Things Not-White People Get To Do In Movies

With the summer over, it's time for Hollywood to pull out a new season of films. Here's some of what's coming up this fall and winter. For each trailer, I note what white people get to do and what non-white people get to do.

Let us begin.

Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star

Things White People Get to Do: Be part of a loving family, be content with simple things, be blissfully unaware, be sweet, be naive, be oddly cool, progressive parents, live in a small town, live in a big city, parody Almost Famous, be hot, be regular looking, be super hot with a regular looking boyfriend, be the hero.

Things Not-White People Get to Do: be threatening, drive a car.

Contagion

Things White People Get to Do in This Movie: Play craps, have a family, be an expert, cry convincingly, deliver bad news, be unable to accept bad news, probably be the focal point of a conspiracy, populate towns.

Things Not-White People Get to Do in This Movie: Play craps, provide and clarify exposition.

Main Street

Things White People Get to Do: Fake an American accent, come up with a plan, be taken advantage of by the boss, be savvy about the boss, believe a stranger, be troubled, look out for the troubled, work in an office.

Things Not-White People Get to Do: Believe a stranger.

Warrior

Things White People Get to Do: have tattoos, cage fight, announce fights, reconnect with parents, gamble, join the military, lose a home, offer help, make up for lost time, walk around the house in matched undies and undershirt, throw tires around, be an adorable father, kiss the girl, be a war hero, cheer supportability, go head to head.

Things Not-White People Get to Do: walk through frame, lose a fight

I Don't Know How She Does It

Things White People Get to Do: Have a career AND a family and be totes supes adorbs about it.

Things Not-White People Get to Do: n/a

Straw Dogs

Things White People Get to Do: Watch old movies, be in old movies, be way too aggressive, terrorize innocents, be a cheerleader, have sex, have a nice date, disrespect their partners, sexually harass women, fight back against bullies, go to church, rise to the challenge, wield a tire iron, use boiling water effectively.

Things Not-White People Get to Do: n/a

Drive

Things White People Get to Do: be really good at driving, set up dirty deals, be mobsters, live in a big city, meet guys in elevators, be a stunt person, be a loving single mom, get their hands on more money than they were expecting, kiss the girl, bash someone's head in, wear freaky masks, slit some throats, be the dad the dad couldn't be.

Things Not-White People Get to Do: be a felon.

Abduction

Things White People Get to Do: Experience an existential crisis, wrestle, host and attend pool parties, have an iPad, discover their past, illegally adopt children, fight like they do in the Bourne movies, be a rogue weapon, be the center of controversy, threaten teenagers, have sweet cars, ride trains

Things Not-White People Get to Do: n/a

Dolphin Tale

Things White People Get to Do: Find tailless dolphin, believe in the tailless dolphin, provide a parallel storyline by having a badly wounded leg, hug awkwardly

Things Not-White People Get to Do: Be Morgan Effing Freeman, walk past a van

The Double

Things White People Get to Do: Murder, be murdered, be powerful, be a smarty pants, throw down a challenge, become obsessed, have a family, be a threat, be level headed, be either a schizo madman or a brilliant strategist.

Things Not-White People Get to Do: swivel in a chair.

Killer Elite

Things White People Get to Do: get people "ready for this," sport that awesome Clive Owen accent, punch, kick, make a chair fly with awesome glute action, get felt up in a pool.

Things Not-White People Get to Do: give advice.

Machine Gun Preacher

Things White People Get to Do: have regret, stand in underwear, beg for help, get baptized, have a change of heart, save black people, make amends.

Things Not-White People Get to Do: be poor in Africa, be Freedom Fighters, be in a refugee camp, wield machine guns, try to kill the white guy, burn down a village.

Moneyball

Things White People Get to Do: run a baseball team, kick ass at their first job, change the game, have a family, sport some pretty obvious product placement, scare the intern.

Things Not-White People Get to Do: not be able to read the information on a vending machine, sit behind Brad Pitt, sit next to Jonah Hill.

50/50

Things White People Get to Do: be a best friend, cope as best they can, diagnose disease, provide therapy, be a supportive family, be a surprisingly cool old man, provide dubious support, go to bars.

Things Not-White People Get to Do: n/a

Dream House

Things White People Get to Do: have a family, have sex, suspect something is wrong, be creepy townies, be bad neighbors, not know who they are, ride trains, relax in a bath, look like the kids from The Shining.

Things Not-White People Get to Do: walk through a door.

What's Your Number?

Things White People Get to Do: date, stand in underwear, look for love, be a puppeteer, be delightfully awkward, make deep, personal insights,

Things Not-White People Get to Do: provide advice, be a rocket scientist, be gay, attend a lovely wedding.

Wait?? A silly, floppy comedy is the movie that's brave enough to risk putting of color ppl in real roles?

Dirty Girl

Things White People Get to Do: be Southern, feather their hair, promote abstinence, push the envelope, be preggers, assign homework, have a good family, have a bad family, discover family secrets, drop a flour baby on its head, run away, dance with ribbons.

Things Not-White People Get to Do: n/a

Whew! I was worried that I was going to see examples of myself in various and interesting situations. But luckily, I've been reminded that being of color is just not that interesting. Why else would of color folks be kept out of the canon of one of the most powerful industries going?

I'd say this was no big deal and that I and others might accept my blackness anyway. But the repetition of images (or the omission of images) is pretty much what the entire advertising industry is based on. So I guess a message is definitely getting across.

And thank God for it! I have spent way too much money relaxing my hair for it to be otherwise!

A longer version of this post originally appeared on Sociological Images. Republished with permission. Cross-posted at The Oreo Experience. For more looks at more movies, click here!

Want to see your work here? Email us!