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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]>
Sun, 30 Oct 1994 18:23:35 -0600
text/plain (79 lines)
>        Italians & Swedes living in Europe?  They are not a race.  Italians&
>Swedes living in this country?  Not a race either: they are foreign
Oh really? Crack open the history book to the way the Irish were treated
when they immigrated to the U.S. after the Potato Famine. Look at how the
Italians were treated when they immigrated. Look at the cute names they gave
Eastern Europeans. Go ahead and tell me that you can't consider these
to be different races. They have been, hence they can be.
We still think of them as different. I'm sure you've seen stereotypes of
suave Latin or Italian lovers, contrtasted with the stereotype of repressed
People with identical physiology are swimming in each other's blood in
Bosnia because they think that one side or the other is an ethnicity
responsible for bad things in the country. Go ahead and tell me that
people of the same skin tones are the same race.
>nationals.  Italian-Americans & Swedish-Americans?  They are
>European-Americans.  Some people call them White.  But then the question
Yes, some people do. You'd probably call an Italian white, and a Jew white -
but the KK doesn't, and would be just as happy to kill them as they would
kill a black man.
Hmmm. . .sounds like race depends on your perspective. As in, it's all in
your head.
>of ethnicity surfaces.  Ethnicity: foreign born Whites--immigrants
>(Richard Polenberg, *One Nation Divisible*).  Or ethnicity: US born people
>with symbolic ties to another country.
Well, that'd be one way of organizing things. Of course, 4th & 5th
generation descendants of immigrants may be pretty mainstream and not
have ties to the old country, at least none that are more than of the
most superficial nature.
Where would a Brit who immigrates fit in? How about Stanley Kubrick, who
is an American who (as I understand it) lives in the U.K all the time?
How about a former Korean friend of mine who was adopted through some relief
agency when he was 4 and has grown up in Montan? Where do these people
fit in?
>>1--I'm not sure what other paradigm exists, since whites have defined
>> the terms for race and racialism for centuries.
>        I couldn't agree with you more.  So, isn't that time that these
>paradigms are challenged?
Why bother with such BS in the first place? The only paradigm for race that
I can see as an improvement is one that says we are all the same race - the
*human* race - and that's all there is to it.
>Obviously, one can
> imagine many multi-racial contexts for various combinations, but how many
> of them are actually depicted in American films--and only as a relationship
> and not an issue.
>        So, it is time that we change the cinematic paradigms as well.
>To begin with: avoiding compiling lists of films where interracial
>relationships do *not* constitute an issue, for example.
That's one answer. I think that it's good to have films where the interracial
aspect of the relationship isn't an issue. Similarly, it'd be nice to have
films with gay characters where their sexuality wasn't even a tangent to
the plot.
If it doesn't seem unnatural in the film, then maybe people will walk away with
the idea that it isn't, or at least shouldn't, be unnatural in real life.
>Let's look at films such as *Mississippi Masala* rather than
Good idea; it was a *much* better film anyway ;)
J Roberson