I'm Just Not That Into Your Lack Of Diversity

I'm watching the commercial for the movie, "He's Just Not That Into You" and every time I see it, I strengthen my resolve to boycott it.

I'm boycotting the film because it drives me totally insane how all the main characters in the film are absolutely, positively as white as can be. It's not like this is adapted from a book like "Wuthering Heights" or something. Nope, it's based on a non-fiction book!

This means the filmmakers could have made the SIX main characters ANY color/ethnicity they wanted to and it would've been believable, but instead, they chose to cast the film in the typical "Friends" way: white, white, white, white, Jen Aniston white and more white.

Why? Am I supposed to believe that in 2009, white people don't date or marry anybody else other than white folks? Ok, maybe not in huge numbers, but come on, how about go the way of "Run Fatboy Run" and have the two leads be different colors? (Or is that only alright since it's set in the UK and the non-white love interest is Thandie Newton?)

We may have a black coach, Mike Tomlin, winning the Superbowl with his team, the Pittsburg Steelers. We may have a black president and first lady, but, clearly, Hollywood is still just not that into black people!


Unknown said…
My mom always hated "Friends" because they're weren't any black ones (at least not in the first 8 seasons). As a black woman married to a white man, I told my mom that the "Friends" scenario was very true to life. I've been to too many weddings, baptisms and other social events where I was the sole representation of the multiculturalism that exists in the world, and I was usually there more as my husbands "+ 1" than as a friend of the hosts. I always wondered how it was that one could go through grammer school, high school, college and usually graduate school and not have established a relationship with a non-white person that was significant enough to warrant them being present at these wonderfully celebratory events. Our president may be black, but still too many of our "friends" are not.
Anonymous said…
I'm with you. What world are they living in? Just step on to the street, guys, and look at the skin colours. Of course at least one character should have been black. What kind of message are they giving to any black people watching? They don't count, they don't exist?
Anonymous said…
I am SO happy to find I'm not alone in my sentiment over this movie.

As I watched the Super Bowl, it was baffling to see that same lack of diversity perpetuated in the TV casts for the new and traditional shows in NBC's line-up.

If this is your cup of tea then good for you, however, I don't see myself represented in this stuff, and I'm TRIED of subsidizing the lack inability of Hollywood to find and sustain multi-cultural talent.

P.S. - we need to see more of Newton in the U.S. She is a fantastic role model with her Cambridge, I-graduated-with-Honors, self.
Mes Deux Cents said…

Have you seen the trailer? They have the two Black women comedians; I think they're called Frangelina, at the end. They make a wise crack about ribs and ice cream?

I suppose that adding Black women making some crazy comment at the end of the trailer is all the diversity Hollywood could handle.

I wouldn't even buy this film from the bootleg film guy at the flea market.
Liz Dwyer said…
Ms. Wooden Shoes,
Yep, I never watched Friends. I never even watch it during reruns. I absolutely agree that we all have to look at our own personal circles first to see if there is diversity reflected there.

When I'm on Facebook I'm always checking out the "friends" of people on there and I always notice whether they have diverse groups of friends or not. And when folks post pictures of receptions and parties, same thing. It really does blow my mind that it is still so easy for some folks to get together with only one ethnicity of people all the time.

And especially because the movie is set in Baltimore! I mean, it's impossible to walk around in Baltimore and not trip over a black person every five seconds. It's a "chocolate city". But I'm bothered not just by the lack of inclusion of black characters as love interests, but also the lack of Asians and Latinos. What, these folks don't know anybody from India? No one Puerto Rican even?

I just read an interview with an actor (can't remember what his name was) who was saying how casting for actors of color is getting more scarce and more stereotypical, but people will take roles because they need the jobs. I like Thandie Newton too, even if I think she could use a sandwich! :)

Yes, saw it with those two. They were on that Vh1 show "Best Week Ever" for a little while I think. Black folks can always be the comic relief but the main character love interest opposite someone white in a movie like this doesn't happen like it should. I'm sure this film will be a big hit with all the Valentine's Day hype though.
Jameil said…
i hadn't even noticed (tho i do take to pointing out the blacks in films). thx for the heads up! i need them not to have a bunch of sassy black waiters either. ugh. SO SICK of that role!!
Liz Dwyer said…
Sassy waiters, sassy friends... sick of all of that.
Anonymous said…
I'm with you.

Beyond everything else, I'm just so *bored* of the white out.
Her Side said…
I consider my life rich because my friends are so diverse. And I never understood how Hollywood, advertisers, etc. don't recognize how much depth they can add (to make a good product great) with more diversity.
Unknown said…
You are so on point. If only right? I would love to see Morris Chestnut alot more!!

Hollywood only likes us if we're gang banging, pimping, dealing and pregnant sob stories...

How about a nice coming of age? Or, though I really want to see the upcoming Jamie Fox/Downey movie, how about a professional black person helping a non-black...I am certain there are stories out there that we need to come together to finance and push.

Funny about "He's Just Not That Into You" ~ would it have taken off as it has if it weren't for a very influential black woman? Go figure...
Anonymous said…
What is even more infuriating is when Hollywood changes the ethnicity of characters to white like in "21" and "The Last Airbender". Both of these stories had all Asian characters yet producers decided to make the cast all white or predominately white. In "21", Kevin Spacey, the producer, decided to give peripheral roles to Asian characters. In "The Last Airbender", the producers changed the characters to all white. Then, they decided to recast one character as Indian. What is truly ironic is that the story is based on East/Southeast Asian/Inuit cultures. The creators took all the elements of these traditional cultures to create the story and characters. And so, now we will have a story where the white characters are supposed to be from cultures where they dress in traditional Asian clothes, eat with chopsticks, practice Asian customs, etc. This film will be based on a cartoon that is very popular with children and feature Asian characters. If the cartoon can be popular with Asians, why couldn't the film?

There is a protest against the casting decision:


And Shyamalan really should know better, being a person of color. He only cares about people that look like him getting into the club. If you have seen his other films like "Lady in the Water" or "The Sixth Sense", he always casts Indians in mainstream roles.
Anonymous said…
If they had cast a "black" it most likely would not have been a female. I hope that stupid little movie flops.
Liz Dwyer said…
Bored is exactly it. There are so many stories to tell and people from all backgrounds fall in love and out of it too.

Her Side,
Your life is undoubtedly richer because of your diverse friends. You're picking friendships based on character, not color. But many, many Americans do not do that, which is why segregation persists.

LOL, he would've been perfect for a movie like this! You know, you made me think about how much attention the "Push" movie is getting (the one by Sapphire). It's such a typical story to get made into a film, even in the age of Obama.

I did NOT know that about either film. I didn't see 21, but my boys watch Airbender on TV and were psyched about the film. How wack and totally morally bankrupt. I'm pissed! Thanks for passing on that site.

It's so sad... with all the fine ass black women walking around Hollywood, I know a whole bunch of them have GOT to be better actresses than Jen Aniston. She'll be playing Rachel from Friends again, I'm sure. I hope it flops too.
Once again you are on point.

I'm writing a comedy about two black families and already have been told it's going to be a hard sell. I don't know how to write broad comedy and that is a problem apparently.

If my main characters were white, a smart comedy would be "more commercial". grrrrr
Anonymous said…
Shiona said…
Oh wow, I was pretty offended seeing Frangelina talking about ribs in that trailer. Baltimore really, I would have never thought that about the movie. Definitely not true to life from that aspect and I am definitely not going to see that. I too missed the Friends train.
Liz Dwyer said…
That's so frustrating because families have the same challenges and situations, regardless of color! It assumes that white audiences are the only audience that counts, and that they have no frame of reference/relationship with folks of different backgrounds, and so couldn't "get" the plot.

No problem about the caps! Hope you got your laptop fixed. I feel like I just saw a period piece on BBC or maybe it was PBS, that had a more diverse cast and it was just fine. I always pay attention to the diversity and I figure, there's a lot of talent in this town. Surely, there are better actresses out there then Jen Aniston!

I was positively SHOCKED when I found out it was set in B'more! I mean, that is a black city and yet it won't be in this film, I'm sure. They definitely won't be getting my money!
misha may said…
I feel the same way about Sex in the City. How can you live in NYC, one of the most diverse places on EARTH and not have one freaking friend who is not an upper class white person? The only time there was any substantial interaction with non-white people was the episode where samantha dates a black guy and the main message from that show was that "those people are all drama." Also, what's up with any commercial that features diversity never shows any mixed couples? Can you do some investigative reporting and figure out what is going on in Hollywood, because every time I am in LA all I see is eccentric writers and producers of every possible race/class/sexual preference background, but all this mainstream stuff is still so vanilla! It just doesn't make sense!!
misha may said…
OH, also with regards to the show "friends." David Shwimmer (ross?) on that show actually left the show and founded the Looking Glass Theatre in Chicago. A friend of mine was in the first play there, which Shwimmer chose, an adaptation of Studs Terkel's "Race." From what my friend said of Shwimmer, he was fed up as a "Friends" cast member that there was no diversity on the show, and he was the one who pushed for and directed the episodes where Joey (or someone, don't know the names) has a black girlfriend. Interesting to hear that this particular cast member was fed up with the M.O. of the show.
Mocha said…
I felt the exact same way after... well practically every movie that came out of Hollywood in the last 30 years or so.

Have you read this by Debra Dickerson? It's pretty awesome.

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