Diversity Aboveground: White Male Allies Needed
White male allies have started to feel what minorities have felt all their lives. They aren’t the star of every film anymore. Sometimes, they’re basically just there to be the villain. It’s great for minorities to see themselves on the screen. Sometimes, it’s fun to read the complaints over Twitter about the new leads in Star Wars and other franchises. However, are we degrading male Caucasians?
It’s been established that while we can look up to any character as a role model, we usually prefer those who look like us. Finally, minorities are seeing themselves on-screen but for white males, their roles have become limited into three main types in order to have diversity.
This is the male hero that’s been long established in every media ever. He was born special and/or acquired special powers and is going to save the day! Plus, in order to have more diversity, he’s saving minorities!
Yes, the poor minorities need saving and only a Caucasian male can get it done. Just look at Peter Parker (Tom Holland” in Spider-Man: Homecoming. He lives in a racially diverse school and has racially diverse friends, including a girlfriend. Time after time, he’s saving various minorities but where is their time to shine? The only people who even figure out that Peter is Spider-Man are other Caucasian men. It perpetuates the stereotype that minorities, especially other races, need Caucasians, especially Caucasian males, to save them.
But what about Ned (Jacob Batalon)?
Ned was great but he was barely a sidekick. The only reason he found out Peter was Spider-Man was being in the right place at the right time so he could do the tech stuff. Yes, he’s established at being quite skilled with a computer but is he even invited to any of Stark’s events? No, he gets to hear all about it second-hand like Luis (Michael Pena) in Ant-Man. The minority that helps the White Savior on his quest is a popular element. Another example would be The Dark Tower. For that film, many viewers were lured by the advertising into wanting to see Idris Elba but Elba wasn’t the hero. The actual hero of The Dark Tower is Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor). Not only does he locate the super secret villain base but he gives Roland (Elba) renewed purpose in life. What a double whammy! Spider-Man: Homecoming was the best grossing White Savior film this year at 332 million dollars while The Dark Tower made just 50 million dollars.
Why not appeal to the Tumblr crowd? If having minority heroes is awesome, then having them triumph over white males must be even better…right?
Yes and no…yes, it can feel good as a minority to have them finally winning against an unjust power that can easily double as all the worst parts of patriarchal white society.
No has to be said as well because eating too much cake isn’t good for anyone. Just as it was painful for minorities to see everyone on screen but them, it’s also hard on Caucasian males to always be the villain against minority heroes. It’s good to an extent to get white men thinking about their own relationships towards minorities but not to the point where they become depressed or start seeing minorities as the enemy. No one wants to be Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).
But there is a middle ground!
White Male Ally
This is a character who’s woke even if they don’t know what that means. They actively help everyone around them, including minorities. If someone else is better suited to a task, they’re fine with letting them have the glory. This year’s biggest film, Wonder Woman, had an example of this, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine). He was heroic, a skilled pilot and seasoned spy but if Diana had her mind set on something, he supported her 100 percent. Steve even reached out for additional resources to help her and they included people of multiple races, religions and cultures.
Another example of a White Male Ally from this summer is Peter Quill (Chris Pratt). When Peter was indecisive about going to Ego’s planet, he looked to Gamora (Zoe Saldena) for guidance. In battle, each team member plays to their strengths so that everyone is equal. Peter has his moments like the “Trash Panda” remark but makes sure everyone knows that he cares about them.
Then, there’s pop culture’s most popular White Male Ally…the Doctor. For over a thousand years, he doesn’t care about your biology as much as your outward actions. How someone treats others is more important than their skin color, disabilities or sexual interests. He has equally supported his former best friend transitioning into a female (Michelle Gomez), his pansexual companion (John Barrowman), his black lesbian companion (Pearl Mackie) and his bisexual wife (Alex Kingston). Hopefully, the same respect will be shown to him as he transitions into a woman, too. Plus, did I mention his wife is bisexual?
White male allies can be a powerful role model in showing how men can be a positive influence in helping minorities and letting them save themselves.
Omega Underground is heading to Tampa for MegaCon Tampa Bay! The star of three day convention is Stan Lee but there will also be John Barrowman, Alex Kingston, Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes, Katie Cassidy, Ruth Connell and Gaten Matarazzo & Caleb McLaughlin from Stranger Things.
Tickets are still available.
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