Nearly the opposite of nonprofit, actually

Has it occurred to anybody but me that it’s out-and-out weird for there to be a movie (or three) called “Pirates of the Caribbean” in which not a single black person appears?

Or are they talking about some alternate Caribbean, from a long time ago in a galaxy far far away?



3 Responses to “Nearly the opposite of nonprofit, actually”

  1. Nonprofiteer Says:

    From a knowledgeable but publicity-shy reader:

    Hi Nonprofiteer,

    Full disclosure: I have not seen the third movie. Request: come on, don’t post this with my name on it. It’s too nerdy.

    I wanted to let you know that there are indeed black people in the PotC movies – even some of the pirates and certainly at least one important woman native to the Caribbean – but the reality is that the movie’s characters are wealthy English aristocrats and actual pirates. The English colonists of the era did have black slaves but they were mostly doing agricultural work at the time and thus wouldn’t have been in the manor houses with the aristocrats and soldiers. In their houses, it was still the era of indentured servitude, the best way for poor whites from England to make their way to the Americas. There were few black sailors and pirates. The #1 minority that should be seen in the scope of the movies are actually Asians – East Asia had the most notorious pirates of the time.

    It’s context, really. The locations the movie takes place in just simply weren’t ones you’d see a black person in, for the most part.

  2. Nonprofiteer Says:

    I’m glad to stand corrected, both on the presence of people of African descent and on the verisimilitude of their absence. I’ve been on the alert for racism in blockbusters ever since I realized the second Star Wars trilogy was a meditation on how much better life would be if the South had won the American Civil War; but don’t want to be tarring (so to speak) my hero Johnny Depp and Co. with the same brush if it’s not necessary.

  3. Emily Says:

    I am not at all ashamed to stand up and be counted as a film geek (as I’m already in this sphere as a computer geek, so why not…?), so feel free to approve this comment with my own name…

    Anon, film 3 does feature a lot of Asian pirates, and (alleged) Asian locations. It even features a council of pirate lords, a considerable number of which are Asian (there are also English, Scottish, French and Keith Richards).

    (This, however, did not save the film from its convoluted plot and interminable boringness. But that’s just my opinion.)

    The second film also featured Asians making up about half of Sparrow’s crew; although alas, they were all killed by cannibals in the first half of the film, conveniently leaving all the more Western pirates to go on and be the heroes…


    /end geekery.

    PS. Apologies, Nonprofiteer, for the lateness of the comment; I’m catching up on the feedreader after a couple of months abroad.

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