Whitewashing: Hollywood is Racist, But Not in the Way You Think

Last Friday's episode of Hawaii-Five-O was a good one. Terrorists took a Winter Dance hostage, looking for a diplomat's son. Two of the main character's kids were in the ballroom as Danno, also inside, helped take down the villains.  It was a fun and exciting night of television, where heroic American cops took down a splinter cell of Al Queda that aimed to murder a hotel filled with children.

But let me ask you a question: when was the last time you saw an American action movie with a plot like that? When was the last time you saw a big-budget blockbuster that was brave enough to have as villains Arab terrorists, or North Korean Communists, or anyone that wasn't white?

Go ahead, think about it. I'll wait. Chances are you won't be able to think of any movie outside of the 1980's or 90's. That's because most major Hollywood films- the big blockbusters- of the last two decades have been making movies where the villains are rich white American industrials.

American television, free of the constraints of the movies (which I will explain in detail below), can create a diverse stable of villains. A recent episode of Scorpion had Chinese diplomats trying to rig the American Presidential Election. Action dramas like The Blacklist and Blindspot frequently portray Arab, Asian, African, European, and American villains who work to overthrow Western civilization and kill many people.

In Hollywood, this diversity is all but lacking.

You may have heard critics from the left accusing Hollywood of whitewashing. It was a big deal earlier this year when the Academy Awards only nominated white actors and actresses for the Best Actor/Actress categories. The host of the event, Chris Rock, went out of his way to highlight the disparity, trying to imply that the entire industry excludes people of color- despite the fact that he was hosting the entire event.

Recent blockbuster, Doctor Strange, came under fire when the role of  The Ancient One was given to English actress Tilda Swinton. Fans of the comic know that this character is, in fact, an old, Asian man. It was clear that the studio gave the role to Swinton due to a shocking lack of female characters in the movie- the only other prominent woman being Christine Palmer, played by Rachel McAdams. To correct this slight, they gave one of the key roles to a woman, albeit a white woman.

So in order to correct one demographic problem, they created a new one.

I think most fans of the movie and comic didn't really care about who played The Ancient One (although it would have been great to see a classic Asian actor, such as Sab Shimono, grow an awesomely long mustache and nail the role). The growing noise from online media that Hollywood is systematically whitewashing their movies is, in fact, true, but for entirely different reasons.

The regressive left is a cancer. They try to "fix" problems within our society- so-called imbalances- by creating even worse imbalances. This is never clearer than in our entertainment. While critics, bloggers, and activists will try to argue that Hollywood is racist against minorities, the exact opposite seems to be the case.

Let's use the biggest blockbuster studio of the last ten years as an example. Since 2008, Marvel Studios has made fourteen films. Combined they have earned over $10 billion for the company. So it's a good place to start. But you might be surprised when you realize every single one of their films has portrayed their villains--characters that wanted to kill large groups of people, eradicate worlds, enslaved humanity--as rich white men.

Don't believe me? I've broken it down for you.

  1. Iron Man (2008) - Main villain: Obadiah Stan, rich white American industrialist played by Jeff Bridges
  2. The Incredible Hulk (2008) - Main villain: General Ross, the rich white American military leader, played by William Hurt
  3. Iron Man 2 (2010) - Main villain: Justin Hammer, rich white American industrialist played by Sam Rockwell
  4. Thor (2011) - Main villain: Loki, rich white prince, played by Tom Hiddleston
  5. Captain American: The First Avenger (2011) - Main villain: Red skull, rich white German military leader, played by Hugo Weaving
  6. The Avengers (2012) - Main villain: Loki, again played by Tom Hiddleston
  7. Iron Man 3 (2013) - Main villain: Aldrich Killian, rich white American industrialist, played by Guy Pearce
  8. Thor: The Dark World (2013) - Main villain: Malekith, a white elf, played by Christopher Eccleston
  9. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) - Main villain: Alexander Pierce, rich white American politician, played by Robert Redford
  10. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) - Main villain: Ronan, the alien terrorist/warlord, played by Lee Pace
  11. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) - Main villain: Ultron, robot, played by James Spader
  12. Ant-Man (2015) - Main villain: Darren Cross, rich white American industrialist, played by Corey Stoll
  13. Captain America: Civil War (2016) - Main villain: Baron Zemo, white European military agent, played by Daniel Bruhl
  14. Doctor Strange (2016) - Main villain: Kaecilius, white European sorcerer, played by Mads Mikkelson

If you look at other major action/blockbuster movies in recent years (such as the first two Star Trek reboots, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and other superhero movies), you'll see the same thing.  Hollywood refuses to portray major villains as anything other than white men.

In regards to the Iron Man movies, in particular, there is a specifically odd trend, whereby we think  the main villain is a foreigner (the Arab terrorist network "Ten Rings" or former Soviet Whiplash played by Mickey Rourke), only to find they were being manipulated by a rich white American industrialist (in the case of Iron Man 3, the villain Mandarin wasn't even cast as an Asian actor- the role was given to Ben Kingsley).  Even in movies where the villain is an alien from another world- or an artificial life form- the role is given to a white man.

You can try to come up with your own theories as to why Marvel and other studios would go out of their way to create villains that are played by white guys. But I have two solid reasons explaining this trend.

1. Hollywood Writers Are Hypocrites. In an industry that is made up mostly of rich, white men, Hollywood writers are crafting the narrative that the root of all evil is rich white men. Despite the fact that the major threats in our modern world come from Communist China and North Korea, Iran (who aims to nuke America and her allies), and radical Islamic terrorists like ISIS and Al Queda, Hollywood wants us to think the real villains are CEO's. You know, the people that employ millions, create technology that improves the world, and provide us with energy, communications, and resources to live our lives.

This popular myth has been around since the 1960's when dirty hippies refused to serve in the military, get real jobs, or settle down and start families. They indulged in the erroneous idea that traditional Western civilization- the civilization that allowed them to live that way- was the cause of all the pain in the world. And since Western civilization was founded and run by rich white men, then obviously they would be the ones to blame!

During the Ragin' Reagan years, when businesses benefitted from conservative leadership, liberals tried to fight back by portraying the great villains of our time in movies, television, and other media as rich white guys. This was very common in comic books: traditional mad scientist Lex Luthor was rewritten as a powerful, greedy, CEO. You'll remember movies like Trading Places, just one of many that portrayed old, white, gray-haired businessmen as villains who manipulated other people's lives.

Hollywood has been playing a long game of indoctrination. They think that if they keep portraying villains as rich white people, we'll eventually believe them. They've been able to convince some people, creating social justice warriors and non-working college students who protest the election of Donald Trump. And while it's true that there are rich white business owners that do truly evil things, most of us have enough common sense to know it's not all of them.

2. Hollywood Is Pandering to Foreign Markets. American TV is by and large made for an American audience. While some American TV shows find an audience overseas, it is a small market and not enough to justify changing our content to entertain other countries.  At least for now.

That's not the case with our movies. As competition from other media sources grows and the cost of making movies skyrockets, Hollywood looks to other ways to rake in the big bucks. That includes focusing their efforts on winning over foreign countries.  Just look at last year's worldwide box office returns, you'll see why.  Hollywood films make more overseas, when combining every countries' returns, versus the U.S. box office. So it makes sense that Hollywood would want to alter their movies to appeal to foreign audiences.

This could explain why, in part, they'll cast diverse actors in the roles of heroes, but not villains. In Star Wars: The Force Awakens we had a black hero, a white female hero, a Latino hero, but two white major villains. For some reason, Hollywood has no problem portraying people of color as the good guys, but when it comes to those villainous roles, it's whites only.  It's as if they are afraid of offending foreign audiences, should they cast someone that's not white as the bad guy.

But is this just racist towards white people? In an effort to avoid offending foreign markets, aren't they depriving good actors of great roles?

Generally speaking, actors often prefer to play the villain. Many consider it to be the better of the two roles. Typically the hero has to play it straight, upholding the law and often being viewed as the more "boring" of the two roles. Villains can break the rules, act unpredictably, and provide the catalyst for the entire movie. Most often they are the best thing you remember about the film (why do you think they're bringing back Darth Vader, or why The Dark Knight racked up $1 billion, thanks to Heath Ledger's Joker?).

Hollywood- to avoid offending other races and perpetuating the myth that rich white men are evil- is excluding rich, wonderful talent from taking on the most memorable and entertaining roles in movies.

A few movies in recent years have bucked this trend, most notably Star Trek Beyond, which was brave enough to cast the amazing Idris Elba as the main villain. Just imagine how great our modern movies would be if Hollywood stopped pandering and propagating lies and started to cast the right roles to the right actors? We'd see great performances played by some of the best talents in Hollywood, freed from the political correctness restraints that are hampering them today.

Black actors and other minorities have a right to cry whitewashing. Not because Hollywood is actively oppressing them, but because in denigrating white people, they are depriving other actors of playing these rich, fantastic roles.

You see liberals? Your hypocrisy has been your undoing. As usual.

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