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Race and Entertainment (follow-up)

We didn't get the chance to discuss the lecture, readings, or movie last night, so I wanted to post this thread and give everyone a chance to speak their mind. At the core of last night's work was the connection between race in U.S. history and forms of popular entertainment, such as blackface minstrelsy and wild west shows, that have turned racial tensions and stereotypes into entertainment. On the one hand, last night's movie painted a fairly bleak picture of how stereotypes of African-Americans have been created and perpetuated through media representations. Other scholars have suggested that the story is more complicated, arguing that the interracial hybridity underlying much popular entertainment means it is open to multiple interpretations, including those that work against rigid stereotypes. What do you think? How do representations of race and racial difference operate in popular entertainment today? Are certain forms of representations more pernicious than others and, if so, which ones?


One thing that caught my attention in this film was that African Americans seemed to help perpetuate the way they were portrayed by others by performing in blackface. It seems odd that an African American would want to be involved in something that played a role in the stereotyping of African Americans, essentially mocking and poking fun at them. Looking at it from a different perspective, this could have also played a role in changing stereotypes of African Americans. White Americans knew these minstrels were shows and were meant to provide entertainment. Realizing they were just performances, white Americans may have realized these acts were far from the truth. In this case, this was the first time white Americans were exposed to black culture.

I think any and every form of racial representation can be just as "pernicious" as the next if the person watching it doesn't have an education.

I grew up playing cowboys and indians, and watching the Lone Ranger, and up until about 4th grade, I thought they still lived in teepees.

A person who has never seen a black person, may or may not get a pretty good idea from BET or the radio....

A person who has never been to Iowa may get pretty good idea of the culture if they listened an Iowa radio station on the internet...

Obviously the most widely viewed sources of entertainment, music, tv, movies have the biggest effect because they are so common;

I think the final factor in all this is education; if a person has no idea what someone or something is, whatever represents that object can be a pretty strong impression.