It was already too late in 1974, when Death Wish producers were forced to change muggers who raped Bronson’s characters wife and daughter from black males to white, so as not to be called “racist” (…)
Adding to the queasiness of the scene are the performances of the three scary-looking actors who played the attackers. [VDARE.com note: In the novel, they were black and Puerto Rican, in the movie they are played by an Irish-American, a a Greek-American, and, in his first-ever appearance on film—Jeff Goldblum.]
“You’re looking for a villain to be as horrible as possible so the audience really hates him, and then they don’t mind of he or his mates are killed,” Winner explains. The screenplay specifically called for several of the mugger characters to be black, but Paramount executive Frank Yablans, concerned that the film would be racist, urged the director to limit the number of African Americans that were cast as thugs.