Readings for 4/21

Hooks describes what it is like to be a black woman. She refers to “the gaze” quite a bit, and how black people that were enslaved were punished for gazing. She continues on to talk about how mainstream cinema and television enhance the misrepresentation of black people, and in a sense, sway the way society sees them. While I can agree that mainstream media does have a huge influence on the way that people think and feel, I also think that any stereotypes or feelings that people harbor has a lot to do with their upbringing. If children grow up with their parents and family members feeling a certain way, I think that the children will more than likely feel that way as well, only because that’s what they’re used to. It’s sad, but unfortunately, it works that way.

Dyer writes a lot about “whiteness” and representation of this “whiteness”. He brings up three films, and talks about how white people are usually represented as being rigid, original, and rational. What I thought was interesting about this reading is that Dyer writes “The prescence of black people in all three films allows one to see whiteness as whiteness…” This statement was very interesting to me. It seems as though Dyer meant that if there are black people in a film, it intensifies the “whiteness” that’s present. Dyer also discusses what he feels that white means. He think that white is “colorless” and “empty”. This to me seems like a metaphor that although the typical Leave it to Beaver family might seem happy and wonderful, maybe there’s more to meets the eye.

Diawara writes about a few Eddie Murphy movies like 48 hours and Beverly Hills Cop I and II. He brings up a good point that I’ve never really realized. Sometimes when it comes to comedies – I’m a little blind to whatever underlying meaning the movie has. He says that even though Eddie Murphy seems like a tough guy in these roles, he’s still subject to the dominantly white world. According to Diawara, it seemd as though Murphy was there to simply compliment Nick Nolte. When I read this, I immediately thought of Rush Hour. Even though Jackie Chan isn’t white, it still seemed as though Chris Tucker was there as his sidekick, while Jackie Chan did all the major fighting. I don’t know – maybe I’m wrong about that?

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  1. Lauren Schwartz Said,

    April 27, 2010 @ 11:15 am

    In regards to the reading by Dyer, I really liked your Leave it to Beaver example. More recently than the television show, there was a Leave it to Beaver movie (really good by the way) and while watching that movie, it shows how the ‘perfect family’ may not be so perfect. Beaver is always getting into trouble, Wally is a guy in high school following girls everywhere and the parents have to deal with the stresses of their children. Even the perfect family cant have it together all the time.

  2. Amy Herzog Said,

    April 28, 2010 @ 12:08 am

    I think you hit the nail on the head in terms of Dyer’s point about whiteness– it’s almost impossible to define on its own, but emerges only in opposition to the images of blackness (or other “othernesses”) that it defines itself against.

  3. justina87 Said,

    May 11, 2010 @ 7:41 pm

    I definitely agree with you as you stated that the cinema has changed within recent years. As many technological advances have embodied cinema, digitalization especially within Avatar and the 3D sense has definitely sprung a whole new approach to films within today’s era. I also liked your example of Leave it to Beaver; this stereotypical household of may be noticed as perfection but as we watch the episodes and follow the family closer we as the audience can tell that there are some issues that arise just as with every other family structure- both white as well as black.

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