“Movie producers are often reluctant to cast more than a few minority actors in otherwise race-neutral movies for fear that the White audience will largely avoid such films. Two experiments were conducted to test the idea that the racial makeup of a cast could influence White audiences’ selective exposure to movies. Results revealed that actors’ race does influence selective exposure in certain contexts… regardless of racial attitudes, White participants showed significantly less interest in seeing movies with mostly Black casts than in seeing movies with mostly White casts.”
From a report by Andrew J. Weaver titled The Role of Actors’ Race in White Audiences’ Selective Exposure to Movies. This spread across the web rapidly, a few weeks ago. Several folks alerted me to it, but I mostly avoided the noise. It’s not exactly news, is it? We’ve been talking about these matters in one form or another for awhile now; and, besides, the proof is in the proverbial pudding, is it not?
But an article I read earlier today regarding The Help, that referenced Weaver’s report, got me thinking about the other related questions that I rarely see asked.
Specifically, for all of you black folks out there reading this, if white audiences avoid “black films” because they don’t believe the stories are relatable to their experiences, since, as we all apparently know so well, nothing universal exists in stories about black people, how many of you are willing to avoid “white films” or films that tell stories primarily about white people (the majority of films made by Hollywood), for similar reasons, however ridiculous they might be?
Imagine if black audiences, en masse, stopped seeing “white films,” taking away the billions of dollars we spend every year on movie tickets, DVD sales and rentals combined.
Show of hands… who’s with me on this? Let’s spend our dollars on “black films” ONLY, or at least primarily, because there’s nothing relatable to our experiences in “white films,” and thus they aren’t made for “us.”