Salvation followed one of three paths: higher education, athletics, or the gang world, drugs and single parenthood Massood,pp. And each path combined competing images of race, ethnicity, and sexuality.
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As Marchettip. And race in the ghetto is never far from sexuality, and the threat of sexual contact between white and non-white racial, ethnic and economic groups see Marchetti,p. I discuss the Black Arts Movement in detail in Chapter 8 also see hooks,p. Harris,p. This music is often violent, nihilistic, and misogynistic see Gilroy, The films forge an immediate link between this music and the presence of violent gang members in any situation.
Hence the presence of rap in a soundtrack lends authenticity to the repre- sentation see Hall, b, p. The viewer, with Kline, first hears gangsta rap, then sees the car. In the late s and early s the music video medium Dimitriadis,p. As Altmanp. In the hood movies of the s rap and hip hop music became a regular part of the diegetic soundtrack.
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This had the effect of blurring the borders and boundaries between the real the everyday and the ideal the musical. In a parallel, but paradoxical, vein, the Chicano barrio gang films of the s and s e.
These films were La BambaBorn in East LAThe Milagro Beanfield Warand Stand and Deliver Following Fregosopp. xiv-xxi and Kellerp. xiv, italics in original; but see also Noriega and Lopezp.
xiii; also Noriega, a, b. This essentializing move was repeatedly challenged by the hood movies.
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Their politics of representation insisted on good and bad brown and black subjects. Given the current state of affairs in America see note 8 abovefull assimilation is an utopian dream. In addition to the assimilation mode, Grayp. These were clearly ideological texts, for throughout the twentieth century America ideologically endorsed an assimilationist model of race relations, but in reality employed residential, occupational, religious, and educational segregationist practices.
Thus full assimilation meant dark-skinned persons disappeared into the racial order. Throughout the twentieth century mis- cegenation was forbidden. It was declared unconstitutional in Cortes,p. See Cortespp. According to McKeepp. His metier is expression rather than action. Me no white. Me Black.
Do the Right Thing presents the ethnic ghetto as an enclave, where Italian and Korean middle- men mediate community economic activity, groups and gangs battle over territorial boundaries, pre- judice is a result of flawed, psychological beliefs, and ethnic identities are carved out of constructed meanings brought to gender, age, dress, music, and public demeanor. Actually the films negotiated assimilationist, pluralist, and separatist multicultural racial spaces.
At the same time they gave power and prestige to those who embodied white assimiliationist values and identities. Rei pp. At one level auteur theory would argue that only blacks or women can make accurate films about blacks or women, etc.
see Hall, a, pp. But see Guerrero a, p. Directed by Bill Duke, an African American. With his Easy Rawlins series, Walter Mosley, the author of Devil in a Blue Dress, has created for Los Angeles what Hines did for Harlem; namely the use of a white genre form the mystery to produce a celebration of black culture within a particular historical period and locale.
These students are called McNair Fellows and SROP Scholars. Classic Hollywood film [is] ethnographic discourse. I will argue that the films constitut- ing this cinema see Table 1.
As realist ethnographies, as texts that perform situated versions of the racial order, these films have created and perpetuated historically specific, racist images of the dark-skinned ethnic other see Wong, This racist imagery extends, like a continuous thread, from Birth of a Nation through Boyz N the Hood.
How these films have done this and what its consequences are for race relations today is my topic. Reading Race 18 Table 1.
Korean grocer: I got good price for you, how am I doing?
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Chocolate, egg cream drink- ing, bagel lochs, Jew ass-hole. see Denzin, a, pp. Their voices reproduce current and traditional cultural, racial, and sexual stereotypes about blacks spade, monkeyKoreans slanty eye Puerto Ricans pointy red shoes, cocksuckersJews bagel lochsand Italians Dago, wop.
These black and white, Korean, Puerto Rican, and Hispanic men, women and children exist in a racially divided urban world, a violent melting pot.
Here there is little evidence of assimilation to the norms of white society. There is no evidence of the black middle class in this film. Complex racial and politi- cal ideologies violence versus non-violence are layered through subtle levels and layers of sexuality, intimacy, friendship, hate, love, and a lingering nostalgia for the way things were in days past. Prejudice crosses color lines. But racial intolerance is connected to the psy- chology of the speaker e.
The economic and political features of institutional racism are not taken up. Blacks and Koreans inhabit an uneasy, but shared, space where, in the moment of the riot, the Korean grocer can claim to be black, not Korean. This is a world where persons of color are all thrown together, a world were words like assimilation, accultura- tion, pluralism, and integration have little, if any, deep meaning.
Separatism is not valued, although intergroup differences are preserved, through speech, music, dress, and public demeanor. Indeed, like ethnic voyeurs, or middle-class tourists, the members of each ethnic group stare at one another and comment on how the racially and ethnically different other goes about doing business and daily life. These separate racial and ethnic groups are not merging into a single ethnic entity.
Cheap guns, crack-cocaine, gang and drug warfare are not present in Do the Right Thing. But a seething racial rage is, a rage that is deeper than skin color.
This is a rage, even when muted, that attacks white racism, and urges new forms of black, Korean, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Latino nationalism. Thus is evidenced a reverse form of ethnic nativism: disadvantaged racial group members stereotyping and asserting their superiority over the ethnically different other.
Victims of racial hatred, they reproduce that hatred in their interactions with members of different racial and ethnic groups. The benefits of the backlash poli- tics of the Reagan and Bush years are now evident Guerrero, a, p. Fifteen years since Reagan came in of playing the race card, fifteen years of neo-conservative racial nativist national politics come home to roost.
And so Do the Right Thing, as realist ethnographic text, marks one ending for one history of the race relations story in America today: that ending that has race riots, and racial minorities attacking one another.
It is as if the clock had been turned back to and everyone was watching D. The birth of a new racist nation. These stereotypes would be fitted to the cinematic representation of African, Hispanic, Native and Asian Americans. The effect of this marginalization produces the standard assess- ment. Here I offer one version of this cinematic history, a racial and ethnic geneal- ogy that cross-cuts gender, class, geography, and social science writings on race and ethnicity McKee, This is a structural history.
These processes operated differently for each racial and ethnic group. These moments vary for each minority group see below : after World War II for Jews and Latin Americans; after the civil rights movement of the s for Hispanic, Asian, African, and Native Americans Lopez,p.
In these moments history is rewritten. Previous stereotypical representations are rejected and new understandings and stereotypes are constructed Lopez,p. With Lopezp. I want to read these films, and their historical moments, as situated, modernist, naturalistic ethnographies see Denzin,pp. These cultural texts factually, authentically, realistically, objectively, and dramatically present the lived realities of race and ethnicity.
This supports the belief that objective reality has been captured. These texts bring racial and ethnic differences into play through a focus on the talk of ordinary people and their personal experiences.
These are ethnographies of cultural difference, performance texts that carry the aura and authority of cinematic mimesis. These representations simultaneously contain and visually define the ethnic other. This is a mimesis that rests on the conditions of its own creation: white stereotypes of dark-skinned people. Borrowing from Chowp. As translations, these films bring positive and negative attention to the ethnic culture in question Chow,p.
In so doing, they risk betraying the very world they valorize, for its meanings have now been filtered through the lens of the filmmaker as ethnographer. A brief discussion of each of these dimensions is required. I will then argue that each minority group has a different history with these structural processes. These are disjointed histories. They are marked by ruptures and interruptions, by the absence of continuity.
These cultural texts drew upon the above beliefs and provided early cinema with a repertoire of racist cultural images. On the ethnic and racial comedies, see Musser, Silent cinema used white actors and actresses in blackface Bogle,p. This ended with the release of The Jazz Singer in This vocabulary has precise terms and looks for blacks toms, mam- mies; see Bogle,p. As argued in the Introduction, this performance vocabulary was a central part of the cinematic racial gaze.
Visual and vocal excess were central to this performance vocabulary, which was historically specific see below. Visual excess focused on costume, perfor- mance style, sexuality, and musicality. Vocal excess emphasized the inability of the ethnic other to speak ordinary English. Garbled, slurred speech and racially coded phrases connected to each minority group were developed, including, for blacks: Yo, git, jest, Bro; for Hispanics: thick, impenetrable accents, the use of Spanish phrases, i.
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Wongp. disturbing syncretisms shifting registers of tone and pitch Broken speech places the ethnic other outside the American mainstream. This visual and verbal vocabulary often defined otherness and difference in sexual, not racial or ethnic, terms Lopez,p. Thus the bodies and sexual demeanor of classic Latin actresses Delores Del Rio, Lupe Velez were defined as exuding smoldering, irresistible sensuality and sexu- ality Lopez,pp. On-screen miscegenation was not allowed see note 16 below; and Lopez,p.
These identities were connected to the appear- ance of major and minor parts in American movies for blacks, Asians, Hispanics, Native Americans, and representatives from other racial and ethnic groups. According to Kellerpp. Zero, Cisco Kid, good Mexican, good badman, Hispanic avenger, Latin lover. As previously noted, Boglepp. For Hispanics, this meant Latin musicals and Latin loversWesterns, and films with themes such as the border, bullfighting, the Mexican Revolution, the barrio and gangs, prison, drugs, Acapulco, and family and immigration Keller, Asian character types were primarily fitted to adventure, crime and mystery, war, and Westerns Wong,p.
Blacks, like Asians, have been cast in any film requiring a servant. While blacks have not been confined to a specific genre, black actors and actresses, until recently, have not been cast as major characters in mainstream Hollywood cinema.
Unlike Hispanics, or Native Americans, blacks are not immediately associated with a specific genre e. Latin musical, Western. These stereotypes were perpetuated by a segregated film industry.
Since the turn of the twentieth century there has been especially for blacks a growing pool of minority group talent to support these films: production compa- nies Reol, Gate City Filmtheatres, directors Micheauxactors Robinson, Gilpin, Morelan and actresses Horne, McKinney who could direct or be cast in these films Bogle,p. This group would, after the s, become more active in the cinematic representation of African Americans see Guerrero, a; Bogle, ; Reid, ; Keller, ; Wong, ; Marchetti, Virtually every major American war Independence, Civil, Native American, Alamo, Spanish-American, World Wars I and II, Korea, Vietnam, etc.
has occasioned attempts to align minority males with the American war effort, while often identifying the enemy as the self-same foreign, ethnic other. The high death count of the ethnic other cannot be minimized. This theme has recently been extended to the hood movies, where the body count of dark- skinned youth is always very high. Thus the s and the s were associated with politically self-conscious black, Asian-American, and Hispanic cinemas. That is, each minority group was confronted with a racist system of cinematic representation.
These revisions move in two directions at the same time. In some instances they return to the beginning, to reinscriptions of those moments when the minority group is defined as entering American society. In both instances, the revision and its meanings are con- nected to other representations and anchored in specific historical contexts see Hall, c, p. Thus under the white Eurocentric model, African Americans entered the system as slaves, products of a plantation system and a civil war.
Native Americans were treated as enemies of the state, to be placed on reservations, their native cultures destroyed. Asian Americans represented a threatening barbarian foreign presence in American culture Wong,p. They needed to be destroyed, assimilated, or otherwise put in the service of the state.
Hispanics were a diverse group Keller, : Mexicans who wanted to control the Alamo, lawless, Mexican revolutionaries, greasers, half-breeds, part-Indians, Spanish and Latin aristocrats, Latin American politicians. That is, this relationship defined how the group originally entered into the system of cinematic representation slave, bandit, halfbreed, bar- barian, etc.
Gone with the Wind ; mid-century - social consciousness, assimiliation films examining the negative consequences of seg- regation e. The s featured the comic Negro, the jester, the blackface tradition, and cute little black children. The decade is represented by Mr Bojangles, Stepin Fetchit, Rochester, Hattie McDaniel, respectable servants and domestics in the kitchen, Paul Robeson, Butterfly McQueen, and ends with Gone with the Wind.
Two significant features defined the black s. The first was the continued presence of black entertainers, including the sophisticated use of jazz performers Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong and black singers Lena Horne, Ethel Waters.
These films used musical scenes unconnected to the narrative that could be cut if audiences objected to seeing a Negro on the screen Bogle,p. The Roosevelt administration forbade racial discrimination in war industries Bogle,p.
These films opened the spaces for the major and minor black stars of the s. Dorothy Dandridge Carmen Jones,Sidney Poitier Blackboard Jungle,and Ethel Waters Member of the Wedding, emerged as stars, blacks who could carry films to a mass white audience Bogle,p. Louis Blues, Porgy and Bess ; accounts of black-white male and female bonding Defiant Ones, Edge of the City, Member of the Wedding ; and tales of integration and its problems.
The national doctrine of integration created a space for an actor like Poitier, a model integrationist hero. Poitier was a paragon of black middle-class values. He was intelligent, educated, a conservative dresser.
He did not threaten the white middle class. More deeply, the institutional roots of racism would be uncovered, and the limits of a personal, psychological approach to racism made apparent. This is the decade of the civil rights movement, the great liberal experiment, televised violence on the evening news, Vietnam, the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, and the Kennedy brothers, the Black Panthers, Stokely Carmichael, H.
Rap Brown, Angela Davis, riots in Watts, Detroit, Harlem, South Philadelphia, Cleveland, Chicago, Washington, DC, a racially divided society coming apart at the seams Bogle,p. But during the s, mainstream Hollywood was primarily silent on civil rights and Vietnam. Four black art films at the beginning of the decade Shadows,The Cool World,One Potato, Two Potato,Nothing But a Man,and four new-style black films released in Uptight Slaves, The Learning Tree, The Lost Man, Putney Swope marked the beginning of the black separatist movement that would define the s Bogle,p.
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Only now new elements were added to the mix: the emasculation of the black male by white society A Raisin in the Sunblack matriarchs, drugs, violence, whores, hustlers, addicts, pimps, pushers, gangs, rage, and despair in the black ghetto Bogle,p. The s was a a revisionist decade for black cinema. These films laughed at and with the old black characters congenial coons, toms, painted ladies; Bogle,p.
They flaunted black power, crossed previously taboo class and sexual boundaries, and challenged racism at all levels of white society. In stressing a militant form of black separatism, some rejected the assimiliationist values of the black middle class. At the same time many of these films treated black women as prostitutes Bogle,p.
With few exceptions Do the Right Thing, the black activism of the s, with its black rebels and folk heroes, was absent. Blackness was fitted to a white cultural context. Black stories The Color Purple were told within a white, Disney-like, Victorian melodramatic format Bogle,p.
Five films at the end of the decade took up blackness from a white revisionist perspective. Cry FreedomMississippi BurningBir Glory and Driving Miss Daisy Denzel Washington was defined as the new Sidney Poitier. New and previously established black filmmakers, actors, and actresses gain power and recognition.
However, the situations of the two groups cannot be easily fitted into a single historical model. Hispanics have a complicated relationship to Anglo cinema culture, a relationship that is confused by several factors.
viiiintermarriage Mestizonationality Mexico, Spain, Native American, the United States, Latin America, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Dominican Republic, etc. This produces a series of discontinuous, decade- by-decade, regional, and genre-driven discrete histories that often cross-cut the above categories see Keller,p. The only constant throughout all of this are the stereotypes that spill over from one genre to another.
These stereotypes cluster around a small set of negative meanings, including barbarian, greaser, lustful, treacherous, untrustworthy, law- less, and violent. the ethnic or subnational Chicano, Puerto Rican, Cuban American ; the interethnic and interminority;33 the panethnic or national As early as there were protests against the film industry and its negative representations of Hispanics. In response to these and related complaints from other foreign markets, the film industry followed one of two strategies: the use of imaginary settings for their racist stories, or the removal of certain scenes that might be offensive to a particular foreign audience Keller,p.
In the Mexican government formally banned all films produced by two American production companies Famous Players-Lasky and Metro; Keller,p. These protests continued into the s.
The Good Neighbor Policy - of the Roosevelt administration opened the door for friendly, less racist pictures of Hispanics Lopez,p. The social consciousness, social problems films of the - period produced sympathetic images of Hispanics, including youth gang films e. Blackboard Junglecourtroom The Lawless, and boxing dramas Right Cross; see Keller,p. These films, like earlier texts in this tradition Bordertown,were assimilitation narratives Berg,p. They also positioned the marginal minority group member as a threat to mainstream culture, thereby perpet- uating their version of the American dilemma see Berg,p.
However, films like Broken Arrow and The Searchers addressed, even as they reproduced, previous negative images of the American Indian Keller,p. The Mysterious Desperado, and wetbacks Headline Hunters, ; see Keller,p. This justified the racist hatreds and scapegoating behavior of whites.
Such a model ignored the institutional basis of racism. Four events in the s significantly shape Hispanic film Keller,pp. A Fistful of Dollars,For a Few Dollars More,The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, ; and the training of a group of Hispanic film professionals who would come of age in the s see Noriega, b, p.
Indeed the Spaghetti Westerns reproduced old stereotypes about bad, lazy Mexicans Keller,p. A cycle of urban gang films West Side Story,Young Savages,The Pawnbroker,The Wild Angels,Change of Habit, perpetuated these images. Hispanic actors and actresses seldom played the main character in these films Keller,p. In the s the Hispanic community did not generate its version of the blax- ploitation films, although in Mr Majestyk Charles Bronson would play a half-Mexican, half-Slavic superhero Keller,p.
The Hispanic and Chicano civil rights movement helped put the The Frito Bandito, Chiquita Banana, and Jose Jimenez to rest Keller,p. Hispanic gang films, as if in anticipation of the black hood movies of the s, gather force in the late s Boulevard Nights, ,42 and continue through the s Zoot Suit,Stand Alone,The Principal,Colors, as greasers Fregoso is quite clear on this point. Four s political films High Risk,Missing,Under Fire,Salvador, and three comedies Romancing the Stone,Miracles,and Moon Over Parador, emphasized American participation in Latin American affairs.
greaser, Latin musical, Western; see Noriega, b, p. Each used intensive bilingualism, focused on Chicano characters, positively evoked the Chicano lifestyle, and made positive connections between Mexico and US Hispanic border culture.
A politics of opposition is presented, a politics that keeps the histories of this culture alive, attempts to reclaim a forgotten past. A realistic cinematic narra- tive is employed, the telling of stories based on true or historical events Goldman,p.
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Zoot Suit, A specific set of film practices are associated with this project. Valdez, Villasenor, Young, Morales improvise with narrative forms that are connected to long-standing Chicano traditions.
The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez uses the corrido, or folk ballad see Noriega, b, pp. Improvisation also occurs with specific cinematic forms, for example using mise-en-scene to fill the screen with Chicano images. Montage is often used in ways that manipulate bicultural visual and linguistic codes English and Spanish.
Many argue that the new dominant culture is a border culture Noriega, b, p. Timeworn stereotypes persist: virgins, whores, supportive wives, home-girls Fregoso,pp. The barrio-hood and Hispanic prison films of the s Zoot Suit and s American Me, Mi Familia connect Hispanic gangs and community life to a unique regional and ethnic border culture.
Border crossings and non-assimilation are key elements in these films. These features are largely absent in the social realism of the black hood films of the same period. The two schools implement a critical approach to cultural identity see especi- ally Fregoso,p.
The new filmmakers reject this essentializing approach, calling instead for a transformational model that sees identity in gendered, processual terms. Yet, as Fregosop. This myth privileges the ideology of assimiliation. Now to the Asian Americans.
Asian-American Cinema The Asian-American cinematic story is at least as long as a century, the construc- tion of the mysterious Orient as a site of desire, violence and intrigue, the Orient as a threat to the West Marchetti,p. This is a history with variations on a single, but complex, motif: distorted, racist represen- tations of Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, Filipinos, Vietnamese and Asian Indians Wong,p.
This theme is contained and repeated within three basic film genres: adventure films; crime, mystery, and spy stories; and war narratives Wong,p. Unlike Hispanic and black cinema, there is no extended positive revisionist period for the Asian-American community, no golden moment when Hollywood seems to see the light see the Appendix, Asian-American Films.
The recurring popularity of the war film is ideological. The major wars since the mid-twentieth century have been sites for the reproduction of negative Asian images. The Asian other is a political enemy, an internal and external threat to democracy and the principles of American capitalism see Wong,p.
Asian racism is located in more than three generations of wars Russo-Japanese, World Wars I and II, Korean War, Vietnamese conflict ,51 religion Christian, Buddhist, Confucianimmigration patterns and immigration laws the Chinese Exclusion Act, the Alien Land Actethnic enclaves Chinatownseducational segregation, relocation camps, and laws against miscegenation see Healey,pp.
It is a cinematic history of racial violence, a history that ignores cultural differences and presumes essential racial identities.
This history treats all Asians as if they belonged to the same ethnic, religious, and national group. It does not differentiate between Asian nationalities, for example between Korean, Chinese, and Japanese see Wong,p. Nor does it address the complex and shifting foreign relationships between each Asian nation and the United States since the beginning of the twentieth century Wong,p.
Vietnamese American, Cambodian Americannational and local cultures, and religions and their missionaries. Negative, gendered stereotypes are folded into these histories: exotic China dolls and evil Dr Fu Manchu. Two themes connected to the spy, mystery, and war genres intertwine in this early period, namely the criminal, military, and sexual threats of the Asian other to American and British Society.
The sexual and rape themes, which sexualize racism Wong,p. This film is a virtual catalogue of sexual excesses rape, incest, sadism, masochism, pedophilia, necrophilia, fetishism, voyeurism; Marchetti,p. Indeed, Marchettip. It is also a catalogue of all that can go wrong in Asian-white interracial sexual relations interracial couples smoke opium, drugged Caucasian women assume sexually provocative poses.
Montage and parallel editing are used to underscore the threats he poses for Lucy shades of Birth of a Nation; Marchetti,p. The second predominant motif of the silent period, the criminal, detective spy and military theme, is given in the figure of Dr Fu Manchu, whose popularity increased with the advent of sound.
Soon this figure would be complemented by the Oriental sleuth, who was virtually ignored in silent film. With the third Charlie Chan movie, Behind That Curtainthe Asian detective became a staple of Asian-American cinema. This sleuth would work in the service of law and order, peace and justice and protect the world from sinister criminals.
Until the Chan figure, the concept of an Oriental hero was unthinkable. The mollifying influence of the Chan series is continuous, from the advent of sound to the present. During the s Hollywood ignored internal Asian struggles, and those wars when Asians fought one another, including the Japanese invasion of China in Indeed Hollywood ignored the Asian political situation until December 7, Wong,p.
Over forty war films featuring the Asian other were made between and Indeed, more than war films focusing on the Asian other were made between the years and ; Wong,p. In film after film e. This harmonious force was united in its struggles against the barbaric Asian. The war genre films briefly ended inwith the Japanese surrender, only to be taken up again with the Cold War -the Korean War -and the new war against communism Wong,p.
Charlie Chan notwithstanding, once again Fu Manchu emerged as a threat to the West Wong,p. Americans seemed unable to distinguish the Japanese from the Chinese and the Koreans, although the Korean War would become the site for the construction of a new version of the Yellow Peril Wong,p. Prison camp Prisoner of War, ; Bridge on the River Kwai, and brainwashing Time Limit,The Manchurian Candidate, films were pivotal in this period. These texts suggested that the Chinese and Koreans were slaves of communist Russia.
Indeed, the Vietnam conflict was an occasion for renewed negative treatments of the Asian other. This negativity was based in part on the fact that this war was causing so much trouble in America Desser,p. The Vietnamese enemy was a cliche, a construction based on previous cinematic treat- ments of the Japanese, Koreans, and the Chinese. He was a jungle-monkey. He hid in burrows. He lived underground. He lay in ambush of well-meaning American soldiers, and he emitted shrill cries when he attacked Wong,p.
Three decades of films have attempted to recover the meanings of the Vietnamese war for America see Auster and Quart, Patriotic themes reappeared in the Reagan decade with the Rambo series: First Bloo Rambo: First Blood Part IIRambo III Films like The Killing FieldsPlatoonFull Metal Jacketand Born on the Fourth of Julyhowever, challenged the s Rambo narrative. The memory of Vietnam lingers in the American imagination Auster and Quart,p.
Comedies like Good Morning, Vietnam and sanitized tele- vision series like China Beach and Magnum, P. cannot erase the cinematic images of napalmed bodies, screaming children, and destroyed Vietnamese villages.
The s and s would work back and forth against the Vietnam narra- tive. Domesticated and exotic images of the Asian American would be given in the Western McCabe and Mrs Miller, film noir Chinatown,and disaster Airport, genres. The Asian s ended with historical foreign spectacles Empire of the Sun,The Last Emperor, and Asian gang and drug wars in New York City and Tokyo Year of the Dragon,True Believer,Black Rain, Butterfly, American baseball travels to Japan Mr Baseball,while Chinese and Taiwanese generational family conflicts are explored in two Wayne Wang Eat a Bowl of Tea,The Joy Luck Club, and two Ang Lee films The Wedding Banquet,Eat Drink Man Woman,respectively.
A fitting near ending to the Asian cinematic century is given in a penultimate moment in Rising Sun Wesley Snipes and Sean Connery are being chased by a gang of Asian youths through the alleys of South Central Los Angeles. Snipes detours through an alley and stops next to a group of African-American brothers who are just hanging out.
He asks them for help. As if in anticipation of the Los Angeles riots ofthe black males attack the Asian males. This comic diversion allows Snipes and Connery to make a safe getaway. In this odd multi- cultural melting-pot fashion, the Asian and black communities do violent service for white society. The Vietnam experience introduced American soldiers to drugs marijuana, cocaine, heroin.
Black, Hispanic, and Asian gangs took control of these distribution systems. As realistic and at times utopian ethnographies of cutural difference, black, Hispanic, and Asian-American cinema transform and are transformed by these discursive practices. Each cinematic formation fits itself to a discrete set of mov- ing racist historical circumstances, barriers that constantly filter, define, and rede- fine the cinematic racial self. Each ethnic cinema, as a set of performance texts, creates its version of the racial order; that is, it connects its historical, cultural, and social circumstances to these discursive practices.
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To summarize These circumstances are familiar, and many of them cut across ethnic groups religion, wars, drugs, gangs, miscegenation and immigration laws, multiple nationality groups, ghetto life.
For blacks: slavery, strong black women, hustlers, specific film genres: musicals, social consciousness, comedies, blax- ploitation, buddy, hood. For Hispanics: strong women, American and Italian Westerns, Latin musicals.
Thus, every historical moment, with its cinematic formations, articulates a version of the American racial system. And these moments and formations are of course tangled up in social science theories of race and ethnic relations.
Social Science Theories of the Racial Order Each decade since see Table 1. This model presumed that those of dark skin would become like white persons, if given time and help. In contrast, from to the non-white other is regarded as a cultural inferior. Separate but equal social arrangements persist, even as melting-pot and assimilation theo- ries are debated.
In the - period, under democratic presidents, criti- cisms of the American system of segregation increase and contradictions in the American race system are exposed Myrdal, ; see also Drake and Cayton, ; Frazier, ; Johnson, The civil rights decade - turns race into a moral issue Rogin,p. Separatist movements begin, and civil rights leaders debate violent and non-violent approaches to the race problem.
In the black power decade - internal colonial and separatist models are advanced, and con- nected to multiculturalism. The s bears witness to criticisms of multicultural- ism, the dismantling of affirmative action programs, and new race riots.
The failure of American social science to provide a solution to the race problem is finally recognized McKee,p. Assimilation models now appear dated McKee,p. A homogeneous American population is not developing, and ethnicity is not declining in importance McKee,p. The barriers to racial, economic, and educational equality have not been eliminated. Nor is everyone ready to accept the doctrines of ethnic and racial pluralism, of ethnic equality.
A Cinema of Resistance A politically progressive, but discontinuous, narrative emerges from this truncated history.
This narrative moves back and forth across the race relations models outlined above. These models repeatedly interesect with specific theories of race, culture, whiteness and non-whiteness, civilization, ethnicity, intelligence, cultural difference, violence, deviance, sexuality, gender, sexual appetitite, addiction, parenthood, and moral correctness.
These terms, in turn, are folded, decade by decade, into specific cinematic texts. Each ethnic cinema is characterized by brief moments of revision and resis- tance when past stereotypes are challenged, and more sensitive and complex stories are presented. These revisionist historical ruptures ebb and flow. They have greater influence in some decades than in others, for example black and Hispanic Hollywood. However, these ruptures lengthened in the s. These cinemas shape a politics of ethnic resistance.
They frequently challenge mainstream Hollywood representations. Still, as argued above also Fregoso,p. In the s, a male, gang-based, multi-ethnic drug culture mediates this repre- sentational system. This culture is anchored in a political economy that extends deeply into the families and gangs in each ethnic ghetto. This political economy exploits the gang and gangster culture Boyd,p.
These images do not cohere into a single Asian identity that can be assimilated into the Western view of the mysterious Asian other. The self that dreams of fitting in loses itself, and in the end, while seemingly alive, is not only missing, but also dead.
Two scenarios. The politics of a new ethnic diversity are now played out in the media, and in those sectors of the public sphere marked by the boundaries of the hood and the barrio. This is the stuff of the hood movies of the s, the topic of this book. However, like any realist text these films are not mimetic; they create the conditions of their own representation see Lopez,p. Accuracy is not at issue; there are only competing and conflicting images of race and ethnicity see Friedman, a; also Cripps, Borrowing from Ryan and Kellnerp.
These films draw upon existing racial understandings and stereotypes. They bring these understand- ings to the screen. This process transforms the original representations.
Griffith is central to the cinematic construction of the American racial order. His films exploited nativist and miscegenation themes.
The racist elements in The Birth of a Nation and films like The Martyrs of the Alamo e. Matero Murdered, were immediately protested by blacks Bogle,p. This system presented the dark-skinned minority male as a threat to white society, its women, and to racial purity. These threats occur outside the main narrative, often located in those moments when the white woman is alone and stalked by the black man. In this way Griffith displaced race, locating it outside white society.
Thus race and women entered American cinema under a system of visual and narrative displacement see Clough,p. In the s this included MGM, Warner Brothers, Paramount, Twentieth-Century Fox, Universal, RKO, Columbia, and United Artists Keller,p.
The new sound system functioned somewhat differently for Hispanics. By the s Keller,p. The sound era required Spanish-language films for Latin America. However, it was impossible to create a single Spanish-language film that pleased the entire Hispanic public Keller,p.
The solution was simple, use Latin actors and actresses who would use Spanish accents and speak broken or fractured English. Nevertheless, the Latin musical soon became a popular film category. xviialthough a vibrant, active Hispanic film and theatre community existed in Los Angeles in the s see Rios-Bustamante,p.
The Decade of the Asian-American film has yet to appear. In these musical, carnival-like moments the presumably essential performative racial and ethnic self is enacted. This creates a moment of double racism. The essential self is being performed because the whites allow it to be per- formed and the performance is for the pleasure of the whites. This conclusion appears to hold for con- temporary black and Latin musicals as well.
In this site there is little of the Bakhtinian carnivalesque upturning of race relations that Hall discusses b, p. Gender and nationality e. Latin male lovers complicates the miscegenation situation. Of course white males could have sexual relationships with Asian and black females. He supplements this list with the following, more contemporary types: jesters, comics, servants, entertainers, militants, and action heroes.
The black musical is an exception to this conclusion. From the s to the present, blacks have been cast in Old South plantation stories, spirituals, musicals, family melodramas, ghetto adven- tures blaxploitationbuddy and action films see discussion below. It was applied to Native, Asian, Hispanic, and African Americans see Keller,p. A strong indigenous cinematic political economy associated with the Asian-American community apparently did not appear until the early s see Fung,p. Pioneering Asian actors Wong,p.
The gay and lesbian movements were part of this general civil rights history, and played key parts in the Hispanic, black, and Asian-American political and cinematic movements see, e. Aguilar-San Juan,p. Native Americans have yet to fully enter this cinematic history see Fiedler,p. Starting ina series of federal bills initiated the era of American Indian self-determination. The film Thunderheart explores some of these issues.
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The first all-Indian movie Smoke Signals began production in the spring of and was released in see Dinitia Smith,p. At the same time these black jazz performers continued to experience extreme prejudice and discrimination in their daily lives. White America was not prepared to accept black musicians and black vocalists in white bands, nor would it accept black musicians as stars in their own right see Hampton,p.
Black jazz musicians also confronted grave racism in the American military during this period; the tragic case of Lester Young is an example see Yanow,p. xiii; Hamond,p.
See also Davis,p. Juano Hernandez, James Edwards, Ethel Waters, and Clarence Brooks Bogle,p. According to Bogle, this complex aligns a good white man who is an outcast with a trusty black also an outcast. There are many examples, from Casablanca to In the Heat of the Night, and, most recently, the Die Hard and Lethal Weapon series.
Dorothy Dandridge, Sidney Poitier, Ethel Waters, Harry Belafonte, Pearl Bailey, Eartha Kitt, Ella Fitzgerald, William Marshall, and Ruby Dee. Jones, Cicely Tyson, Diana Ross, and Billy Dee Williams. Jackson, Wesley Snipes, and Alfre Woodard Bogle,pp. Hispanic: a census category; a term founded in socioeconomic politics Noriega and Lopez,p. xii ; of Spanish origin; to render in Spanish; Mexican. Hispano: Spanish-American.
Mestizo: a person of Causasian and Native American ancestry. Chicano: Mexican Americans; the ideology of Chicanismo. Mexican American: of Mexican origin; one of the largest Spanish-speaking Hispanic groups in America. Latino: three communities: Chicano, Puerto Rican, Cuban American; a term founded in cultural politics Noriega and Lopez,p. Kellerp. Wrightp. The historical time-frame for the Western was short: - Wright,p.
In the Homestead Act was passed. The great cattle drives lasted from to Wright,p. This history is complicated by class. This would include gendered cinemas within each category e. Chicana, Latina as well as gay and lesbian cinema. Region e. Caribbean and religion e. Catholicism must also be added to this matrix. This creates complex hybrid relationships between regional and religious Latin, African, and Afro- Caribbean cultures, including Rastafarian, Baptist, and Latin American Catholicism, and its mergers with Aztec and related belief systems.
A racist, gendered vocabulary fitted to the dark-skinned, dirty-skinned Hispanic quickly emerged. This language was also applied to Native Americans. That is, honoring democratic ideals while preserving white domination over minority group members. In The Searchers Navajo Indians and Jeffrey Hunter play murderous Comanches who rape Natalie Wood.
13 Aug. Rate. Error: please try again. Sexy Taissia, dressed in black lace and stockings, is playing with herself while standing in front of her boyfriend. When he gets up from his couch, she drops on her knees to please him orally. Next they kiss and make love while standing and she rides him on the couch A young girl's family is speaking out after a TSA agent patted her down for nearly two minutes at an airport over the holiday break, leaving the girl feeling like screaming. Her father shot video Estimated Reading Time: 3 mins Grease cast and crew credits, including actors, actresses, directors, writers and more
In an act of mercy, John Wayne allows Wood to reenter white society. Kellerpp. Pivotal Hispanic stars in this period, who were cast alongside the likes of Gary Cooper and John Wayne, included Natalie Wood, Anthony Quinn, Katy Jurado, Gilbert Roland, Rita Hayworth, and Ricardo Montalban see Keller,pp. By the Chicano movement had coalesced, producing a series of protests in Los Angeles.
The first Chicano film, I Am Joaquin made for and by Chicanos appears in In the early s UCLA became a training ground for Chicano and black filmmakers.
Noriega b, p. Masilea dis- cusses the Los Angeles School of Black Filmmakers e. Burnett, Dash, Duke, Woodberry, Gerima.
This program was based on a US Office of Economic Opportunity-funded program called New Communicators, designed to train minorities for employment in the film industry Noriega,p. In the National Chicano Film Festival was established in San Antonio and by the Los Angeles-based Chicano Cinemas Coalition Noriega, b, p.
Its participants would soon locate their work within the New Latin American Cinema Noriega, b, p. Rose Portillo, Daniel Valdez Fregoso,p. Los Angeles Chicano student organizations protested Boulevard Nights and its negative depic- tions of gangs, Chicanos, and Chicanas Fregoso,p.
Esparza, M. Martinez, Sylvia Morales, Jesus Salvador Trevino, Gregory Naven, Edward James Olmos, Luis Valdez. This presence was also felt Keller,pp. The Cheech and Chong comedies e. These two techniques merge mid-way through Mambo Kings when the two Cuban musicians appear on the I Love Lucy show.
They pretend to not speak English. Their wives and friends back in New York City watch the two men lie to Lucy. The screen fills with the picture of the New York Cubans laughing at Lucy, laughing at the Mambo Kings, as they giggle and look out of the screen into the New York City living room.
Higaship. This figure would be reincarnated as the evil Dr Nothe first of the James Bond movies. Marchettipp. This and the following paragraph draw from Denzin a, pp. Stanford Lyman in correspondence argues that Chan would develop as the reverse mirror image of Fu Manchu. Charlie is the tamed Oriental spirit working in the service of the Occident. The Asian sleuth, as wandering quasi-cowboy in kung fu garb, would return with a vengeance in the s with the David Carradine TV show Kung Fu.
Two other s TV series, Bonanza and Hawaii Five-O, also Orientialized the Asian identity. This process extends from the s into the s with the Bruce and Brandon Lee Dragon films, and most recently with Jackie Chan Super Cop, Ironically, some argue that The Birth of the Nation is the grandfather of all modern war film epics see Auster and Quart,pp.
This is painfully presented in The Manchurian Candidate. Here resurfaces the CIA drug conspiracy theory discussed in the Introduction; the theory that in the s the government furnished drugs to ghetto residents see Boyd,p. Grand Canyon White men would rather win first and look good second, while black men want to look good first, and win second. Ron Shelton. Two white directors telling stories about the hood and race relations in the s. Each shot focuses on ten black men running up and down the basketball court, African Americans entertaining a white audience.
Ninety seconds into the film, the game over, Kline takes a wrong turn out of the Forum parking lot. His car stalls on a dark street in South Central Los Angeles. He is soon hassled by five black youths who threaten violence. Within minutes Danny Glover Simona tow-truck operator, comes to his rescue. Two images of blackness: the controlled, aesthetically pleasing athletic body of the NBA star versus the violent, slouching, hip hop, trash-talking body of the young black male, rap culture on the loose in the LA streets.
The first image of blackness is pleasing to the white eye: plantation negroes perform- ing for their owners. The second image is jarring, disconcerting: black threats to whiteness. Their moral directives are simple. The race problems in American can be resolved if the races work together, although it may be up to the white man and woman to carry this burden on his her shoulders Giroux,p.
Moreover, sensible, sensitive adults can easily overcome matters involving race. Black urban teenagers in gangs are another question. As argued in Chapter 1, in the popular media black and brown youths are symbolically defined as threats to the social order Rose,p.
Their seemingly senseless rage and violence are directly connected to rap and hip hop culture Rose,p. This violent culture is self-destructive. The youth, left to their own devices, are unable to escape the effects of this culture.
Strange bedfellows, the liberal white middle class converges with the cultural and religious Right. White and black youth must be saved from the rap attack Perkins,p. The film is about whiteness and race, whiteness as privilege, as social construction, as domination on whiteness see Fine et al. Grand Canyon is about the new patri- archal, benign racism of the Reagan and Bush years.
It is about a new politics of cultural difference. It is about the collapse of white middle-class civility and privi- lege in the public spaces of everyday life. This is a racism predicated on differ- ence, on the strangeness of the other, on the death of the innocent black subject Giroux,p. This is a racism that is color-blind, even as it color-codes violence, locating white people on the margins of a violent, Third World, alien, dark-skinned culture, Los Angeles, no longer the city of angels.
Its all here: fear, danger, race coded as violent disorder, the Yuppie yearning for a safe life in the early s. The plot is simple, yet complex, involving several loosely connected storylines, each revolving around violence, race, gender, and white privilege. Two men, Mack and Simon, stand at the center of the narrative. Mack is a middle-aged successful immigration attorney. Mack is married to Claire, who fears the empty-nest syndrome because their son Roberto named after Roberto Clemente is about to leave home for college.
Mack recently had a one-night affair with his secretary, Dee, who is in love with him. Simon is a middle-aged auto mechanic, a single parent, with a deaf daughter attending Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. Simon has a sister, Deborah, a single parent with a little girl and a teenage son, Otis, who has joined a gang. His point of view structures the narrative. The story begins, as noted above, with Mack taking a wrong turn into the ghetto and being saved by Simon.
Mack arranges for Deborah and her children to move from the ghetto into a safe, nearly all-white neighborhood. Mack introduces Jane to Simon, and they begin dating. Claire discovers an abandoned baby in the woods one morning as she is jogging. Under some duress, Mack arranges for him and Claire to adopt the baby. Otis leaves his street gang. Mack admits that life is not that bad after all. He has crossed the color line in his friendship with Simon, who has a new woman in his life. Claire is happy with their Third World baby, and Otis and Roberto may become friends.
Everybody has purpose in his or her life and Mack can pat himself on the back. On the one hand it refers to the real place, the real Grand Canyon, a site that is visited by all of the principal characters at the end of the film. On the surface it appears that only luck and fate protect us from chaos and destruction. So the film is about chance, risks, contingencies, well-intended white people who can turn good or bad luck to personal advantage; race and chance in the service of whiteness.
This is the lesson Mack learned. Similiarly, if you do not pay attention to what you are doing, trouble can reach out and hit you Mack almost being hit by a bus. If you hang out with gangs, as Otis does, then you risk violence. If you are a young black man acting strange in a white neighborhood, the police will stop you. Single women who have affairs with their bosses get hurt and lose their jobs. There is a coded message: you risk danger when you take chances and stray from your own little world.
This is safe white violence done in the service of white entertainment. Kasdan abhors black violence, the violence and disrespect of the ghetto where black youth carry guns and threaten the lives of white and black men.
Recall the conversation between Simon and the gang member over the gun and respect quoted at the outset of this chapter.
I better be quiet,''' she said. On a mobile device? Click here to see the video. Skip to content. Steve Cartwright and his wife, Caroline, are seen here leaving court in She has even served some time behind bars over her sexual hollering. Most Read. Boosting NYC subway service, MTA construction programs are goals of new acting transit agency chairman Janno Lieber.