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Hey Lindsey, I’m a big fan of your work. Your analytical approach to movies is always really amazing. I wanted to ask a question about the Bright video you just made. You mention how movies like Crash and Bright you allegories ineffectively with regards to race. I wanted to ask what films you might know of the deal with these same issues in not only a better way, but very well. I want to be a film maker and portray issues of race in a realistic and meaningful way. Thanks and stay golden! ❤️

February 3 2018, 10:53pm

One thing I wrote, recorded and even edited into the video but cut out (because I do want people to listen and consider, and using the words “white male” tends to turn people off) is that every single example I used in the allegory and coding section had white male creative heads – writers, directors, etc. Every single one. So right off the bat I tend to cast a side-eye to white male filmmakers who feel compelled to “talk about race” using allegory, because it’s always going to be from the perspective of someone who has never been on the wrong end of any kind of systemic oppression (to be clear - I don’t know if you’re white, nor do I care, but my point is that most of the examples we have of “race allegory” come from white American men).If you look at genre fiction that does come from PoC (the works of NK Jemisin and Octavia Butler come to mind), you note that they don’t really bother with allegory, and just integrate race as a facet of the universe, albeit rarely the focus. Sometimes it’s in completely fictional universes (which Jemisin is fond of), but the depiction of class and underclass is woven into the fabric of the world.  Race is a Thing™ in their worlds, and very often a major plot point, but it’s usually just reflective of the way race works in the real world, and not orcs wearing chains and du-rags.I think the major difference you see in Let’s Talk About Race stories by white creators is a desire to understand why people are racist, whereas with PoC creators, there’s less of a desire to empathize with the root causes of racism. As I mentioned in the video, racism isn’t logical. People may point to real world incidents as the root cause for bigotry, but the reality is that people pick and choose what they want to believe, and a lot of the time just make shit up and believe it because it confirms their biases. Have you ever heard of the black woman named Le-a (pronounced “Ledasha”?) Yeah, it’s not real. It’s a racist meme. But I’ve seen so many well-meaning white people who would die at the thought of internalized racism refuse to believe that “Le-a” is completely made up (as is “Shithead” and “Orangejello” and “Lemonjello” or whatever other black people are dumb and give their kids dumb names memes people have heard and believed). Racism is so deeply ingrained people don’t notice it. Even in writing this video and writing about the Crips, I felt echoes of the deep, apocalyptic fear white kids (IN TENNESSEE OF ALL PLACES) had of the gangs of LA in the 90′s. The Bloods and the Crips were like Voldemort - there was terror at even speaking their names. I often wonder if there’s ever any really growing out of that - no matter how “woke” you become, there’s always the deeply embedded worldview that is simply born out of growing up in a racist society, especially if you’re white and that society is designed to favor you.My point is (and I include myself in this), on some level white people know that on a broad systemic level, they will forever be excluded from the experience of broad societal oppression. I think that is why in fiction made by white people about race, you see the desire to understand the root of the problem so it can go away. In fiction by PoC it’s much more often depicted as simply an unjust facet of living in a society, and not a problem that needs to be fixed.I think the best one can do to portray issues of race “in a realistic and meaningful way” is to not deny racism’s existence - a huge problem in science fiction is how even in the near future, racism appears to be not a thing anymore. Maybe there will be other problems, but hey at least racism is solved!Another thing that I sometimes employ that is gaining popularity is sensitivity reads - if you’re dealing with a perspective that’s not your own, hire someone to give you feedback. And yes, unless it’s a close friend who owes you a solid, you should hire them. Feedback and beta reading is skilled work.And the biggest suggestion is to simply consume more media by PoC creators - watch the films of Ryan Coogler, Spike Lee and Ava DuVernay. Read the books of NK Jemisin, Nnedi Okorafor and Octavia Butler. In this modern push for broader voices, people still miss the fact that the vast, vast majority of fiction (both in film and in publishing) is created by white men. Not white people, white men. White women exist on the next step down, but it’s a pretty big step. Most white people don’t think to broaden the media they consume because our worldview is so, so very much the default. But broadening your media consumption is the best thing you can do for yourself - thing about people who exist in and reproduce the default worldview, their fiction can be pretty boring.But I think that, unless it is a perspective you are speaking from, the onus is not on you to create stories that speak to perspectives that are not your own. Part of what makes Crash such a disaster is because so much of it was Haggis writing from a variety of experiences he neither empathized with nor understood. It really gets in my craw when male writers write to me asking for feedback on their work because they want to “empower women.” You want to empower women? Promote women creators. Consume their media. You want to empower PoC? Promote them. Consume their media. Write whatever movies you want, but don’t seek out big, topical issues just because they feel important.