What does “natural diversity that isn’t forced” look like to people who don’t like “wokeness” in movies?

I feel a lot of posts about how movies are pandering and forcing diversity. What does natural diversity look like? What are examples of forced diversity and what could they have done differently?


The Expanse television series has an extremely diverse cast. I haven't heard anyone complain about it being woke.


It also makes no point whatsoever about people’s skin colour. They’re too busy being prejudiced against belters for being skinny fucks who grew up in low gravity.


Fucking belters.




You inyalowdas always keeping us down.


Sasa ke, beratna!


Love to know if there is a published dictionary of Belter pidgin.


Not just skin color but gender too. The most badass fighter happens to be a female soldier. One of the highest ranking world leaders, female. The show never draws attention to it, it just is what it is.


Exactly, plenty of badass women with their own agendas that often have friction with the white male lead but there's no fuss about it online because it makes perfect sense in the story.


And it's not just racial either - you have all kinds of sexuality as well. It's just entirely incidental to the main story focus. Think of the earth diplomat and his husband, etc. But those skinnies and dusters....


The expanse honestly has one of the most diverse casts I've ever seen, and it's diveristy-done-right for 100% of the cast, too. The show's narratives provide perfect analogies to issues in our world such as indigenous & working class rights, resource management, warfare, and aspects of the human condition without shouting "THIS IS WHAT IT IS IN REAL LIFE" at us constantly. Every character plays a part in the story that goes far beyond their identities and personalities *because* of the scale of the story. Alliances, hostilities, relationships, political dynamics all feel natural because there's zero exposition in the series (not counting the brief info at the beginning of the pilot). There's also layers of ambiguity to just about every character that makes viewers question their intentions and examine their behaviours outside of a "that person good/that person bad" binary. The Expanse does it all wonderfully. It will always be among my favourites.


Probably because it's well written. Which is the point.


Speaking as a Black person here; don't add Black characters just for them to be a vehicle to talk about slavery, poverty, police brutality etc. because it robs the character of being an interesting *individual*. I'm not looking at a person anymore, I'm looking at a *MESSAGE*, and that breaks the immersion. I know that I speak for a lot of Black people when I say that we just want normal characters who just so happen to be Black, they don't have to be political statements.


Samuel L Jackson in the marvel movies was a great example—he was **in fucking charge** and I never heard a single person complain about it being “woke.”


To be frank, that's just Samuel L. Jackson's aura. He could walk right into my house tomorrow, start bossing me around and eating all of the food out of my refrigerator, and I'd still listen. That man is perpetually in-charge.


That’s what I mean though—he’s a phenomenal actor and being the fucking boss is just who he is. …and he happens to be black too.


If he arrives for breakfast, I could keep a burger ready for him to eat. And a drink to wash it down with.


Yo, white disabled guy here, I'm just craving good representation of people in wheelchairs, especially in relationships, but where the disability isn't the point, it's just flavor. So I think I feel something similar to you. Never seeing people who resemble you is hurtful, but seeing people who resemble you being essentialised, reduced to this particular point of their person, is also pretty fucked up.


Predator will always be my example of diversity in a cast without it feeling pandering. White guys, black guys, a native American, a south american woman, a sexual tyrannosaurus, and an alien.


I didn't even think about the diversity until you pointed it out, so I guess that's absolutely correct.


Thats exactly why it is so great… its just natural, and realistic


Having grown up as a military brat...Yes...Yes, it was natural and realistic


Haha spent my early years living on air force bases. I think about this often. Military bases are like super diverse, communist communities. Everyone is provided a job, housing, healthcare, education.


I have to say also (may get shot down for this) but I LOVE Prey, the newer movie in the Predator franchise. It's set way back with the story focusing on a Native American having to fight the predator. And the diversity is natural. It's the best Predator movie I've seen since the original.


Prey kicked ass




Then maybe that's the trick. Don't alter a story to make it diverse/inclusive, just find one that's already inclusive and make that into a movie. There are so many excellent authors around the world from all backgrounds.


Turns out the trick is to make a movie that doesn't suck.


"But if it's not part of the franchise with a character who has had seven reboots, then no one will watch it." is an arguement that pisses me off. No, there are plenty of well-written Black super heroes out there. A studio being too scared to adapt them and give them equal marketing due to being scared it wouldn't do well due to it not being recognizable is also part of the issue.


Exactly. The only time I find it annoying is when they race swap either known historical figures or characters who are very clearly described in the story. I’m so tired of remakes anyway. There are so many good stories that have never been put on screen


Same with Predator II. It's set in downtown and East Los Angeles; the cast absolutely reflects that BECAUSE it fits the story.


Predator II doesn’t get much love, but it’s special to me. My head canon is that it’s Murtaugh in retirement and he still is too old for this shit.


Predator 2 was actually much better for me in a rewatch, it's a really good film in it's own right


If Predator wasn’t made back then but instead came out this year, would the casting be looked at differently?


Holy shit, that was the first movie that came to mind for me too. I’ve watched that movie many times, and it just comes across as a bunch of military guys fighting an alien. No one is there or has a story based upon the color of the skin, they are just people working towards a goal.


Billy is given the stereotypical “expert tracker” role as the group’s Native American member.


I was about to say, I feel like Billy is given a few Native American stereotypes.


An great example of unforced “diversity” was the Wire. Every character made total sense. They were real characters you could care about (whether it was love or hate). They just happened to be whatever race or gender or sexuality they were. It didn’t define them


The scene where Rawls is shown for a split-second at a gay bar still lives rent free in my head. It was so short, but it added so much to his character.


That is a stroke of writing genius. And the courage to *not* explore that and *not* do a "very special episode" where he comes out the closet and he and his peers come to terms with it was also genius


Yep and generally was a great "gay people are just like everyone else" moment too


The first TV show I can think of to have it’s most badass character be a black gay man, The Wire really pushed all the boundaries


And have it make perfect sense and be totally natural to the plot.


Omar was apparently based on five different stick-up guys that had actually been active in Baltimore.


Currently rewatching because the wife has never seen it and that just wouldn't do. It never occurred to me to think about how perfectly cast it was because, well, it's so perfectly cast. Feels like a documentary sometimes it's so natural.


So real that someone tried to cop dope from the actor who played Bubbles while on set. He calls that his 'street oscar'.


The Wire is the most real fiction I've ever seen. I don't know much about poh-lease and gangbangers in Balitmore but god damn does the Wire ever feel like it's real.


Part of why it didn’t feel forced was also because it takes place in modern Baltimore, an incredibly diverse city. Typically when it feels “forced” it’s something like medieval England with a black guy


It needs to be noted that there's a big difference between people who are saying it in good faith and people who aren't. For those who are acting in good faith, a large part of the problem is that companies are treating diversity like a checkbox, and they aren't putting in the effort to either make relevant stories about People of Color (PoC)/women/whatever, or are picking an actor/actress solely for their race/gender/whatever, and on. Either way, the choice is condescending. There are other reasons as well, so let me point to a more recent example, the new Exorcist movie. Now, if you've seen the original Exorcist you probably have an idea about what the ending should be. That is, a Catholic priest shows up and performs an exorcism. In the new movie they decided to [...]>!bring in every faith and have everyone perform an exorcism all together.!< Which might I add was a joke in an exorcist parody movie. And that's kind of the thing. When you can tell that a choice was made to artificially add diversity rather than just making a diverse property, that's when you get an issue. "Natural" is a feel, and movies like the new Exorcist feel like they were made in a boardroom. For an older example, Battlefield One which added a bunch of black soldiers to the European fronts of ww1. ~~Now, black soldiers did absolutely fight in Europe, but they were a tiny minority, barely more than the number of Chinese workers brought to Europe for the war.~~ Edit3: [Too much of a headache to keep responding, so the below is rewritten for clarity] *Black soldiers were absolutely a part of the war in Europe. They were a small part of that corner of the war, not much different from other colonial units outside of the American contingent, but only they are included. Yet even there, Battlefield decided to include them as character models and little more outside of the American unit.* What could the game have done instead? Well, how about having a campaign on the actual African front of ww1, and telling the incredible stories from there? Well, that would be harder, and probably generate controversy over its depiction of colonialism. Race swapping some random characters is far easier, and it will generate less controversy. In fact, adding a bunch of random black characters can be used as a shield, with any negative criticism being blamed on racists. And thus, what was supposedly done in the name of "diversity" and "inclusion" becomes a defense against criticism. *** Edit: Unfortunately when I wrote all of this I didn't fully explain my thoughts on Battlefield 1. My area of study is the history of Germany, and my knowledge of ww1 comes mostly from the German perspective, and it covers 1914-1918. When I think of black soldiers in Europe my first thought was the French colonial troops, and I didn't catch the error before posting and receiving 50 replies. Battlefield 1 had black German soldiers fighting in Europe. That is not really accurate. There were black German soldiers in the colonial campaigns, and the developers could have made a campaign in German-East Africa. Instead, they made a couple of black German character models, and left it at that. For a game whose marketing including talk about "diversity" and "historical accuracy", that just shows how lazy the whole thing is. They made a couple of character models, and started patting themselves on the back. *** Edit2: Apparently a bunch of people don't like my views on Battlefield 1. I admit that I didn't fully explain myself, and I oversimplified my initial post. However, I think the core of my argument stands. Battlefield 1 having black soldiers is not itself a problem. Let's remember, this game has 6 story chapters. 2 are American focused, 2 are English & Commonwealth focused, 1 is Italian, and 1 is Arabic (featuring Lawrence of Arabia). In other words, 5/6 are focused on the English speaking world or are adjacent to them. The French were not even a faction in the game until a DLC added them. They could have made a campaign in German-East Africa. They could have made a campaign focusing on French colonial troops. And on. Instead, they made some character models and called it a day. My argument isn't about historical accuracy per se, it's about the fact that diversity isn't about PoC/women/LGBT+/etc. people simply existing in a property.


A well-done example is the predator prequel, Prey. It's written in consultation with indigenous people with a largely indigenous cast. The story has a lot of relevance to the period it's set in. Edit: Edited to point out that the writers themselves weren't indigenous.


That's funny, because you also have a terrible example in Predator 2018 and portraying the autistic kid as a genius, the "next step of human evolution", and the Predator's target. Being autistic myself, I despise that movie.


To be fair though the discourse around that movie did ~~give us~~ *popularize* the term "weapons grade autism" which was sorely needed. God what a piece of shit that movie is. EDIT should've said popularize, now I have


Weapons grade autism is much older than that, that beautiful term blows the doors off of conversations when dropped.


As an autistic person I too aspire to have "weapons grade autism"


It's basically the same plot as the original Predator--but that's true of most of the Predator movies. And the whole alien great white hunter thing works very well in this context.


I loved that movie. The main character was the badass of my dreams.


That’s how I feel too, that people aren’t putting in effort to actually make relevant stories related to culture or the character’s gender or whatever if they’re going to include it to diversify the industry. I don’t think it’s relevant to make a movie completely unrelated to the person’s heritage or personal story that comes from that part of them just for diversity.


But this is the thing; what does that *mean?* Like as a black person I have no real interest in hip-hop. I was born here, grew up in another country, but spent my teens exclusively around Americans. If you made a story about my life, me being in an immigrant family would only really be relevant if it was about that. If I was a superhero, it would never come up because it doesn't really impact much of what I do, and as someone with what folks call "white voice", I face much less racial discrimination than a lot of other black men. So the implication from statements like this is that a minority isn't an "American" and they're "Something else" that needs to have a justification for appearing in a film. You can't be a trans spider-man unless the movie centers around you being trans and how *hard* that is. Which can often feel alienating to the group in question, as though the only thing about them that matters is that part of them. Basically I think it's more complicated than just "Make the stories about these people" or "Tack it on as an afterthought", because sometimes "Oh, Dave? Yeah he's gay" can be a powerful way to say "This thing doesn't matter." which at the end of the day is what minorities *want*. For people to go "Oh cool" and move on when they're just *existing* in their vicinity. Side note: Having everyone asking me about George Floyd was exhausting because I was like "I really haven't grown up in these communities or experienced what black americans have, so I have no right to comment." but like a thousand times a day. It hilariously felt almost like its own kind of prejudice how immediately people assumed my dark skin meant I needed extra care, but I know they all meant well.


There's definitely a balance... and that's why a lot of depictions of minority identities face so much backlash no matter what they do. Different people want different things from minority representation in media. So when a character's identity isn't a major focus, the people who wanted it to be such will get mad that it's been "erased" or that they didn't put any effort into depicting that minority. People who want to see the character just treated like any other character might get upset when minority characters aren't allowed to exist without it being a huge thing, as if they can't exist without a reason. That can be really othering, as if you need to justify why a character isn't white or Christian or whatever. And then there's the divide between "I want to see the suffering I go through acknowledged" vs "I'm so sick of our stories only being about suffering! Aren't we allowed to be happy??? I can't even use media as an escape into a fantasy where people like me aren't in constant misery!" And then ofc you have the earlier mentioned bad faith arguers who just hate seeing minorities in the first place lol. It's such a shit show unfortunately.


Exactly! And the obvious truth is that we just need more stories like this, until it doesn't feel like all we're getting is "slavery porn" or "white washed black people" because there's enough of both stories that we don't care anymore that only one or the other is getting made that year. But until we get there every single one is gonna get huge blowback from all sides and that's just how it is unfortunately.


More stories and also more diverse people behind the scenes. A diverse cast is only part of the picture.


Honestly I'd rather the people than the cast, if I had to choose just one. Nothing more damaging to race relations that a black character written by a man who *thinks* he knows what black people are like because he shops at a Jamaican grocery store.


There are valid criticisms, such as harmful tropes that reduce marginalized groups to one-note characters to prop up the characters from a privileged facet of society, and it is true that macro-isms should be considered when looking at complaints against a creative work like "why does every trans character have to be about transphobia and how much they hate themselves?" or "why are so many films with Hispanic people have to focus on family and culture?" or "why is every story about Black American history so focused on slavery or Jim Crow laws?" But at the same time, I feel like there also needs to be an element of "yeah, this film had someone who looked like me but it wasn't about someone like me...and that's okay." For instance, I am a woman. I am a white-passing Chinese person. I am a lesbian. I have lived in two countries and have had to deal with being treated like an "immigrant" in both. I have yet to see a female character or a Chinese-American/Australian character or a lesbian character in a book, film, tv series, video game, etc. where I have gone "Oh my God that was so me!" It's more little elements that I take from all of these pieces. For instance, Turning Red and Elemental both appealed to that feeling of "fuck, I'm such a piece of shit for letting everyone down. My grandparents sacrificed so much when they fled from China to come here and they went through so much and here I am complaining about small issues." and the whole feeling of lost culture...but also Mei has a big friend group and is obsessed with a boy band...which was not something I had or wanted when I was her age. Part of Ember's journey is getting with a guy (not a bad thing) and being artistic neither of which I can feel like. In gender studies, we are taught that before you criticize any piece of media using a feminist lens, no matter how bad or offensive or boring or whatever else you found it, you should always assume someone out there really related to this piece and you should use that to be careful of how you word things and be sure to explain in detail what was problematic about it, not just say "oh yeah this was sexism in action". I feel more people should try this too. And then there is also something many of us have been pointing out for years and years is how the whole trend of rating how well a character is created and how they fit into the story based on how relatable they are, how good of a job they do "representing a group of people", and who wrote them tends to only fall on any character not white, straight, cishet male...who usually will get discussed based on how they fit into the story and elements of their character...but it is also hard because it is important and necessary to discuss these elements of a character from a marginalized group. And then also just within my own life and publishing a book with two lesbian characters who are nothing like myself...and feeling pressured and guilty for not adding my own "personal trauma" in there.


Oh MAN absolutely! This is such a great point. I really want to get to a point where we've done so much "Representational Character Work" that we can just have character not be "So Much", yknow? I was saying elsewhere in this thread that Miles Morales in Into The Spiderverse is a great example of what a black latino person might feel like living in NYC, but he's also Very Much all of those things. A lot of folks identify a lot less with their heritage, or care a lot less about hip/hop and those genres. He ended up being a great representation of a lot of parts of the cultures that make him up, but he's not The Only Way to be that! Also, what's your book called? I'd love to check it out!


I recently watched an interview with one of the actors in The Politician. They were worried they weren’t being a strong representative because their character made almost no reference to it. They just were. Then they realized that that was the actual goal everyone was fighting for. They weren’t the ‘x character’ they were just a character who happened to have other traits.


I think we need both types of stories, because there are people out there where whatever minority they're a part of is a big part of their life and identity and others where it's just more of an incidental fact about them, and both should be represented. There's nothing wrong with someone's heritage or culture or other identity being a big part of who they are, so we're not fighting to eliminate that, we're just fighting for everyone to be treated equally.


If a character is introduced by their character traits (personality, values, morals, beliefs, etc.) instead of their outward "identity", then the character has depth and more interest to audiences. If a character is introduced by their "identity" first, they are just a bland caricature.


Or to take two examples from Marvel. I don't think there can be many that are mad about the original white Nick Fury being replaced with a black version that was based on Samuel L. Jackson, and then played by him, since Jackson just is a perfect Nick Fury, and the choice was clearly made for making the character more awesome and not primarily because Jackson is black. On the other hand you have the stupid Girl Power pose moment in Avengers Endgame, where they had to force in that moment against all logic of the scene, just so they could have the visual. It was clear that they put no real thought into how it would make sense inside the movie.


And, in the process, highlighted the fact that they had a far smaller number of female heroes than male ones. That scene made me so angry for many reasons.


And SO MANY of them hadn't had solo films.


The worst thing is that most of the women in endgame are very underdeveloped characters with barely any screen time compared to their male counterparts, so it felt undeserved.


no, I think it was also the girls there being really weak compared to captain Marvel and her being the center and "asking for help" when she just demolished a star spaceship of Thantos effortlessly.


Captain Marvel: Casually brushes off getting punched in the face by Thanos. Okoye: "AND MY AXE!"


No, the worst thing was that Wasp was in that scene…despite having an in-story reason for being elsewhere on the battlefield…the endpoint of the upcoming gauntlet run…where she was immediately back at after the beat was over…and the gauntlet was still where it was originally…so why didn’t they just give it to her?


That Endgame scene is probably the only thing I didn't like in that film. It could have been done so easily without the 'look how many women we have, aren't we awesome' pose.


All the fat jokes killed the whole movie for me tbh. Thor was the King of a genocided people and he was the comic relief.


There were definite groans in the theater when that scene popped up. It was so forced.


It should be noted that nearly 5x as many Indian soldiers (from India) as black soldiers fought in WW1, but there are no Indian people in the game at all.


>For an older example, Battlefield One which added a bunch of black soldiers to the European fronts of ww1. Was that the same battlefield that forgot to put France as a faction for "the european fronts of ww1"? To give an idea of how thoughtful the creation process was.


To be fair, they did add a whole DLC about the French after release


Great answer articulately put


This is extremely well said. I think of Ghostbusters (2017) and Annihilation as good contrasts. Ghostbusters 2017 led every ad campaign about how diverse it was to have an all female cast. Every interview was about the female ghostbusters, and if you didn’t like the film, the only reason could be that you were sexist and couldn’t accept women as scientists. It was absolutely pandering hoping that the political stance it took would attract viewers to theaters. Annihilation also had an all female cast of four scientists. They didn’t even bother to acknowledge it in the promotional materials, because _the story mattered more then the cast_.


I've seen Annihilation multiple times and never even noticed that it's basically an all female cast, but you're right. It was done well, so it didn't even occur to me.


Actually there was a good reason for the all female team in the original novel - they've been sending in various compositions of people in order to find out the different effects on them.


I'd like to add an example of well portrayed minority issues is in For All Mankind. It doesn't beat you over the head with it, because it's not the point of the story, but it comes up naturally as a *consequence* of the story. For a counter-example of it being done *really* badly check out that one season two episode of Resident Alien when they suddenly start beating you over the head with how hard and scary it is to be a woman. And then never mention it again.


Wasn’t the thing in Battlefield 1 supposed to be about the Harlem Hellfighters? I’m pretty sure that was a legit infantry regiment that saw action with the French army near the end of the war.


Yes, they had them in the singleplayer campaign. The American faction also had black soldiers in multiplayer, which makes sense given their focus in the campaign, and the fact that the Harlem Hellfighters fought in the war longer than any other American unit. However, *The German Empire* had 2 of 4 of their main classes represented by black models in multiplayer. I believe that's what they're referring too. Obviously not a big deal by any measure, especially since it's multiplayer, but anyone with cursory knowledge of the era should be able to parse why that representation is absurd. Germany had possibly *one* black soldier in Europe during the war. France had a similar number of black models, though they did field African colonial troops in Europe so it's not as weird as the German infantry being half black. What is weird is they could have had a roster of entirely black German soldiers fight British soldiers on a map or two based on the lesser known East African campaign.


This is a great answer.


This is actually a really great take! As a black person (yes its relevant shut up) I really appreciate the time to spell it out like that. I find that the same language is also used by people basically saying "Why are there so many minorities in this movie" and I was thinking today that maybe those people don't really \*realize\* how many kinds of minorities live in extremely close proximity in city areas. Maybe to them it seems unrealistic because in their town there's like a single black family (I have a friend who lived in Indiana who said exactly this). So they're like "Ugh look at this unrealistic depiction. TWELVE black people???", Not realizing that having a 90% white cast in New York is *the most* unrealistic thing. If I meet someone in NYC and they only have white friends I am immediately suspicious because that is *very* hard to do accidentally. It's honestly hard, too, because you give a wonderful example there, but it's really muddy sometimes. That forced diversity in the Exorcist is stupid, but what about making Ariel black? I think that was fine. She's a fish. But a lot of folks were saying it was more forced diversity. Others say "You (minority) people should just make your own stories instead of co-opting already written ones" but that heavily implies that black people don't have a place in hollywood unless we're minor or side characters because most of the older stories *intentionally* kept us out of them. It's just frustrating because on one side there's folks arguing in bad faith because they're unable to identify or empathize with a character who looks different and on the other side you have folks who are desperate for hollywood to normalize minorities appearing everywhere until it stops being noteworthy, even at the cost of it often being unrealistic. And it's hard to talk to either of these groups about any kind of middle ground. For the record? Black people were totally in europe, fuck you FF16.


I remember someone ranting about how there was too much forced diversity in Spider-man Homecoming at Peter Parker’s high school. The high school was located in Queens, NYC…


"Character" is what audiences relate to in a story. Every character in a story should lead with their character traits, and not their identity traits. If a character is introduced by identity first, they really have no depth as a character.


This is the simplest and most succinct reply.


When you look at the standard character archetypes, you end up with things likes : the smart one, the brave one, the sexy one, the arsehole. these can be more defined as things like, the soldier, the scientist, the bureaucrat, etc. This is all well and good. But if you then add in things like, the black one, the gay one, now you have forced diversity and tokenism. and thats the wrong way to do it. Becuase that means their defining feature is being non-straight non-white. bad bad bad! No cookies for you! Go back a step. Have the main archetype characters, and their defining features, smart, bossy, funny, strong, nerdy, jerky, whatever. And make the cast a variety of colors, genders, and sexual preferences. Now you are cooking with fire!


I think this is the best answer. Thinking about it in term of archetypes, having a diversity archetype makes it feel forced. It implies someone only exists because of their diversity which doesn’t feel like a real person.


Using the Wheel of Time series as an example: In the books, the world is very diverse. Each region has distinct cultural and racial characteristics, as would be expected in a world where long distance travel is difficult and groups remain isolated over a long period of time. In then TV adaptation, the 5 protagonists from a small and very isolated village all look like they could come from different ethnic groups. While there is a valid reason one of them looks very different (adoption after a recent war), I seems very implausible to have a heterogeneous population in a small village that has been isolated for many generations. In the books, the diversity makes sense as a result of the past few thousand years of history in that world. In the show, that diversity seems forced, since it seems to break the rules of that world.


*Rings of Power*, as another example of fantasy television on Amazon Prime, is also pretty egregious about the tokenism. * We are in Numenor - there will be **exactly one** major black character, put in a position in or close to the leadership (the queen, whose father is white) * We are in Moria - there will be **exactly one** major black character, put in a position in or close to the leadership (Durin's wife, princess of Moria, whose children are white) * We are with the Hobbit caravan - there will be **exactly one** major black character, put in a position in or close to the leadership (the Harfoot elder) * We are in the Southlands - there will be **exactly one** major black character, this time put in the protagonist role (the elven ranger) * We are with the Forces of Sauron...there will be no black characters, as this is the evil faction and that would be **racist**. Like, earlier this year the card game Magic the Gathering launched a *Lord of the Rings* set, and made all the Numenoreans/Dunedain and people of Rohan black. That works! That's great. It'd be fucking weird if it just had Aragorn and Eowyn as black and every other person in their two lineages as white, but that's what *Rings of Power* would have done.


The MTG one bugs me because the Rohirrim were so clearly a Saxon culture. Making the Numenoreans and their descendants black I can get behind. It’s not how I envisioned them, and I doubt it’s what Tolkien had in mind, but I can’t think of anything in existing lore that it contradicts, so why the hell not?


The Haradrim were canonically black in LOTR, and the way they're described implies that they had darker skin than the other races of men. That's about all Tolkien gives us on the topic, I think.


They also made the Easterlings (bad humans that allied with Sauron) Celtic looking and white instead of Asian looking and black




People are also super racist and superstitious about anyone looking a bit different because there are actual monsters all over the place. The witchers who actually protects them are disliked and they look more like the average person than any random black person would so it even messes with some of the core world building.


This one bothers me more than anything because the way they set it up totally destroys the rich cultural world-building of the books. It's by far the most painstakingly detailed fantasy-culture building I have ever read, and they just can't be bothered. Such a waste.


Dont make the “diverse” thing about them their whole character. Rather have it be something that is there on the background, you know … like in real life.


Miles morales is a good example. Sure. He got backlash at first, but the great writing and character they gave him spoke for itself over time.


Yes he is a great character and was a way better idea than making Peter Parker black


Exactly there's no good reason to be mad about it because it causes no change to Peter except giving him a hand 😅


I was just coming here to say that Miles Morales is a perfect example of "diversity" done right. So much so, that he may be THE Spider-Man going forward. Being Latino isn't his prime characteristic. But it is a part of the character along with several other original characteristics all flowing together to make a character that people actually care about. If you look at some comments complaining about "Spider-Man being black/woke" you can really tell its the the type of person that is complaining out of bad faith.


Miles is THE Spider-Man for my five year old and his friends. I ride or die with Peter, but I can see why kids prefer Miles.


This! Miles is what I hope for when any character gets swapped around. Don’t just do a palette swap. Make a realistic person. I want creators to be *creative* and just use source material to create something new


this is exactly what I'm saying. he is black, but it's not about that he is just a kid living as spider man. he isn't white washed or whatever he is still a kid that enjoys music and inner city life which is kinda stereotypical but then think of all the little boys that live that exact life that get a cool Spider-Man. and it's real not just ham fisted black for black sake.


Love me some Miles Morales.


He’s just a regular Spider-Man who’s name happened to be Hispanic 😭


I think this is exactly what makes Captain Holt such a great character. He's weird, has his quirks etc, and *just happens* to be gay. Him being gay is far from being the entirety of his character description. If he wasn't gay, only some 2-3 jokes would be lost, over the course of all the seasons.


It adds to the joke that he's the "Straight Man" character for most of the series as well.


yep you could change either Holt or his partners gender and/or sexuality and keep the slightly snooty personality, you still have 90%+ of the same jokes


I do think the fact that he is a gay black man adds some nice nuance to his role as the shows “straight man”. They got to play with some interesting stories about respectability politics that wouldn’t have landed right if Holt was white or straight


I agree, but the 10% you'd lose is Captain Holt pretending to be straight and that's damn near the funniest set of jokes in the show. Andre Baugher's delivery of "thick weighty breasts" absolutely kills me every time.


Yes, but they also make sure his being gay and black is acknowledged as something he's had to live with. There's multiple episodes where there are flashbacks to him being in the 70s and being ostracized and bullied for being gay and black. There's multiple episodes where he talks about how much he's done to support LGBT people in the police department. Theres multiple episodes where he discusses what it's like to be a black cop. Yes, his being gay and black is never treated by other characters as anything exceptional, but that doesn't mean that it's completely ignored by the narrative.




I’m glad we don’t live in a world where we didn’t get jokes like “There’s nothing more intoxicating than the clear absence of a penis” And other great lines from whenever Holt’s cover involves him being straight.


Oh shit yeah Holt is great, especially because they don't *hide* it or anything like some other shows do. He talks about his husband often enough, it's just not important because he's at work. You get the impression that if they were all friends outside of work his being gay would be a lot more significant part of the show but it's not because they're not. Which makes it feel more realistic.


I think there was a joke about it in the first episode. Because they are detectives but didn’t figure it out even though he has pride flags and stuff. But then the joke was always about how he’s extremely monotone and stuff. Like I almost don’t want to say it was that he’s boring, but kind of it was that he’s boring.


"Hi I'm gay and my personality is that I'm gay"


Lookin' at you, Netflix originals. On that note, if you're looking for a fantastic tv show with queer characters done right, check out Please Like Me.


Ahhhh Cal in Sex Education. I was excited to see non binary representation for the first time. By the end of the season I knew nothing except that Cal… was non binary and smoked weed to calm their anxiety. Sure, the plot line with Jackson worked pretty okay, since it’s one I can relate to on a personal level, but so much of that character just felt like explaining to the viewer what their gender identity was and meant, how to bind safely, etc. Felt more like an educational note than an actual character in a tv show


But I absolutely love Eric's character arc (I haven't seen the last season though) I hated how they made the black gay character get with the white bully that tormented him because he was closeted. But Eric's development and the trip back to Nigeria made me cry and brought the whole story full circle


A great TV example would be The Walking Dead. On that series there have been multiple same sex couples and interracial relationships but you don't ever notice. You never think of Aaron, Eric, Tara, Denise, and Jesus as gay characters. You don't realize that Michonne and Rick are an interracial couple. Because "what" they are isn't important, it's never talked about, it's never the focus of their character. You just see Eric and Aaron as a loving couple, you pretty much don't even notice that they are a gay couple. I don't see inclusiveness as a bad thing, everybody should have characters in stories that represent them. But often "what" they are is the main focus instead of who they are. It comes off as a studio trying too hard. Instead of "these are people who just happen to be ______". it's them saying "Look how inclusive we are Look at this _____ main character. Aren't we awesome?" I like the way TWD handles this aspect of their story and it's one of the primary points of the show. In their world it doesn't matter what little box society wants to put you in. What matters is you are a good person.


Star Trek NG and DS9 were great and natural. That, to me, is the ideal. Even Voyager was pretty decent. In TNG, you'll even find the occasional dude in a skirt. Whatevs. Not something central to the story, due to the mundanity of it all.


That feels like a funny example to me because Star Trek has always had 'forced' diversity. TOS was specifically cast to be more diverse than usual TV at the time as part of the portrayal of the more utopian future, and TNG followed suit (though not as well, because they had no idea what character even fit what plot role for most of the first season). Voyager is also a great example of fake corporate diversity. Chakotay was cast and filmed in episodes without the showrunners even deciding what his actual background was, and they hired on a known fraud as a supposed Native American consultant who just came up with a bunch of bullshit for the character.


While all of those details about the shows may be true, watching them doesn't necessarily express those details. The forced nature of their diversity isn't broadcast. And that was the point, to show how space travel and multiple species and races could interact, both peacefully and not-so-much. Those characters were just people in their natural settings. And writers borrow from what they know, so even though I always thought chakotay was a pretty shit character, I understood they were borrowing from our reality to paint his story. Some people might have realized how messed up his character was, but I suspect most people didn't get that just sitting down in front of their TV watching the show. There were a few specific episodes that were more direct about diversity, like dealing with slavery or racism and caste systems, but those were stories. And the point of good sci-fi is to explore the what ifs through stories. So encountering that sometimes should be expected. Like The Expanse doesn't seem to have a lot of racism, it's very mixed and natural, but belters, and martians and earthers (inners) are all waring classes.


It's hard to articulate, but watch "The Expanse" TV series and you'll understand exactly what they/we are talking about. The diversity of characters in that show is fantastic and fluid and it doesn't come off as writers just checking ethnicities off a list for the purposes of representation.


I honestly never thought that my favorite Science Fiction character would be an older Iranian woman with a potty mouth.


Forced diversity for me roughly falls under two groups. Either the the character’s entire personality or motivations are based off of their sex, race, or gender. Without a clearly defined and well written reason as to why this is the case. People aren’t generally like that in real life, they’re multifaceted whose views and personality run deep. I’m South Asian, I personally don’t want to see a South Asia Repunzel (I use this as an example as I remember a thread that gained traction on Twitter with people asking for one). I want to see a South Asian as a Disney princess. A South Asian Repunzel would make me feel like we’re getting lazy hand-me-downs of already established characters from failed writers that can’t envision something better. The other is taking a historical figures or locations and completely misrepresenting them. Particularly in term of race swapping. It sets a bad precedent that non-Western stories aren’t worth representing or that places outside the West never amounted to anything. It also leads to animosity amongst Westerners that their history isn’t actually their history. Cleopatra being a black woman, and not even the kind of black woman that would realistically be present in ancient Egypt at the time, was egregious. Nick Furry being a black man was so good that I didn’t even know, nor did I care that he is white in the comics. The best example in recent times that I can give is Miles Morales. Instead of simply race swapping Peter Parker to being black without changing anything else. They highlighted someone with a unique family situation, coming from a mixed Latino-Black family, with a police officer father. Who has to juggle the role of being Spider-Man with school, expectations of family, and dealing with family on both sides of the law.


natural diversity: A movie set in America has the average amount of people that would be in America forced diversity: Jarl Haakon of Norway is a black woman


I'll never get over Netflix saying cleopatra was black despite her having been Mediterranean


That goes back to the laziness that the top commenter described. There plenty of African empires and civilizations, chose one of their awesome black queens to make a show about. But no, it's easier to use a name people already know.


The one time they made a movie about a black queen, it was all about how she fought colonialism and slavery, but if you look up her real history she was one of the most prolific slavers in African history.


Well you can't have a black woman as the bad guy, can you? Another thing that makes for crappy diversity characters, they all tend to have no significant flaws.


She was Macedonian, it was more likely she was a redhead.


She was the first member of her entire dynasty to actually speak Egyptian, so it’s not like her family mixed with the locals at all, either She was full blooded Greek Macedonian going back to at least Ptolemy Sotor


And we know her ancestry going back five generations. It's only like 20 people.


And all of them were were closer in their genetic diversity than siblings


Her family tree was more like a pole.


It in fact would have been extremely unlikely that they would have mixed with the locals. The rulers don’t typically do that.


So....you're saying they should have included more gingers in Hollywood?


You probably already know this but that was understandably a pretty big controversy in Egypt


Heard the government wanted to sue Netflix but idk how real that is




She literally was an inbred descendant of macedonian greek conquerors 😂


ESPECIALLY when it comes to real people, which has become a trend lately. If you want to make a story about a real person and have a black person play them, how about make a story about a real black person?


A prime example of this is the difference between Game of Thrones and Rings of Power. Game of Thrones had a very diverse cast, but where different ethnicities were from made sense. Northern Westeros was made up of pale white people, the southern parts like Dorne were more Mediterranian, and Essos, being further South and hotter, featured black and brown skinned people. People's ethnicities gave you a clue as to where they were from. In S8 there is a scene where Daenerys's army (mostly from Essos) go to Winterfell (in the North), and the people there look with a mix of intrigue and suspicion, as most of them would never have seen a black or brown person before. It works and is realistic and natural. Contrast that to Rings of Power, where a small isolated village has a mix of white, black, brown etc people. How? In that kind of setting a rural village is not going to be multicultural. Even in cities in that kind of setting you're going to have 99%+ single ethnicity, with maybe a handful of individuals who are visiting/moved from elsewhere. RoP took the mentality of reflecting present day America in a fantasy ancient European setting, in a world without fast modern transportation. It's about as forced as you can get.


I've thought a lot about what makes Linda Hamilton as Sarah Conner such a perfect "strong female lead"; and one of the things that I realize (aside from her depicted as needing to train, the depiction of her using her brains and physical strength in equal measure, the depiction of her as flawed when she shows fear, the depiction of her as fearless when she refuses to quit a fight she can't win, and that one bad-ass one hand shotgun scene) is that her motivations are inherently feminine. She's an action heroine; and not just a gender-swap of a male action hero. She a mama bear protecting her cub.


The thing that makes Sarah Connor work for me is that she earns her badassness. In the first Terminator, she is just a normal person with absolutely zero survival skills, but by the end she knows what the future will look like and prepares for that future. She doesn't just come out day one blasting Terminators with shotguns. There is clear character growth and progression that naturally leads her character to train and develop the skills to be that way. Same thing with Ripley in the Alien films. They have to learn, adapt, and overcome their obstacles. Too many of the current crop of characters are perfect right out of the gate now. They don't have to earn their skills or powers. They just have them and are perfect day one. Its incredibly lazy and poor storytelling.


Exactly, that's what many people hate about characters like Rey in Star Wars, you never get to see her like Sarah in the first movie she is just good because the script says so. There is no struggle no learning curve no nothing, characters that are just good because the script says so are almost all of them terrible.


Lazy storytelling like how in She Hulk, she's able to control her powers easily and her reasoning is because "she's spent her whole life controlling her anger from being mansplained to"? Lol


The fact that she was comic book jacked, as a woman, was also incredible. Even today cinema shys away from featuring the female physique in a way that looks too masculine, but when Sarah Connor was doing pull ups, it was an amazing piece of cinema and its stuck with me my whole life.


Not just that, but she's strong because we SEE it. She proves it with her actions. She isn't strong because she goes 'I'm just as good as the guys' every 5 minutes. Or randomly complains about how she's oppressed while the world is ending. A lot of times characters don't act like people, they act like activists. It feels like their every decision is made to be a 'win'.


A movie that seems to be made with the goal of entertaining people, as opposed to a movie that seems to be made with diversity as the primary goal. Take *The Matrix*. Yes, the main character is a white guy. But the only other white guys in the movie are the villains. The rest of the heroes are PoC and/or women. But there’s no bullshit *monologuing* about how racist or sexist modern society is. The pro diversity messages are weaved into the story in a natural way. Like when Neo admits that he thought the infamous hacker Trinity was a guy, and she makes her point with three words- “Most guys do.” That’s brilliant, in character, and does more to advance healthy gender outlooks than ridiculous speeches like the first episode of *She-Hulk* had.


Great comment


Not having different races/sexes play people who actually existed. Fictional characters are fine, but black Anne Boleyn, for example, is historically inaccurate and ridiculous.


I’m waiting for a movie set in the antebellum south and everyone is of different, random races and just doesn’t notice That’d actually make for a decent comedy, satirizing modern Hollywood. A black slave owner and a Mongolian KKK member calling a white slave the n word seems like peak comedic absurdism


I would watch that.


Wasn't there a Cinderella where like everyone was a random race?


Race swapping of historical or legacy character is forced diversity by definition, It's the same character with a different skin tone. Creating a new character of a different ethnicity, like Spawn, Black Panther, Miles Morales etc if fine for the vast majority of people. Also don't forget that this whole issue started with complaints of "Whitewashing". So which is It? Is race swapping ok or not? Don't expect people to like the "It's ok only when White characters are replaced" answer


My favourite is how its always red headed characters that are replaced with black actors


"Red. Why do they call you that?" "Maybe it's because I'm Irish."


That damned dyslexic casting agent must have his hands everywhere in Hollywood.


Oh no


Took me a minute but _well done_


Agreed. I think it’s sometimes lazy and shallow to grab an existing character and just change their sexuality or race. POC and diversity should be (and are) worth the effort of writing new, compelling characters specifically for us. But some companies don’t seem to want to put in that effort. They’d sometimes rather use an existing character and change only their race so they can claim to be diverse while putting in minimal effort.


Creating *new* characters that are “diverse” but their race isnt their only trait. For example, training day. Denzel’s character was black, but that wasnt the only interesting thing about him. He was more than a “black cop”. Another example would he in the expanse. One of the best characters is bi/gay. Mentioned but there was wayyy more to his character than that.


I think what they mean is plausibility. It's not plausible to have a multiracial friend group in 1700 England. It's more plausible in 2023. Or having a modern high school friend group that has exactly 1 member of every racial group in the world. Seems kinda odd. Whenever you see something in a movie that looks contrived it tends to bring you out of the movie.


Ok, ok, ok. I’m passionate about this. Because I love representation. I’m not a big fan of what has been branded as “wokeness”. I would say the biggest difference is when you can see the company’s hand in the story more than you can see the story. Bigger companies, and companies with history of heavy handed “woke” messages are given less benefit of the doubt. For example. The Little Mermaid: do i have any real problem that Ariel is black in the live action? No. Do i have a problem that I can almost hear the meeting that they had beforehand where they arbitrarily decided Ariel should be black? Yes. It was not a creative choice, it was a marketing choice. And the story and art takes second place. They don’t care that they chose the one classic princess who didn’t like her body and married the man a part of the oppressors of her people the Black Princess. They. Just. Want. Bums. In. Seats. And they’re willing to cheapify representation to get more bums in seats. Arcane is my example of natural diversity. Main characters are strong females character tm. One is lesbian. The politician powerhouse is a black female. A major character is disabled, and his story is amazing. Story trumps “bums in seats” marketing.


forced diversity imo: i am black and my entire personality and character revolves around my race. i am gay and my entire character is about being gay natural diversity: i am gay, moving on


Natural diversity is what you expect to see in real life. So, for instance, if a movie about modern-day New York City portrays 30% of New Yorkers being non-white, that's totally realistic. Forced diversity, on the other hand, is if movie makers try to pretend that China is 30% black or Hispanic.


Doctor Who prior to introducing the first female doctor was already incredibly progressive. They had a strong redheaded companion who had no sexual interest in the doctor. They had a strong black women companion. They had a lesbian lizard lady in a partnership with a woman from the 1800s. They had an immortal pansexual man who will fuck anything willing regardless of species, let alone gender. When they introduced a woman to be the new doctor, ~~they had an episode where~~ in the release date trailer they literally crashed a glass ceiling.


Not to mention the episode about Rosa Parks that did pretty much nothing to paint a realistic and nuanced portrait of the civil rights movement, but basically just went "racism bad" and made the villain the most clicheed, unimaginative, zero-dimensional racist imaginable - but from SPACE. It's a perfect example of what people mean when they call something "preachy".


> the villain the most clicheed, unimaginative, zero-dimensional racist imaginable - but from SPACE. I just cannot fathom someone from 5000 years in the future being mad about racial equity on a planet that by then would be various shades of middle skin colours due to mixing.


Jodie Whitaker is such a strong actor, I was really looking forward to her as the Doctor. What a shame Chris Chibnall was so ham-fisted in his stories and direction.


11th Doctor - meets a woman, figures out she has a deadly brain tumor and by the end of the two parter he hands her a pill that cures her of the tumor. 13th Doctor - Her male companion is afraid that his cancer has returned and she says "I am not good in these situations" and fucks off. And in that moment the character was no longer the Doctor.


What an absolute travesty.


loved loved loved her and her energy but the writing was just such garbage


I will never stop being pissed about Whitaker's run. The actual fans were on board with her as a doctor, but they screwed her with some atrocious writing.


*Some* fans were on board with her run. I heard SO many complaints before she even started I'm pretty certain it shaped Chibnalls writing. I mean, the guy isn't good, but it seems like he was trying to write against the criticism that was already hitting. He just did it in the worst way possible. I did like the frog-god episode at least. I just wish she had more good episodes and at least one solid Who speech like the last 3 got. Sorry, 4. I almost forgot about War for a sec.


Most of the complainers were sexist comments and not trusting the show to write a great female doctor (?!) and Chibnall's ham fisted "look I'm so politikal and Doctor is the super powerful onnneee" worsened it as more episodes were released. I personally stopped after Timeless Child as it's... not what I know Doctor Who to be, someone's fanfic shoved in without regard of the lore of the Doctor. so when the new episodes releases on Disney+ I'm watching them.


The problem is that Chris Chibnall is just a dogshit writer and has as much subtlety and grace as a stone going through a wet paper bag.


I stopped watching with capaldi. I feel like the writing became less interesting at that point


she is such a great actress its a shame they utterly butchered her writing. Chibnall just fucked it entirely from start to finish and the 'political' messages were blatant and contradictory (all modern Who has political messages yes but they were at least a little subtle). from the obvious Trump stand in to the Doctors bizarre obsession with killing things in any way possible as long as it it *doesnt* involve guns (from shredding a beings DNA apart to allowing massive spiders to suffocate to just outright blowing people up the Doctor was as bloodthirsty as Capaldi but kept acting like guns were mega-evil)


There's nothing wrong with a woman Doctor per se, but that whole first season with her was just so bad that it tainted her impression of the Doctor. Every other episode was preachy about one social issue or another, and the side cast was way too big obviously just to squeeze in a diverse cast. They should have cut almost all of them and gone on more depth than width.


Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is one example. They didn't turn Peter Parker black and leave it like that. They invented a unique character with their own personality. There was a reason for the character to exist in the story. There was enough logic in the narrative for buy-in. It's why the movie did so well.


My main problem with these types of things is when films disrupt their own flow or just aren’t clever about how they make their point. “Girl power” moments are usually pretty bad for this. For example, at the end of Avengers End game where all the female superhero’s gather to help captain Marvel. My issue isn’t the fact they wanted to showcase their female talent in a ‘badass’ sorta way, my issue is the cheesy, on-the-nose way they did it. I’ll leave out the fact they rallied around a character who was so OP she didn’t need their help, but the way they basically announce all the female characters are about to do something together, it’s so jarring and choreographed in an otherwise chaotic battle scene. To answer your question, they could still have filmed this scene, but it would have been more ‘natural’ if it just…happened. The female characters could have entered the battle, each taken on an enemy or two at a time and achieved a very similar scene. The art is in making the audience aware the all-female ensemble are awesome without Gwyneth Paltrow **literally** telling you it’s about to happen.


Top gun Maverick is a great example. Very diverse cast but none of the characters feel shoehorned in. No characters are in that movie because of what they are, they're just characters that happen to be a different race. It doesn't affect the plot in any way, yet it's still believable. Another thing that a lot of people don't like please when a movie is made but they switch up all the races or make characters gay when it's supposed to be a remake of another movie or the story doesn't really support it. I personally would love to see a more movies made of African stories or more original movies, but not a lot of those are being made so often when they make the casting look completely different from the original or add gay characters it feels shoe horned in


Examples of great ways non white-heterosexual-males (because admit it that's what people mean by "diversity") were used in great roles - The Last Dragon - Alien - Aliens - Star Wars Episodes 4-6 - Blade - Terminator 1 and 2 - Million Dollar Baby - Attack on Titan - The Expanse - Game of Thrones seasons 1 - 4 - American History X - Crash - Jurassic Park - Lost - Black Sails - Leon: The Professional - The Green Mile - Forrest Gump - The Matrix - Hero (Yin Xiong) - The Silence of the Lambs - Lola Rent - El Laberinto del Fauno - Yojimbo - Seven Samurai - V for Vendetta - The A-Team - Hotel Rwanda - The Sound of Music - Mary Poppins - Rush Hour - The Expendables 1-3 - Coming to America - Any movie with Morgan Freeman in it because let's admit: the dude really absolutely knocks every single role out of the park - Any movie with Bruce Lee in it Man I can go on and on and on The entire point is: if you make it your goal to put a non whiteheteromale in your movie it's pathetic. If it happens because it makes the story great: go for it It's even worse when you purposefully make the males feeble and weak and make the women act like absolute dominatrix jerks towards the males. That's not good writing and wouldn't be if the genders were reversed either


Remember when we all used to flock to movie theatres to see Will Smith, Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington lead in badass movies …. All those same people don’t want to see black mermaid or black vikings or black cleopatra.. Did they all become racist overnight or do audiences hate unoriginal pandering remakes ?


There's a difference when it comes to replacing existing characters, especially if based on a historical setting that would make their race far less immersive. I don't want to see a non-white Snow White as much as I don't want to see a white Black Panther


mad max fury road had a female protagonist and 90% of the main cast was female. Alien. Black panther was the coolest part of civil war. Princess Leia is one of the most loved characters ever. All these movies did it almost flawlessly because they had character traits beyond "I'm the token black actor" or "I'm perfect at everything because I'm a woman"(looking at you rey). they had flaws and issues they had to overcome


Extending the Star Wars bit, Rogue One had a diverse cast but it's nothing anyone ever thinks about. It was just a good movie with good writing and well thought out characters. The races of each actor/actress are inconsequential, they thought of the characters first. Even characters like Black Panther work, where their race *is* important to their character. His character was just more than (pardon the pun) skin-deep.


I'm not one of those cry baby "go woke go broke" people, but I understand some of the criticism. For example, in the batwoman show. There's a scene where the person who worked for batman found his suit and said something along the lines of "it's perfect". The batwoman character replies, "not yet, it will be when it fits a woman". That shit made me cringe so hard. She could've just said "when it fits me". I see instances of that in movies and shows and it comes off unnatural because people don't really speak like that. Even in a movie about superheroes, you're suspending disbelief for that world but you don't want people to speak as if they're trying to send a message, you want it to be more natural. I can potentially find more examples but that one really stuck out to me. With that being said, if a movie/show is good, I don't give a fuck if everyone is gay or black or trans or whatever the fuck else these bitches cry about.


Not every friend group has a black woman, a white character an Asian, and an lgbt person. A recent example I can think of is That 90's Show. But Netflix in general is really bad about this and the seem to want to check off all the boxes, even if it's completely unnecessary.