Poll Suggestion: Racist Characters

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Which of these racist characters do you like least?


https://www.imdb.com/list/ls042436770/
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Paok-Kilkis

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Posted 5 months ago

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Gitte Løyche

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Danny Glover in The Color Purple! He was mean to the bone!
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cinephile

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calvin candie
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joe siegel

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Topher Grace in blacKkklansman
https://m.imdb.com/title/tt7349662/me...
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Paok-Kilkis

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Topher Grace added
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Paok-Kilkis

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bump
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Peter, Champion

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FYC:

Officer Bell, If Beale Street Could Talk
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7125860/...
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Paok-Kilkis

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riverotter

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(Edited)
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rubyfruit76, Champion

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This was a good movie. I bet there's a better image somewhere online. If and when I have time, I'll look for one. 
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Paok-Kilkis

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Added, thanks
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Ardan Tüzünsoy

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I'd go with the guy in To Kill A Mockingbird. He wasn't only racist, he was also a liar and a first rate bastard.

I also liked Russell Crowe's portrayal of Hando in Romper Stomper, although he was a pure psychopath. It's not easy to play a psychopath, most actors look like "an actor trying to act a psychopath" instead of an actual one. I still think it was Crowe's best performance. He literally made the film.
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rubyfruit76, Champion

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'Good one and tough choice. 

FYC:

Byron De La Beckwith: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0116410/mediaviewer/rm556830208?ft0=name&fv0=nm0000249&ft1=imag...

*Deputy Pell from 'Mississippi Burning' https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0095647/mediaviewer/rm2524844288?ft0=name&fv0=nm0000374&ft1=ima... 

Pino from 'Do the Right Thing' (worse than father, who I was glad to see on the list but is more nuanced and complicated than his son) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097216/mediaviewer/rm2189299968?ft0=name&fv0=nm0001806&ft1=ima...

Gerry Conway from 'imperium' (I submitted a photo to Imperium's photo gallery (still frames) that isn't up yet (or there's this that's not as good for a poll) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4781612/mediaviewer/rm1294861056

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Paok-Kilkis

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Ardan Tüzünsoy

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I don't really consider the Danny Aiello character Sal from Do The Right Thing to be a racist person. He works in a black neighborhood and almost all his customers are black, he does his business in an orderly fashion. He doesn't belittle or disrespect them. He even keeps his cool pretty longer than an average person would, when the Esposito character Buggin' Out deliberately pushes his buttons.

In fact, when Buggin' Out tries to gain support from other black people, they refuse him as well. They've never had a problem with Sal either.

Yes, he keeps using the N word, but only when he's mad. It's like any other person, when we're mad we say things to hurt or irk the other person, not necessarily because we mean them. If they hadn't wrecked his restaurant and ruined his business, would he ever fight with black people, or get into any kind of racism-related trouble? Probably not, he'd just go on about his life.

His son, on the other hand, was a different story altogether. As pointed out by a poster above.

(By the way, I haven't seen many of Spike Lee's films, but this one alone is enough for me to rank him as one of the handful of best moviemakers.)
(Edited)
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Paok-Kilkis

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Sal deleted
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Jeorj Euler

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Good point and true, regarding Sal. By the way, as a fair warning, not all of Lee's films are gems, perhaps only a few. But that is a matter of point of view to an extent. His storytelling was more sound and reasoned (less delusional, dare I say) in the 1990s.
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rubyfruit76, Champion

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By the way, I haven't seen many of Spike Lee's films, but this one alone is enough for me to rank him as one of the handful of best moviemakers.

Indeed. 
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Ed Jones (XLIX)

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Jeorj, I agree. A lot of Spike's early work is tops. Not so much now. It is too political.
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rubyfruit76, Champion

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Hey Paok, 

That better photo of the character from 'Imperium' was already approved and is up:
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4781612/mediaviewer/rm4119303169

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Paok-Kilkis

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Jeorj Euler

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It feels like some highly notorious fictional NSDAP/Schutzstaffel/Getapo members are missing thus far. If they are to be let out, on account of cliche level or notoriety level, please indicate the exception in the description. Off the top of my head, Hans Landa would be among the worst among them. There is also the non-fictional Amon Göth. Mind you, it was, in a sense, every Reich employee's state-sanctioned job to be racist and white supremacist, including extending to a domestic context, so it is understandable if they do not count, but naturally the trollish ones with a strong emotional, religious or even pseudoscientific commitment to the movement stood out.
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Paok-Kilkis

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ElMo

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All right, a few comments:

The question:

You obviously mean the most despicable racist? So there shouldn't be any "good guys" in the list, no matter how racist or bigoted they are, they go through an arc that ends up redeeming them, so they can't be put in the same basket with characters we're supposed to hate.

Characters to remove: 

1/ Gillepsie (Steiger) is not racist, he's prejudiced and his attitude reflects the mentality of his town, there are so many truly racist characters in the film that Gillepsie comes the closest to a good guy, which he is, all it takes is that journey with Tibbs to let his better self emerge. By the way since the question is about the racist we like the least, obviously the good guys are off. A similar example is Zeus (Jackson) in Die Hard With a Vengeance.

2/ Stephen (Jackson) is a sellout, not a racist, he embodies the racism of his Master, since you've got the Master, no need to have his servant. Stephen doesn't make any skull speech, he's just the right-hand man of a racist man but we don't know for sure whether he's driven by his hatred toward Blacks or his love for his Master.

3/ Albert (Glover) is a misogynistic prick and a bully but not a racist. 

4/ Worley (Hopper) makes a speech about Sicilians having "Black" blood to upset the Mafioso (Walken) and accelerate his death, if anything, Walken is the racist one but his racism is only anecdotical in the story, there's no need to have both.

5/ Kowalski belongs to a poll about racist characters we actually like, which means they're not so racist, there's no way someone can watch the whole movie and end up hating Walt, so he doesn't belong to this poll, from the way the question is asked. Same with Ryan (Dillon) in Crash. Both Walt and Ryan are heroic in the film.

6/ Pino in Do The Right Thing doesn't display a worse racism than any of the major protagonists, they're all equally prejudiced and racist to some extent but it's unfair to cast that stone on him, I think there must be a standout racist character in a film to really include him in your list.

Title:

There should be a second adjective, either "Memorable" or "Despicable" racist characters, the title put like that with these two words make it look like a poll-tribute to racist characters, there should be either a neutral or a subjective term to show that this is an anti-homage to bad characters, which takes me back to the second argument, no good guys.

FYC

Juror 10
Amon Goeth (or maybe you should specify non-Nazi or KKK characters)

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Jeorj Euler

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I was wondering some similar things, but could not quite articulate them.
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Ardan Tüzünsoy

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I agree 100 % that Rod Steiger's character in In The Heat Of The Night was not a racist man. He grew up in a small town, in a time and place where black people were considered simply inferior. So he's conditioned, in a way, to act like those around him. His first reaction to everything suggests that he's very much like them.

However, it's also very clear that he starts to admire Tibbs once he sees how his mind works (although he'd never openly admit it, especially to himself). He allows him some space to work his own way, and is open minded about both his own conclusions and those of Tibbs. He's interested in how police work is done on a higher level.

Yes, he's loud mouthed and doesn't miss a chance to verbally abuse Tibbs, but only to follow it by agreeing to do what he suggests. As the film progresses, he actually starts to talk to Tibbs like his equal, asking his opinion, etc. He doesn't actually hate Tibbs, so much as he hates the fact that he himself is a middle aged man living alone, stuck in a small town. That's my interpretation.

He's basically a good guy, although that "good" is buried deep inside. You realize soon enough that what he wants first and foremost is to find the real killer, as opposed to everyone else in the town. He's an honest cop. "Prejudiced" as you say, is the best term to explain his attitude.

It's a very nuanced performance and a rather complex character, and although I think that the Oscars have been a joke for a long time, Steiger was one of the very few who actually deserved it.
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rubyfruit76, Champion

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I don't agree with most of ElMo's perspectives but I think he's probably right about Albert (Glover) from 'The Color Purple.' Although I've seen the film several times, I haven't seen it in a while so originally I just figured that I must not have remembered his racism. My very first recollection, though, was that he was certainly misogynist and cruel with no moral compass but not racist. 
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Paok-Kilkis

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All the corrections done. Since there is Amon Goeth in the list I included Hitler as well.
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rubyfruit76, Champion

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I wouldn't include Goeth: it's hard to imagine a more morally reprehensible character but his thoughts about race, specifically, aren't ever depicted, unless I'm forgetting something. He is virulently and murderously anti-Semitic but all of the Jews that we see in the film are white and his hate is directed toward their ethnicity and religion, which are both different than race. 

I think this is very important not in terms of the character but in terms of the definitions of the word "race."

My other feedback, like ElMo's, is a matter of perspective and is therefore less important but I would also suggest not removing the other characters  For example, I agree with Elmo that Stephen's motives are unclear but it is as clear as it could possibly be that his actions and attitudes are not simply about fearing for his life. Elmo doesn't contend that Stephen fears for his life and I would argue, and not just academically, that other motives are mostly irrelevant. The tile is racist characters and Stephen's actions and portrayed attitudes are racist. Is he as morally culpable as the other characters? Of course not (not even close: that he has free will is doubtful) but the title is "racist characters" and he is indeed racist. ElMo's argument about Stephen is, indeed, compelling, though, and I at least mostly agree with what ElMo says about Stephen. I diverge only about whether Stephen is suitable for this list and that's arguable. 

I could understand leaving Stephen off the list due to the question of free will. I disagree much more with the omission of a few of the other characters but I unfortunately am so tired that I'm nodding off so I better close my computer so that my cat doesn't have free reign to the keyboard, lol. 
(Edited)
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albstein

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It's probably not mentioned explicitly in the film but according to Nazi ideology (and Göth was a member of the Nazi party, of course), Jews constituted a "sub-human" race. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazism_and_race
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Jeorj Euler

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Bruno Ganz's portrayal of Adolf Hitler is extremely iconic, but it is story covering a part and aspect of Hitler's life where there are zero references to white supremacy or looking down upon non-Caucasian people, trying to hold northern "Germanic" folks above all. I'm sure there may have been an anti-Jewish remark or two, but that is about it, as the Reich officials' focus would be on the Allied Powers military advancements instead. This is why I did not recommend Hitler, because I'm unsure which particular portrayal (of many) best fits, as I've hardly seen any of those many portrayals. (I've not even seen Guinness' or Hopkins', yet I've come to be aware of these.) We'd almost be better off just including a photograph the actual man, perhaps a screenshot of one of his "pro-German" speeches, except we are looking for characters in fictions or biopics/reenactments, not people in newsreels and documentaries.
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Paok-Kilkis

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I prefer to keep Bruno Ganz image because I think this is the most popular portrayal, thanks anyway.
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Paok-Kilkis

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I prefer to keep Bruno Ganz image because I think this is the most popular portrayal, thanks anyway.
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Fabian Omar Natalichio

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Paok-Kilkis

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rubyfruit76, Champion

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Jeorj Euler

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Right. How could I forget?
(Edited)
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Paok-Kilkis

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All the suggestions added.