Not Gonna Make It: Characters of Color in Sci-Fi, Action, and Horror

Many years ago, I was part of a loose band of ne’er-do-wells from Minnesota. We all were women, men, Queer people of color and Native people who are/were nerds. We dubbed ourselves Nerds of Color, or NOCs. I vaguely recall a conversation back then, I don’t even remember with who. It was about how non-white characters always die first in American films. And I remember watching this shitty film called Deep Blue Sea starring LL Cool J, and thinking to myself: whoever made this film is playing with the idea that the Black guy is going to die first.

Good for Uncle L, but had things really improved for characters of color overall?

The Minnesota NOCs decided to rent out a room at Convergence and devote our room to being a haven for nerds of color and allies.  I took it upon myself to watch a bunch of movies and mark the time when a character of color got bumped off. Then I made a bunch of “cards” (featuring a bloody stopwatch designed by Douglas Kearney, a nerd of color in his own right), which we posted in the hallway outside of our room.  People always asked me to make copies for them or post them somewhere on the internet, but this was back before the big explosion of things like tumblr, pinterest, etc.

But then Keith created this wonderful new site for NOCs from all over, and coincidentally I taught myself the basics of how to make a tumblr for a different project. Then, I remembered that I had made these old things. I dug ’em up — and here they are at last! In time for Halloween, no less! Check out the Not Gonna Make It tumblr!

Of course, this set is by no means exhaustive — and I didn’t arrive at any definitive conclusions. This was just a one-time project.

Some of you may say, “you can’t include Jenette Goldstein because she’s a white woman playing a Latina!” That’s why this project is about CHARACTERS of color, not people of color.

Am I going to make new ones? Maybe. I’m a father now, so I don’t have as much free time to be a smart ass as I use to.

But maybe.

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