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Quotes / Mighty Whitey

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"One of the ancient ploys of the film industry is to make a film about non-white people and find a way, however convoluted, to tell it from the point of view of a white character."
Roger Ebert, on Zhang Yimou's Flowers of War

"Science fiction comes into visibility first in those countries most heavily involved in imperialist projects — France and England — and then gains popularity in the United States, Germany, and Russia as those countries also enter into more and more serious imperial competition. Most important, no informed reader can doubt that allusions to colonial history and situations are ubiquitous features of early science fiction motifs and plots. It is not a matter of asking whether but of determining precisely how and to what extent the stories engage colonialism."
John Reider, ''Colonialism and the Emergence of Science Fiction

"If you need any confirmation of how cool the Samurai warriors of Japan were, look no further than the film The Last Samurai. These people managed to survive and kick ass even with Tom Cruise in their midst. It'd be like running a marathon while dragging a dead cow behind you."

"To treat my nation like we don't know how to fight. We, the Lakota, who are responsible— the first nation to ever militarily defeat the United States of America on the field of battle, and Lawrence of the Plains has to teach us how to fight?!"
Russell Means in the documentary Reel Injun, on Dances with Wolves

"Here's Star Trek's message: We have a great respect for the cultures of Native Americans, and we show this by saying that they were backwards, languageless cavemen until they were touched by white men from outer space. You're welcome!"

"The Cotton Club was kind of a dividing point between white and black Harlem. The mobsters used it for their bootlegging, they hired black entertainers while only dealing with white clientèle. The Cotton Club was supposed to be a majority black starring cast and was going to be a gangland musical...The story focuses on a coronet player (Richard Gere) who saves the life of a mobster and is hired to work for him as a reward. Gere has to escort the mobster’s girl (played by Diane Lane) whom he falls in love with. Oh and there is something to do with Gregory Hines...somewhere."

"Discover the Na'Vi, a strong and noble race of blue Indians, fully in tune with nature... who are somehow helpless without THE WHITE MAN. Hrm, actually kind of offensive when you think about it."

Jake: I'm one of you. And I have the right to speak!
Mike (as Jake): Especially since I'm already better at being one of you than all of you are!

"It's not just a wish to be absolved of the crimes whites have committed against people of color; it's not just a wish to join the side of moral justice in battle. It's a wish to lead people of color from the inside rather than from the (oppressive, white) outside."

Audrey: In case you didn't notice, Heart of America is now leading us.
Debra: He now speaks for and represents all Native Americans.

“There needs to be white people who do the right thing, there needs to be black people who do the right thing. And someone does the right thing. And so who cares who does the right thing, as long as the right thing is achieved?”
Theodore Melfi, director of Hidden Figures, explaining why he includes a fictional scene in which the white male director of NASA desegregates NASA’s bathrooms, when in reality Katherine Jackson, the black female protagonist, simply used the white bathrooms without seeking anyone’s permission.

“There’s no need for Hidden Figures to follow the true-to-life story to the letter—it’s not a documentary. But if the raw material is so powerful and interesting, why did the writers need to add a white guy who ‘does the right thing’? The answer to that question is pretty obvious. Black people wouldn’t be bothered by a movie that shows white characters who are oppressive at worst and aloof and unhelpful at best, anymore than women would be bothered by the male characters in The Stepford Wives. So this kind of alteration only serves to soothe the conscience of white people. That’s the purpose of the White Savior trope—to provide a white character that allows white viewers to feel good about themselves. In this case, it means that a white person doesn’t have to think about the possibility that, were they around back in the 1960s South, they might have been one of the bad ones. Or the possibility that in 50 years, when someone makes a movie about 2017 America, that their own behavior will qualify them as one of the bad ones.”
Dexter Thomas, “Space So White,” responding to Theodore Melfi's quote above

"Africans may be African, but we are Africa!"
The Book of Mormon, "I Am Africa"


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