“Ethnic Notions: African American Stereotypes,” 150 words the following with your peers: Discussion 2 150 words and make up a title for essay Earlier this year in my face-to-face film class, the students and myself discussed the movie we had just viewed, i.e., In the course of the discussion, the three black students discussed issues of political correctness as well as representations of black people in mainstream cinema versus indie cinemas. One student went as far as to state, “stop making movies about black people and slavery! I am more than slavery!” After the class ended, I thought the issue a bit more, and I began to wonder if, indeed, mainstream cinema was only paying lip service to correct depictions of race while sincere and honest depictions of race were being found in indie films. I thought about movies like or . One movie has a wide-eyed optimistic girl lighting the proverbial fire under some very scared black women. The other movie recounts the story of a free black man being dragged into slavery. So, in the mainstream, blacks have to be rescued by some good natured white person or are slaves. Granted, I am making an extremely generalized conclusion based on only two movies, but if we begin to consider the depictions of black people in the mainstream cinema… what do we end up looking at? The white person saves the black people ( ) or the black person as slave ( ) or the black thug and hood (too many to list). The argument could be made, but what about Will Smith? And I would say, what about him? The majority of the roles Smith has played could have been played by any actor of any racial background. The roles Smith has played have been divested of race. The only thing that is an indication of race with any or Smith’s roles has been… well, Smith himself! With all this in mind, consider that mainstream cinema is… well, the mainstream. It is what is most watched and consumed. As such, when truly delving into representations of black America in mainstream cinema… can it be said with 100% certainty, that everything is great? Or! Is it enough to say, “that at least it’s better than before”? Ideas? Thoughts?
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