I’ve been thinking for a while about the differences in depictions of white criminality versus black criminality in movies and television shows. Of course, as many people have documented (for example the invaluable Paul Kersey at Stuff Black People Don’t Like), the vast majority of criminals on TV and on the silver screen are white and male, but the average criminal in America is black or non-white Hispanic and male. As I joke with my friends, every time I watch Law and Order, I keep looking in the mirror thinking that I did it. Heck, even the ratio of lily-white terrorists to brown-skinned terrorists in popular media skews from reality; one ultra-shitshow, Castle (which I used to like) actually had a two-parter (that’s two episodes!) blaming white corn-fed, All-American soldiers for terrorist acts later attributed to “freedom-fighting” brown-skinned immigrants (Season 3, episodes 50-51: “Setup” and “Countdown”); basically, Castle accused the U.S. military of murdering U.S. civilians in false-flag operations. I stopped watching that lying shit show immediately, and if I ever get the chance, I’ll shout down the the faggy lead guy, Nathan Fillon (the wanna-be tough guy from Firefly) till he runs crying from the room.
But this post isn’t about the disproportionate number of white, male, patriotic, non-leftists, religious men committing crimes onscreen versus their vanishing few numbers in reality.
No, this post is about the motivations behind white male criminal characters versus non-white male ones. In short: writers get sloppy with white criminals.
If you ever want to know why Shakespeare is considered so good, study his characters. A good writer creates characters whose motivations are believable and rational—they ring true to life. Good writers have an innate understanding of human psychology, of what makes us all tick, of what drives us. Actors reading scripts are stereotyped as asking, “What’s my motivation?” due to the demands of their craft—in order to believably play a character, and actor needs to understand why a character would do X or Y or say Z, in order to get into the mindset of the person he plays and give the correct intonation and movement to sell it.
This is why even good writers have a hard time drawing characters of the opposite sex —because men and women are innately different and are driven by different desires, hormones, timespans, logic (or lack thereof in women), and anatomy, to truly get inside another sex well enough to map out their motivations is strikingly difficult. As a result, a lot of sex-specific genre fiction is laughable to the opposite sex.
Take Twilight, for example, which has two unbelievable male characters vying for the hand of a plain jane girl. The characters’ motivations are light-years away from actual male motivations, even accounting for vampire/werewolf desires. They exist as unreal fantasy men, merely doing what Bella Swan would want attractive men vying for her to do. It’s why men can’t understand the draw of Twilight and make fun of it so much, often with vitriol attached—not only do the movies present ridiculous images of men, but women may start believing, through such images, that men should act this unrealistically towards them, and that men who don’t aren’t good enough. The same can be said, in reverse, for pornography, which is for men. In fact, this argument has been used by feminazis and their precursors, religious puritans, for thousands of years: unrealistic depictions of sexual/romantic relationships will lead people to be estranged from the reality of the opposite sex. But this post isn’t about that old argument.
Beyond sexual differences, racial, intelligence, and class differences are hard to overcome and understand by writers. Of course, the latter three categories can be learned about and studied, and overcome much easier than sexual differences, because males have similar desires across the spectrums, only shaped by circumstance. But there will always be a line between black and yellow, between smart and dumb, between living rich and living poor that can only be bridged by a writer, never brought together.
And then we get to villains. Villains are usually hard. A good writer has to get inside a villain’s head and discover a rational reason for actions with which the audience will disagree. A good writer has to both allow the audiences’ feelings about the villain’s badness to be valid and yet also show them that the villain isn’t a totally black soul, but one driven by a consistency and logic that we can understand.
Now let’s examine Shakespeare. Unlike many writers, including great ones, Shakespeare drew women very well. Feminazis love his plays because women have a lot of what is called agency. Agency is a loose term that basically means a character has the ability to affect the other people and actions around them, and to do and say things that impact the plot. In contrast, feminazis often complain that old Greek classic plays had very little female agency, so that women were basically objects passed around from man to man with no say in the matter and no chance at changing people’s minds or controlling their lives.
Anyway, in Shakespeare’s plays, women have a lot of agency, and a lot of intelligence. In Love’s Labor’s Lost, for example, the women control practically all aspects of the courtship, and even end them abruptly at the end. Juliet in Romeo & Juliet, Cleopatra in Antony & Cleopatra, the women and female fairies in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, and countless more all have agency—they do things that affect the plot, their lives, and the lives of those around them.
But moreso than agency, Shakespeare made these women believable-as-women, marking him out as a great writer. We understand both Juliet’s passion and her hesitancy in Romeo & Juliet; we get why Beatrice is so standoffish, sniping, and yet also sweet in Much Ado About Nothing. Whether man or woman, you believe in the characters of Juliet and Beatrice because they act like women we have met or know of; they display female passions and desires. We hear of their back stories, watch their personalities grow and develop, and get their psychology. These are real people.
So knowing that Shakespeare can bridge that huge gap of human sexuality, it’s no surprise he also was able to make great, understandable villains. Take Iago, the villain of Othello. After reading the play and watching performances, you get why Iago acted like such a bastard: mercilessly insecure, conniving, intellectually gifted but militarily mediocre, and paranoid, he is a fully developed person whose motivations are explained. That doesn’t excuse his machinations against Othello, Desdemona, and all the others around him; but it does allow us to buy why he tries to cause all the chaos he does. Likewise, in King Lear, we can understand why Edmund is such a bitter little bitch; being unable to inherit and less gifted than his legitimate brother, he schemes to manipulate to gain the power his other talents won’t give him. Likewise, in Hamlet, King Claudius’s motivations are explained well: a regretful and saddened man whose lust both for power and his brother’s wife are tempered by an all-too-human regret and disdain for his actions, as well as a paranoia about the same happening to him. In these characters, Shakespeare gives us detailed villain psychology, drawing us in to a now-all-too-human drama.
Bad Villain: Richard III
But Shakespeare wasn’t perfect. There were plays when his villains really were just cardboard cutouts. A perfect example is the otherwise wonderful Much Ado About Nothing. The play does have a villain—Prince John—whose motivations and character are never explained. He is merely a cartoon bad guy, who acts evilly because he is evil. However, the play isn’t about him (he has very little stage time), but about the interplay between the lovers—and so we can forgive this bad villain, because the play isn’t about the villain.
Another example, and I know this is against the grain, is Richard III. The character of Richard III in the play is nothing more than a 2-dimensional bad guy—evil, manipulative, vain, ugly, he limps around on stage from one scheme to the next, consumed with his desire for it all. No motivation is given for him beyond power, no character is made—he is Snidely Whiplash with a hump.
However, Richard III was Shakespeare’s first big hit. Why? Simple: at the time of the play, Richard III the historical figure was already a villain in everyone’s mind.
I won’t bore you with the details of the War of the Roses or English history up to that point. I will cut it short, and leave you free to look up the rest. Basically, the then-current queen of England, Elizabeth I, was descended from the winning side of a war a hundred years before, while Richard III and his supporters had lost that war. Since that time, English writers had constantly used Richard III as a bad guy—both to flatter the current rulers and save themselves from thinking. By the time Shakespeare came about, the audience didn’t need to be told that Richard III was the bad guy in the play, or why he was acting bad—they already believed it.
Richard III has remained popular for centuries, and is still performed on Broadway every few years, with some famous actor as Richard III, basically, because people still identify Richard III as the bad guy, and so the actor can delight in being as Machiavellian and evil as possible without worrying about his motivation. Also, physical deformities (Richard III is played with a hunchback, a withered hand, and a limp, although it is historically debatable whether he had any of them) make for really easy crutches for actors to rely on.
But we must remember that Richard III’s evil was a political point: reinforced by the victor’s propaganda, and stridently attempting to flatter the preconceptions and philosophy of the crown and the crown’s supporters, Richard III’s evil stemmed from one fact: that he opposed Queen Elizabeth’s bloodline.
Nazis and the Klan: the modern Richard III’s
Today, if a show or movie has a black man doing a crime, his explanation is spelled out: it is because he is poor, it is because he disadvantaged, it is because he was molested, it was because his mother was neglectful, it is because of “racism,” it is because of drugs, it is because his kid needs a new kidney, etc. Nothing illustrates this better than two ultra-cheesy movies: John Q, starring Denzel Washington, and A Time to Kill, with Samuel L. “the screamer” Jackson (no homo).
In John Q., Washington takes an entire emergency room hostage because evil insurance companies/rich people are so unfair, his kid will die without the surgery they are denying him. In A Time to Kill, Samuel L. Jackson brutally murders because the victims raped his daughter. By the end of both films, just about everyone is on their side. These movies are so pathetic, you fell like yelling, “Why don’t you just put the darkie up on a cross already?”
Now, many white villains nowadays are given psychological explanations as well. On that, Hollywood does a decent job: bad guys usually get their due. Except in two cases: Nazis and the Klan.
On the flip side of the every-black-criminal-is-a-sob-story-who-must-be-forgiven are these groups. In our modern times, if a person appears onscreen in a white robe with a hood or wearing a swastika, then no explanation is given as to who he is or what his motivations are—instead, he is knee jerk pure evil. No family trauma, no childhood memories, nothing need be told. If a white man says “nigger” at any point unironically, he is a bad guy, no further explanation given. If any explanation is ventured, it is a pathetically weak one (a black guy beat him at math once, his father “beat racism” into him, a black guy took his spot on the basketball team, etc.) that doesn’t even pass the lazy Freudian test.
Why is this so? Well simple. The Nazis/Klan are the modern Richard III’s. We don’t need to know why they are bad, because after countless depictions in propaganda, we automatically understand that they are bad without reason. And you do not question this at all—any character that even hints that they Klan/Nazis have a point somewhere is immediately castigated or shown to be a spy. There is no questioning why the bad guy is bad, comrade!
Do Not Question!: Serving Political Agendas
Ok, so if the Nazis and the Klan are knee-jerk evil, the next question is why? How did they get there, as our knee jerk always-the-bad-guys-in-movies-to-this-day? Yes, we beat the Nazis in WW2, but we also beat the Japanese (who committed equal atrocities) and Italians there, too, and later we fought the Chinese (in Korea), Russians (Cold War), Vietnamese, Afghanis, Iraqis (twice), Somalians, and countless other groups in smaller engagements worldwide. Why did the Nazis remain a go-to bad guy without explanation? And why also the Klan?
Simple: because to give the Nazis/Klan nuance in anyway would cause people to question the narrative. And that narrative being the story of black “liberation,” “perfect” European leftist thought, and evil whitey. To give them nuance is to pose a question no one asks: why did Jim Crow happen?
Richard III’s unquestioned and unexplained villainy served to justify Queen Elizabeth’s claim to the throne, glorified her ancestors as the deposers of an evil, vicious man, and put into relief all the accomplishments of Elizabeth (and her predecessors) against Richard III’s alleged tyranny. However, should Richard III’s motivations and character ever have been explored—if he’d been made more human, like Iago or Claudius or the traitors in Julius Caesar—then the mythology begins to shred. If Richard had understandable and human motivations, Elizabeth’s propaganda that her line were the saviors of the kingdom comes off as hollow, and ancestors transform as more or less equals with Richard—which is to say, flawed, power-hungry, and, most dangerously, eminently deposable. We can’t forget that Richard III was written during the reign of a queen who had countless plots against her, both from within her kingdom and without, including the famous Spanish Armada. The audience might have agreed that the better line had won the War of the Roses, but to even give a glimmer of hope or comfort to the opposing side could very well inspire a successful dethroning.
One truthful or charitable note about her enemies could bring the entire artificial edifice of Elizabeth’s troubled reign crashing down. Nuance about the victors and losers in English wars were better left to more distant history—-which Shakespeare did in Richard II, which, nonetheless, became a piece of propaganda for Anti-Elizabethan plotters.
The same is true today for Nazis and the Klan. To even wonder how the Nazis arose beyond the tautology that “Hitler was pure evil” would begin to question everything the left had tried to hide—-how the Bismarkian socialism of the late 19th Century led to massive enthusiasm in Germany for centralized planning after centuries of fragmentations, how Germans saw WW1 as a war between centralized planning and capitalism, and how the German loss of WW1 and the subsequent economic depression that crushed Germany (caused by poor centralized planning) caused a psychological crisis and distrust of the state until Hitler, a paranoic, arose, reinforced the idea of German centralized planning, and instead blamed all the failures of Germany not on a faulty governmental and social model but on “inferior races” who “sabotaged the great and glorious Aryans.”
Leftists in the media especially don’t want you to know that Hitler condemned capitalism (as fascism is merely socialism with an Italian name) and sought to make the state run health care, vacations, work hours, the economy, and every other aspect of German life—because that shows that Nazism was a leftist ideology.
No, to question how the German people became Nazis, or to study and display their psychology would dangerously question the narrative of leftism—a narrative that states that “evil whitey” was “right wing” and blamed “Jews, Slavs, communists, gays and blacks” for everything for no reason.
Likewise, the Klan must always be evil in film and T.V. To question their origins beyond a few refrains of “the poor were manipulated” is to start digging into the question as to why WASPs of the Old South and later the North felt threatened by Catholics, blacks, and Jews (most especially blacks). It might cause someone to start noticing things about black crime rates, black rapes of white women, and black criminality post-Civil War, and how black anti-social-behavior rises well above the norm, and how rural communities crowded with traveling refugees and federal troops eager to do nothing to protect them reacted by forming self-protecting groups and passing laws to keep criminal and anti-social behavior from invading their space.
To do that is to question whether blacks were really the Jesus-on-the-cross innocent victims that Hollywood consistently portrays, and whether immigrant Jews and Catholics swept up the jobs the old WASPs desired after the farming economy of South collapsed without slave labor, and whether immigration is always good for everybody.
Bottom Line: Whitey is Always Evil
Leftists don’t want these motivations questioned for the same reason Elizabeth and her predecessors didn’t want Richard III made human: the house of cards might come crashing down. And, indeed, it did for Elizabeth’s line, but after she had died: less than forty years later, the monarchy was overthrown in a violent, bloody revolution that itself was overthrown by another revolution that itself was overthrown by another (the last, thankfully for them, bloodless).
This is why leftists in Hollywood never give nuance to Nazis and Klan members in depictions: they know the whole house of cards of leftism and blacks-as-Jesus would fall apart if anyone started studying where such bad guys come from. Audiences might even agree that Jim Crow was a bad thing, that the Nazis were pure evil and the Klan was a bunch of misguided rednecks, but the danger for leftists is like with Claudius—-when Hamlet sees him as human, and sorrowful, and penitent, and as a man with nuance, suddenly Hamlet’s quest to destroy him becomes much, much harder.
Much better to depict an enemy as a 2-dimensional monster. Dehumanization always works best for enemies, and makes the destruction easier on the psyche—ask those Nazis who were “just following orders.”