Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Mo'Nique Said She Was Paid $50,000 for 'Precious' + Responds to Lee Daniels "Play the Game" Advice (Video) Mo'Nique Said She Was Paid $50,000 for 'Precious' + Responds to Lee Daniels "Play the Game" Advice (Video) 'Cooley High' Writer and Cast Reflect on the Film 40 Years Later 'Cooley High' Writer and Cast Reflect on the Film 40 Years Later So What’s Byron Allen's $20 Billion Lawsuit Against Comcast, Time Warner, Al Sharpton & the NAACP all About? So What’s Byron Allen's $20 Billion Lawsuit Against Comcast, Time Warner, Al Sharpton & the NAACP all About? A New Edition Biopic Might Be Coming to a Theater Near You If This Fan-Made Trailer Goes Viral A New Edition Biopic Might Be Coming to a Theater Near You If This Fan-Made Trailer Goes Viral HBO Seeks Diverse, Emerging Writers for HBOAccess Writing Fellowship HBO Seeks Diverse, Emerging Writers for HBOAccess Writing Fellowship Films & TV Series That Are Coming to (and Leaving) Netflix's Streaming Library Next Month (March) Films & TV Series That Are Coming to (and Leaving) Netflix's Streaming Library Next Month (March) Check Out These Photos of Mo'Nique, Queen Latifah, Khandi Alexander & Michael K. WIlliams From HBO's Bessie Smith Bio + Premiere Date Set Check Out These Photos of Mo'Nique, Queen Latifah, Khandi Alexander & Michael K. WIlliams From HBO's Bessie Smith Bio + Premiere Date Set Oscars Telecast Ratings at 6-Year Low. So Was Nielsen Right About Correlation Between Black Nominees & Viewers? Oscars Telecast Ratings at 6-Year Low. So Was Nielsen Right About Correlation Between Black Nominees & Viewers? Here's the Story That the Denzel Washington/Antoine Fuqua 'Magnificent Seven' Remake Will Tell Here's the Story That the Denzel Washington/Antoine Fuqua 'Magnificent Seven' Remake Will Tell Ava DuVernay Won Ava DuVernay Won Watch Footage From Marlon Wayans' Richard Pryor Audition Tape Watch Footage From Marlon Wayans' Richard Pryor Audition Tape Mike Tyson Went to Algeria to Make the Country's "First Martial Arts Film"... Here's a First Look at the Results Mike Tyson Went to Algeria to Make the Country's "First Martial Arts Film"... Here's a First Look at the Results If You Missed PBS' August Wilson Documentary, 'The Ground on Which I Stand,' Watch It in Full Now! If You Missed PBS' August Wilson Documentary, 'The Ground on Which I Stand,' Watch It in Full Now! Now You Can Watch All 10 Oscar Nominated Short Films (Live Action & Animation) Online Now You Can Watch All 10 Oscar Nominated Short Films (Live Action & Animation) Online Mo'Nique's Decision to Not "Play the Industry Game" Gets Her Blacklisted. The Actress Speaks... Mo'Nique's Decision to Not "Play the Industry Game" Gets Her Blacklisted. The Actress Speaks... For the First Time, the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards Will Be Broadcast on TV - on OWN For the First Time, the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards Will Be Broadcast on TV - on OWN Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Apparently, Hosting The Oscars Isn't As Coveted A Gig As I Previously Assumed... Apparently, Hosting The Oscars Isn't As Coveted A Gig As I Previously Assumed... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

George Lucas' "Red Tails" - Tepid Feel Good Story Or Unvarnished Gaze?

Shadow and Act By Andre Seewood | Shadow and Act August 14, 2011 at 11:09AM

I cast a baleful eye at this film because I don't know if director, Anthony Hemingway, screenwriter, John Ridley or distributor Lucasfilm will have the guts to give us an unvarnished look into racism maintained in that time period against African-Americans in an unmixed company scene with white officers.
5

I cast a baleful eye at this film because I don't know if director, Anthony Hemingway, screenwriter, John Ridley or distributor Lucasfilm will have the guts to give us an unvarnished look into racism maintained in that time period against African-Americans in an unmixed company scene with white officers.

"The importance of unmixed company scenes in the cinema cannot be underestimated; such scenes serve to 'peel back' the facade of tolerance often maintained in mixed company and reveal the fallacies and unquestioned beliefs certain groups or races hold against other groups or races."

From Slave Cinema, pg. 83

The point here is that without an unvarnished look at the racist belief system that held these black pilots back during WWII, the film risks coming off as a sort of tepid 'feel good' story.

In representing this time period the 'N' word must be used to evoke the vitriolic nature of the racism at that time.

Today's writers often censor the unvarnished racism of yesterday in an attempt not to offend contemporary viewers but in doing so they weaken the verisimilitude of the time period they are representing. Moreover, the notion of white supremacy maintained during that time period is 'softened' to seem merely a moral judgment against the character of a person and not a race.

Would that the film included an unmixed company scene (a scene where one race and gender speaks explicitly about the merits/morals/and intelligence of another race and gender who is not amid them) among the white officers as they discuss the black pilots, a more challenging portrait of America during WWII might be created. And I don't mean just those white officers who were against the black pilots, but also those who were for them.

Furthermore, an equivalent scene among the black pilots as they discuss the white officers would also sharpen the representation of this time period.

Of course, we'll just have to wait and see, but I for one am not that optimistic.

Andre Seewood is the author of SLAVE CINEMA: The Crisis of the African-American in Film. Pick up a copy of the book via Amazon.com HERE.

This article is related to: Things That Make You Go Hmm..., oped


Shadow & ActNewsletter