Sunday, January 08, 2006

Framing Blackness and Framing Opinions

Framing Blackness...very interesting, and definitely a certain frame of mind. Since the author is African American, I feel that he definitely has different takes on the subjective material that is produced by Hollywood. I loved howed he wrote the book focusing on films and genres in chronological order, because I liked how it showed the shifting views of the American public. However, I really didn't feel comfortable agreeing with his views on a majority of the films since i haven't seen many of the ones that he mentioned. There are a lot of different criticisms that the book discusses about Hollywood films, but I feel that in retrospect there were a lot of things that weren't acceptable on film until recently, even issues dealing with white men and women, such as physical contact. Therefore i feel that the same would go with issues and depictions of minorities. The reason that the african american person could play the "mammy's" and "uncle tom's" was because it was a safe category, versus images of oppressed slaves. As the author has shown that films that would depict that subject would later be able to be produced as society became more accepting of certain issues, such as homosexuality. However, with most of the movies I'm sure the author has a lot of correct stances on how Hollywood shapes public thoughts, but movies such as Gremlins and Star Wars have never given me any racial implications. How would anyone know that Darth Vadar's voice was played by an African American? It's not like that's how typical African American's sound, and i feel that the only reason that Darth Vadar's true identity is a deformed white man because yes, the rest of the star war's generation is white. If the only black person in the film was the true identity of the villan, than that would be worse than simply pairing a black voice with a deformed white face. I also feel that it is a little bit of a stretch to say that Gremlins are a representation of the uprising black youth simply by having little dark monsters run down a street. Just because something is a color black doesnt mean that they are representatives of african americans. The color black has been historically representative of evil, hence ying and yang, which goes farther back in history than white supremacy. When emphasis is put on such trivial points such as that, I feel like the author's viewpoint is discredited as a whole and attention is taken away from points that may have good merit. Also it was mentioned that Lethal Weapon and Beverly Hills Cop was originally scripted for white actors, yet there were obvious parts that were later analyzed as promoting certain racial ideals. Unless the scripts were changed after the black actors were cast, this doesnt make sense. Overall i liked a lot of the arguments that the book expressed, especially because it is a different perspective from my own. Being a woman, if i wanted to look at Hollywood's history, I'm sure i would find many references that men may overlook. Not saying that i feel like a minority or unequal because I am a woman, but i think that is because i have never separated myself and made myself feel like that. Who knows though.


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