Defining Characteristics

It’s curious to see someone “playing the retard” in a movie. Or “playing the homosexual”. Or “playing the black man”. Or “playing the sidekick”. There’s a reason they call them “roles”.

And we wonder why stereotypes are so common. That we boil human identity down to one trait is quite possibly related.

What’s behind this necessity to see humans in terms of one trait? Humans never see themselves in these terms. A white man recognizes he’s white but if society didn’t treat that as important he hardly would. Humans care about their entire lives, not one trait of their identity. How many black people define their most important trait as “being black” rather than “being kind” or “being strong” or “being part of a family”? Why are so many movies with black people about them being black instead of kind, strong, or familial?

Why do people “play the homosexual” regardless of the content of the movie but only if the movie is entirely about sex do they have the ability to “play the heterosexual”? Heterosexuals can do things in movies that have little or nothing to do with their sexuality – for homosexuals however everything has to be related to their sexuality.

Retardation and physical deformity is probably the most clear example of this. These defects are typically exploited into making “feel good” movies about overcoming adversity – nevermind that every human has adversity and frankly, it’s enjoyable watching just about anyone overcome it. If you only watched movies you’d think everyone with a mental defect was utterly narcissistic.

So retards are good for feel good movies, homosexuals are good for breaking sexual taboo movies (nevermind that homosexuality is the lamest of all possible sexual taboos), how can black people be simplified and exploited?

For being victims of racism – this serves the dual purpose of making white people feel good about themselves. However, even this mundane topic is often too squeamish for the exploiters. “Magical negro” is always a good one. Playing them as mystical creatures. Or “bestial negro”. However, it appears that blacks are slowly moving off this list. More and more they are appearing in movies where they are complete human beings, rather than being caged and simplified. That’s not progress, that’s doing what should have been done all along. Progress is if we went beyond that to a greater reality.

Many others are on the list as well. Political radicals, transvestites, indigenous third worlders, free thinkers, warriors, just about any trait mainstream culture finds “interesting”. I find the corpse of mainstream culture “interesting”.

When will the slavery end? When will culture stop putting “interesting specimens” in cages and treating them as objects to be studied?

When will movies start being about humans? That’s the only role that should ever occur. Humans with all of their varying traits treated as just that – the many traits within each human identity.


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