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White people are not literally or symbolically white; nor are they uniquely virtuous and pure.Racial imagery and racial representation are central to the organisation of the contemporary world but, while there are many studies of images of black and Asian people, whiteness is an invisible racial position.
On a small scale, and in response to the BBC Culture’s list of Greatest Films of the 21st Century, Female Film Critics broke down the numbers and why increased parity in criticism leads to more opportunities and greater representation.
In that poll alone, women were more likely to support female filmmakers than their male peers: “Of those 55 women critics, 44 (or 80 percent) included women directors on their lists, whereas only 61 (or 50 percent) of the 122 men did so.”Depending on the limits of how much you choose to write about, focusing attention on films and filmmakers who challenge normalcy might be the easiest way to help change the direction of the industry.
Dyer writes, “Power in contemporary society habitually passes itself off as embodied in the normal as opposed to the superior.” Whiteness, understood as default for innocent or normal, prevents any meaningful progress from being made.
Rather than being outright about their asserted superiority, these structures are framed so that maintaining this status quo relieves artists and critics from the overt feeling that they are being racist or preserving inequality.
In his writing, Dyer suggests a need to treat whiteness as a race in order to remove the binary of normal and abnormal and to establish an equal representation on screen.
As long as whiteness was recognized as invisible, it would continue to be seen as the default experience.
In White, Richard Dyer looks beyond the apparent unremarkability of whiteness and argues for the importance of analysing images of white people.
Dyer traces the representation of whiteness by whites in Western visual culture, focusing on the mass media of photography, advertising, fine art, cinema and television.
In Richard Dyer’s integral essay “White,” he presents a thesis that whiteness has been treated as invisible and a code for normality on the screen.
As a result, depictions of people of color are made only in relation to this invisibility, rendering them as the other.