Home > Press release > Why aren’t there more black people in your movie?

Why aren’t there more black people in your movie?

January 21, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

I want to make a comment about a certain angle of critique I have come in contact with and expand this rather trivial issue into a more important cultural point which many out there seem not to get – even in this day and age.

During the premiere of Zeitgeist: Moving Forward in LA on Jan 15th, a very kind women politely asked me why there “were not more woman in my film”. I responded to the effect that “well – I have to go where the data is.” She, of course, related and I feel her question wasn’t as much that she was offended by there not being “more women” in the film, but more to effect that others might feel some sort of bias by the fact. Fair enough, given the culture today.

So, I jump on a plane and go to New York City for the screenings there at Tribeca Cinemas. After the film ended on Jan 17th I was asked a similar question:

“What aren’t there more black people in your movie?”

At first, I thought he was joking. In fact, I spent a good couple of minutes making fun of the question…only to find he was, indeed, not joking. He really felt the need to understand why, in his view, there were not “more black people” in the film. So, of course, I explained that race is an arbitrary factor on all levels and that I simply do not recognize race anymore and the idea of “politically correct media” isn’t a notion I care about for it is a contrivance which perpetuates a false need to be superficially “equal”… as though I should say to myself: “Hmmm – the film is good – but I think I need more woman, black people, native americans, middle easterners, jews, amish and handicapped people etc.”

That stated, I want to point out something: Data is data and the people who present it are arbitrary.

I’ll state that again:

Data is data and the people who present it are arbitrary.

It doesn’t matter who Peter Joseph is – what race he is or what his background is – what comes out of his mouth is DATA and each person must compute that data based on the merit of the data itself- not the machine (person) relaying it. The messenger is and will always be irrelevant. Humans are merely vehicles for information relay. They learn – they repeat / adjust based on the novel-ness of their life experience/frame of reference/understanding. Those who are biased against data because they don’t “like” the prima facie identity of the person or entity communicating the data are engaging in what I call “INTELLECTUAL BIGOTRY”.

For example, Let’s assume I do a movie on renewable energy and the featured person in the work who is discussing various mediums of renewables happens to be a Nazi… or a Scientologist or a Christian … whatever. Does that mean the info they state is now suspect or biased? Is a film which has a Nazi in it suddenly a “Nazi film” regardless of the context?

Sadly, this is how many people comprehend in this culture. They don’t want to think so they seek to isolate the person’s assumed character (race/background/job/whatever) and attack that… rather than listen to what they say. And yes, I know, I’m Peter Joseph, the “arrogant” , “satanist”, “communist”, “new world order”, “asshole” “megalomaniac”, “cult leader”, “conspiracy theorist.”… but hey – guess what: even if all those labels were true: IT CHANGES NOTHING.

Data is data and if there is anything the public needs to snap out of, it’s the belligerent bias of the “projected identity” notion that blinds people to actually listening/considering new information.

Now, with respect to the need for more “woman or black people” in my film I want to make a critical point: It is nothing but a racist/sexist disposition to demand that the vehicles of data transfer in a film or whatever are of a certain origin; in a “politically correct” context. Again – Data is data.
I call this “reverse racism/reverse bigotry”

Frankly, it is nothing but biased and racist for there to be “puerto rican day parades” or “Italian American day” It is nothing but biased and racist for there to be “black awareness month” It is nothing but biased and sexist for the idea of the “feminist” to exist in the arrogance it often does today. Aren’t we interested in equality? If so- it means that you do not promote your “institution” of gender/race/ideology above others- it means you recognize the historical bias against you and work for it to be “neutralized” – not elevated in a vindictive/ego sense.

I remember reading about Martin Luther King Jr.’s apprehension to the idea of “Black Power”. He knew. He understood that to try to make your race/sex or the like “outstanding” is equality as biased as the oppressive forces that started the sad trend of inequality we see today.

Is there a dire need to generate more equality across race, gender and class lines? Yes. But that doesn’t mean your race/gender/class happens to be “special”. We are human. Period.

– Peter Joseph, Director, ‘Zeitgeist: Moving Forward’

  1. January 21, 2011 at 11:54 am

    Well….yea…this has always been quite obvious to me…but I never found a way to explain it to people around me.
    I never saw nothing more racist when they created the “Dia da Consciencia Negra” national holiday here in Brasil. (a fair translation would be “Afro American Consciousness Day”, although I don’t know a fair translation for “Negro” in english)

    But I must disagree about “nationalities parties” being a bad thing in general.
    At list here in Brasil, these kind of thing works quite well for breaking social and cultural boundaries. The “Japanese parties” in the “japanese neighborhood” are a invitation for all to know and experience their traditions and culture.

    Like Oktoberfest in Germany!!!

  2. evigilo
    January 21, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    Yea, I can see your point. Personally as a Person of color, I did not have a problem with black folks not being in the movie. I think it was like you said, go to where the data is, has nothing to do with Color, Gender, Creed or whatever. Plus the folks that attended the showing were all positive and was a great experience.

    I can’t argue with the fact we are human, the rest is just details. I took no offense to anything in the film.

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