Over three-quarters of all speaking characters are white.
Excerpts from full study:
Prevalence. Across 100 top-grossing films of 2012, only 10.8% of speaking characters are Black, 4.2% are Hispanic, 5% are Asian, and 3.6% are from other (or mixed race) ethnicities. Just over three-quarters of all speaking characters are White (76.3%). These trends are relatively stable, as little deviation is observed across the 5-year sample.
We also look at the total percentage of Black speaking characters per film in 2012. Almost 40% of all 2012 movies portray Black characters as less than 5% of the speaking cast. Only 9% of films show Black characters as 12-14.9% of the cast, which dovetails the 2012 US Census percentage (13.1%). A full 70% of the 2012 films feature Black characters in a percentage below that of the US Census.
The percentages of female speaking characters who are Hispanic (33.9%), Black (34.6%), and Asian (34.8%) are greater than the percentages of White females (28.8%) and females from other ethnicities (16.1%). Although we see more women from certain racial/ethnic categories, compared to their male counterparts, females in every group are still under represented.
Portrayal. Hispanic females (41.1%, 39.3%) are more likely to be depicted in sexy attire and partially naked than Black (31.8%, 30.5%) or White females (32.8%, 32.3%). Asian females (15.7%, 15.7%) are far less likely to be sexualized. Domestic roles did not vary for females by race/ethnicity, but differences emerged for males. Hispanic males are more likely to be depicted as fathers and relational partners than males in all other racial/ethnic groups. Black males, on the other hand, are the least likely to be depicted in these roles.
Behind the Camera. Across 565 directors of the top-grossing films from 2007-2012, only 33 (5.8%) are Black. This translates into a ratio of over 16 non Black directors working to every 1 Black director. There are only 2 Black females who directed a film across the 500 movies in the sample. Some of the sample films are helmed by the same individual. Counting directors only once, 22 unique Black directors appear across the 500-film sample.
When a non Black director helms a picture, only 9.9% of the on screen speaking characters are Black. When a Black director is in this leadership role, 52.6% of all speaking characters on screen are Black. This represents a 42.7% increase.
Here you go, all you fact checkers and number lovers - it’s right here for you, presented nice and neat in percentages and figures so you can see what we are always trying to get you to understand through our own words.