It is one of the enduring movie enigmas of all-time, an unanswerable riddle, a quandary of such vexing proportions that few dare even consider the consequences of pondering the imponderable.
|Wait, who is that Black girl on the far-right?|
Why was Ian Malcolm’s daughter in The Lost World: Jurassic Park an incredibly dark-skinned Black girl? And when did she learn to karate kick raptors? This puzzling question could only be answered by Hollywood casting directors, bent on confusing the movie-viewing public and producing a Fictional Black History Month Hero.
Roger Ebert wrote this of the movie and of the character Kelly Malcolm (played by Vanessa Chester):
Consider, too, the character of Goldblum’s daughter (Vanessa Lee Chester). Why is she here? To be placed in danger, to inspire contrived domestic disagreements, and to make demands so that the plot can get from A to B. At one point, inside the trailer, she gets frightened and says urgently that she “wants to go someplace real high–right now! Right now!” So Goldblum and another character put her in a cage that lifts them above the forest, after which Goldblum must descend from the cage, after which I was asking why they had ascended in it in the first place. (Early in the film, it is established that the girl is a gymnast; later the film observes the ancient principle that every gymnast in a movie sooner or later encounters a bar.)
Why is she there, Roger inquires. We simply wonder why is she so incredibly Black?
Consider the actual rates of white male/Black females couplings in the United States:
In the United States there still are disparities between Black female and Black male exogamy ratios: According to the 2006 census, 286,000 White female-Black male and 117,000 Black female-White male marriages were recorded. Marital stability studies published on the Education Resources Information Center found that White female-Black male unions are more prone to result in a divorce than White-White marriages are, while Black female-White male marriages show substantially lower rates of divorce than White-White marriages. It should be noted that the studies revealed this trend to exist in near equal proportionality in all interracial marriages of every ethnic group. In 2007, 4.6% of all married Blacks in the United States were wed to a White partner, and 0.4% of all Whites were married to a Black partner.
Even in the film The Lost World, Vince Vaughn’s character got off a revealing joke regarding the odd off-spring of every ones favorite chaos theoretician Ian Malcolm:
Nick Van Owen: [referring to Ian and Kelly] Do you see any family resemblance?
That certainly seems to be the case in cities such as St. Paul-Minneapolis, where interracial couples long have thrived. But the social trend also is quite evident in other large cities such as Chicago and New York, Atlanta and Detroit, where there is a noticeable and striking increase in the number of mixed-race couples, especially Black women with White mates.
In movies, on television and even on Broadway, the theme of interracial love has become en vogue. Wesley Snipes has starred in a number of movies in which his love interest was not Black: jungle Fever, One Night Stand and U.S. Marshal. The popular sitcom Ally McBeal has the lead character bemoaning a lost love, a Black doctor. Last year, Whitney Houston’s production of Cinderella starred Brandy in the title role but the prince was not Black. And a new Broadway musical, Marie Christine, revolves around a relationship in the 1800s between a Black woman (Audra McDonald) and a White sea captain.
“Interracial couples are more noticeable and prominent than ever,” says a Midwest-based author who has observed the changes in social trends for some 40 years. “But the recent numbers of Black women being escorted by White men is, well, startling, to say the least.”
We learned with Rashida Jones that the Brown Paper Bag Test is never going to go away, though Disingenuous White Liberals might cross their fingers to its eventually extinction. Rates of intermarriage continue to be less than five percent for white females, though the rate of white males marrying Black women did shoot up 23 percent between 2000 and 2006:
She reflects many black women frustrated as the field of marriageable black men narrows: They’re nearly seven times more likely to be incarcerated than white men and more than twice as likely to be unemployed.
Census data showed 117,000 black wife-white husband couples in 2006, up from 95,000 in 2000.
There were just 26,000 such couples in 1960, before a Supreme Court ruling banished laws against mixed marriages.
Black female-white male romance has become a hot topic in black-geared magazines and on Web sites, even hitting the big screen in movies like last year’s “Something New.”
That film centers on an affluent black woman who falls for her white landscaper, a situation not unlikely as black women scale the corporate ladder, said Evia Moore, whose interracial marriage blog draws 1,000 visitors a day.
It features articles like “Could Mr. Right Be White?” and pictures of couples like white chef Wolfgang Puck and his new Ethiopian wife.
“Black women are refusing to comply with that message about just find yourself a good blue-collar man with a job, or just find a black man,” Moore said.
She pointed to low rates of black men in college, a place where women of all races often meet their spouses.
Black women on campus largely are surrounded by non-black men: In 2004, 26.5 percent of black males ages 18 to 24 were enrolled in college versus 36.5 percent of black women that age, according to the American Council on Education’s most recent statistics.
The question still must be asked: why in the world was Ian Malcolm’s daughter so incredibly Black? The offspring of white male/Black female sexual encounter would obviously be significantly lighter than the Black, but significantly darker than the white.
Vanessa in The Lost World? What was it Vince Vaughn’s character said again?
Black Fictional Month Heroes welcomes Kelly Curtis Malcolm from The Lost World: Jurassic Park into the growing list of movie characters profiled here at SBPDL. We still don’t see any family resemblance between Malcolm and his Black daughter though.