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Images of People of Color


Tamika
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I'm an avid fan of TCM, have been for many, many years. Most importantly, I'm a fan of classic cinema. Recently TCM brought us viewers a film festival showcasing works that dealt with Black issues and the many ways Blacks were depicted on the silver screen. I was delighted to see this outside of the month of February. I was even happier to see the discussions preceding and following the films.

 

So why is it that today, between the features "Double Indemnity" and "She done him Wrong" did TCM show a racist short film negatively portraying Native American Indians?

 

I know that many of my favorite films include slaves, ma'amies, and black stereotypes, and they don't make me feel good either. But when included in a film of great work----I can accept those displays as moment in our nation's painful past. A snapshot, if you will, of what we use to be. But to continue to show these short films that intentionally offend people of color is an outrage!!! I'm disappointed in TCM's contradicting messages---one asks us to learn more about others and racism, the other says we can still perpetuate negative racist images.

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I know that many of my favorite films include slaves, ma'amies, and black stereotypes, and they don't make me feel good either. But when included in a film of great work----I can accept those displays as moment in our nation's painful past. A snapshot, if you will, of what we use to be.>>

 

 

Tamika,

 

Sterotypes of all people of color occur throughout our history of film, not just in great films.

 

To place all those short films and narrative films on a shelf and deem them unacceptable for screening, allow us to forget over time that sterotypes, of any kind, are harmful and hurtful. It allows us to forget the society we once were where this sort of visual image (whether Irish, Jewish, Asian, Native American, Black, etc) was deemed appropriate,

 

We should never forget the lessons that we have all been taught over the years of how demeaning those sterotypes can be. Good people of all colors risked their lives in many instances to help us understand the degrading power of sterotypes.

 

To put those films on a shelf consigns them to history and makes them easy to forget which, in turn, makes it easier for us to forget the lessons of the past.

 

By continuing to show them, we are reminded not only of where we once were as a society, but how far we have come and how far we still have to go.

 

I would rather see these films (shorts and narrative) in today's world than for people to forget they ever existed.

 

"Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it" goes the old saying. I would rather see the films than ever return to the way of pre-Civil Rights Movement thinking.

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lzcutter,

 

You bring up a very important point. Let me clarify something, I don't believe in censorship. I also don't believe that films that contain racist or offensive material should be abolished. Quite the contrary. I agree with you in that these films should serve as a reminder of what America has been and is to all of us. But these short films or narratives should be shown in a certain context. They are thought provoking and discussion worthy. So why not have Ben Mankiewicz, or someone, give a little background before they air?

 

The showcasing of classic films with overtly offensive messages as the theme should be blatantly labeled as such. These films should be used as tools in educating people on the history of American cinema and not as pure entertainment.

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I'm one quarter Kiowa with some Cherokee, as well as German, Scottish, Irish, and who knows what else. But I've always related most closely with my Native American side. I never felt they were portrayed fairly until "Little Big Man". I consider these films history, and as a history buff, I would never destroy them or bury them in a vault. And I'll watch (with the exception of a few that try to alter history, e.g. "Birth of a Nation"), and it makes me appreciate how much this nation has grown. I don't need someone to teach me about stereotypes, I know it when I see it. I would hope that most Americans do also. I'm much more offended by modern-day stereotypes and hatred: if the Klan or other hate groups started showing these films, then I'd have a serious problem with it. Now, if someone would just talk to the Washington Redskins, University of Illinois, Florida State, ... :-(

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  • 2 weeks later...

I understand both your and Tamika's point of view.Sometimes reality is hard to face.Racism is alive and well all over the globe and if we don't see it we don't believe it exists.Sometimes it takes a movie or documentary or a short to get the point across, no matter how hard it may be to watch.

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