Racism in the Movies

I'm White, and I'd Like to Apologize

We were watching the Oscars a week ago and getting Outraged listening to host Chris Rock talk about the lack of diversity in Hollywood – in this day and age!

So the very next night, February 29th, we turned on HBO, which is the premier movie channel on TV today, with the hottest movies and actors. We were getting all righteous, knowing that we’d flip through the channels and see nothing but paisley white faces.

So at 8PM, we started on our mission. Our subscription to HBO has 8 channels, and at the beginning of prime time, 8PM local time, this is what was on:


  • Get on Up: A biography of (very black) music star James Brown

  • Kingsman: The Secret Service. Mainly white characters (damn them) but with Samuel Jackson as Valentine

  • Shrek: Animated, so pretty colorblind

  • Pootie Tang: Mr. Rock himself battles evil corporate America (damn them)

  • Stanhope: Written and directed by the Solvan Naim (black, yeah!)

  • Mavis – about the black Staple Singers, who helped propel the civil rights movement

  • Knocked Up – Only White people! (Shoot ‘em all)

  • Spanish Language Channel – Featuring Hispanics that we could not understand, because we only speak English, the language of imperialist racists.


By our calculations, on this particular night, about 85% of the programming featured black or Hispanic stars. The white men, such as Seth Rogen in Knocked Up, were suitably pictured as lazy, stupid, and generally clueless.

While blacks constitute about 12% of the US population, it seems they are overwhelmingly featured on the most important of the movie channels.

But it is true that some white people do appear on other channels, and for that, we’d like to offer Mr. Rock our most sincere apologies.  I do hope that, as you stew in your mansion, collecting your 7 figure salary, surrounded by throngs of admiring fans, you will forgive us.

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