Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Hollywood’s Whiteouts

Throughout history, Hollywood motion pictures have left a huge footprint amongst the portrayal of African Americans, causing individuals to stereotype them as what they say “the magic negro.”  The Magic Negro, as defined in Rita Kempley’s Mystical Black Characters Play Complex Cinematic Role, is a term used in the late 1950s where the black character will also do almost anything, including sacrificing himself, to save the white protagonist.  So what causes these black stereotypes to be alive even now?  This essay has opened up by eyes how the “magic negro” is imprinted amongst African American till today. 
            Within the start of the Cinema era, there were either none or very few black roles that have taken place. Due to the fact that so many of the African American roles were offensive, the emergence of the infamous men in the "black face"(which is where the white people would paint their skin black, drawing out certain features and starting acting out in crazy behaviors; which became the cause to stereotyping) came about. This also included authentic black actors, who performed in parts of ignorant and less valued roles. This brings back history to where African Americans were often beaten and threatened if they felt the need of integration and egalitarianism to be brought into action;
likewise the black men and women behind the camera, who show brilliance which are viewed as nonexistent.
            These racial outlooks are viewed from H. Rider Haggard in his literary classic, King Solomon’s Mines such as racial stereotypes are involved here considering Quatermaine being unable to trust Umbopa (an African) with his things, disliking his body form even though Sir Henry (European) had the same qualities (which he admired about him). These outlooks are transfused with history whereas the white men (Quatermaine, Sir Henry & Good) invade the Kaukauna’s land, overthrowing the king of his own thrown. The “magic negro” character in this novel would be Umbopa; although he’s discovered to be the lost prince named Ignosi, Quatermaine is still the protagonists in the story that receives his words wisdom and power which helped him grow throughout his journey.
            In the era of sitcoms, the "black sitcoms" became somewhat popular, such as Family Matter. These shows gave African-Americans more television coverage and showed many different roles for blacks; however, the "white sitcoms" such as Full House were still considered more profitable.  We are human beings of different colors; nobody lives in this “all black” or “all white” world. Why is there a sudden necessity of separating "black shows" with black stereotypes from "white shows" with white stereotypes? We live in the twenty-first century people, segregation was ages ago.
Although possible reasons for these “Mass Media Stereotypes” being labeled as racist for the reason that the subject of race is still a very sensitive issue in today's society, which causes the public to act negatively to making fun of it; due to the hostility caused by them, many such as I would rather have them excluded from mass media all together; starting with these “Magic Negros”.  


  1. This starts off a little weak, but gets stronger till the end, amenah. First off, you're summary of Kempley is REALLY short. You sort of brush over her ideas giving us a false definition of the "magical negro" stereotype to move on to a history of racial stereotypes in cinema not mentioned in the article. Where is this info. coming from?

    Your analysis of the novel, however, is quite good, though it also has some errors--it isn't Umbopa that Quatermain distrusts but another trader. But without a complete description of the magic negro, we can't see how Umbopa fits the bill :-/

    Last, I'm not sure what Family Matters or Full House have to do with the magic negro stereotype :-/

  2. You should use another example for "Magic Negro" Family Matters and Full House doesn't really represent the term !

    1. by comparing the two, what i was trying to do was compare the viewer interests such as how full house(the white sitcom)a show about a man who everyday juggles two very hard tasks with becoming a famous talk show host and a house father, and family matters(the black sitcom)a show that just about the same thing as full house,but receives less of viewer interests... and why is that.

      and after i reread my blog again, i saw that the point i was trying to make wasn't clear at all. thanks for pointing that out:)