The Evolution of Minorities in Film

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The Evolution of Minorities in Film

Back in the 1800’s, when calculating the population, African Americans were counted as 3/5 of a person (Antonia, p2). One would think that in the past two hundred years people’s beliefs would have changed a little bit, but the general white public are stuck into believing the common stereotypes commonly portrayed in movies. In films and television shows blacks are almost always portrayed as murderers, robbers, rapists, pretty much anything negative, like American History X, for example. Two black men are shown breaking into a white man’s car. People see this, and in turn believe that all black men will try and steal their car; as stupid as it may seem, it is true, and as a result, film producers try to incorporate this into their films. Very rarely, if ever, is it possible to see a minority depicted as a hero-type figure. Every once in a while, there will be an independent film from a minority director, but as Schultz states in Lyon’s piece, “We [blacks] are still being ghettoized in Hollywood, a serious black project of any scope is as difficult to get marketed today as it was in the ‘70s.” By making a barrier to entry for minorities in the film industry, it’s almost as if America is trying to keep black films out of the popular media. At first glimpse, it may appear that minorities are very hard to be seen in the filming industry, when in reality, they are becoming more and more apparent in America’s mainstream media culture, particularly in action movies.

MacDonald stated in Allan Smith’s essay, “American mass culture continued to operate as an assimilative force, seeking to maintain social stability while gradually merging people of different backgrounds into the cult...

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...ral trend of how minorities are making a bigger and bigger impact on American mainstream culture. All America can do is smile and be content at the fact that minorities are finally getting the respect they deserve.

Works Cited

Antonia, Kathleen. “A Lesson Before Living” Humanist, March/April 2001,

Volume 61 Issue 2, p.43.

Beck, Bernard. “What Price Glory?” Multicultural Perspectives, 1999, Volume 1

Issue 1, p.26.

Brinkley, Douglas. “Edward Norton’s Primal Fear” George, October 1998,

Volume 3 Issue 10, p.110.

Lyons, N.L. “From Race Movies to Blaxploitation to Homeboy Movies” American

Visions, February 1992, Volume 7 Issue 1, p. 42.

Smith, Allan. “Seeing Things: Race, Image, and National Identity in

Canadian and American Movies and Television” Canadian Review of

American Studies, Autumn 1996, Volume 26 Issue 3, p. 367.
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