I could not tell you when the last time I actually enjoyed something was. I’m talking about consuming for consumption’s sake, taking in a piece of art (in any sense of the word) at its face value. Case and point: A few Thursdays ago, I was sitting in a movie theater waiting to see Bridget Jones’s Baby (don’t you dare judge me). As the previews rolled before the movie, I felt bored. And this is coming from someone who has a standing date with themselves to see a movie every Friday night. This is coming from someone who paid actual money to go see the third (third) Bridget Jones movie. But something about seeing those trailers back to back, it reminded me of something. It reminded me of…
Granted, there was a whopping total of one GOC (guy of color) in Bridget Jones, and he was mainly used for comic relief, but I’m looking at the big picture here. I can’t enjoy most movies or TV shows without thinking about how there is a distinct lack of roles going to nonwhite actors. Or, if there are people of color filling major roles, I find myself paying extra close attention to how the writers portray them (i.e. Are they a walking stereotype? Are they being used as nonwhite mouthpieces for the ideals of their white writers? Are they being used to quell the collective conscience of the show’s white audience?). Stand-up comedy is a lot less funny (particularly stand-up of the dude-bro or white feminist variety), and don’t even get me started on celebrities who have sworn themselves against “political correctness.”
If you don’t want to click on those links, the message essentially boils down to this: comedians (and, by an expansion of the point, folks who churn out our sources of entertainment) blame millennials and those pesky “social justice warriors” for killing comedy as we know it. Because if you’re not laughing at a joke about date rape or racism, you’re not living, my friend. The real problem here is that people are beginning to become more aware of the media they consume and its potential effects. Rather than just accept the media we’re being given, marginalized voices have made it clear that things like whitewashed casting, queerbaiting, and general white-Hollywood fuckery will not be tolerated. But I’m sure if I was used to seeing my face and my people represented 25/8, I would be a little perturbed by the shifting tides as well.