Bell Hooks has spent her career as a professor and as a critical viewer of pop culture and film. She encourages all audiences to watch closely for signs of racism and general prejudice. When watching a film, Hooks focuses on casting, writing/dialogue choices, character development and depth, and virtually all other hidden prejudice messages embedded within the story. Bell Hooks points out that social prejudices are reinforced as well as justified in pop culture, and have existed since the beginning of film making. The United States is a historically racist, homophobic, and generally intolerant country; nowhere is this displayed better than in Hollywood movies. As a college student with a love for great TV shows and movies, I've learned that the way society really is and the way it's depicted on screen are essentially skewed mirror images of one another. Obviously there is great dramatization of everyday life on television nowadays--making the most mundane life seem interesting and worth watching. People enjoy watching things that seem as though they could be real, but are simply more interesting than their own lives. Bell Hook's explains that the depiction of non-white races on screen is two dimensional and in many ways false. An "enlightened witness" is aware of the prejudice they are observing whether it be covertly hidden between the lines of seemingly clever dialogue or out in the open, banging you over the head with bigotry. Hook's encourages us to be forward thinking enough to understand that the images we see are likely biased or skewed. With this understanding, a Queer Cinema student is capable of watching films critically and carrying on thoughtful conversation with his or her classmates, despite gender/race/orientation. By being an enlightened witness, one has the ability to contribute useful information, and understand as well as appreciate differing opinions.
Critical Audience--Bell Hooks
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