The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

An ironic note on "Hitch"

The grumbling I'm hearing about "Hitch" is that white folks are growing tired of seeing white characters in these types of films being portrayed as uptight, geeky schmucks--schmucks who are constantly the butt of wisecracks from the cool, hip, "tough" black character.

Similar complaints heard about the recent Jimmy Fallon-Queen Latifah movie (don't remember the title.)
Tell your friends they'd make horrible black people.  For decades the ONLY images we saw in films were much worse than that of the white co-star, who, by the way, is being assisted in his attempts to get laid.  Tell me where you've ever seen a white man help a black man do THAT.  And for a second do we think he's the only white character in the movie?  Heck, no.  And in all likelihood, your friends saw that as one of maybe six coming attractions...and the stars of most of the others were probably white, sexual, and lean-bodied winners.  So...for decades, when I or others complained about imagery, we were told to "get over it" "it's just a joke" "don't be so uptight."  When the shoe slips even SLIGHTLY onto the other foot, people start whining.  Hah!  Here are some things you've probably never seen:
1) the only white person in a movie die.
2) the only white person in a movie help a non-white get laid, or "become a winner" (Karate Kid, or "Bagger Vance", anyone?)
3) the only white person in a movie presented as an absolute fool.
Please.  Prove me wrong.  Tell me the movies.  And until you do, listen to your friend's complaints and grasp it was a hundred times worse for brown people, and we were just told to suck it up.


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