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October 1994


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J Roberson <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 24 Oct 1994 12:51:39 -0500
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>I would argue that thinking race is insignificant is a luxury reserved for
>people with no race (i.e. whites).  While I don't think that the
Are you trying to tell me that the white race has no race?
Personally I don't think in terms of race, so I would counter you
by saying that *no one* has race; whites are not exclusive. If you look
around the world, b=people group together culturally, not by skin color.
I don't think an Australian Aborigine has much in common with a black
Law professor at Yale, for instance.
If race is so insignificant in this film, what other Hollywood pictures can
you think of recently that feature a black man / white woman couple
prominently?  Besides Jungle Fever, I think it's pretty rare.  So why is
>this couple, which is at the core of this film in many ways, never really
>seen together?  Why is the white woman shown predominantly with a white
At the core? At the end of the movie I realized that Uma lives, even
though she isn't really seen in the rest of the story. Vincent
escorting her was nothing more than an interesting story about
an enforcer taking the boss's wife out for a date - no more no less.
I didn't think about the "racial significance" until *you* brought
it up.
One thing I'll concede, however, is that perhaps I didn't think about
Marcellus and Uma (sorry, can't remember her character name) as a couple
because they weren't onscreen together too much - if at all.
>man?  Why is the black man sexualized through violence and rape and
>jealousy, but never shown as a "partner" in his interracial marriage?
I don't think of Marcellus as a black man. I think of him as a mob
boss. Indeed, before he was described as black in the second scene, I
was thinking 20s-style gangsters, ala Capone.
>I'm not trying to label this a "racist" film or point to "racist"
>characters, as I think the term "racist" is irrelevant in a hopelessly
>"racist" society.  If you can show me a person who is not "racist" (i.e.
Obviously. That's why you keep saying it.
>judging people at least somewhat based on their race and racial
>preconceptions), I'll be truly amazed.  There are racial questions in the
I think it depends on when you introduce the information. As I mentioned
above, I was thinking Chicago Mafioso, not black gangster, until it was
mentioned that Marcellus was black. I found that image hard to shake, and
so through the rest of the film I saw him more as a race-less mob boss
than a black hoodlum made good.
It's sort of like my early days on the net - I corresponded with one person
whom I had never met in person. We wrote back and forth quite a bit, and
he had this image of me - as the opposite sex that I am. Needless to
say he was rather confused one day when I corrected him, but he later
admitted that he never fully shook his original image.
>film, however, and I'd disagree vehemently with anyone who asserts that
>race is more or less random in the film.
I don't think it's random in the sense of being chaotically interspersed.
I just don't think that Tarantino was making too many comments on race
in the film.
J Roberson