The Watercooler : Honestly does Movies and TV well popular media deserve blame for stereotypes?

Honestly does Movies and TV well popular media deserve blame for stereotypes?

I saw a post where the OP angrily complains about the stereotypes of Asian martial arts esp unarmed combat esp Japanese katana styles and Kung Fu being the best in the world and far superior to any Western style and the assumptions many Westerners have when meeting Asians that he is an immediate badass who can defeat pro boxers and military, etc. He points out examples in Bruce Lee movies where any Asian not named Bruce Lee is often shown as being far inferior to white people and losing to them and how its only Bruce Lee's superhuman hero who ultimately defeats the Russian strongman or destroys the Italian Mafia all by himself. He also quotes the Ip Man examples where a master level Kung Fu fighter loses to an Australian boxer and dies as a result and how plenty of anime/manga like Rurouni Kenshin shows European armor and weapons being superior to Samurai equipment or at least equal enough no to immediately be shattered by a single katana blows and Western fighters defeating Samurais.

I'll avoid martial arts specifically in this discussion but it does make me ask…………… Is popular media really responsible for common historical misconceptions and offensive group stereotypes, an other false info of that nature?

One example is how American entertainment esp TV and movies always gets attacked for showing all Hispanics esp Mexicans as brown and Latin America as a whole as being a criminal hell hole esp Mexico where dark skinned inhabitants are selling drugs and other crimes of that nature…………. Except this ignores that………… Practically all top list Latino stars are light skinned? I been a fan of Ana De La Reguera ever since I saw her GORGEOUS face of a Goddess in Nacho Libre and she's quite white. Even in roles where she is tanned, her complexion is that of a typical Sicilian (in other words Southern White Europeans when they get dark from tanning). In most roles she's pretty much similar to your average run of the mill Chinese person's yellow skin and in some of her roles she's so very much as white as milk (which is the case in the aforementioned Nacho Libre). JLO might be yellowish in some roles but she's undoubtedly light skinned and Salma Hayek looks caramel brown in some roles and shading but when she's in the sun she's white passing (as seen in Desperados) and in most appearances in film and TV she's olive. She actually does appear as white as your average American in various points in her life.

And a fair number of media showing Hispanics as criminals are made by Latinos or even filmed and released in a Latin country originally. The first movie in the Mariachi trilogy (which Desperados is part of) was initially released in Mexico and had an all cast of Mexican citizens including the protagonist being played by someone of mostly Irish ancestry with pale skin and green eyes and its a typical "Mexicans are drug dealers who need to be stopped" movie. The head boss of the crime organization is a white Creole and almost every drug dealer and criminal hitman in the film is dark skinned.

So just by the simple fact Hollywood movies have light skinned Latinas as common stars and feature white Hispanics even in their movies and TV shows also has white Mexicans and other Latinos (as seen in Beverly HIlls 90210 had a Mexican actress as a guest who was so white she's fairer than most of the exclusively white cast) make me doubt the common attack popular media is racist because it create stereotypes. Hell even Fox News shows pretty white South American politicians frequently in world news and a few times had fair skinned Mexicans and Cubans as news caster despite criticism from liberals, SJWs, and other Leftists complaining its a hotbed KKK level racism against "brown people" called Latinos and Hispanics. Hell not just that, Fox News at a few times had interviewed white passing Iraqis and other Muslims and even honored some Pakistani war veteran of America as a cover story and even when stereotypically brown people are shown starting riots or stuff in the Middle East, there's often a light-skinned participants in these violent acts including women who are whiter than your average American.

Another example is the common stereotype of all Vietnam War vets being rapists, murderers, and baby killers and other stuff. That they were super racist and loved killing Vietnamese who are often shown as being worth less than a dog. Extreme rightwingers and pro-Domino Theory conservatives often attacks Hollywood and News Media for always siding with the hippies and being anti-American and having a bias of showing communists as saintly good guys in Vietnam………………. Except movies like Platoon show it as very grey. Many people who bash Hollywood forget that two Vietnamese girls were save from gangrape by American soldiers in Platoon who threatened to shoot the rapist GI with their M16s. In the Deer Hunter, the Viet Cong are shown torturing American POWs and playing a horrific game of Russian Roulette. Apocalypse Now shows the brutal Colonel Kilgore helping a dying Viet Cong with water and easing his wounds before death and praising his valor despite being very ruthless and ordering a napalm strike just prior. John Rambo isn't shown as a babykiller but as a broken vet with PTSD and also is a very heroic person who saves civilians.

I can list so many more examples of how popular media not only contradicts stereotypes and dispels popular misconceptions but even the specific fictional works attacked for creating stereotypes like Platoon often dispels them completely or shows lots of grey (which Platoon does), at minimal how nuanced the topic can be unlike popular stereotypes.

So I really have to ask………. Should popular media really be blamed for negative stereotypes and historical misconception? Its just too common to see on the internet too many blogs, tumblrs, Youtube vids, and what not rant heavily on about how popular media is full of BS and evil because they create stereotype and the stupid masses blindly believe them. But from what I'm seeing in movies and TV too many contradictions to popular myths and so on exist. So I can't help but wonder if the source of offensive misconceptions like Americans soldiers fighting World War 2 by themselves and no credit given to the Allies is not popular media like Fox News and Hollywood and other media but a completely different source? Just to add another example more, plenty of movies in WW2 like the Big Red One and Sahara shows Americans being rescued by Free French Forces and fighting alongside British soldiers or Dutch Resistance and other insurgencies. Medal of Honor games had a few missions where you are with a British commando who helps fighting the Japanese in some missions or French Resistance giving you supplies and drawing the enemy away to allow your escape. The Sahara movie was basically a coalition of troops from all the Allied Forces defending a building from a German divisions and the surviving American played by Bogart humbly credits all his non-American friends including an African Muslim who died in the battle as being the true heroes and not him despite being the survivor. And plenty and plenty of more stuff I can put in.

So is daytime TV along with movies and other popular media really to blame? For common stereotypes like Roman soldiers being completely useless outside of formation in single combat (easily disproved by HBO's Rome and Centurion even though the latter shows a Roman army being beaten by barbarians) and deathless love that ends Happily Ever After in Marriage (if I make a complete list of romance movie that defies this such as Audrey Hepburn's Roman Holiday, I'd end up putting a book)?

I mean since I already brought up World War 2, another example is how people bash Saving Private Ryan and other flicks for showing Americans as squeeky clean boy scouts…….. The Dirty Dozen already shown in 1960 American soldiers murdering civilians along with unarmed German officers. The sequels show stuff such as GIs being rapists (even showing one onscreen rape attempt on an girl who was spying on the Nazis and was underground Allied resistance, even giving the American squad a safe hiding place and supplies), looting civilians, and a bunch of other stuff. Go For Broke, made 5 years after the war, shows the Nisei regiment facing racism from whites despite fighting valiantly in Europe as proud Japanese Americans. So Hollywood was never shy about showing Allied soldiers including as capable of being horrible human beings. So I cannot understand why movies get bashed for showing the war as black and white Americans Saint and Germans devils considering how stuff has already shown vile acts such as Patton slapping a fatigued soldier inhumanly in his old 70s movie and so on across pop media!

I can point out so many more but will stop here. Movies have been showing since the start despite tropes like "win the girl if you keep chasing her" realistic realities as seen in how Rhett could never win Scarlett's heart until the end and by that point he was so worn out he didn't care by the time Scarlett decided to return to Tara for recovery at Gone With the Wind's end. Honestly sword and sandal movies show Roman soldiers fighting out of formation all the time and Lion In the Winter had shown shield walls as early as the 60s. So why this towards TV, movies, manga, animation, and video games is unwarranted!

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