Whitewashing in film is when either 1) white actors play characters of color and pretend to be of the character’s racial / ethnic heritage or 2) the story itself is changed and characters of color are made white. This has long been a problem, but has reignited recently with casting of films such as Aloha, Ghost in the Shell, and Doctor Strange.
In the case of the film Hell Boy, actor Ed Skrein decided to back out of his portrayal of Major Ben Daimio. He released the following on twitter concerning his decision:
Casting characters of color with actors of color can also be contentious. In the case of The Hunger Games, the casting of Amandla Stenberg and Lenny Kravitz, casted as Rue and Cinna respectively, resulted in a racisttwitter backlash. Readers of the book assumed these characters were white, despite descriptions to the contrary. Similarly, the casting of black actress Noma Dumezweni as adult Hermione in the Harry Potter play was met with racist reactions.
The documentary Paris is Burning is a particularly important record of LGTQ people of color in New York in the 1980s. More specifically, the film is about the ballroom subculture, made up primarily of young, disenfranchised LGTQ POC gathering to “walk” and dance (where “voguing” comes from) in costume. The film has had a lasting impact on current vernacular, such as “shade,” “kiki,” and “realness.”
Though there are objective and critical views of deviance, subjective views look at how deviance is constructed relative to cultural norms. Deviance is then a behavior that is defined as deviant within a cultural context.
We have a lot of negative associations with bureaucracies. They can be alienating, impersonal, and dehumanizing for both workers and those being served by the bureaucracy. For being ‘rational,’ they can be quite inefficient, with ‘red tape’ and limited effectiveness when flexibility is needed. Bureaucratic ritualism is when there is such a focus on the rules and regulations to the point of undermining goals and loosing sight of the larger picture. There can also be a problem of a self perpetuating oligarchy, or the rule of many by few, concentrating power and weakening accountability.
In Folk Devils and Moral Panics, Stanley Cohen states moral panic occurs when “…[a] condition, episode, person or group of persons emerges to become defined as a threat to societal values and interests.” Moral panics are “extreme social responses to the belief that the moral condition of society is deteriorating at a rapid pace.”
Three major elements of a moral panic include 1) framing / the role of the media: amplifies and shapes public ideas of deviance, often reinforcing stereotypes, 2) the creation of a folk devil: a target stripped of favorable characteristics, often demonizing certain groups, and 3) policing / the development of new policies to “police the crisis“.
The documentary Bowling for Columbine examines the mass shooting as a catalyst for a moral panic. The following interview with singer Marilyn Manson discusses some of the elements of a moral panic, including framing and creation of a folk devil.
The documentary also discusses policing of students in schools, with calls for school uniforms and use of metal detectors.