Monday, November 8, 2010

Racialized Thinking: Bringing Up Race For No Reason

There is a shade of difference between racialized thinking and racist thought, usually the former occurs with the absence of conscious insidious intent. The latter usually involves a negative thought about someone or a group based on their perceived racial identity. Racialized thinking is when race enters someone's thought process for no logical reason.

How does racialized thinking play out?

Let's take a discussion of three movies in a Hollywood film site,

In an article on the opening week of three films - Megamind, Due Date, and For Colored Girls - see if you can determine a specific difference in how the audiences for the three films are discussed (they are discussed in the same order as in the article, from highest grossing to lowest).


"Megamind," which scored an A- CinemaScore rating, played evenly with auds aged both over and under 25, with slight preference among women (57%).

Due Date:

With males constituting 53% of its audience, "Due Date" saw 59% of its opening come from moviegoers under 35.

For Colored Girls:

Lionsgate's "For Colored Girls" skewed heavily toward adult African American females, with 87% of moviegoers over 25, 81% African-American and 82% female.

Why is race only discussed for one of the three films? Unsurprisingly, the film with the predominantly black cast and black director? I have never seen Variety make a point of noting when an audience "skews heavily" towards a white audience.

In some ways, this is a subtle way of indicating that certain groups are "the other", implicitly making white "normative" (it's a reflection of the instance I noted in one of the screenshot comments in my prior entry, where I point out to an Atlantic commenter that he/she inexplicably distinguished between "people" and "the black community", as if these were mutually exclusive groups). There is an odd tendency in the mainstream media to present matters without race involving white people, but to always point out race where it involves other people. This is racialized thinking.

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