The Big Picture: Skin Deep

JDKJ

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DUKENUK3M said:
JDKJ said:
DUKENUK3M said:
My great grandfather was a sharecropper.
And? My great-grandfather was a circus clown but I can't juggle three bowling pins to save my life. What's your point?
Life is hard is hard for a lot of people. I'm not as impressed as you seem to think I ought to be.
And that's your point?
 

SOCIALCONSTRUCT

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JDKJ said:
The point was made in response to the erroneous statement that "slavery was more severe than Jim Crow." ^^
It clearly didn't stop them from moving to the cities or other parts of the country or starting the civil rights movement.
 

metalmanky306

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JDKJ said:
If you're an outta work actor, I'd imagine getting cast for any role, for any reason, sound gooder than ************.
might wanna work on your grammar - i can't even tell if you were trying to insult me or not there... but who ever said this guy was an out of work actor? from what i hear he was already pretty popular before in a tv show or something. and i don't know about anyone else but i, personally, like to think i have a little more dignity than to be okay with being cast "for any reason", least of all one as cheap as that.

at any rate, you really haven't answered my question.
 

DSQ

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Bobic said:
Is it ok that I, a British person, find the casting of a nordic god as black a bit daft because I am without all that slave owning history guilt? (Although I am sure Idris is awesome in Thor as he is a great actor. I saw his BBC series Luther and he kicked ass, you should all go watch it now)
lol, someone hasn't read up on their "history of the slave trade" textbook! xD

Hint: we brits we heavly involed, even if there were few to no slaves living in the uk.

But yeah so I kinda agree with Bob, which is weird for me, I uess you kinda underestimate how few role models in films and tv you have as a black kid growing up in scotland.

And as silly as it seems now that i'm older, these things kinda matter.
 

SOCIALCONSTRUCT

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JDKJ said:
DUKENUK3M said:
JDKJ said:
Actually, what I said from the very get-go is "slavery, Jim Crow, etc." Which speaks to a historical continuum that extends beyond slavery (the Jim Crow era post-dates the era of slavery) and one that arguably continues to this day. It doesn't neatly stop at just slavery nor did anything I said attempt to limit it to just slavery. You're the one attempting to end the history of racial oppression and marginalization at slavery. So you can neatly say "that was yesterday, it's got nothing to do with me today." And, frankly, if that's the best you can come up with, I can't be bothered discussing the issue with you.
There are actually two seperate discussions here.

Discussion #1: should the severity of the SRs, SBs, or JRs be applied to JBs

In this discussion, set aside for a moment that I don't take responsibility for slavery or Jim Crow (see discussion #2).

Slavery and Jim Crow are two distinct things. When you describe people who were responsible for slavery and people responsible for Jim Crow, you are describing 2 different things, even if you believe both sets to have the same contents: all white people for example. Likewise the same applies when you describe people who benefit from slavery and Jim Crow. All together we end with four different sets that may not necessarily have the same contents and their definitions remain distinct even if they do have the same contents. There are of course overlaps between these sets.

The 4 sets:

SR = Responsible for slavery
SB = Benefited from slavery
JR = Responsible for Jim Crow
JB = Benefited from Jim Crow

It should obvious both that it is worse to do something bad than to inadvertently benefit from something bad and that slavery was more severe than Jim Crow. I would also contend that SRs and SBs represented a minority of whites in their time and they are also now long dead.

You claim that all white Americans are JBs and let's assume that is the case. The racial debt of JBs should limited specifically to being JBs and should not extend to those other more severe groups of which the JBs are not members. If who we are defines our racial debt then definition of our racial debt should remain static for the duration of the argument. You cannot, on the one hand, take a very loose definition of the racial debt to net as large a group as possible and then, on the other hand, take a very harsh of definition of the racial debt to come down on said group as hard a possible.

Discussion #2: are all white Americans JBs?

I'm not attempting to, in your words, "end history". I'm simply stating that I am not responsble for it. Everyone is born with a balance of 0. You say that I was born with this debt, it seems nuts to me. Would my children be born with the debt too? Grandchildren? Just for having white skin and being born in America?
I'm almost sorry that you took such pains to make a non-existent point. Aren't you aware that the enactment of Jim Crow laws by the South was an outgrowth of and a direct reaction to the abolition of slavery and was intended to keep the newly free slaves in their place? Slavery and Jim Crow aren't at all "two distinct things." No more than sunrise is distinct from sunset.
Slavery and Jim Crow, related or same thing?

Related, dumb question, full stop.

Was Jim Crow worse than slavery?

I think slavery was worse. But independent of whether slavery or Jim Crow was worse, my original argument still stands. JBs should not be held accountable for groups that they are not apart of, SRs, SBs, and JRs.
 

RBGmachine

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Too true. If you have see"Birth of a Nation" you see a lot of African American Actors in roles that where horribly demeaning. Ever since then movies / games / comic books etc have been "white-centric" and there just aren't enough positive and good roles for minorities.
 

JDKJ

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DUKENUK3M said:
JDKJ said:
DUKENUK3M said:
JDKJ said:
Actually, what I said from the very get-go is "slavery, Jim Crow, etc." Which speaks to a historical continuum that extends beyond slavery (the Jim Crow era post-dates the era of slavery) and one that arguably continues to this day. It doesn't neatly stop at just slavery nor did anything I said attempt to limit it to just slavery. You're the one attempting to end the history of racial oppression and marginalization at slavery. So you can neatly say "that was yesterday, it's got nothing to do with me today." And, frankly, if that's the best you can come up with, I can't be bothered discussing the issue with you.
There are actually two seperate discussions here.

Discussion #1: should the severity of the SRs, SBs, or JRs be applied to JBs

In this discussion, set aside for a moment that I don't take responsibility for slavery or Jim Crow (see discussion #2).

Slavery and Jim Crow are two distinct things. When you describe people who were responsible for slavery and people responsible for Jim Crow, you are describing 2 different things, even if you believe both sets to have the same contents: all white people for example. Likewise the same applies when you describe people who benefit from slavery and Jim Crow. All together we end with four different sets that may not necessarily have the same contents and their definitions remain distinct even if they do have the same contents. There are of course overlaps between these sets.

The 4 sets:

SR = Responsible for slavery
SB = Benefited from slavery
JR = Responsible for Jim Crow
JB = Benefited from Jim Crow

It should obvious both that it is worse to do something bad than to inadvertently benefit from something bad and that slavery was more severe than Jim Crow. I would also contend that SRs and SBs represented a minority of whites in their time and they are also now long dead.

You claim that all white Americans are JBs and let's assume that is the case. The racial debt of JBs should limited specifically to being JBs and should not extend to those other more severe groups of which the JBs are not members. If who we are defines our racial debt then definition of our racial debt should remain static for the duration of the argument. You cannot, on the one hand, take a very loose definition of the racial debt to net as large a group as possible and then, on the other hand, take a very harsh of definition of the racial debt to come down on said group as hard a possible.

Discussion #2: are all white Americans JBs?

I'm not attempting to, in your words, "end history". I'm simply stating that I am not responsble for it. Everyone is born with a balance of 0. You say that I was born with this debt, it seems nuts to me. Would my children be born with the debt too? Grandchildren? Just for having white skin and being born in America?
I'm almost sorry that you took such pains to make a non-existent point. Aren't you aware that the enactment of Jim Crow laws by the South was an outgrowth of and a direct reaction to the abolition of slavery and was intended to keep the newly free slaves in their place? Slavery and Jim Crow aren't at all "two distinct things." No more than sunrise is distinct from sunset.
Slavery and Jim Crow, related or same thing?

Related, dumb question, full stop.

Was Jim Crow worse than slavery?

I think slavery was worse. But independent of whether slavery or Jim Crow was worse, my original argument still stands. JBs should not be held accountable for groups that they are not apart of, SRs, SBs, and JRs.
Next time, draw yourself some Venn diagrams to help you make your non-point.
 

DSQ

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Tinybear said:
And yet again, if you're American and replying to this, understand that the situation in Europe is quite opposite of the one in the US. Americans screaming "POLITICAL CORRECTNESS" are usually just jerks, brainwashed fox news watchers, or racists. In Europe, there is more of a 20/80 blend of racists and actually concerned people. (well, that depends a bit on definitions of racism and the location).

I am not a racist, but I'm not a believer in the whole hippie philosophy that "everyone can change" either. If a person is raised in a culture where beating the wife is a normal thing, and having absolute authority over the family is self explanatory, I doubt that person will change at age 30 from being a violent semi-psychopath to a friendly wife respecting individual just because we show him that it's what we want him to become.
Tell that to Jimmy Boyle.

He is a scottish artist who when to prison for murder and when he came out became a respected artist.

There is a saying that: "if you fly with the crows you get tarred with the same brush"
witch means that if live around bad people you will get blamed for there actions. This is a really good way of analysing your little essay there.

You say that forced immgration you done all sorts of bad things to you city. My dad is an Immagration lawyer and TRUST ME immagration is never'forced'. You are implying that the higher crime rate among somalian and middle easten immagrants. This may be true, although crime rates are a flawed way of measuring such a thing.

If we went by you standards and stopped all immagration you would be punnishing all those who need to come or those who have done nothing wrong.

An exaple is in my community, Black carrbian in the UK, we have one of the highest crime rates and lowest schools scores. From what your saying the government in my country should just give up on people like me since we are all stupid apparently. But because they didn't I got into University.

If we judge a whole group of people by the action of a few, everyone loses.
 

RanceJustice

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RBGmachine said:
Too true. If you have see"Birth of a Nation" you see a lot of African American Actors in roles that where horribly demeaning. Ever since then movies / games / comic books etc have been "white-centric" and there just aren't enough positive and good roles for minorities.
You do know that Birth of a Nation was originally a silent film from the 20s played by blackface actors, right? Its nowhere near a metric that should be used to say media is "white-centric". I'll contend that today media is multicultural in its truest form and this is a good thing. Exemplary non-white actors have all sorts of roles over their careers. Some of them are specifically written for a black actor, but many don't matter. Lawrence Fishburne's portrayal of Morpheus in "The Matrix" was not race-driven, nor was his early role as Cowboy Curtis on PeeWee's Playhouse. However, he's also played thugs and (typically more suave than hood) gangsters. Morgan Freeman was best known for Driving Miss Daisy making his early career, but his talent has landed him many prestigious roles, including that of God himself! As I said before, there are a lot of black actors who take sterotypical roles because they're basically character actors with limited range or because they want the money - same as any other race.

We're not at a place where media as a whole is "white focused". There's more access than ever to multicultural media. The difference is perspective.
 

swampus

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bob, you're normally a smart guy. But when it comes to race your IQ tends to drop a significant number of points.

I agree that there is no harm done with a race swap in a movie about a comic book character, especially when it turns out to have been good casting. But to say that white people have no right to a voice on subjects of race swapping is an incredibly backwards way of thinking. White people already have a disenfranchised voice when it comes to racial pride and to attempt crushing it further is oppressive and bullyish in nature.
 

JDKJ

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metalmanky306 said:
JDKJ said:
If you're an outta work actor, I'd imagine getting cast for any role, for any reason, sound gooder than ************.
might wanna work on your grammar - i can't even tell if you were trying to insult me or not there... but who ever said this guy was an out of work actor? from what i hear he was already pretty popular before in a tv show or something. and i don't know about anyone else but i, personally, like to think i have a little more dignity than to be okay with being cast "for any reason", least of all one as cheap as that.

at any rate, you really haven't answered my question.
Actually, I thought I had answered your question. Lemme try to make it more clear: the point is to ensure equitable access to work.

You know, this whole discussion isn't really about Idris Elba. Not on any level other than the specifics of the case.

And you can live on your pride all you want. Dignity ain't never paid my bills.
 

JDKJ

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RanceJustice said:
RBGmachine said:
Too true. If you have see"Birth of a Nation" you see a lot of African American Actors in roles that where horribly demeaning. Ever since then movies / games / comic books etc have been "white-centric" and there just aren't enough positive and good roles for minorities.
You do know that Birth of a Nation was originally a silent film from the 20s played by blackface actors, right? Its nowhere near a metric that should be used to say media is "white-centric". I'll contend that today media is multicultural in its truest form and this is a good thing. Exemplary non-white actors have all sorts of roles over their careers. Some of them are specifically written for a black actor, but many don't matter. Lawrence Fishburne's portrayal of Morpheus in "The Matrix" was not race-driven, nor was his early role as Cowboy Curtis on PeeWee's Playhouse. However, he's also played thugs and (typically more suave than hood) gangsters. Morgan Freeman was best known for Driving Miss Daisy making his early career, but his talent has landed him many prestigious roles, including that of God himself! As I said before, there are a lot of black actors who take sterotypical roles because they're basically character actors with limited range or because they want the money - same as any other race.

We're not at a place where media as a whole is "white focused". There's more access than ever to multicultural media. The difference is perspective.
Hollywood isn't a very welcoming place for black actors. "Hollywood Shuffle" is, I think, as poignant a piece of social commentary now as it was when it was released more than 20 years ago.

A good example: HBO's "The Wire." You know why "The Wire" never enjoyed the same success as "The Sopranos" despite being just as good -- if not better -- on all counts? Simply because it had too many black actors in the cast -- or, put differently, not enough white actors. This was revealed in focus group testing prior to airing the first season. On the results of that testing and by and large, it would appear that Americans (and I use the term in its broadest possible sense) aren't prepared to give No. 1 status to a series with a predominantly black cast. Nope. That ain't happening. All those black faces make them uncomfortable.
 

RanceJustice

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DSQ said:
Tinybear said:
And yet again, if you're American and replying to this, understand that the situation in Europe is quite opposite of the one in the US. Americans screaming "POLITICAL CORRECTNESS" are usually just jerks, brainwashed fox news watchers, or racists. In Europe, there is more of a 20/80 blend of racists and actually concerned people. (well, that depends a bit on definitions of racism and the location).

I am not a racist, but I'm not a believer in the whole hippie philosophy that "everyone can change" either. If a person is raised in a culture where beating the wife is a normal thing, and having absolute authority over the family is self explanatory, I doubt that person will change at age 30 from being a violent semi-psychopath to a friendly wife respecting individual just because we show him that it's what we want him to become.
Tell that to Jimmy Boyle.

He is a scottish artist who when to prison for murder and when he came out became a respected artist.

There is a saying that: "if you fly with the crows you get tarred with the same brush"
witch means that if live around bad people you will get blamed for there actions. This is a really good way of analysing your little essay there.

You say that forced immgration you done all sorts of bad things to you city. My dad is an Immagration lawyer and TRUST ME immagration is never'forced'. You are implying that the higher crime rate among somalian and middle easten immagrants. This may be true, although crime rates are a flawed way of measuring such a thing.

If we went by you standards and stopped all immagration you would be punishing all those who need to come or those who have done nothing wrong.

An exaple is in my community, Black carrbian in the UK, we have one of the highest crime rates and lowest schools scores. From what your saying the government in my country should just give up on people like me since we are all stupid apparently. But because they didn't I got into University.

If we judge a whole group of people by the action of a few, everyone loses.
Nomatter the context, making blanket policies that affect everyone for the actions of a few should be one of the last solutions to a given issue. However, we can't afford to let political correctness or being afraid of inflaming ethnic or religious tensions stop us from making beneficial decisions for society. I'm an American and my political leanings are socially liberal and economically leftist, but that doesn't mean that I favor pretending that issues of ethnicity, culture, and religion can't play a part in social problems.

People seem to paint these issues as only having two extremes "Kick them all out" or "Let them all come and do what they please", but that is a fallacy, often perpetrated by advocacy groups. There's nothing wrong with crafting median solutions.

Since I believe in providing comprehensive social services to all legal residents of a nation, I recognize that we can't simply let anyone waltz over whenever they please with their hands out - we need control and information for how to budget for those services. No nation should discourage immigration entirely, but I have no issue with requiring certain things of immigrants, culturally and otherwise.

Though today in America "White" people nomatter their heritage generally think of themselves as American first, and rightly so, this evolved because our ancestors came over and for a time were NOT considered "White Americans", by the original English colonials. English, Irish, Polish, Italian, Spanish, French, German, Danish, Dutch, Swedish etc... all came over and integrated, keeping certain aspects of their heritage but learning English and generating a shared culture. Such is the case of many non-white immigrants from other nations as well. It was rather institutionalized that you had to learn to assimilate or people would make it very difficult for you. As a response to the often overzealous actions of a few that led to prejudice, developed nations including America have instituted a "softer" policy, but that has created its own problems.

The developed world now has the problem of immigrants from developing nations that are not forced to assimilate, so they don't - which causes increasing problems with regards to language, cultural values. In an attempt to curtail past prejudice, we've allowed the "Melting Pot" to evolve into a "Chunky Stew", where there are relatively insular communities that are distinct, which weakens the nation as a whole. Europe is dealing with their own problems of this nature, such as those listed in this thread. There's a lot of hypocrisy and just plain greed occurring.

My feeling is that if you are going to immigrate to ANY nation, especially if you want the services of that nation, you should be willing to assimilate into the culture. As an American, many of us have pondered the whole "Maybe it would be better if I move to Sweden!" seeing the problems of the past decade with respect to various liberties. If I did so, I would have no problem attempting to learn Swedish and certainly wouldn't expect that I be able to keep the kind of firearms collection that I am able to in America, for instance.

Many countries, especially those in the developing world are rather intolerant of anything that threatens their culture. Take for instance the United Arab Emirates - despite the shiny new buildings and obscene wealth, there is a very rigid class structure and tons of draconian laws that foreigners must abide by, yet Emirati males basically avoid. If I want to move there to do business and not pay any taxes, I need to realize that I'm going to be tortured if I get caught with marijuana, there's a good chance I'm going to jail if the wrong people see me display affection to a woman, my internet is going to be filtered etc... Citizenship is nigh impossible to obtain if not born to an Emirati father and one MUST be Muslim - The government has no problems monitoring you to make sure you're "fitting in" and acting Islamic enough. All this is basically considered a luxury granted to White Europeans - if you're a poor South Asian or Southeast Asian, you're basically considered the property of your employer. Most Middle Eastern Gulf states have similar policies, to varying degrees.

Yet, when these people come West for a visit or to immigrate, they demand that their customs be honored. I believe that people should be free to practice any religion of their choosing, but if you come to England and beat your wife, you should be tried under English Common Law, not Sharia Law because "Its okay where I come from". If I went to Dubai with a small bag of cannabis, how well would it work to say "I live in a medical marijuana state, so its legal"? I'd be seeing the inside of a prison cell for years, unfairly, unless I had connections. This is the crux of the issue today with immigration.

We have immigrants who simply don't respect the cultures and values of the host country. Rarely in a developed nation is it ever requested that an immigrant give up their native culture, but simply assimilate and merge the two. Yes, there are cases where there are collisions of aspects unable to mix (such as acceptable discipline of one's spouse) and in those cases the immigrant should defer to their new home's policy. Basically, if you want the benefits of immigrating to a new nations, you should be willing to "pay" by following certain rules, within reason. Its not too much to ask to ask immigrants to America to learn English for official business, and treat items offered in other languages as a courtesy instead of demanding that they be served in their original language. If you're in a quaint European village with a local aesthetic that all buildings must conform to, you're welcome to build a mosque, but shouldn't balk if required to keep its design within building regulations. When there are whole insular communities of immigrants (many of which, illegal) who act in a ruinous manner and commit crimes (See Roma/Gypsies in Europe), it shouldn't be considered an evil racist act to curtail that immigration and deport those involved in such crimes. One problem that immigration rights advocates seem to have is seeing these things as black and white - deporting criminals and canceling social services to illegal immigrants is the same as kicking down the door of a legal permanent resident who's contributing to society simply because his surname is Gonzalez. This weakens and divides support for legal immigration.

Developed "Western" nations are seemingly held to a different standard by much of the developing world - they're supposed to open their borders, open their wallets, and acquiesce to immigrant cultures, despite the fact that many cultures are unwelcoming if not outright hostile to non-natives in their own right. This needs to stop. A balance should be struck between a host country asking for reasonable assimilation and newcomers bringing their native culture - thus, everyone benefits.
 

RanceJustice

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JDKJ said:
RanceJustice said:
RBGmachine said:
Too true. If you have see"Birth of a Nation" you see a lot of African American Actors in roles that where horribly demeaning. Ever since then movies / games / comic books etc have been "white-centric" and there just aren't enough positive and good roles for minorities.
You do know that Birth of a Nation was originally a silent film from the 20s played by blackface actors, right? Its nowhere near a metric that should be used to say media is "white-centric". I'll contend that today media is multicultural in its truest form and this is a good thing. Exemplary non-white actors have all sorts of roles over their careers. Some of them are specifically written for a black actor, but many don't matter. Lawrence Fishburne's portrayal of Morpheus in "The Matrix" was not race-driven, nor was his early role as Cowboy Curtis on PeeWee's Playhouse. However, he's also played thugs and (typically more suave than hood) gangsters. Morgan Freeman was best known for Driving Miss Daisy making his early career, but his talent has landed him many prestigious roles, including that of God himself! As I said before, there are a lot of black actors who take sterotypical roles because they're basically character actors with limited range or because they want the money - same as any other race.

We're not at a place where media as a whole is "white focused". There's more access than ever to multicultural media. The difference is perspective.
Hollywood isn't a very welcoming place for black actors. "Hollywood Shuffle" is, I think, as poignant a piece of social commentary now as it was when it was released more than 20 years ago.

A good example: HBO's "The Wire." You know why "The Wire" never enjoyed the same success as "The Sopranos" despite being just as good -- if not better -- on all counts? Simply because it had too many black actors in the cast -- or, put differently, not enough white actors. This was revealed in focus group testing prior to airing the first season. On the results of that testing and by and large, it would appear that Americans (and I use the term in its broadest possible sense) aren't prepared to give No. 1 status to a series with a predominantly black cast. Nope. That ain't happening. All those black faces make them uncomfortable.
I'm really not sure how you can say this? The Wire is critically acclaimed as one of, if not the best series HBO has ever produced. There are entire college courses on it as a window into urban issues. If it didn't receive the numbers that The Sopranos did, there could be a multitude of reasons besides the fact that the cast was predominantly black. The shows were very different in other aspects. The pacing, complexity of the story, characterization, humor-or-lack-thereof, etc...were all completely different. Even the language itself, being much more authentic to the urban culture than typical "ghetto" stuff watered down, was complex and could be a barrier to adoption for the same reason that Shakespeare and French foreign films today attract a smaller audience than generic RomComs. The complexity alone was enough to be offputting, regardless of race, to a lot of people who don't watch TV to think. If the entire show was kept the same save for being replaced by white people "acting black", or even transposed into an element of white "redneck, trailer park" poverty while maintaining the same complexity, I doubt it would have a higher viewership.

Hollywood as a whole seems nothing but accessible to Black actors. Not only are they prominently featured in ethnicity-neutral roles, but there are also roles written by the black community for the black community (A la Tyler Perry, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Waiting to Exhale, Diary of a Mad Black Woman and its counterpart, the awesome social commentary that is Diary of a Tired Black Man). There are a multitude of professional acting organizations that require black ancestry to be a part of them, and there are award shows that exclusively cater to black entertainers in media (which are in turn, hosted and created by blacks). I am aware that these were originally created because of under representation in the Hollywood of the past and a very real glass ceiling, but it bares little resemblance to the opportunities today. It could even be said that, much like a person searching for a college scholarship, being of certain ethnic background will give you additional avenues put in place to help your ascension, compared to a white individual today.
 

JDKJ

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RanceJustice said:
JDKJ said:
RanceJustice said:
RBGmachine said:
Too true. If you have see"Birth of a Nation" you see a lot of African American Actors in roles that where horribly demeaning. Ever since then movies / games / comic books etc have been "white-centric" and there just aren't enough positive and good roles for minorities.
You do know that Birth of a Nation was originally a silent film from the 20s played by blackface actors, right? Its nowhere near a metric that should be used to say media is "white-centric". I'll contend that today media is multicultural in its truest form and this is a good thing. Exemplary non-white actors have all sorts of roles over their careers. Some of them are specifically written for a black actor, but many don't matter. Lawrence Fishburne's portrayal of Morpheus in "The Matrix" was not race-driven, nor was his early role as Cowboy Curtis on PeeWee's Playhouse. However, he's also played thugs and (typically more suave than hood) gangsters. Morgan Freeman was best known for Driving Miss Daisy making his early career, but his talent has landed him many prestigious roles, including that of God himself! As I said before, there are a lot of black actors who take sterotypical roles because they're basically character actors with limited range or because they want the money - same as any other race.

We're not at a place where media as a whole is "white focused". There's more access than ever to multicultural media. The difference is perspective.
Hollywood isn't a very welcoming place for black actors. "Hollywood Shuffle" is, I think, as poignant a piece of social commentary now as it was when it was released more than 20 years ago.

A good example: HBO's "The Wire." You know why "The Wire" never enjoyed the same success as "The Sopranos" despite being just as good -- if not better -- on all counts? Simply because it had too many black actors in the cast -- or, put differently, not enough white actors. This was revealed in focus group testing prior to airing the first season. On the results of that testing and by and large, it would appear that Americans (and I use the term in its broadest possible sense) aren't prepared to give No. 1 status to a series with a predominantly black cast. Nope. That ain't happening. All those black faces make them uncomfortable.
I'm really not sure how you can say this? The Wire is critically acclaimed as one of, if not the best series HBO has ever produced. There are entire college courses on it as a window into urban issues. If it didn't receive the numbers that The Sopranos did, there could be a multitude of reasons besides the fact that the cast was predominantly black. The shows were very different in other aspects. The pacing, complexity of the story, characterization, humor-or-lack-thereof, etc...were all completely different. Even the language itself, being much more authentic to the urban culture than typical "ghetto" stuff watered down, was complex and could be a barrier to adoption for the same reason that Shakespeare and French foreign films today attract a smaller audience than generic RomComs. The complexity alone was enough to be offputting, regardless of race, to a lot of people who don't watch TV to think. If the entire show was kept the same save for being replaced by white people "acting black", or even transposed into an element of white "redneck, trailer park" poverty while maintaining the same complexity, I doubt it would have a higher viewership.

Hollywood as a whole seems nothing but accessible to Black actors. Not only are they prominently featured in ethnicity-neutral roles, but there are also roles written by the black community for the black community (A la Tyler Perry, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Waiting to Exhale, Diary of a Mad Black Woman and its counterpart, the awesome social commentary that is Diary of a Tired Black Man). There are a multitude of professional acting organizations that require black ancestry to be a part of them, and there are award shows that exclusively cater to black entertainers in media (which are in turn, hosted and created by blacks). I am aware that these were originally created because of under representation in the Hollywood of the past and a very real glass ceiling, but it bares little resemblance to the opportunities today. It could even be said that, much like a person searching for a college scholarship, being of certain ethnic background will give you additional avenues put in place to help your ascension, compared to a white individual today.

I didn't say it. The producers of the show said it based on the results of their focus group testing. And I didn't say the critics didn't like it. I said middle-America wasn't going to watch it in Soprano-like numbers. And that's true. They didn't. Not even close.

As I walk the streets of Hollywood Boulevard
Thinkin' how hard it was to those that starred
In the movies portrayin' the roles
Of butlers and maids, slaves and hoes
Many intelligent Black men seemed to look uncivilized
When on the screen
Like a guess I figure you to play some jigaboo
On the plantation, what else can a [email protected]@er do
And Black women in this profession
As for playin' a lawyer, out of the question
For what they play Aunt Jemima is the perfect term
Even if now she got a perm
So let's make our own movies like Spike Lee
Cause the roles being offered don't strike me
There's nothing that the Black man could use to earn
Burn Hollywood Burn

"Burn Hollywood Burn" -- Public Enemy