The film industry’s problems with representing people of color in mainstream movies are well known and documented, but it can still be shocking when someone finds a way to display them in a new and meaningful way. Cue actor Dylan Marron—known to podcasting fans as Carlos the scientist from the popular Welcome To Night Vale—who recently began posting videos on his YouTube channel of every line spoken by people of color in various popular films. And, surprise, surprise, it turns out that they’re not very long videos at all.
Marron—who won his role on Night Vale after writer Jeffrey Cranor grew tired of having a straight white man (that is, himself) play a gay person of color—has posted nine “Every Single Word Spoken” videos so far, including American Hustle (0:54), 500 Days Of Summer (0:30), and Spike Jonze’s Oscar winner, Her (0:46). He also has a few videos, like Noah and Into The Woods, that simply cut immediately to black, entirely devoid of non-white roles.
It’s not just the brevity of the lines, but the sort of characters they come from—bus drivers, secretaries, office workers—that helps to make Marron’s point. It’s a bracing little reminder of how far we all still have to go, which will presumably be nicely illustrated when someone inevitably retaliates with a cut of all the lines said by white people in Friday or a Tyler Perry movie.