White Saviors at the Academy Awards



Andrés Tapia has an interesting blog post summarizing critical views of the Academy Awards that resonate with some reviews we have done here of prize-winning movies like Avatar and The Blind Side.
He begins:

For different reasons I was entertained, challenged, and/or inspired by Avatar, District 9, Precious, and The Blind Side, four of this year’s ten Oscar nominees. Smart script writing, convincing performances, off-the-chain special effects, first-class editing. And I simply loved the first two sci-fi flicks. . . . but it’s time we name the elephant in the room: what is it with this spate of Hollywood movies that require a member of the majority culture to save us poor people of color from ourselves or others every single time?

He adds:

So in Avatar, it takes one white male who goes rogue to save an entire civilization of classically depicted noble savages from the destructive forces of Western civilization (by the way, not unlike in Disney’s Pocahontas. …. there’s a point when one simply gets tired of always seeing stories of our being saved by white messiahs. It is not good for the majority culture who may be subliminally encouraged to keep taking on this white person’s burden and it’s not good for our communities of color where we are vulnerable to abrogating responsibility to be effective advocates for ourselves without having to have our redemption depend on the kindness of well meaning — and bigger than life — strangers.

It was an informative night Sunday, what with the white savior and other stereotyped movies doing well. Hollywood’s supposed “liberals” seem to be constitutionally incapable of doing a movie that is critical of mainstream white-racist institutions and realities.