Asking White Hollywood About Race, Cont.

In response to yesterday’s post, in which I suggested it was time for journalists to start asking white actors, directors, and writers rather than people of color about how their careers have been influenced by race and why Hollywood is so overwhelmingly white, a reader directed me to this fantastic clip of Shame and Hunger director Steve McQueen making precisely that point, laying out exactly the questions that should be asked, and watching as his white male counterparts at the roundable get very, very nervous:

One of the things I think has been interesting about watching folks talk about Lena Dunham, Girls, and race is that it’s one of the only times I can think of where a white creator was asked (quite fairly, I think, though Terry Gross could have been more probing) about race and the role it played in her creation. Like her answers or not, at least Dunham seemed prepared to have a conversation about the assumptions and decisions that made her show what it was. That’s a lot more than any of these older, Oscar-nominated dudes were ready to do. Maybe next time, they’ll be prepared. And hopefully one of the lessons of Girls will be that many more of these conversations should be happening in interviews. As commenter Jenni put it on Twitter, “White people have race, and men have gender. We should always be talking about these things.” Or at least more often.