They’re Just Not That Into Negroes. (Or Gays. Or Latino/as. Or…)

To no one’s surprise, and to everyone’s chagrin, a movie based on a book that was itself based on a single line in an episode of Sex and The City is the number one movie in America. Jesus wept.
But also? How does a movie set in Baltimore — a city with a population that’s 60% black — not have a single black lead character? We’re not conspiracy theorists around here, but what are you supposed to conclude when the people who cast much-loved touchstones of popular culture (the aforementioned Sex and the CityFriends, etc.) completely obliterate all the people of color from the not-very-white locales* in which they’re set? SATC might get a pass, if only because it was about the lives of four insufferable Upper East Siders, denizens of the WASPiest place in the city.  But Friends? Friends was set in the Village, which is like the actual, physical manifestation of every one of Pat Buchanan’s nightmare scenarios.
*Except for wisecracking co-workers/hair dressers/service workers who have no plots of their own but plenty of sage advice for the white protagonists. Ditto, gay folks.
UPDATE: Latoya offers some advice for prospective viewers.

If you must go see this movie, I recommend you take at least the following:

* A flask filled with the alcohol of your choice (juice if you’re under 21 kids!)
* That one friend who cries into her mixed house drinks once a month about the same freaking man problem you’ve been dealing with since you were both sixteen. She will probably relate to the film and peg herself as a character.
* A guy you’re angry at and want to punish.
* A cell phone with good reception so you can text your snarky comments to your friends who had enough sense to stay away from this movie.


9 thoughts on “They’re Just Not That Into Negroes. (Or Gays. Or Latino/as. Or…)

  1. Steve February 10, 2009 at 4:44 pm Reply

    I haven’t seen this and don’t want to but i’ve heard its massively problematic for all those reasons.

  2. ding February 11, 2009 at 6:23 pm Reply

    i saw it with a couple of white girl friends (one was just dumped and needed to cathect) and at the end, my roommate said, “I didn’t see you in that movie at all.” nope.

  3. kaya February 12, 2009 at 5:35 pm Reply

    but here’s the thing
    i think it’s merely a reflection of how segregated america is
    baltimore may be 60% black- but i don’t find it hard to believe that there are myriad groups of white folks in baltimore that have NO social interaction with non-whites at all
    yes you have to see black people on a daily basis – at work, in the grocery store, etc
    but as major characters in your social life? not necessarily
    and the fact that this keeps happening in movies kind of strengthens my belief that this is true
    i’d assume that people who make these racial omissions in film and tv actually DO lead lives wehre they only interact with white people. or find the role of non-whites in their lives insignificant. or don’t have deep enough relationships with non-whites to ever consider why diversity on the big screen would ever be important.

  4. jiovanni February 12, 2009 at 7:25 pm Reply

    “…and the fact that this keeps happening in movies kind of strengthens my belief that this is true

    And perhaps this image that keeps being pushed onto us helps strengten that social construct subsconsciously. It goes both ways.

  5. kaya February 12, 2009 at 7:39 pm Reply

    good point!

  6. steve February 15, 2009 at 12:40 pm Reply

    I see the point that it reflects society but, it’s still highly unlikely in Bmore… that there wouldn’t be atleast one black person… and I mean beyond that…it wouldn’t even be remotely close to tokenism to have a few in a movie based in Bmore…

  7. Scott February 15, 2009 at 5:35 pm Reply

    Sometimes when I watch a TV show or a movie and point out to my wife how unrealistic the scene is, she usually reminds me in a nice way that it is TV or a movie and not to expect a true portrayal of real life. I would think the same idea would apply in this case.

  8. G.D. February 15, 2009 at 6:21 pm Reply

    scott: that’s fine, but the way fictional portrayals of _____ deviate from real life can be just as telling as the stuff they get right.

  9. quadmoniker February 15, 2009 at 6:43 pm Reply

    I would agree with you if the movie took place in Denver or Pheonix or Boston. American life is segregated. And though those cities are diverse, I can imagine a young, mobile, white group of professionals who would not have any friends of color and whose lives center around a small, homogenously white radius in the downtown. BUT that’s not really Baltimore’s story.

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