Non-political Representation

I’m not convinced by concerns about lack of minority “representation” in movies and television. Why, for example, are we to see a black character as being representative of all black Americans? I’m a white male, but characters who are white and male, like Grand Moff Tarkin, are not therefore representative of my goals, values, or personality. Is it reasonable to assume that such similarities make Korath the Pursuer representative of the goals, values, or personalities of black males?

Sexual and racial similarities are an exceedingly shallow measure of representativeness, and to proclaim their fundamental importance is tremendously arrogant. It reduces hosts of individuals to nothing more than their gonads and the relative level of melanin in their skin, contra Martin Luther King, Jr. We should, instead, judge individuals “by the content of their character,” rather than diminishing their personalities to a pair of morally irrelevant characteristics.

Frankly, there’s nothing bizarre or perverse about differences in outcome. In that vein, I’ll conclude with a quote I like from a book I love:

“Racial, ethnic, and other groups are of course seldom, if ever, identical in everything else. That makes the prospects of equal outcomes even more improbable, and disparities in outcomes even more questionable as automatic indicators of discrimination…. [A] man is not even equal to himself at different stages of life, much less equal to the wide range of other people at varying stages of their own respective lives.”

Thomas Sowell, Discrimination and Disparities, pg. 24

One thought on “Non-political Representation

  1. Thought-provoking words. Why do you suppose filmmakers and other such creators of media feel the need to present characters which stereotype different ethnic/minority groups? I’m genuinely curious what they are trying to accomplish.


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