So, who has seen Pirates of the Carribean II: Dead Man's Chest yet? I just saw it tonight. Loved Elizabeth. Loved Norrington. Did not love the racism.
I'm probably only skimming the surface here, but I wanted to deconstruct some things about the movie. Not just "It was racist." but "It was racist because of this and this and that." Because a lot of the shit in the movie isn't original in the least, but plays upon established trends. Feel free to add anything you like. Since this is already under a spoiler cut, spoil away in the comments.
When Jack's crew is captured by the Kalinago people - and I'll get to them in a minute - the crew is divided into two groups. One group had a hella lot more white faces than the other. And it was that group that didn't fall to a grisley death early in the movie. Throughout the movie, POC characters were treated as more expendable than white characters.
Tia Dalma is definitely in "Magical Negro" territory. She's overly willing to help the white characters, often for a smaller price than one might expect and even after Jack steals from her. She is exploited by the white characters, and the film offers no criticism for this. Rather, it's intended to be funny. White people ripping off a black woman who is helping them? Totally hilarious! [/sarcasm]
Furthermore, there was the treatment of Dalma's sexuality. Hey, I'm all for sexuality. If it was just Dalma lusting after Will and Jack, I'd call her an honorary fan and be done with it. My problem is that her sexuality was also treated as a joke. The film made it perfectly clear that there was no way that Jack nor Will would actually be romantically interested in her. A Black woman thinking she is sexually/romantically desirable? Hahahaha! [/more sarcasm]
And then there's the Kalinago people. I think everyone will agree that showing people of color as savage cannibals is racist. But there's another level.
I do not speak Kalhíphona. I do not know if what was being spoken in the film was Kalhíphona or not. But the fact that the Kalinago people were not speaking English? Was also meant to be humorous. A bit of an aside: Jack appears to have mastered the language almost instantaneously, which implicitely states the language isn't that complex. Or Jack is just that much of a Mighty Whitey. Maybe both.
The lack of subtitles meant that the audience never got to really understand what the Kalinago people were saying. Actually, that's kind of the core problem with the representation: we see them exclusively from an outsider's perspective. Did anyone else notice that the Kalinago didn't seem to talk to each other a whole lot? I didn't pick up on any side conversations or anything.
And then look at the plotline in itself. The Kalinago people find Jack and promptly mistake the white man for a god. So initially, you have the Kalinago people as willfully servile. But wait! The Kalinago want to kill and eat Jack. The Kalinago people aren't just willfully servile, they're violent and cannibalistic! And then in the end, the Kalinago people are distracted by a dog. A dog, people! So to top it off, they're portrayed as pretty damn stupid.
The Kalinago people appear in the story and disappear in the story with little consequence. They serve no purpose but to provide a source of racist humor and menance the heroes. The idea that they want to free a god from his human form is never fully explored, and I'm surprised they got even that much motivation.
x-posted to feminist, ap_racism, debunkingwhite, feministfilm, and feminist_fandom.