As I have probably mentioned before and almost certainly will mention again, sometimes being a feminist cultural critic means recognizing the sexism/racism/classism/agism/ethnocentrism/etc in the things that you love. I guess I couldn't do what I do if I didn't love popular culture as much as I sometimes hate it.
The X-Files has been my favorite show since I was in seventh grade. I was a devoted fan right until then end. Every so often I have a renaissance and I spend a few weeks re-watching them all. I love the show so much that I have never really been critical of it because it is my private guilty pleasure. I watch it when I am sad or lonely or sick or just procrastinating and I don't want any pesky analysis to get in the way of that pleasure.
All of that being said, I have noticed something very upsetting about the portrayal of non-white people on the show. First of all, most of the characters and certainly all of the main characters are white. When we do see non-white people they are almost always men and they are almost always perpetrators of violence. Most disturbing though is the eerie pan flute music that always seems to be playing when non-white people are on the screen. It is most obvious in episodes about Native Americans but is very clear (at least in the first few seasons) every time a black man is the perpetrator. What is most disturbing about this is that in the episodes "Fearful Symmetry" and "Shapes" (and others I am sure) the same music is played when wild animals, especially dangerous ones like cougars and wolves (or werewolves), are on screen.
Now I am no ethnomusicologist (maybe someday...) but the racism implicit in this portrayal is palatable. This is pretty much the definition of institutionalized racism and dehumanization. It isn't immediately obvious and many media consumers wouldn't think twice about this very clear correlation because it isn't as obvious as a "coloreds only" sign. But it is just as dangerous, if not more so, because it doesn't evoke the passionate response that overt racism does.
Also, OMFG!, in the process of researching this I discovered that an additional X-Files film is in production. I am so there on opening day!