What's wrong with this picture?

This is a frame from the movie "Exodus: Gods and Kings"

@Pat Mmm, I've tried looking up a few potential issues but they all checked out. So I don't know what's wrong with the picture. Tell us? :)

@Pat Well, when I saw the picture my line of thinking went along like this:

- Did scale mail exist back then? *Searches* Mm, yeah, that's certainly possible. It was mentioned in a reign before this movie was set in.

- Okay, so, did they have those kind of trumpets back then? Yeah, there were even Egyptian drawings depicting that style trumpet. It's just that the ones with valves existed around 1800s. The medieval type trumpets already existed since Egyptian times. They're apparently called buisine.

- Ok fine. So, hairstyle. Is that normal? Yeah, the usual Egyptian style is often bald shaved (against heat and lice), and they often wore wigs. But they did have external influence, in particular from the Romans (almost typed Romulans there, lol), so that isn't really unthinkable either.

Am I overthinking this? :)


You're on the right track. It's something that doesn't fit with the historical facts.

@Pat The only one I can still think of is: Too many white people there? Other than that I'm out of ideas. I'm not knowledgeable enough to figure out if the decorations are all period-appropriate.


That's it! The ethnicities of the actors playing the lead roles -- those characters who have the power -- are played by people whose backgrounds are Welch, British, Scottish, Italian, etc., while the menial characters are played by people who actually look Egyptian.

This sort of thing happens all the time in Hollywood movies, but it mostly goes unnoticed. But when people of color play historical figures who were white, like with the play "Hamilton", then everybody notices it.

@Pat It doesn't surprise me for a Hollywood-movie to have mostly white people in main roles. I mean, it's Hollywood. Almost all the western world thinks Jesus was white too, so the views are already warped.

I don't know Hamilton, but I kind of recognize your last paragraph... when women play roles which were usually filled by men (Thor, Ghostbusters, Dr Who), alllllll the damn articles talked about that as well instead of about the story or whatever else. :P It's just dumb.


The use of the Glaive style weapon would place this in the New Kingdom Era (~1500BC - 1000BC)

Ancient egypt was neither predominately black nor white, they were egyptian, including the slaves. Blacks and whites of course had visited the land but would have been an extreme minority. Therefore most of the characters here, who seem either white or black, would be out of place in any time period.

Spears were not particularly wide spread enough to be the common weapon of a palace guard either. They were used mainly to hunt and rarely (though not absent from) the military.


@freemo @trinsec

DNA evidence shows that Ramses III had Y chromosomal haplogroup E1b1a1-M2, and ancient Egyptians in general had E-M2, which originated in western Africa.

Also, contemporary paintings from the time show that people were dark-skinned.


That is not even remotely good evidence for the black egyptian hypothesis (which by the way has been rejected by nearly the entierty of the scientific community).

Whites have tons of genes originating in africa. The skin tone itself that is typical of egyptians evolved simultaneously throughout the world among anyone at a similar latitude, and is much lighter than the majority of africa.

Regardless of our personal opinions on the theory the fact is it has been overwhelmingly rejected by those more educated ont he subject than us and with very good cause.

To quote wikipedia on the matter:

Mainstream scholars reject the notion that Egypt was a white or black civilization; they maintain that, despite the phenotypic diversity of Ancient and present-day Egyptians, applying modern notions of black or white races to ancient Egypt is anachronistic.[2][3][4] In addition, scholars reject the notion, implicit in the notion of a black or white Egypt hypothesis, that Ancient Egypt was racially homogeneous; instead, skin color varied between the peoples of Lower Egypt, Upper Egypt, and Nubia, who in various eras rose to power in Ancient Egypt. Moreover, "Most scholars believe that Egyptians in antiquity looked pretty much as they look today, with a gradation of darker shades toward the Sudan".[5] Within Egyptian history, despite multiple foreign invasions, the demographics were not shifted by large migrations.


@freemo @trinsec

But my point really was that racism in movies goes largely unnoticed until it is pointed out.

Black people, if they are included at all in films, are typically portrayed as characters who have menial jobs, carry things for white people, use substandard grammar, are depicted as being mean to the protagonist, etc., etc., etc...


There tends to be racism all over the place in movies, no arguments there. While blacks are often the target of said racism so are whites, and so are many others.

The difference I find, for better or worse, is that the racism towards blacks is usually subconscious (not that that makes it excusable) whereas that towards whites tends to be intentional and acceptable.

That said I did some statistical analysis years back when people were debating inequality in the grammys. Turns out blacks are actually **over** represented in movies and especially at the grammys but asians were exceptionally over represented in american movies yet underrepresented in grammy awards.


@Pat @freemo
I only know that there was a great diversity among pharaohs. There were Nubians (around 700BC-ish) and even Greek Macedonians. So, black or white wouldn't have mattered terribly much for the Egyptians methinks.

@trinsec @freemo

Science rejects the concept of race entirely. Race is a social construct.


Not true. Race is a well established scientific idea and well studied and defined. What is true is that in science it doesnt much resemble how we use it in every day language. There is no "black" and "white" race, but there is race.



You can find individual exceptions among pharaohs and even the Egyptian culture, sure. But these are exceptions and not the norm.


@freemo @trinsec

Historically, science tried to categorize by race, but now that has been rejected. They study specific phenotypes and trace the origins and migration of those genes.

You are right about the variation of skin color. Melinen content varies by latitude (or more precisely by insolation) and takes about 10,000-30,000 years to change in a population (from what I remember). The haplogroup I mentioned originated about 30,000 years ago in west Africa, so likely ancient Egyptian's skin was lighter than in central or west Africa.

But ancient Egyptians (<~1500 BC) definitely were not Welch or any other ethnicity north of Rome, which is the ethnicity of the actors playing those parts.


Entierly agree, and I stated as much in my original comment. The white authority figures in the image are just as invalid historically as the black subservient characters on the outset. Neither are of a race that reflects the egyptian race.

As for your comment on how science has changed with regards to race, thats fairly accurate.In the past race used to be seen as a significant genetic difference to the point that it borderlines on being seen as almost entirely different species. Today race is still a very real scientific construct but as you say it recognizes that genes are far more intermixed. In science race is usually more in line with the idea of subspecies than a species but even then we are more integrated than most subspecies really, but valid all the same.

The main example that I think makes it obvious that race is a legitimate, objective, scientific idea is the fact that if you see someone who has a relatively pure African descent we can identify that via a blood test which will almost always show an overwhelming correlation to genes we expect of Africans. The fact that ones geographical descent can be identified and verified with accuracy through a blood test is pretty solid proof that race is a very real idea.


@freemo @trinsec

It not just the numbers of black people in film, it's how they are represented.

Rarely is a black person cast for a leading character who is, for example a Wall Street banker or in a position of authority or dominance over a character played by a white person. If a black actor plays a boss, it typically is a "mean boss" or one who is in opposition to the protagonist.

Or black people are rappers, janitors, criminals, slaves, soldiers, boxers, cops, etc. Or they are killed off early in the film. Even black extras are slighted in films, often placed towards the edge of the frame or blurred out or a white extra walks in front them. It's rampant in Hollywood, and it's not just unconscious bias -- it intentional.

Pick your favorite five films and look at them though that lens. You'll see.


I agree black people can be cast in a racist way.

But what I was referring to wasn't just the numbers they appear in films. Not only do they play leading roles more often than their occurrence in the general population would suggest, but they also win more grammys than their percentage in the population.

So while I wont disagree that racism is often applied to how they are cast, they are also favored more so than other races when awarding them, suggesting the opposite of racism, favoritism at that level. Asians experience this even more so.


@freemo @Pat
Sounds like 'reverse racism', which is still racism. Even if I get told it isn't.


I agree "its still racism". It is only reverse racism if the racism was done explicitly with the intention of creating equal opportunity. In other words, if you create disadvantage for whites specifically to help even the opportunities between whites and minorities then that would be reverse racism.

If that isnt the intent then its just plain old racism/favoritism.


@freemo @Pat @trinsec i notice this more in modern films than older ones. 80's and 90's stuff i used to watch the black folk were regularly equal to white folk incl. wearing suits and being well spoken.

there seems to be some modern thing where its taboo to have a well dressed well spoken black person unless their role is to bitch about racism the entire series.


Depending on the movie I can see that actually. Though I think 80s wokeness was just a better wokeness, you had 80s shows that were just plain old racist too which would be the non-woke side of 80s I guess.

Consider any movie with eddie murphy in it for example. He was usually well spoken and had some degree of respect. Switching places is a good example that kinda hits it on the nose where its even commentary on this very thing.

@Pat @trinsec

@freemo @icedquinn @trinsec

Trading Places was a kind of backhanded racial awareness -- Murphy's character was still "poor black" while Aykroyd's character was the "rich white banker".

And for every Trading Places, there five films like Top Gun, which was horribly racist.


In trading places I think the whole point was "hey there is racism so black people are often poor as a result, but they are just as capable of being rich, lets switch them and prove it"... it was literally commentary on the very thing we are discussing.

I dont remember Top Gun well enough to recall the racism in it, though I dont doubt it might be there.

My expiernce with 80's movies is that when it did good black-positive stuff it wasnt at the expense of whites. There was little racism towards whites and a good deal of positive towards blacks (though as you point out plenty of racism towards them). I think this was a good direction to head in.

Today we may have more black-positive movies, though it feels like the numbers are the ame, but the racism towards whites is off the charts and I think that approach has just set us back on the whole race issue overall.

@icedquinn @trinsec

@icedquinn @freemo @Pat Might be why I like watching Murder She Wrote. Black people are portrayed as normal people, even some in top positions. Might also be why I love Deep Space Nine... Nobody can beat The Sisko!

@trinsec @freemo @s8n

there are definitely social engineering issues at play.

there is a problem too i forget the name of but it has to do with black communities for some reason identifying with the grotesque version of themselves and then getting upset at the idea that 'you do not have to be gangster trash, you can actually be well spoken and well dressed and not do crimes and everyone else is ok with this' it's a weird thing and ... some of it is sponsored?

i've seen bands drop their contracts and break up and in interviews talk about how their label would say bizzare things to them like "your album needs to be more black" and the understanding was they needed to switch to gangster rap.

in the 80s and 90s you had a lot more Will Smith and a lot less busting caps in hos.


@icedquinn, I think this has more to do with the rise in popularity of urban culture. Take Kingsman or The Gentlemen as examples, we can see that the new generation is portrayed as ghetto regardless of their ethnicity, while the elders are all well-dressed and well-spoken. Cc: @freemo, @Pat and @trinsec

@freemo @trinsec

Well, awards are for show -- "See, we're not racist..." Look at distribution of salaries and see if there racism in Hollywood. Also, if you look at actual numbers of impressions, i.e., the number of positive black characters and the size the of audience they get it much smaller than the racist depictions. When a positive film somehow gets past writters, the casting agency, the director, editors, etc., then the distribution company will sabotage the film by advertising to the wrong audience (or not promote it all) or they will put spoilers in the trailers, or somehow mess it up so fewer people see that positive image.


I'm talking about the best actor award mostly. Yes to some extent its given to the show, but also it can be awarded to any of the actors in said show.

But even so if we are saying that shows with mainline black actors are more likely to get awards, and thus the black actors more likely to get awards, then it still suggests some degree of favoritism.

The rest of your points are really harder for me to measure objectively... Im not sure if thats true or not, i hold no opinion. I guess we could look at the current list of movies at the box offices and count how many have negative vs positive black leading roles.


@Pat @freemo @trinsec are nice bosses a thing in movies in general? The only movie i can think of with a nice boss the boss i potrayed by a black female.

@travis @freemo @trinsec @cnx @icedquinn

I meant that the movie awards are a kind of tokenism, to attempt to show to the world that Hollywood isn't racist, but when it comes to actually changing things in the films, actually showing positive images of black people in movies, filmmakers generally don't do that.

Racism in Hollywood has changed over the years. Older films were more explicit about it, but newer films are more subliminal about it. They use some the techniques I mentioned early and many others.

It also waxes and wanes over time. During and immediately after the very rough times of the 60s civil rights conflicts, Hollywood made an attempt to clean up their act, but that quickly faded away. During the Obama administration there were a lot of really ugly, subliminally racist films that were released. Now following the BLM movement, there are better films just being released.

Overall, Hollywood has a long way to go to get anywhere close equitable treatment of people of color.

@travis @freemo @trinsec @cnx @icedquinn

Go back and look at that image I posted -- a bunch of white people in positions of power, while black people are in the background, off to the side of the frame, carrying spears, playing a horn (stereotypical images). This is the more subliminal racism you see in films these days.

@Pat @freemo @trinsec @cnx @icedquinn if its suppose to be cleopatra and mark anthony its rather accurate to the situation, they were greek despots ruling in a foreign land that happens to be in africa. This still doesnt repair the lack of quality in your comment related to bosses. Bosses in general are potrayed in a bad light in movies, It might be tokenism and racism to make the black boss good in all honesty.

@travis @icedquinn @cnx @freemo @trinsec

I mentioned about a dozen different techniques and stereotypes, not just the boss thing. The point is to pay attention when you watch films. See how black people and other people of color are portrayed. If you really make a point of seeing it, you will see it.

People who are color blind can't see racism.

@Pat @icedquinn @cnx @freemo @trinsec no one is actually color blind, color blind is just a 90s method to dismiss accusations of racism. But I am rather tired of accusations of racism. They never end and equality wont end them. People are racist by nature. How they act on those feelings is up to them, and pointing out racism in a machine designed to control and subvert people no matter their skin color in the name of mammon is sort of funny. People of all colors and creeds starve on the streets and have lost all access to help and community, but what we really need to worry about is how many black oscar winners there are and how the ultra rich feel about the jobs they get.

@travis @icedquinn @cnx @freemo @trinsec

I agree that inequality of opportunity and disrespect in general is bad and that we need to work at eliminating all prejudice.

I disagree about racism being natural. Recognition of in-group and out-group members may be part of evolutionary psychology (I'd still need to see more evidence of that), but racism, that's taught to people over time. Just defining what characteristics constitute "race", is something that is taught to people starting at a young age.

@Pat @icedquinn @cnx @freemo @trinsec but its a habit beyond being fixed with basic education. People can grow up naturally hating people based on any trait from a singular experience.
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