Use the “Copeland Test” to determine if a movie or TV show is antiracist

June 3, 2023

Dr. Phillipe Copeland is a public scholar and clinical associate professor at Boston University School of Social Work, and he has developed what he calls the “Copeland test” for determining if a movie or TV show is antiracist.

Copeland explains, “Inspired by the Bechdel test, the Copeland test is a tool to encourage more antiracist portrayals of racism in pop culture. If a story meets all three criteria, it fully passes the Copeland test. If it only meets one or two, it partially passes it. If it doesn’t meet any of the criteria, it fails the test.

“In my view, stories about racism are antiracist if:

  1. Racism is portrayed as a systemic issue and not just as blatant acts of discrimination, bigotry or hatred by White people.
  2. People of color are portrayed as fully human, not reduced to stereotypes or victims.
  3. White people are portrayed as working in solidarity with people of color, not just as villains or saviors.”

Copeland adds, “The film and TV industries have an opportunity and responsibility to use their power to help address racism. A better world requires better stories. It requires antiracist stories.”

Read more at The Emancipator.

(Dr. Philippe Copeland photo above by Jackie Ricciardi and Cydney Scott, BU Today)

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