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October 1994


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Marc Pitre <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 24 Oct 1994 10:29:53 -0700
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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I wholeheartedly agree with Jajasoon's comments.  To me, each of Tarantino's
films provoke disturbing questions about violence, masculinity, and racial
QT's free use of the word "nigger" does not necessarily make him or his
characters evil, but it unequivocally stirs our society's simmering pot of
ethnic stereotypes and viewers' conceptions of black people and African
American culture.  I don't know if QT's liberal use of racial slurs is
good or bad, but it's definitely not random.
On Mon, 24 Oct 1994, Jajasoon Tlitteu wrote:
> 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
> interpretation of race in PF is simple and clear, race is certainly
> significant.
[someone else wrote:] The sadists obviously use "nigger" to
> >mean inferior and possessed but only has a racial component as a legacy of
> >the word's origin. Other uses of "nigger" in the movie seem to imply
> >inferiority but only mildly as it is used frequently without regard for the
> >race of any character. I can't think of a single character which I would say
> >was definitely racist.
> 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
> man?  Why is the black man sexualized through violence and rape and
> jealousy, but never shown as a "partner" in his interracial marriage?
> 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.
> judging people at least somewhat based on their race and racial
> preconceptions), I'll be truly amazed.  There are racial questions in the
> film, however, and I'd disagree vehemently with anyone who asserts that
> race is more or less random in the film.
> Let the sparks fly!