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Prof. Andrew Weaver '97 Discusses Lack of Multi-Cultural Characters in Movies

August 9, 2011

100349August 9, 2011, Greencastle, Ind. — A story that aired on NPR's Morning Edition today asks, "If Hollywood can crank out fantasy pictures with blue Smurfs, why is it so reticent to do the same with African-Americans, Hispanics and Asians?" John Ridley reports, "There's a self-fulfilling delusion at work in the studio system that white audiences won't pay to see black actors cast outside a narrow type of role."

The piece continues, "There is, however, a bit of evidence to back that claim. In the concisely titled study 'The Role of Actors' Race in White Audiences' Selective Exposure to Movies,' Indiana University professor Andrew Weaver writes, 'Movie producers are often reluctant to cast more than a few minority actors in otherwise race-neutral movies for fear that the white audience will largely avoid such films.' Weaver found that white audiences tended to be racially 293selective with regard to romantic movies, but not necessarily when it came to other genres. So, sorry, Hollywood. You can't blame it on the ticket buyers."

Dr. Weaver, an assistant professor of telecommunications at IU-Bloomington, is a 1997 graduate of DePauw University.

Access text and video of the report -- "Hollywood Superheroes Losing The Fight For Diversity" -- at NPR's website.