Are Black Characters More Likely to Die on ‘The Walking Dead’?

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Are black characters more likely to to get killed off on ‘The Walking Dead’ series?

The Walking Dead Spoiler Alert

There is a major controversy regarding the race of character deaths in The Walking Dead universe. But, the controversy reached a tipping point last week after the second episode killed off two more black characters, following the premiere episode, which killed off one black character. For those keep track, three characters with significant screen time have been killed off. All three have been place.

In fact, it’s enough of an issue that the Fear the Walking Dead showrunner had to defend those polarizing deaths after the episode aired. It also had many wondering if Fear the Walking Dead is a racist spin-off of the original Walking Dead. 

The Walking Dead Seth Gilliam

This is what he had to say:

Once the story was set, it was the story. Once the story is playing out in a specific way, that’s the line that you want to follow. It wasn’t as though we were writing those characters and then casting those characters with an intention of, “This is going to be the death scene for this episode.” For that episode, it was about how it would reflect on the characters themselves and how things would play out over the course of the season. I realize it’s clearly become an issue and it’s something we are mindful of. But ultimately it’s trying to tell the story the best way we can and cast the best people we can. I wouldn’t want to go back and recast a character just to avoid … if it doesn’t feel true to the character or the relationship — the relationship with Alicia and Matt or Calvin and Nick — it’s really about the reality of the world that we’re trying to inhabit and trying to have the best actors portray those parts. When you’re dealing with a show where you have a cast that is as diverse as ours is, it’s inevitable that characters of color are going to get bit and are going to turn or die. If you look at the larger scope of this season, what people will see is that there is parity. We want to tell the story in the best way we can and want the best actors to play those parts. It would have been a mistake to go with Anglo actors for those particular roles because I don’t think that’s honest to the world of the show.

Reddit user empress-of-blandings ran the numbers this week and teh results may come as a surprise to viewers of The Walking Dead franchise. Of the 28 white characters on the series so far, 17 have been killed off. That means 60.7 percent of the white characters have been killed off.

Of the 10 black characters on the series, so far, six have been killed off. That’s 60 percent.

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The black characters tend to die at a disproportionate rate in the early seasons of The Walking Dead, but, by casting more non-white characters and diversifying the cast,  the percentages have actually leveled off over the course of the series. That’s progress, however, that doesn’t mean people will take it lightly if another black character gets killed off.

On the positive side, if you’re Asian you are more likely to survive the Walking Dead. Let’s just hope Fear the Walking Dead evens out the statistics in the near future.