Sunday, 24 April 2016

"Avoiding negative stereotyping" is usually a lie

Plenty have noticed the very politically correct casting choices of The Force Awakens.  There is a long very dishonourable history of this sort of thing, carried out very prominently by the BBC.

The thought police who influence such things always make very sure that there are a preponderance of female characters in "action" roles. Women and ethnic minority characters tend to be honourable, decent people. White make characters, on the other hand are free to be as nasty as possible, and are frequently pathetic, lacking in confidence.

This piece documents just a few examples of the depiction of white men. Here's another.

Diane Ravitch tells this story from her days working on the National Assessment Governing Board

"I reviewed one- and two-page passages that had been prepared by the testing consortium ... Most of these passages had been previously published in children's magazines or in recent anthologies. After I had read about a dozen such passages ... I realized that the readings themselves had a cumulative subtext: the hero was never a white boy. Instead, the leading character -- the one who was most competent, successful, and sympathetic -- was invariably either a girl (of any race) or a nonwhite boy. Almost without exception, white boys were portrayed as weak and dependent. In one story, a white boy in a difficult situation weeps and says plaintively, 'If only my big sister were here, I would know what to do.'"

The obvious hypocrisy

Now never mind what it does to creative effort, to have these political rules shackling the outcome. There's a very obvious, very logical corollary here. If the content of drama and literature is policed so much that there are no "negative" stereotypes of women or non-whites, then you have 2 choices left:

  • either your story has no characters with negative traits at all, or
  • surprise! White men have to fill all the negative roles
Now anyone worried about how stereotyping affects people ought to be worried about the effect these anti-role-models will have on young white boys (who incidentally seem to be slipping down the rankings in academic achievements). But of course our betters see nothing wrong with negative stereotyping of white men. They don't care. You'll be insulted for suggesting there is a problem.

If people were serious about avoiding negative stereotyping of groups, television drama would be impossible. There would be no characters, no interest. If you choose to protect all groups except one from negative roles, then you are ensuring that this one group will get all the negative roles. You can't escape logic.

Thus the whole exercise of fighting stereotypes is worse than flawed, it does exactly what it claims to be fighting against