In today’s society, pre-existing assumptions and stereotypes of other ethnicities and individuals play a large part in the way we see others. This social construct of stereotypes has placed restrictions on many people’s lives which ultimately limits them from achieving certain goals. In this sense, stereotypes misrepresent and restrict people of colour to gain casting within the Hollywood film industry. The issue of how casting actors to certain roles and how these actors are forced to submit and represent these false stereotypes is one worthy of discussion. White Chicks (2004), directed by Keenan Wayans, illustrates this issue through the performance of Latrell, performed by Terry Crews, and his performance of the hyper-sexualised “buck” will be a prime example in this essay to discuss the racial politics and stereotypes in Hollywood casting.
In Shohat and Stam’s article, Unthinking Eurocentrism: Multiculturalism and the media (2013), they discuss the issue of racism within the media and entertainment industry, such as Hollywood films. More importantly, Shohat and Stam’s discuss the assertion of racial politics in casting within the Hollywood films industry. The interesting idea to their argument is that they suggest that for a film to become financially successful, the casting of the protagonist must consist of a white star as they are seen to be ethnically universal (Shohat & Stam, 190). They further suggest that the ethnic minority have been limited to designated roles which ultimately perpetuate their ethnic stereotype (Shohat & Stam, 190). They concern this issue by critically analysing and contrasting western Hollywood films against other ethnic films.
White Chicks follows the story of two African-American FBI agents, Kevin and Marcus Copeland played by Shawn and Marlon Wayans. The film introduces the two protagonists as undercover agent who attempt to arrest members of a drug selling organisation. However, the two protagonists do not succeed in the arrest which leads them to scolding by their chief. The two then get given a final warning and another mission – to protect the billionaire heiresses named the Wilson sisters from a suspected kidnapping. The sisters later get facial cuts in a car accident which leads them to stay in the hotel because of their appearance. It is the two agents who attempt to disguise themselves as the Wilson sisters in order to arrest the kidnappers as well as saving their jobs.
The use of comedy in White Chicks is an interesting concept to bring attention to racial stereotypes. In White Chicks’ case, the comedic humour largely comes from embracing these deep-rooted assumption of discrimination, in oppose to other racial entertainers, such as Dave Chappelle and Eddie Murphy who often use satire and wit to break down the barriers of the racial ideologies which may surround their ethnicity. Ultimately, the majority of the comedic relief in the film is reliant on the audience and their knowledge of...