Racial Masks and Stereotypes in Imitation of Life and Bamboozled

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2021-09-29 15:36Z by Steven

Racial Masks and Stereotypes in Imitation of Life and Bamboozled

Caméra Stylo: The Cinema Studies Undergraduate Student Journal
University of Toronto
Volume 13 (2013)
pages 62-74

Nicole Wong

Visible signs of difference mark the racialized body only in com-bination with nonvisible social preconceptions and expectations. A racial stereotype is the link, the image, which ties the visible with the nonvisible imagined meanings and values specific to the culture in which they are produced and shared. The process of racial stereotyping therefore requires three components: the marked body, the collective society of meaning and image-makers, and the racial mask through which the latter views and defines the former. My concern in this article is how American1 popular culture and mass media entertainment has become the foremost platform for racial meaning production, perpetuating false racial stereotypes, yet at the same time attempting to expose its own role as image-maker.

As forms of popular mass media entertainment, Douglas Sirk’s Imitation of Life (1959) and Spike Lee’s Bamboozled (2000) depict such an exposition of the racial stereotyping process, but with significant differences that come with forty years’ distance. These two films function as tragic allegories of the racial stereotype production process as popular entertainment, wherein central characters mask their marked bodies, their self-identity and essential personhood. Racial stereotypes literally are enacted on stage to entertain an audience, a downsized representation both American media makers and receivers. Through the optic of Sander Gilman’s conceptions of the Other and the Self, I will explore the motives behind, and subsequent futility of, attempts to mask racial self-identities with media-defined projected identities that ultimately turn performers into the slaves of spectators. I will also position the ideologies of both films as reflections of the racial performer/audience relationship of their respective time periods…

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English 108: Crossing Racial Boundaries in Post-Civil Rights Fiction and Film: Interracial Encounters

Posted in Course Offerings, Literary/Artistic Criticism, United States on 2012-01-07 02:08Z by Steven

English 108: Crossing Racial Boundaries in Post-Civil Rights Fiction and Film: Interracial Encounters

University of California, Los Angeles
Winter 2012

Caroline Streeter, Associate Professor of English

This course looks at literature and film depicting interracial sexuality and mixed race identities in the post-Civil Rights era. Course materials depict individuals and communities that trouble and challenge conventional ideas about racial categorization and the boundaries between groups. Texts represent a wide variety of ethnic and cultural perspectives. Books include Caucasia (Danzy Senna), A Feather on the Breath of God (Sigrid Nunez), Drown (Junot Diaz) and My Year of Meats (Ruth L. Ozeki). Movies include Diva (Jean-Jacques Beineix), Jungle Fever (Spike Lee) and The Wedding Banquet (Winston Chao).

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The Missing Bi-racial Child in Hollywood

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2011-07-13 20:51Z by Steven

The Missing Bi-racial Child in Hollywood

Canadian Review of American Studies
Volume 37, Number 2 (2007)
pages 239-263
E-ISSN: 1710-114X; Print ISSN: 0007-7720

Naomi Angel

The growing interest in issues pertaining to “mixed-race” identities and communities, as well as a surge in films with “mixed-race” characters has prompted this examination of representations of “mixedrace” characters in film. The research consists of an analysis of selected films, including Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and Jungle Fever, and situates this analysis within a historical framework based on the particular context in which each film was set and/or made. The value in studying “mixed-race” representations in film lies in the reflection it provides of significant moments in “mixed-race” histories and in the portrayal of cultural imaginings of people of “mixed race.”

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