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Old 06-27-2009, 12:18 PM   #501
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Default Re: The Twins: Racist?

i think i saw a little of teenage mutant turtles inside the twins.

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Old 06-27-2009, 01:52 PM   #502
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Default Re: The Twins: Racist?

I saw the film in French (in France of course) and the twins didn't strike me as "black", but as Jar-Jaresque and it was one thing that shouldn't have been in the movie (too much screentime for their unfunny stuff and not enough for new characters like RC)...

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Old 06-27-2009, 03:38 PM   #503
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The Guard, I would've like to address your last post point by point, but a lot of points were made, first by me and then by you. So, I'm just going to summarize of the things I want to address.

RE5?:

RE5 refers to Resident Evil 5.

Blacks and Criminal Justice System:


Your background is criminology. Mine is political science, and in my background I understand that statistics can be made to justify about anything. Perhaps a higher percentage of blacks, in relations to their numbers in the general population, have been involved in the criminal justice system. But the majority of people in jail are white. Just like a majority of people on welfare are white. But the higher percentages of blacks and brown folks, plus the media coverage and mass media add-ons paints a picture that's not totally true. Just like many movies about Africa focus only on the bad stuff on the continent and not the good. That doesn't mean that bad things don't happen in Africa or black America, but I think there is sometimes an overemphasis on the bad, as opposed to the good. I would like more balance.

Black Superheroes:

You say there are a lot of black superheroes, etc. There are, but how many have movies? TV shows? How many headline books, etc., in comparision to white heroes? There is a great forum in the Misc. Comics thread that goes in great length about that subject. Over the last 20 years or so you've had Blankman, Meteor Man, Steel, Blade, Hancock, and Catwoman. Now, Blankman, Hancock, aren't even from comics, so that only leaves three characters taken from comics (perhaps actually two since Catwoman wasn't based on Selina Kyle's character). Compare that to all the white heroes taken from comics.

Blacks on TV:

Also with TV. How many blacks headline TV shows? Daytime or prime time? Network or cable? of any genre? Please provide examples. And tell me how many are comedies, drama, or something else.

There are a lot of black people in various roles, due to a significant degree because someone 'whined' about opening up access and black people, and others, fought to get access. But I still contend that we have a long way to go in terms of roles of significance in many TV shows, movies. Most of these black characters are ill defined and amount to background scenery or window dressing. Helpmates of the white main characters. So, in a way there are a lot more blacks in roles, but at the same time there is still a disparity in roles for blacks. How many films/TV shows feature black people as the heroes, as the central characters, who have inner lives? Who save the day? Who have a journey in which they change? That actually get laid? Now, how many can be killed/written off without messing up the show at all? How many are integral to the show's they are on? How many would get at least a special episode if they had to bite the bullet?

Subconsciousness:

True there are a lot of archetypes/stereotypes seeded in our subconscious but how many of them have been used to justify the oppression or exclusion of groups of people in our society?

Gangsta Rap:

I disagree about your perception of gangsta rap. I think it is similar to minstrely and coon songs because it exploits a warped view of black people/culture, and sells it as mass entertainment. Where gangsta rap might be cloaked in money and jewels, and the boasting might appear confident, what are the values this music promotes? Similar to the coon songs, you could replace coon with thug or the n-word, and its similar to how some rappers boast about how proud they are to be one or the other. Also the sex and leisure of the coon song reinforces the idea of shiftless, pleasure-seeking coons, and a lot of gangsta rap songs are about money, weed/or some type of drug, a sexual conquests.

Negative images of Whites:

I've never said there weren't negative images of whites. But in the context of this conversation, which is about whether the Twins are racist or racially offensive, I've tried to discuss many of the various stereotypes that have been used to depict black people in the past and like I said before, still today. Also, whites, unlike blacks, have never had to contend with living in a hostile society, culture that devalued and dehumanized them with similar images. They've had far more flexibility to pick and choose among images.

What RotF means to me:

Once again, I'm looking at RoTF in a broader context. For you, it's just one movie. For me, potentially, its just one more movie where they do the same negative imaging again. And if there isn't prominent movies or roles on par to counterbalance the negative ones then it may impact how people (the people who watch the stuff anyway) see the world. I would argue that most people, including African Americans, views of Africa are shaped by National Geographic-type shows safaris for example. Just like I think the preponderance of street/ghetto depictions of blacks has shaped many people's ideas of what black people are like. And even innocent, harmless movies like RotF might perpetuate the madness instead of alleviating or not even going there.

MTV:

MTV and the Top 40 aren't the same. The few times I check out MTV they usually have a TV show on, and not videos. Even VH-1 has restricted their videos to the morning and on the weekends. Only BET shows videos somewhat regularly, it seems, on 106 and Park. I don't know if Rap City is still on, but that's beside the point. I don't think there are any black people on The Hills and its usually no more than two at a time on any Real World. Hip hop, and particularly the gangsta rap variety are very popular among the youth of all races, but I think its too easy to say it is youth culture or the best representative of youth culture. Hannah Montana represents youth culture as well, so do the Jonas Brothers, not sure about Raven Symone, and a lot of stuff in between. The Top 40 is filled with rap, but it's also filled with rock (The Fray for example), pop, and even some country (Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift (?)).

Bay and the Black Experience:

I'm not expecting Michael Bay to deal with the entire black experience. No one could possibly grasp the entire black experience. I never called on him to do so. It would be awesome if he was aware of some aspect of it, at the very least the African American part. What I would like to do though is to go to a popcorn movie and not feel its exploiting racial stereotypes. I would like to go and just turn off my brain and enjoy a mindless spectacle, and not be insulted. I've enjoyed some of Bay's work in the past (Bad Boys I, Armageddon, and the Island-yes, even the Island), so I don't hate Michael Bay, though I really was disappointed in Pearl Harbor and Bad Boys 2. I also understand that character development is not his strong point. I just hope that in RotF he didn't resort to stereotyping for cheap laughs instead of making humorous characters that perhaps offend because of what they do, not what groups they might mock.

Personal Respect:

Also, I don't appreciate you calling me/my ideas silly or absurd because you don't agree with me. Believe it or not, I've had life experiences too that have informed my thoughts.


Last edited by DarKush; 06-27-2009 at 04:06 PM.
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Old 06-27-2009, 04:27 PM   #504
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Default Re: The Twins: Racist?

Racist didn't cross my mind. Annoying as hell did, and I really hoped the vaccum cleaner Decepticon would have eaten them both.

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Old 06-27-2009, 05:48 PM   #505
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Default Re: The Twins: Racist?

I am too lazy to read all of that up there.

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Old 06-27-2009, 06:38 PM   #506
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Default Re: The Twins: Racist?

Not racist. Just sounded like kids talk these days.

For a moment they reminded me of will smith and martin lawrence in the way they talk.

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Old 06-27-2009, 06:58 PM   #507
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Default Re: The Twins: Racist?

God, after seeing this, people who think the Twins are Racist really need to STFU. Seriously. If it was two black actors doing the voices, would this still come up?

Once again, this just shows what a vapid attention whore Devin Farcei is for bringing up this conversation.


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Old 06-27-2009, 07:10 PM   #508
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Default Re: The Twins: Racist?

Reno Wilson is black and he does the voice of Mudflap. He also did Frenzy. Fantastic voice actor, imo.

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Old 06-27-2009, 07:12 PM   #509
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Default Re: The Twins: Racist?

Yeah he is really good. Frenzy was awesome in the first one with all his little noises he kept on making

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Old 06-27-2009, 07:22 PM   #510
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I saw him in an interview and he did the voice. I was surprised that they didn't enhance it at all. He just did it.

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Old 06-27-2009, 07:27 PM   #511
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Default Re: The Twins: Racist?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jake Cassidy View Post
I saw him in an interview and he did the voice. I was surprised that they didn't enhance it at all. He just did it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GD_XmCJ_Z2Y


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Old 06-27-2009, 07:45 PM   #512
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^ That's the one.

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Old 06-27-2009, 07:55 PM   #513
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Default Re: The Twins: Racist?

The twins struck me as humorous teen robots, the whole slang talking thing really did not feel racial in any way to me. Im sure they could of pushed the boundaries of stereotypes too a point where it could of been seriously controversial but from what i saw on the big screen was just harmless humor. I was able to look pass all that nonsense and not take it so seriously.

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Old 06-27-2009, 08:21 PM   #514
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Hahaha, that's great!

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Old 06-27-2009, 10:23 PM   #515
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nivek View Post
God, after seeing this, people who think the Twins are Racist really need to STFU. Seriously. If it was two black actors doing the voices, would this still come up?

Once again, this just shows what a vapid attention whore Devin Farcei is for bringing up this conversation.
A black actor played Jar Jar Binks and that one sure as hell came up.

Yeah, damn that Faraci! How dare he start a dialogue!

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Old 06-27-2009, 10:29 PM   #516
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He just a schmuck internet critic. They are like rat's on a ship. all over inflated opinion and childish ego.

And whats funny, none of the African American audience members didn't leave, they were *gasp* enjoying themselves and laughing when the twins were on screen. The damnedest thing...

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Old 06-27-2009, 10:41 PM   #517
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Originally Posted by Nivek View Post
He just a schmuck internet critic. They are like rat's on a ship. all over inflated opinion and childish ego.

And whats funny, none of the African American audience members didn't leave, they were *gasp* enjoying themselves and laughing when the twins were on screen. The damnedest thing...
Maybe, but he's also a very good writer and editorialist. Whatever you think of this particular article, he's very good at creating an interesting dialogue around particular films. He's one of the few internet writers at least attempting to push internet film criticism forward as opposed to delivering lazy "this movie was liek busting a nutt on someone's face" AICN criticism. Does he have a big ego? Yup. But he'd be a pretty lousy editorialist and critic if he wasn't really opinionated. That he's articulate is a bonus. Plus, he no doubt got press over this article, but I doubt Paramount will be overly charitable in regards to set visits and pre-screenings towards him in the future.

Yeah, lot's laughed in my theatre too. But we can't generalize our own audience's as representing the population at large. I attended with two friends who are African American. One just rolled his eyes about them, laughed a few times, and said they were kind of unnecessary, inoffensive and a bit annoying. The other was actually kinda pissed off and somewhat insulted. Is one right over the other? No. Is it at least an interesting discussion to be had about a film that seems to devalue intelligent thought? Yes.


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Old 06-27-2009, 10:49 PM   #518
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Default Re: The Twins: Racist?

hmm, how do they know they are 'black robots' I know alot of white kids who talk that way

Anywho, I didn't find them racist just freaking annoying most of the film. Ya,they had a few funny parts,but dang they were just so annoying and throw in the urban dialect,good lord. Found them on par with Jar Jar Binks on the annoying scale.

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Old 06-27-2009, 11:07 PM   #519
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Default Re: The Twins: Racist?

It's late, so bear with me if any of this is...vague.

Quote:
RE5 refers to Resident Evil 5.
Ah. What was the deal with Resident Evil 5?

Quote:
Your background is criminology. Mine is political science, and in my background I understand that statistics can be made to justify about anything.
Yep. You can use statistics to prove anything that's even remotely true.

Quote:
Perhaps a higher percentage of blacks, in relations to their numbers in the general population, have been involved in the criminal justice system. But the majority of people in jail are white. Just like a majority of people on welfare are white. But the higher percentages of blacks and brown folks, plus the media coverage and mass media add-ons paints a picture that's not totally true. Just like many movies about Africa focus only on the bad stuff on the continent and not the good. That doesn't mean that bad things don't happen in Africa or black America, but I think there is sometimes an overemphasis on the bad, as opposed to the good. I would like more balance.
I agree with you, to a point. We're talking about the reality of blacks in crime, prison, etc. All I'm saying is...there are a lot of them out there. Not that all blacks are criminals, prone to criminal behavior, etc. It's a moot point for me, but to many people, it is a point they have heard, and are aware of. And simply put: The things seen on television are often real in a sense. Does the media spin things? Absolutely. Does the media just make stuff up on shows like COPS, crime reports, etc? Well, not these days. Not usually. There's enough real media fodder out there.

When you say there's an overemphasis on the bad, are you really saying that society emphasizes the bad things about blacks and never deals with the good things? Maybe I'm naive, but I just don't buy that. I don't know how we measure that, but I just don't buy it.

What picture does media coverage paint, exactly? That all blacks are criminals? That blacks are more prone to criminal behavior than other races? I have never, for instance, seen the media come out and say "Blacks are responsible for this or that" or "all blacks are this or that". Maybe at some point, but not recently. The media often paints a picture that involves racial tension, certain areas of issue, etc, because many of these issues are true, especially in terms of local use, etc. And if people interpret these things irrationally and come away with "All criminals are black" or "all blacks are dangerous criminals", then frankly, in my mind, that's on them, not the media.

Quote:
You say there are a lot of black superheroes, etc. There are, but how many have movies? TV shows?
Well, there's BLANKMAN, METEOR MAN, STEEL, HANCOCK...

I'm kidding.

Spawn had (two?) TV series and a movie.

Blade had three movies and a TV show, and featured on various Spider-Man animated series as well.

M.A.N.T.I.S. had a TV show on SCI FI. He was black AND disabled.

The Green Lantern on JLAnimated was John Stewart.

Black Panther was heavily featured in The Avengers second cartoon movie, and any cartoon version, I believe, has a version of him.

James Rhodes was in the Iron Man animated series and IRON MAN. He will be in IRON MAN 2 as War Machine.

And there's Storm, in three high profile X-Men movies and multiple animated versions.

And there's...CATWOMAN, which was terrible and unfaithful to the mythology, but which got made notheless.

There are also black villains. Sam Jackson's Mr. Glass in UNBREAKABLE, Michael Clarke Duncan's Kingpin in DAREDEVIL to name a few. Did a lot of those characters get started as "sidekicks", or because there simply needed to be "black heroes". Sure, but if you're looking for black heroes, period, I fail to see how that would be an issue in context.

I'm not going to play the "how many are there in comparison to whites" game, because I know there are more white heroes. But there are black heroes out there.

Quote:
How many headline books, etc., in comparision to white heroes?
I have no idea, but I'm certain there are black heroes in both classic and modern literature.
Quote:
There is a great forum in the Misc. Comics thread that goes in great length about that subject. Over the last 20 years or so you've had Blankman, Meteor Man, Steel, Blade, Hancock, and Catwoman.
Now, Blankman, Hancock, aren't even from comics, so that only leaves three characters taken from comics (perhaps actually two since Catwoman wasn't based on Selina Kyle's character). Compare that to all the white heroes taken from comics.
Yes, but for the majority of the last 20 years, there hadn't been all that many comic book films, period, until relatively recently, circa 2000 or so. So this "The Black characters haven't gotten their due thing"...it's true, but it's also true for a lot of white heroes.
Beyond that, LUKE CAGE: HERO FOR HIRE has had a script in development for years, and Marvel has plans for BLACK PANTHER. The reason you haven't seen a bunch of black heroes so far is that quite frankly, no one wanted to make superhero films period, let alone these films, that feature relatively obscure characters and therefore weren't exactly guaranteed moneymakers, for a long time. And there are better known characters that studios want to use before using relatively obscure ones.

Quote:
Also with TV. How many blacks headline TV shows? Daytime or prime time? Network or cable? of any genre? Please provide examples. And tell me how many are comedies, drama, or something else.
I have no idea. I don't watch much TV, but I'm relatively sure there's a crime show here and there with a black lead, there's that new hospital show with Jada Pinkett Smith, and I think Angela Basset was on ER for a while. I'm certain there are more, like I said, don't watch much TV.

Quote:
There are a lot of black people in various roles, due to a significant degree because someone 'whined' about opening up access and black people, and others, fought to get access. But I still contend that we have a long way to go in terms of roles of significance in many TV shows, movies. Most of these black characters are ill defined and amount to background scenery or window dressing.
There may be a long way to go, but the point is, there are roles of significance out there. Many white characters are ill defined and amount to background scenery or window dressing. Helpmates of the white main characters.[/quote]
And some of them aren't.
Quote:
So, in a way there are a lot more blacks in roles, but at the same time there is still a disparity in roles for blacks. How many films/TV shows feature black people as the heroes, as the central characters, who have inner lives? Who save the day? Who have a journey in which they change? That actually get laid? Now, how many can be killed/written off without messing up the show at all? How many are integral to the show's they are on? How many would get at least a special episode if they had to bite the bullet?
No idea. Don't watch that much TV. How many white characters can you say this about as well?

Quote:
True there are a lot of archetypes/stereotypes seeded in our subconscious but how many of them have been used to justify the oppression or exclusion of groups of people in our society?
Quite a few of them, actually. Women, other races, several religions and gays can attest to that.

Quote:
I disagree about your perception of gangsta rap. I think it is similar to minstrely and coon songs because it exploits a warped view of black people/culture, and sells it as mass entertainment.
Gangster rap presents a warped view of ALL black people? How?

When I watch a rapper, I don't think to myself "All black people must share these beliefs", and I suspect, neither do most people.
Quote:
Where gangsta rap might be cloaked in money and jewels, and the boasting might appear confident, what are the values this music promotes? Similar to the coon songs, you could replace coon with thug or the n-word, and its similar to how some rappers boast about how proud they are to be one or the other. Also the sex and leisure of the coon song reinforces the idea of shiftless, pleasure-seeking coons, and a lot of gangsta rap songs are about money, weed/or some type of drug, a sexual conquests.
Which are, instead of being forced on them, being used on their terms, making this quite a bit different from mintrelsy in my mind. Minstrel stuff took power from blacks, and made them into subservient, bumbling, incapable characters. Gangster rap is the exact opposite. Probably a step too far, but nontheless, they're not the same thing, they don't have the same aims, and I think the similarities are relatively few. You mention the "N word", but the context of it has changed. Blacks have taken that word, and made it a symbol of power and in some ways, respect. Again, the exact opposite of the use of "coon" in minstrelsy. The elements you describe seeing in the songs, ideas about sexuality, shiftlessness, pleasure-seeking, money, and drugs, are masculine and human elements, not just black ones.
Quote:
I've never said there weren't negative images of whites. But in the context of this conversation, which is about whether the Twins are racist or racially offensive, I've tried to discuss many of the various stereotypes that have been used to depict black people in the past and like I said before, still today. Also, whites, unlike blacks, have never had to contend with living in a hostile society, culture that devalued and dehumanized them with similar images. They've had far more flexibility to pick and choose among images.
Whites may not have lived in a "hostile society" (what society isn't?) in the same manner as blacks. But to imply that whites have never dealt with racism is simply not true. There are all kinds of ways and all kinds of images for society to dehumanize and devalue people. White people experience a number of them. I don't know that there's any way to accurately compare them across the board. Can you elaborate on what you mean by the flexibility of picking and choosing images?
Quote:
Once again, I'm looking at RoTF in a broader context. For you, it's just one movie. For me, potentially, its just one more movie where they do the same negative imaging again. And if there isn't prominent movies or roles on par to counterbalance the negative ones then it may impact how people (the people who watch the stuff anyway) see the world. I would argue that most people, including African Americans, views of Africa are shaped by National Geographic-type shows safaris for example. Just like I think the preponderance of street/ghetto depictions of blacks has shaped many people's ideas of what black people are like. And even innocent, harmless movies like RotF might perpetuate the madness instead of alleviating or not even going there.
I'm sorry...I just don't buy that videos have shaped an entire society's view of ALL black people.
Quote:
MTV and the Top 40 aren't the same. The few times I check out MTV they usually have a TV show on, and not videos.
MTVX then, or whatever they're calling it these days. It's got to be on there somewhere, because kids like it, and kids only like what's marketed to them.
Quote:
Even VH-1 has restricted their videos to the morning and on the weekends. Only BET shows videos somewhat regularly, it seems, on 106 and Park. I don't know if Rap City is still on, but that's beside the point. I don't think there are any black people on The Hills and its usually no more than two at a time on any Real World. Hip hop, and particularly the gangsta rap variety are very popular among the youth of all races, but I think its too easy to say it is youth culture or the best representative of youth culture. Hannah Montana represents youth culture as well, so do the Jonas Brothers, not sure about Raven Symone, and a lot of stuff in between. The Top 40 is filled with rap, but it's also filled with rock (The Fray for example), pop, and even some country (Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift (?)).
Never implied that it was the only thing popular in youth culture. Simply that it's becoming very popular.
Quote:
I'm not expecting Michael Bay to deal with the entire black experience. No one could possibly grasp the entire black experience. I never called on him to do so. It would be awesome if he was aware of some aspect of it, at the very least the African American part. What I would like to do though is to go to a popcorn movie and not feel its exploiting racial stereotypes. I would like to go and just turn off my brain and enjoy a mindless spectacle, and not be insulted. I've enjoyed some of Bay's work in the past (Bad Boys I, Armageddon, and the Island-yes, even the Island), so I don't hate Michael Bay, though I really was disappointed in Pearl Harbor and Bad Boys 2. I also understand that character development is not his strong point. I just hope that in RotF he didn't resort to stereotyping for cheap laughs instead of making humorous characters that perhaps offend because of what they do, not what groups they might mock.
I get where you're coming from...if you're insulted, you're insulted. I guess I don't understand how you can not see that...how do I put this delicately?

That Michael Bay can barely portray white people without being insulting. What makes you think he has the sensitivity to portray any other race without a bevy of stereotypes?
Quote:
Also, I don't appreciate you calling me/my ideas silly or absurd because you don't agree with me. Believe it or not, I've had life experiences too that have informed my thoughts.
Are you talking about this?

But from what I have read about the film, I can say this. In general when you single out a certain group and ascribe negative traits to that group or the representatives of that group (without a counterbalance), you make that group less than (i.e. we don't read).

That's just silly.


Because whether you appreciate me saying so or or not, I think that's a ridiculous mindset. To think that because two characters (who frankly, could be any race) don't read, the director is ascribing these traits to the entire race. I find it irrational and again, counterproductive way of thinking.

I understand that you don't appreciate the inclusion of these elements in film across the board. But to actually believe that this is intended to be the way the director or writer or whoever sees all blacks? From a pair of alien robots?

What type of life experiences could make you think something like that is a rational way to approach life? I mean, it's one thing if you've encountered ignorant people who have seen stereotypes on a movie and then take those views into the real world, but to blame a director for that kind of thing? I'm just not seeing the rationale behind that.

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Old 06-27-2009, 11:18 PM   #520
DarKush
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Default Re: The Twins: Racist?

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Originally Posted by nocomics View Post
hmm, how do they know they are 'black robots' I know alot of white kids who talk that way

Anywho, I didn't find them racist just freaking annoying most of the film. Ya,they had a few funny parts,but dang they were just so annoying and throw in the urban dialect,good lord. Found them on par with Jar Jar Binks on the annoying scale.
But why do white kids talk that way? Where did they learn to speak that way, or where is it perceived that they picked up that 'urban' dialect? Urban is now a code or term used for black nowadays.

I haven't seen the twins, but your comparison to Jar Jar Binks might be apt, in regards to both being annoying, and because Jar Jar Binks was roundly criticized for being a stereotype. Just because a black actor played him had nothing to do with it, except perhaps make the knife wound feel even deeper. As I've said in other posts, there have been blacks willing to demean themselves since the minstrel days. Back in the day, I don't blame them so much, because there was a lack of work for some very talented people and some of them did have problems with what they were doing. Today, I'm a little less sympathetic. There is still a problem with lack of roles and especially quality, non-traditional roles, and maybe some black actors just need the pay check, don't care, don't see anything wrong with it, see it as just a role, or whatever. As a viewer, consumer of mass media I see it differently.


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Old 06-27-2009, 11:19 PM   #521
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Default Re: The Twins: Racist?

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God, after seeing this, people who think the Twins are Racist really need to STFU.
I agree, but not for the reasons you mentioned. In order to have a fair accusation of "racism" (which, let's face it, is a pretty strong accusation) you must be sure of the person's motivations for the "racist" actions.

My best friend is a brown dude, and we make ethnic jokes about each other all the time. Racist? Of course not, because we know our intentions are purely humourous.

Maybe Bay just thinks the gansta stereotype is really funny and original. That just makes him an idiot, not racist.

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Old 06-28-2009, 12:35 AM   #522
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The Guard,

Blacks and Crime:

I used to watch COPS and many other crime shows. Of course blacks commit crimes, but I would argue that media coverage, coupled with mass media (entertainment) slant the coverage to some extent to project a negative view of blacks. In the past it might have been intentional, I'm not so sure if that is the case today, but the effects are similar regardless. For example, even then-Senator Obama and John Edwards were both saying during the campaign that more blacks are in prison than are in college. I believed that, and most other people probably believed that too. Thankfully the Washington Post actually did the research and found out that it isn't true. And it led me to wonder why I so easily believed that. I believe in part it was based on a steady diet of cop shows, crime reports on the news, etc. that paint a picture of black criminality. Not to mention that I didn't do the research like I guess I should've.

But how many reports do you see of blacks doing well in the mainstream media? There are some reports, and a lot more now that Obama is in the White House. Of young blacks not involved in crime, helping their communities, graduating from college, etc.? The media usually doesn't talk about good things across the board, but it does mention human interest stories quite a bit. Also, there's CNN and it's so-called helpful Black in America series where great minds sit around and ponder about all the problems in the black community. When white people have problems its a national problem, or an "American" problem. With black people, it's just our problem. Now, I'm sure there are problems in the white community too, in fact I'm guessing that they are dealing with a lot of the same problems we are dealing with, however they don't get singled out like that. They aren't put in a corner and pointed at essentially.

And I wonder how much of this negative imaging makes things like racial profiling, redlining, disparity in home loans for blacks and whites (which affects the wealth gap between whites and blacks, perhaps one of the truest measures of economic freedom), following blacks around in stores, limiting the number of black youths that can come into stores at times, not picking up black people in cabs, etc. How much of that behavior comes from an actual reading of crime statistics? Or how much of it comes from perceptions of how black people are, perhaps shaped in part by the media?

BTW, back in the day, just look back at some of the way 'respectable' papers like the New York Times referred to black people. I only bring it up to say there is a precedent for slanted coverage.

Blacks and TV:

There's one drama series headlined by a black person, on the network and basic cable shows, and that's a lot of channels: Hawthorne. CW recently cancelled The Game and Everybody Hates Chris. CBS also cancelled The Unit. Currently, Tyler Perry has two sitcoms on TBS. To my knowledge, there is one black sitcom coming in the fall on FOX, Brothers (which I guarantee you won't last long; the commericals look terrible), and the animated Cleveland Show (though Cleveland Brown is voiced by a white guy; some of the cast at least will be black). To be fair, there are blacks threaded throughout TV. The network execs couldn't get away with having almost zero blacks these days but most of the roles are sideline or support characters.

You keep saying well white characters suffer the same problems of lack of development, etc. That's true. But I think you fail to grasp that there are so many more roles for white actors, so many different types of character roles that whites play in comparison to black. Why aren't Derek Luke, Lauren London, Sharon Leal, Meagan Goode, Columbus Short, and other members of young black Hollywood, getting the kind of push that Megan Fox and Shia LeBouf for example have? Is it for lack of talent? Is it for lack of looks? Is it because of marketability? If so, why is that? Could it be that whites, and other international markets are still reluctant to support blacks except for Will Smith?

Black Heroes:

Thanks for reminding me about Spawn. To me, it would seem like Hollywood would want to profit off the urban market and the popularity of hip hop by rushing to put more black heroes on the screen. But that hasn't really happened. If you just start from 2000, you have to take Meteor Man, Blankman, Spawn, Steel, and on TV MANTIS out of the equation. That leaves two Blade films, Catwoman, and Hancock. And there were notable roles by MCD and Samuel L. Jackson in Unbreakable, the Spirit, and I would argue Iron Man.

Now, since 2000, you've had: three X-Men (And Halle Berry wasn't a major portion of the film. Her popularity helped sell it, but she her storyline was never major. She was eye candy. Though they tried to 'beef' up her role in the last two films, her storylines were never part of the main action), two Batman films, V for Vendetta, LXG, Watchmen, two Hulk films, Daredevil, Iron Man, Ghost Rider, The Spirit, two Punisher films, two Fantastic Four films, Superman Returns, Wolverine, three Spider-Man films, Road to Perdition, A History of Violence, Sin City, 300, and I'm sure I'm missing some. All had predominately white cast. The only ones I would say had significant roles for blacks were The Spirit, Daredevil, Iron Man (and that's a maybe), the Batfilms. The point I'm trying to make is there has been an explosion in comic book films recently and black projects have not ridden that wave.

Of course you have argued that its based on the popularity of these projects. To some extent that's true, but there have been more than one obscure project made (all the Alan Moore films, Road to Perdition, The Spirit, AHOV, for example) during this period. I think the history of race in comics and the lack of support for black heroes, not to mention other non-white male heroes, has played a factor in it. Also, I think that has played a role in how many mainstream black characters headline books, which is a good sign of their popularity. As it stands now, Black Panther and War Machine have their own title. The new Azrael's is coming. That's about it. Three, at DC and Marvel combined. Spawn, at Image, is no longer a black character to my knowledge and I'm not sure if there are any black headliners at Image. I heard something about the Free Agent, a Captain America type that's coming. Also, Image is working with Tyrese to produce Mayhem, which is also coming later this fall.

Black Lightning is heading the Outsiders (though his name is not above the credits so I don't know if he counts), Steel and his niece were the main stars of the recently cancelled Infinity Inc, and blacks are on almost every team book at both companies, and spread throughout various series. So there is more exposure. But how important the roles they play is debatable. And how many most white readers know or care about, or could see or would support if given a shot on the big screen is unknown. Even Blade was a C-list, or D-list character and Goyer and Snipes struck gold with him, and he hasn't found much success on the printed page.

I do want to give the comics companies more credit though. They've improved much since I was a kid. They've produced good stuff like Captain America: The Truth, and Marvel is standing behind Black Panther, and recently there have been quite a few miniseries about Vixen, Black Lightning, Cyborg, Storm, Blue Marvel, Bishop, so that's all a step in the right direction. Luke Cage: Noir is coming later this summer.

But sadly, John Stewart has been featured in Geoff Johns GL series, but I don't know how much development he's received. I think he's still a second banana, despite his great role in the JL/JLU series. Only recently has Jim Rhodes again stepped out of Stark's shadow with his War Machine series, though in the movies he's still at the sidekick stage. I don't have a problem with sidekicks per se, but when most of the major white characters are the main heroes and a good deal of the blacks are sidekicks or sideline characters, scoring a diversity point but not doing much else, I do have a problem with that. I feel that might be the case still for too many black characters.

Rap and Minstrely:

The debate over the n-word rages on in the black community. It's not something that all blacks have embraced, even the ones that use the word frequently. It's not a term I consider personally powerful at all, because if someone white called me that, or someone non-black, heck even some black people, then I would be insulted. It's a word with a lot of context behind it that's best left to history. You can't clean up crap no matter how hard you try. The NAACP even held a burial for this word a couple years ago, which is a good indication, despite how symbolic and futile that was, that the black community is divided over its use.

I think that gangsta rap has helped to promote a negative image of blacks, young urban blacks in particularly, but the ghetto tag has filtered beyond the inner city, helped by the popularity of rap music. It has had a tremendous impact on how many young blacks see the world and themselves in it, and it has influenced other aspects of the mass media, and it has shaped perceptions. Perhaps I shouldn't say all. But to me, I think there has been largely limited social interaction among blacks and whites. It has gotten better over time, but there are still gaps there, and if there is an information void, and you don't want to do the work-because sometimes it's hard work-really getting to know another person and another culture, particularly between blacks and whites due to our shared history-then the media can provide a short hand. And if you're seeing stuff like Bill O'Reilly going to a Harlem restaurant and marveling about how the black patrons weren't shouting or cursing, or how FOX tried to link domestic violence (Chris Brown-Rihanna) to hip hop culture, etc., I fear you might not want to get to know other people because you think you already do courtesy of the media. Of course, about the domestic violence thing, they threw in James Brown, Jim Brown, Ike Turner (I think) and a token white guy just for good measure.

A minstrel was an uneducated black person (a white person's idea of a black person), simple, fun loving, or perhaps scheming. What is the image projected by most gangsta rappers-ignorant, more concerned with street learning than book learning, love to go to parties and do drugs and sleep with women, and scheming or hustling to make money usually by exploiting other blacks. There are differences. There is a violence component that wasn't there with the minstrels, the minstrels knew they had to be non-threatening to white people if they wanted to avoid getting blacklisted or lynched. The gangsta rapper doesn't have to worry about that of course, and despite the occassional vague criticism of the system, most of the gangsta rap focuses on exploiting the people they at the same time say they are 'representing'. And far too many young black people IMO have bought into this for a variety of reasons and allowed gangsta rap to cloak itself with a label of authencity that many young whites have gobbled up as authentic. I would argue that many whites also saw the minstrels as authentic too, or at least wished it were so. Neither the gangsta or the minstrel is a threat to white people. The gangsta is more a threat to his own community and the minstrel was more an embarrassment to his own community. It's not a direct link, but I do think the images promoted by gangsta rap are the descendants of the minstrel images.

About Bay:

The Twins were certainly not the main characters of his film. To him, they were probably sidenote characters, there to inject a little fun or hipness. But what bothers me is that he probably didn't even stop to think how other people might perceive it. I'm sure he wants everyone to go and enjoy his movie. He wants everyone's money and for him not to blink an eye, or not blink too much gives me concern.

When you have two characters who are going to be preceived as being hip hop, which is largely, overwhelmingly, identified with black youth culture promoting the idea that they don't read, breakdancing (I heard), and cursing, it's just one more link in a chain of negative images. It alone, hopefully, won't make some others think that all black people are like that, or that black culture is something different or funny. Coupled with the shock jocks, other movies, other TV shows, etc. it creates a distorted collage.

I don't know Bay. I can't assume what his intentions are. I hope they aren't negative or pernicious when it comes to racial issues or any other matter. But I will say that he had quite a bit of control of what got in the film and what didn't, and also in shaping the characters. If he didn't want the twins, as they are presented in the film, to be in there, they wouldn't be. Placing two robots who purposely mimic hip hop (ie. young black urban culture) was deliberate. Now, whether he intended for it to be negative is a matter of debate. One that perhaps is unwinnable, because I don't think either of us or any other posters know his mind. But we can perhaps gauge the effect, and IMO, from what I've read, I don't think its out of bounds for people to consider the Twins racially offensive.


Last edited by DarKush; 06-29-2009 at 04:57 PM.
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Old 06-28-2009, 03:12 AM   #523
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Default Re: The Twins: Racist?

Was it just me or did the both of them kinda sound like Katt Williams?

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Old 06-28-2009, 09:32 AM   #524
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Default Re: The Twins: Racist?

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Was it just me or did the both of them kinda sound like Katt Williams?
If Katt Willians voiced the Twins, I bet black people wouldn't be saying a damn thing! We laugh our ass off at that man. And who doesn't love A Pimp Named Slickback?

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Old 06-28-2009, 10:13 AM   #525
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Default Re: The Twins: Racist?

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If Katt Willians voiced the Twins, I bet black people wouldn't be saying a damn thing! We laugh our ass off at that man. And who doesn't love A Pimp Named Slickback?
from what i've seen most black people aren't "saying a damn thing" it's the other people who are sensitive for us


if it was kat williams then i'm sure bay would be seen as being less racist, that's the way is seems to work.

the twins worked, when the film slew down and was loosing some of it's audience, they got the laughs

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