American Studies 201 (November 29 2006)

American Studies 201 (November 29 2006) - Race in Popular...

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November 29, 2006 Race in Popular Culture -After Birth of a Nation film makers become unwilling to address racial issues and cast African Americans -There were a few blacks on screen but they took stereotypical roles ->maids, janitors, and dancers ->African Americans did not play in roles outside of this -WWII was a war against the racism of Hitler ->legitimized criticism of segregation inside the US ->more blacks started appearing in films in the 1940’s -Most films invented a film microcosm of American society in the framework of a platoon or small brigade ->Platoon would be made up of all different American identities ->Plot: brigade is full of racial tensions ->different types of people learning to tolerate and trust, a metaphor for America ->Film is clever because the black character dies so paradoxically the platoon becomes less diverse but calls for toleration EX: Crash Die, Sahara, Hitchcock’s Lifeboat -Films included musicals like ‘Cabin in the Sky’ and starred great African American Entertainers ->Lena Horn, Ethel Waters and Cab Calloway -At first they appeared in race movies for black audiences -Not breaking through in films because they were not for mass audiences -Military begins to commission documentaries about race to teach servicemen how to be tolerant EX: 1944, The Negro Soldier -Explained the history of participation of blacks in all American wars -Featured racist comments made by Nazis to associate racism with bad guys -Sequel, ‘Teamwork’ said that when blacks get hit they feel the same pain as you do -Army Air Force made ‘Wings for this Man’ narrated by Ronald Reagan “You can’t judge a man by the color of his eyes or the shape of his nose” –RR -Oscar Mischo made ‘We’ve Come a Long Long Way’ (1944)
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  • Fall '06
  • race movies

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