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The Glorification of White Crime



Take a facet of crime, and then look at television shows/movies that feature those criminals as protagonists.

White mobs.

White pirates.

White serial killers.

White political corruption

White drug dealers

I mostly want to talk about this as a TV phenomenon, but pick a crime, any crime, and Western media has probably made a movie/TV series/play/etc. with a white person that romanticizes the criminal activity. No matter what, a white person can do whatever terrible crimes and still have a TV/movie fanbase that loves them.

When you see black or brown people committing crimes on screen, you are to see them thugs and criminal masterminds and people to be beat down.

When you see white people committing crimes on screen, you see a three-dimensional portrait of why someone might commit that crime, how criminals are people too, and how you should even love them for the crimes that they commit because they’re just providing for their families or they’ve wronged or they’re just people and not perfect. This is particularly a luxury given to white male characters, since there few white female criminals as protagonists.

If and of the above shows were about black or brown folks, there would be a backlash of (white) people claiming that TV and movies are romanticizing criminals and are treating them too much like heroes and that it will affect viewers and encourage violence and “thuggish” behavior. And yet fictional white criminals get to have a deep fanbase who loves these white criminals, receive accolades and awards, get called amazing television that portray the complexities of human nature. Viewers of these characters see past the atrocious crimes and into their humanity, a luxury that white characters always have while characters of color rarely do. The closest that mainstream TV has come to showing black criminals as main characters is probably The Wire, and even then, the criminals share equal screen time and equal status as main characters as the police trying to stop them.

The idea that crime can be so heavily romanticized and glorified to such a degree is undoubtedly a privilege given to white characters. The next time you hear someone talk about Dexter Morgan or Walter White in a positive way, it may be an opportunity to rethink how white people can always able to be seen as people no matter what they do, while everyone else can be boiled down to nothing but a criminal.

If you don’t believe this is true then look at the reaction America had to Rock and Rap music. When Rock was being produced by black people it was the sign of the coming apocalypse. Or at least it was until white men appropriated the music and then it became the best thing ever invented. The subjects remained the same, sex and criminal activity. Only the races of the performaers changed. So much so that almost no one remembers that black people invented rock n roll.

When rap music started its rise to in popularity in the 80s, it was performed almost exclusively by black people. It and the performers were vilified by the media, people tried to ban it and place restrictions on it. The same reaction they had when Jazz (also invented by black people) rose in popularity, when rock music got popular and now rap music. Notice that these musical styles only go mainstream once they’ve been adopted by white performers.

This humanization of white pathology happens in all forms of media.

Reposted fromgwendolynflight gwendolynflight

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