The Grass is Always Greener

Earlier this month, black British actor David Harewood published an essay in the Guardian lamenting the lack of media attention for the “Black BAFTAS” and the lack of black actors on British television.

…in Britain, TV and film producers and directors are still nervous about black actors in leading roles. Ask anyone in the street to name five American black actors and they can do it; but ask them to name five British counterparts and they will be stuck. That is not because the talent does not exist, but because we just don’t get that exposure here.

It is only when they go to the US that actors such as [Thandie] Newton and [Chiwetel] Ejiofor get the parts, and therefore the acclaim, they deserve. [...] black Britons seem to get better parts over there, even on the small screen.

Americans simply seem to be more comfortable with black actors in leading roles, and with the whole concept of “generic” parts in which race is not an issue. Dennis Haysbert and Morgan Freeman have both played the American president, while Haysbert is now the leader of a special operations unit in the new David Mamet drama The Unit.

I find it incredibly interesting to see the view of us from the outside. Considering the issues we have with representation, it was hard for me to imagine anyone looking at the roles for black actors with envy.

And as much as I want to say that Harewood has a skewed view, so do I. I watch some British TV, but most of the shows I watch are either produced by the same guy or written by a guy who works on projects with that producer. So even if I’m seeing a fair amount of PoC, I just may be in the hands of the half dozen people at the BBC who care about such things.

I have been very fortunate in my career in Britain, in that I have managed to play plenty of parts that were not conceived specifically for a black actor. I am not entirely alone in this – think of Freema Agyeman as Doctor Who’s sidekick Martha Jones, for example, or first Adrian Lester and now Ashley Walters in Hustle – but many of my peers have struggled in this respect. To get roles with authority and weight still seems to be extremely difficult. All too often, black actors are only seen fit to be secondary characters: “the best friend”, say, or “the good cop”. I think I have played more black policemen than there are black policemen. And these are not the kind of roles that get you noticed.

By contrast, when I was in America last year for the premiere of Blood Diamond, I was amazed at the variety and scope of some of the castings I was going into. Casting directors told me openly that no new American television series gets the green light without at least two or three leading ethnic minority roles. If nothing else, in that melting pot of a country it makes business sense to have a cast in which the audience can recognise itself.

Hmm…. I wonder if maybe Harewood isn’t being a bit lied to. Just looking at the new SF television shows on this season (which I had to watch for an article… which is going up tomorrow!) I saw a LOT of white people in lead/recurring roles–Journeyman, Moonlight, Chuck, Flash Gordon, Reaper–and the two shows that include CoC in their recurring slots are still helmed by white people–Bionic Woman, Pushing Daisies.

Without events such as Screen Nation, much of the work done by black British people in film and television would go unnoticed. Do awards like these ghettoise black actors, or somehow relegate them? Of course not. If I win a prize on Monday evening, I will accept it with just as much pride as if I had been given a Bafta or an Oscar.

Good question. It looks like Britain is suffering from the same kind of problems regarding race and representation that our media has. But perhaps from different angles and for different reasons. Though I was really pleased with the representations I saw in, say, Doctor Who, others see that show and its spinoff as problematic. There’s still a lot of work to do.

Fortunately, folks like Harewood are paying attention and speaking out. But he’s an actor, not someone who creates shows for the BBC. Those are the people who need to be paying attention.

Oh wait:

Neil Gaiman has said he will soon make fantasy television shows for the BBC.
[...]
“I’ve been in talks with the BBC for about two years about doing an original fantasy series for them, which I keep putting off because my plate is so full.

“I think it’s time to clear some plate for them.
[...]
One option he is looking at is a television version of his novel Anansi Boys which has just been made for radio by BBC World Service.

“I thought this would be so cool if we could do it as four 42-minute episodes for the BBC or even ITV,” he explained. “I don’t think anybody has actually done a drama, the cast of which was almost completely black, in which the point of it was not that the cast was completely black.”

Emphasis mine.

Maybe Gaiman will be a good influence on the BBC. And then he can come back over here and be a good influence on us.

Oh wait:

When Anansi Boys first came out, we got a number of very big [Hollywood] directors going after it and all of them basically ended up saying the same thing, which was they had real problems with a story as black people as leads in a fantasy movie. [...] It’s one of those strange moments when you go “I don’t know if it’s racist or if it’s just stupid…”

Sigh.

31 Responses

  1. British person here. Our TV varies a lot – I can’t say how stereotyped the portrayals are, partly because I’m white and probably clueless, and partly because the things I’d expect to be full of stereotypes are soaps etc. that I wouldn’t watch anyway – but they don’t seem to pretend we live in an all-white country at any rate.

    I saw your article about Dr. Who and then when the critiques of the finale appeared, I wondered what you’d have to say about it. The kiddie spinoff “The Sarah Jane Adventures” seems to have a good approach as far as I can tell; do you get it over there?

    This might be a bit off topic … In non-fiction, there’s a show this week on Channel 4 (filmed over a year, shown over 3 nights to maximise the chance that I’ll miss one; I wish they wouldn’t do that) called “Last Chance Kids” which struck me as interesting in the light of the “inspirational teacher saving the inner-city kids” trope that I’m sure you’ve written about. It’s part of a literacy season on the channel, and the headmistress of a primary school [that's ages up to 11] is spearheading a big push to cut the shocking rate of children leaving the school unable to read. She happens to be Black, which isn’t commented on. This is in an ethnically mixed, economically deprived area (which is not the first thing they tell us); the non-readers are mostly boys and mostly white. No stupidity on the part of the programme-makers is evident so far.

  2. I saw that article a while ago and wondered what you’d make of it. I do live in the UK, but as I don’t watch TV, I haven’t got a clue about what’s on or who the TV actors are. I still have a few thoughts on the issue, though, but obviously they’re pure speculation on my part.

    You’ve mentioned that there are some stereotypical roles which are given to black actors in the US, such as the black character who will die tragically. I suspect that in the UK, where the percentage of the population that’s black is much lower than in the US and the history is different, some of those stereotypes might not exist, so that could possibly mean that there are fewer of these routine but problematic roles for black actors in the UK.

    I also wonder if there are regional variations in programme making because the percentage of the population which is black varies a lot from one region to another:

    “In England and Wales, 1.1 per cent of people are Black Caribbean, 0.9 per cent are Black African and a further 0.2 per cent are from Other Black groups.

    Black Caribbeans form more than ten per cent of the population of the London boroughs of Lewisham, Lambeth, Brent and Hackney. Over ten per cent of Southwark, Newham, Lambeth and Hackney are Black African. More than two per cent of people describe themselves as Other Black in Hackney, Lambeth and Lewisham.” (from details about the 2001 census).

    It makes me wonder if black characters are more likely to appear in programmes set in London. Possibly if a programme is set in Yorkshire, one would expect that ethnic minority characters would be more likely to be of Pakistani origin since, to quote from the same census figures again,

    London has the highest proportion of people from minority ethnic groups apart from more who identified themselves as of Pakistani origin, of whom there is a higher proportion in Yorkshire and the Humber (2.9 per cent) and the West Midlands (2.9 per cent)

    Anyway, this is just speculation on my part, because, as I said, I don’t have a TV, so I don’t know what’s on, but it does seem possible that the demographic and cultural differences between the US and UK affect how many parts there are available for black actors, and what kind of parts they are.

  3. Hi ABW,

    I doubt I am going to be able to offer any insight on this.

    I do know that Hollywood films are one of the major U.S. exports. If the average citizen in the U.K.. Ireland, or Australia watches anywhere near as many Hollywood films (comedy, drama, and science fiction) as the average U.S. citizen, I tend to think that one is going to see a greater presence of black people, particularly black men, in central roles. Perhaps I am mistaken on this?

    All the best….

    Adam

  4. One of the most fucked up things I learnt about british actors and comedians is that not only did the BBC have a black and white minstrel show still on the air by the late 70′s, but that a quite good black british comedian – lenny henry – actually got his break into show business from it, because that was really the only place a black comedian could get onto TV back then; doing stand up routines in between white guys in black face doing song and dance routines.

    Britain has issues.

    I suspect that in the UK, where the percentage of the population that’s black is much lower than in the US and the history is different

    You’d be wrong if you suspected that.
    During the pre-war period britain was actually more tolerant of non-white people as long as they weren’t also openly poor – this led to not only a lot of american servicemen staying in the country after the war because they didn’t have to deal with segregation there, but also to mass immigration from the west indies and the various colonies that increased as the empire dissolved.

    That then led onto some really nasty race riots, groups like the BNP and national front and things like the aforementioned “black and white minstrel show” that was a staple of the BBC’s prime time through that period – all basically a big ol’ racist reaction by british white society to this influx of the brown (akin to the current immigration thing america has, if you need a ready modern comparison).

    Britain is not less or more racist than america, it is, at best, differently racist, but you still have the same stereotypes appearing time and again because the stereotypes exist for the exact same reasons (out and out race baiting, bullshit stereotypes that the white writers and producers believe unquestioningly, the way it’s believed you have to have a white hero more often than not to “appeal” to white audiences etc…etc…) and there’s been frequent and constant cross-pollination of racial tropes and cliches between the UK and the US, that means that often times they’re not even differently racist.

  5. [...] The Grass is Always Greener « The Angry Black Woman “Ask anyone in the street to name five American black actors and they can do it; but ask them to name five British counterparts and they will be stuck. That is not because the talent does not exist, but because we just don’t get that exposure here.” (tags: via:latoya actors race black) [...]

  6. there’s been frequent and constant cross-pollination of racial tropes and cliches between the UK and the US, that means that often times they’re not even differently racist.

    I knew about the existence of black and white minstrel shows (though I’ve never seen one), but I’d never heard of Aunt Jemima until I started reading American blogs, and I had no idea what the significance was of nooses in American culture, or of a lot of other things which seem to have been specific to the US history of racism. So I’m not denying that there’s racism in the UK, or that US TV/film hasn’t exported certain stereotypes but I wonder if they manifest themselves a bit differently and/or have different resonance here.

    “akin to the current immigration thing america has, if you need a ready modern comparison”

    See, this is an example of how something that might be very meaningful to an American can have very little significance, or a different significance, for someone in the UK. The immigration problems the US has aren’t really a big topic of discussion in the UK. We’re probably aware of some of the stereotypes about Mexicans wearing big hats, but a lot of the context in which those stereotypes evolved aren’t going to be known or understood in the UK. We’ve got immigration debates too (as well as controversy about asylum seekers and refugees), but at the moment the immigration debate in the UK seems to be focussed on how many Poles and other people from Eastern Europe there are coming into the UK due to the expansion of the European Union.

  7. Yeah, but actresses such as Thandie Newton, who’s biracial are relegated to being black in America!. She should stick to independent films as her talent’s allowed to run reign.

    Personally, British tv/films do it more for me, irrespective of how many black, white or otherwise actors are involved. A good project’s just that.

  8. Thursday Blogwhoring: 3.6 Hrs != Enough

    by matttbastard
    Remind me to stop sacrificing sleep for obsessive late night blogging/research.  Candle = burnt.  Both ends; no wick nor wax remains.
    Love, etc.
    (Blah blah blah Melissa McEwan = teh r0×0r)
    Feministe: What Color Are the Holes in Y…

  9. Hi. The TV show “Chuck” has 4 people of color on the show:
    1 Asian American man
    1 South Asian American man
    1 African American man
    1 Asian American woman

    “Reaper” has 2 people of color
    1 Latina woman
    1 Mulatto/black man (Rick Gonzales)

    CCCH,
    Newton is not been “relegated” to playing black (which you make seem like a curse). Newton has played characters who are self-identified as mixed, like Sally Hemmings and Kem on ER.

    That said, let’s be real. The majority of African Americans are mixed-race with 18 to 22% European and 8 to 11% Native American ancestry. Do some research on genetic surveys of African-Americans. Thandie Newton would look lost in a crowd of African Americans in terms of her phenotype.

    BTW, you do realize that Martin Luther King, Jr was mixed?

  10. You do realize that Rick Gonzalez is probably not black but Latino, right?

    Okay then.

    The only person of color who had a recurring bit on Chuck is, I believe, the really annoying wannabe manager guy. Now I didn’t see him in the last episode i watched, so I thought he might have been dropped. He was an annoying stereotype, anyway, which is why I promptly forgot him. These other PoC you mention, are they secondary characters, or just folks who dropped by for an episode or two?

    On Reaper… what Latina woman?

    Also, I want you to take note of something. All of the posters for Raper that have actors on them all have the star, his best friend, and the girl he likes. Many of them are labeled “The Devil’s Biggest Tools”. However, the girl doesn’t even know about the Devil thing. The poster implies that she’s in on the bounty hunting, too, but she’s not. The other guy who works with th boys (the black person you mentioned who is probably Latino) is, but he’s not on any of the posters or promotional things.

    Why would that be? Hmmm….

    Another reason why I completely forgot him. Poor boy.

    Also, what does MLK being mixed have to do with anything?

  11. AGBW,

    “Latino” is an ethnicity and not a “race.” Therefore, Latinos come in all “races” and combinations. Was Sammy Davis Jr any less “black” because he was Latino? Is Christina Milan any less “black” because she’s Cuban? Both Rick Gonzales and Milan got hit with racist, anti-black epithets when they were filming the movie “Pulse” in Romania. http://www.eurweb.com/story/eur27889.cfm

    Racism against people of African descent in Latin America is horrible. While the One Drop Rule may not apply, racism is deeply entrenched in the culture. It’s permissible in some countries to advertise for applicants who have a professional look (i.e. white skin or nearly white). In Cuba, the resorts only hire whites. Mulattos and blacks are stopped by the police more often. There’s a saying, “El es negro pero,”: he’s black but…

    If you went to Latin America, no one would define herself as Latina. She would say that she is white, mulatta, mestizo, Dark Indian, indigenous, or black. Latino/Latina is a US creation that amalgamates disparate people into a nice, digestible category. Also, I’m not sure why it matters that Gonzales is Latino. The majority of enslaved Africans were taken to Latin America.

    I’m surprised that you didn’t bring up CBS’s virtually all-white 2-hour comedy block on Monday nights.

    I brought up King’s ancestry because CCCH brought up Newton’s ancestry (and revealed her thinking on racial purity and identification). Questioning Newton’s blackness in an American context is as spurious as questioning King’s or Malcom X’s or Rosa Park’s or Denzel Washington’s or Will Smith’s or Morgan Freeman’s or Frederick Douglass’ or W.E.B. Dubois, etc., etc.

    Jeez, how many times have you seen some guy on Maury Povich claiming that a baby can’t be his because the kid’s too light? Both parents are dark brown but the baby is caramel or paler. DNA shows the kid is the guys.

    Racial purity is a joke. Queen Elizabeth II is of African ancestry. One-third of all white Americans have African ancestry traceable to African who were enslaved in the U.S. CCCH’s fury about Newton being relegated to “black roles” seemed ignorant.

    Sorry, I find racism contemptible and ridiculous. Russia, of all places, is a fertile ground of Neo-Nazism. The idiots are embracing an ideology of a group who thought Slavs like them were subhumans to be enslaved or exterminated. Embracing “whiteness” somehow allows them to uplift themselves to a “great people” who are part of an even “greater people.”

    In contrast, you have the Nation of Islam leaders calling white men the devil when the founder and the subsequent leaders were visibly of white ancestry. As if Louis F. doesn’t show his European ancestry? And again, on the flipside, look at the hatred some American whites have for Jesse Jackson, another black man of white ancestry.

    It’s a crazy world.

  12. It’s one of those strange moments when you go “I don’t know if it’s racist or if it’s just stupid…

    Oooh! Oooh! Can I guess? Call on me, teacher! Can I guess?

    I love the idea of Hollywood execs reading Anansi Boys and saying “Let’s make this into a movie, but–and here’s the genius part–we make all the characters white! White people personifying a god from cultures throughout Africa! Brilliant!”

    It reminds of an interview I read with the director/writer of Saving Face, a great movie about two Chinese-American lesbians who fall in love. Whever she tried to get major studio backing, she’d get executives who’d say “Great! This sounds great! But what about if we make the women white!” or “Fabulous! Great stuff! But how about we make couple straight!” Will Smith eventually stepped up to give her the funding she needed.

  13. *Claps*

    Great Post.

    I have been living in England/Britain for a LONG time and as an African girl who is such a consumer of TV, films, magazines, I completely agree with why Black British actors are fleeing. There is pure and simple not much opportunity for work.

    The Black British film industry is so promising (Kidulthood anyone?) but the funding just is not there. The racism mentality works in Britain because the society here is more covert and things don’t surface and just are NOT talked about that much.

    Stephen Amos, a black British comedian said something illuminating on a breakfast show on channel 5. He said that he would have to wait for Lenny Henry to die before he could get his own show on the box. He said it in jest but the subtext is clear: one in, one out rule DEFINITELY applies to UK tv.

    @ccch, Thandie Newton is black in britain too anyway. She has done well for herself.

  14. Speaking of Thandie Newton, I remember reading an interview with her several years back in which she talked about a movie she worked on with Oprah Winfrey and how fed up she got with how Oprah and one of the other actors relentlessly mocked her real accent. Newton is a Cambridge University-educated, middle-class Englishwoman and her natural accent is pretty much what you’d expect of someone that description applies to. I always wondered what was going on there, what weird dynamic might be at play that I didn’t understand. I mean, what accent did they expect her to have?

  15. That is a good point, Rob. What kind of accent should she have? She is of British nationality and was raised in Cornwall. Why wouldn’t she sound ‘English’? Maybe it is a kind of stupid assumption that you have to be white to sound English. Clearly those people have not been to England!

  16. “Th Blck Brtsh flm ndstr s s prmsng (Kdlthd nyn?) bt th fndng jst s nt thr.” Wh shld th Brtsh fnd ths? Snc ndgns Brts r wht, y’d hv ll th BNP typs scrmng tht nw wht sprtsts shld b gvrnmnt fndd t. ll ths tlk f thngs lk th ‘Blck Brtsh flm ndstr’, whtvr tht s, ds nthng bt dvd ppl. Y lt r s BSSSD wth rcsm tht y s t vrywhr, nd thrgh yr dsr t chv ql tcms s ppsd t ql rghts, y wsh t nstttnls rcsm.

  17. “you wish to institutionalise racism.”

    How about we just institutionalize you? :D

  18. *lol at Ico!! :D

  19. a black british and asian film industry is needed in the United Kingdom for one reason: to reflect one segment of the British population.

    Black. Asian People are British. Once you get over that, then we can have a discussion about it.

  20. oh yeah, that is directed at captainreality.

    go ico!

  21. “Blck. sn Ppl r Brtsh. nc y gt vr tht, thn w cn hv dscssn bt t.” Tw cn pl t tht gm. Pndrng t spcfc grps wthn ppltns rnfrcs thr d tht th r sprt nd rqr spcl trtmnt, nd frthr lnts thm frm th ndgns ppltn, swng th sds fr ftr scl dscrd. f thr cn b sch thng s th ‘Blck Brtsh flm ndstr’, thn t s nl mttr f tm bfr ppl strt lbbyng fr thr t b ‘Wht Brtsh flm ndstr’. nc y gt vr tht, w cn hv dscssn bt t. wn’t ddrss th thr rspnss… Th ndct tht th pstrs hv th mntl blts f yr ld.

  22. Oooh, look at that! Captain Reality insulted me! What a S-U-R-P-R-I-S-E!

    My dear fellow, you seem convinced the whole place is an “echo chamber” and that this is the reason people wish to see you banned. That is not the case. People wish to see you banned because you are behaving like an ass. Spamming up multiple threads, insulting the site owner, and belittling the regulars is, just so you know, troll behavior. If you are genuinely interested in real discussion, grow up and act civilized.

  23. c… y sggstd tht b nstttnlzd. Tht’s n nslt. Pt, mt kttl. Ppl lk y lwys dfn dffrng pnn s ‘spm’. Tht’s bcs y’r ncpbl f ndrstndng tht dffrnc f pnn m b vld. Ths s pblcl wrtbl blg; kn t pttng blckbrd n pblc strt, wth vlbl chlk. f wr pstng ff-tpc, t wld b spm. ‘m jst pstng thngs tht y dsgr wth. s fr bng rglr, dn’t cr f t’s yr hbt t cm nd wrt n th pblc blckbrd ftn. D y thnk tht ffrds y sm spcl prtctn. Th blg wnr cn dlt m cmmnts; hv n prblm wth tht. Hwvr, snc sh’s md pblcl wrtbl blg, n xpcttn tht cmmnts tht sh dsgrs wth shldn’t ppr s nv. s fr th “Blck Brtsh flm ndstr”, whtvr tht s, hr s wh ths ss cn’t b trtd s t s n th S, s sttd b nch Pwll (xcs th ld-styl phrsng; ths s frm n ld spch): “Nthng s mr msldng thn cmprsn btwn th Cmmnwlth mmgrnt n Brtn nd th mrcn Ngr. Th Ngr ppltn f th ntd stts, whch ws lrd n xstnc bfr th ntd Stts bcm ntn, strtd ltrll s slvs nd wr ltr gvn th frnchs nd thr rghts f ctznshp, t th xrcs f whch th hv nl grdll nd stll ncmpltl cm. Th Cmmnwlth mmgrnt cm t Brtn s fll ctzn, t cntr whch knws n dscrmntn btwn n ctzn nd nthr, nd h ntrd nstntl nt th pssssn f th rghts f vr ctzn, frm th vt t fr trtmnt ndr th Ntnl Hlth Srvc. Whtvr drwbcks ttndd th mmgrnts – nd th wr drwbcks whch dd nt, nd d nt, mk dmssn nt Brtn b hk r b crk ppr lss thn dsrbl – rs nt frm th lw r frm pblc plc r frm dmnstrtn bt frm ths prsnl crcmstncs nd ccdnts whch cs, nd lwys wll cs, th frtns nd xprnc f n mn t b dffrnt fr nthr’s.”

  24. That quote about Britain is rather laughable. Given its history of class stratification, calling it “a country which knows no discrimination between one citizen and another” is somewhat naive. And there was indeed slavery of Africans in England through most of the 18th century.

    This blog is not the equivalent of a chalkboard on the street, unless by that you mean a chalkboard owned by ABW and erased/modified whenever she feels it’s necessary.

  25. “Given its history of class stratification, calling it “a country which knows no discrimination between one citizen and another” is somewhat naive.”

    I don’t care about Britain’s history of class stratification; that’s irrelevant to the migrant experience, which is almost exclusively post 1950.

    British slave trading before 1807, when it was abolished, is irrelevant to all current migrants to the UK and their children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and so on for several further generations.

    As for the quote being naive, the quote was made by Enoch Powell, MBE, who was made a professor of Greek at the University of Sydney at age 25, and was fluent in 12 languages. He was a fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. He was the youngest Brigadier in the British Army at the end of WWII, and the only man to be promoted from the rank of private to the rank of Brigadier throughout the whole war. He was a British MP between 1950 and 1975, and an Ulster Unionist MP between 1974 and 1987.

    So frankly, you can take your ill-informed accusations of naivety, and stick them.

  26. “Ths blg s nt th qvlnt f chlkbrd n th strt, nlss b tht y mn chlkbrd wnd b BW nd rsd/mdfd whnvr sh fls ts ncssr.” Ys, jst lk chlkbrd n th strt.

  27. “Ico… you suggested that I be institutionalized. That’s an insult. Pot, meet kettle.”

    Well dear, before you get all in a huff about that, why not read over some of your earlier posts, hmm? Here, I’ll jog your memory.

    “What are you, some kind of retard?”
    “Bigoted weirdo”
    “Stupid is as stupid does.”
    “Losers”

    Well by golly gee! Given the wonderful tone with which you opened your arguments, isn’t the restraint of my institutionalization comment a wonder? I marvel at my own beneficence. I mean, I could have called you a “bigoted weirdo,” or “some kind of retard” or some of the other less kind things I’ve seen spewed across the blog.

    Let’s make a deal, Captain, since you’re feeling like such a rational human being today (and since for whatever reason, ABW is away and hasn’t moderated you yet). You be a big person and apologize sincerely to ABW for all the degrading, insulting things you’ve said. I’ll apologize for my comment. We can start on a clean slate, with *polite* discussion that avoids personal attacks.

  28. I like R. Mildred’s phrase – that Britain is differently racist, as opposed to less or more racist.

    I’m an American who grew up with an Anglophile mom, so I’ve always watched about equal amounts of British and American TV. I’m not sure what they mean by lead roles, but when I think of TV shows I’ve watched that feature black leads, Lenny Henry’s “Chef” is the first one to come to mind.

    It seems to me American shows do often put black people in good roles in ensemble casts, but outside of “urban comedy” I can’t think of a show whose star is unquestionably a person of color. Maybe I’m not thinking hard enough (I tend to be colorblind), but everything I currently watch stars a white guy, and then the rest of the parts go to women and PoC.

    It also seems to me there are fewer PoC in the British shows I watch than in the American. However, take a show like the new Robin Hood, which is about England in a time period when there would have been precious few PoC: one of the merries in this version is a “saracen” (arabic). They’ve worked in a couple of guest roles for PoC, one including a bi-racial kiss. So it seems to me that some British shows are making precisely the same efforts that American shows are making. It’s not enough yet, but it’s steps in the right direction.

  29. “Let’s make a deal, Captain, since you’re feeling like such a rational human being today (and since for whatever reason, ABW is away and hasn’t moderated you yet). You be a big person and apologize sincerely to ABW for all the degrading, insulting things you’ve said. I’ll apologize for my comment. We can start on a clean slate, with *polite* discussion that avoids personal attacks.”

    H! Ths whl blg s wrdd n cnfrnttnl mnnr b BW! t’s frqntd b lsrs wth n trck mnd wh s rcsm vrywhr nd wnt th thgh plc t nvd vryn’s lvs. Rntng bt th typ f tlvsn tht shld b prdcd n nthr cntr, bcs y dn’t thnk t cntns ngh blck ppl ndcts dsr t cntrl hw thrs thnk. BW hs md hr bd, nd sh cn l n t. f sh wnts t pl th ‘bnxs t-thr ngr blck wmn’, whch s hr prjctd prsn, nd splt vrythng nt trms f blck r wht, nd rnt nd rv bt hw hrrbl wht ppl r ll th tm, sh shldn’t xpct n rspct. ‘v rd th frms. BW bns nyn wh dsgrs wth hr, n mttr hw plt th r. Snc ‘m gng t gt bnnd b dsgrng wth y nyhw, mght s wll rb yr nss n th trth; sm f t mght pntrt nt yr pn brns. s fr skng n plg frm y, frnkl, cldn’t cr lss f y plgs. dn’t rll cr wht th lks f y thnk. S gn, hv fn n yr ch chmbr, y gtlss grp f slf-rghts, ngr, lk-t-m-’m–vctm whngrs.

  30. Png……… …… (png) Tht s th snd f n ch chmbr. “t lks lk Brtn s sffrng frm th sm knd f prblms rgrdng rc nd rprsnttn tht r md hs.” Tht s ls th snd f n ch chmbr.

  31. [...] of the book, I have no idea. Well, I do know, but I’m just going to shake my head and let the Angry Black Woman rant about it). And any fantasy book that has a black woman on it, I figured, was worth [...]

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