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Villainizing People of Color

The live broadcast of Grease saw a diverse cast. People are asking for more representation of minorities and we’re are steadily seeing more in film and television. The release of 13 Reasons Why also welcomes a diverse cast; however, several of the bullies are portrayed by people of color. By casting people of color as the bullies, doesn’t this villanize minorities? At what point does television (and/or film) cross the line between diverse representation and tokenism?

  • I mean...equality means equality. So casting POCs as both protagonists and antagonists is/should the goal, I'd say. The problem occurs when there is one side that is favored, like if they were ONLY cast as villains. But casting POCs in a variety of roles is more difficult when they're rarely cast-the problem is quantitative rather than qualitative. I mean, one minority from one specific program hardly vilifies an entire race, unless that's the ONLY representation that race ever gets (and not even then, to those who possess common sense). I don't really understand a lot of the media representation argument, as I often see people complaining that a character played by a POC doesn't possess the specific traits they want to see represented... I dunno', the media's problem with casting too few POC has led to an insane amount of projection. Just my two cents. – m-cubed 3 years ago
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  • Great question. Not just people of color, but Russians. Unbelievable how many times, the bad guy is the Russian. Having said that how many times is the bad guy old? These old tropes are because of lazy writers who want to cop out of developing a really good antagonist. I think this question could be framed in the way of asking why is it so important that diversity be embraced for antagonists but not necessarily heroes. It should be the character which is important, or in the case of villains, lack of. – Munjeera 3 years ago
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  • You have to be careful here...There are definitely cases in which people of color can/are being disproportionately being shown as criminals, thieves, etc...But that doesn't mean that they shouldn't play criminal roles...TV and the internet play huge roles in the negative stigmas, but at the end of the day, most racism is indoctrination learned from family and friends...People who are informed and open-minded, can watch someone of any race playing any role and not equate their actions to an entire people...We will always have IDIOTS, because IDIOTS are allowed to breed and pass along whatever 'knowledge' they want...Keep in mind as well, that most roles in American cinema are played by whites, not people of color, so therefore, they are seen as the overwhelming majority of criminals, rapists, etc...Try focusing on what they call 'white-washing' in Hollywood, i.e. The Great Wall, Ghost in the Shell, The Last Samurai, and so on... – MikeySheff 3 years ago
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  • When watching 13 REASONS WHY, I was impressed by the diversified cast. Finally, a young adult show representative of today's younger generation. Though you state many of the bullies are people of color, this aspect is not specifically attributed to people of color, but to all the players within the story. For once, I think the casting directors got it right by incorporating a multitude of individuals that people can relate to. – danielle577 3 years ago
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