Limits"...hell, "American Horror Story" even went so far as to have one of their characters claim to be Anne Frank. Now one of the complaints against "Django Unchained" was that slaves were never forced into death matches against each other...and to that I say...and the Nazis never attempted to open up a gateway to Hell like in "Hellboy" or tried to exploit alien artifacts to take over the world like in "Captain America: The First Avenger" either...so the argument about historical accuracy is absolute bullshit.

Afrocentrics just want to bitch and complain because any action on their part that doesn't yeild immediate success would be seen as automatic racism other than maybe what they're doing isn't all that interesting and doesn't have universal appeal. I don't know, rather than writing the inspiring story about the Tuskegee Airmen, why not write a story about a Tuskegee Airman getting trapped in a time wrap or uncovering a much more sinister plot...ya know...something other than "This was the 1st Black such and such so you have to like it otherwise it means you hate Black people.". When the movie "Redtails" came out my mother constantly badgered me to see the movie saying to me, and I quote; "You go and see all those stupid White people movies. You need to support this!".

After I pondered what exactly a "White people movie" was, I unfortunately started questioning myself as to why I didn't want to see "Redtails"...until I realized, there are tons of similar movies that I wasn't interested in seeing. I like what I like and "Redtails", unfortunately wasn't something I was interested in. If I'm going to the movies and going to spend my hard earned money on something, I'm going to spend it on something I KNOW I'll enjoy rather than a might enjoy. But there in lies the problem with many Afrocentrics is that they want to compel you to feel obligated to support something just because it's African American made (regardless of quality).

But the problem is the fact that it's African American made becomes paramount as opposed to whether or not it's interesting, has mass appeal and unfortunately, Afrocentrics have it in their heads that anything Black won't have mass appeal...the success of several Black sit-coms ("Family Matters", "Good Times", "The Jeffersons", "The Cosby Show" and more recently "The Boondocks") immediately discredits this.

We can't have nice things because Afrocentrics don't want us to. Because rather than come together and get a few Black directors to do things like make their own secret agents, superheroes, sci-fi characters and write slavery revenge fantasies...they'd rather clamor for a Black James Bond and then bitch when it doesn't happen, because if it did they wouldn't have anything to bitch about. So they clamor for James Bond to become Black and then when it doesn't happen, they can claim racism and thus the cycle continues. This is why we can't have nice things.

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