#1 12-06-2017 5:16 pm

Registered: 12-05-2013
Posts: 103

11 Second Club Has A Race Problem

I couldn't help but notice something while viewing the winning entries for November's competition; for an audio that quite obviously featured two black men with African accents (well, one was trying anyway) there was a suspicious lack of black *characters* present in the winning entries. I count precisely 2 in the top 10 out of a possible 20, the rest were either turned into animals (which has a disturbing implication) or were flat-out whitewashed.

My take-away is that animators are having a difficult time either acknowledging black characters or with identifying with them. Or, perhaps more perniciously (and likely more rarely), don't want to.

(Even the source of the audio is highly questionable. "Coming to America", despite much of its humour not being tied directly to race, may not have been a great pick in the first place given its dated and troubling depiction of Africa.)

I suspect that part of the issue is practical; comparably, there aren't that many rigs of black characters of a high quality and appeal (neither of the 2 black characters in the top 10 were 3D rigs). But that doesn't explain it all, and I think we need to look inward and ask ourselves some difficult questions.

Please note that I'm not accusing anyone in the club of *conscious* racism. I don't think a single person here is deliberately excluding black faces from the competition or anything nefarious like that. But after this month it's pretty clear that we have an issue of racial bias that we need to be more cognisant of going forward.



#2 12-06-2017 10:40 pm

From: California
Registered: 10-28-2011
Posts: 1117
Power Voter

Re: 11 Second Club Has A Race Problem

I think you raise a good point.

I used the Alex rig this month (white character) and left all the materials default and focused on learning the acting and animation process, and I in no way, shape, or form meant to exclude any race and simply found a free rig that worked on my current computer (Malcolm rig was buggy for some reason).

There should be more free, high quality rigs to represent all races. People want good rigs to help them do well with their animation so they lean towards free ones like Malcolm made by experts, and while Malcolm can be modified to look like anything, more rigs specifically designed to be something other than caucasian from the get go would be a good thing. Simply hue shifting the material might have been enough if I had been more conscious of this, but even then the initial model was designed with white features and it shows.

You also raise a good point about the rigs used in the winning entries. After reading your post I scrolled through the archives and realized the majority of the winners feature white characters.

I don't think it's conscious bias, but it is an effect of having nothing but white rigs to choose from. More diversity in the rigging and distribution can help. It also is good to talk about this stuff, so thanks for calling attention to it. Maybe the admins will keep this in mind and choose clips with good representations of people of all races.



#3 12-07-2017 10:34 pm

From: Norway
Registered: 10-26-2009
Posts: 4
Power Voter

Re: 11 Second Club Has A Race Problem

To be honest, when I made my scene for november, I didnt think about that at all. I just wanted to try and make appealing characters, and it was fun to play around with the animal human design. I don't think i have seen the movie.



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