Issues on Race and Blackness
|Black Is...Black Ain't
87 mins, 1995,
Producer/Director: Marlon Riggs, Co-Producer: Nicole Atkinson, Co-Director/Editor:
|This title comes with a free FACILITATOR GUIDE. http://www.newsreel.org/guides/blackgui.htm
" Sundance Film Festival, Filmmakers' Trophy
" International Documentary Association, Distinguished Achievement
The final film by filmmaker Marlon Riggs, Black
Is...Black Ain't, jumps into the middle
of explosive debates over Black identity. Black Is...Black Ain't
is a film every African American should see, ponder and discuss.
White Americans have always stereotyped African
Americans. But the rigid definitions of "Blackness" that
African Americans impose on each other, Riggs claims, have also
been devastating. Is there an essential Black identity? Is there
a litmus test defining the real Black man and true Black woman?
Riggs uses his grandmother's gumbo as a metaphor
for the rich diversity of Black identities. His camera traverses
the country, bringing us face to face with Black folks young and
old, rich and poor, rural and urban, gay and straight, grappling
with the paradox of numerous, often contested definitions of Blackness. Riggs mixes performances
by choreographer Bill T. Jones and poet Essex Hemphill with commentary
by noted cultural critics Angela Davis, Bell Hooks, Cornel West,
Michele Wallace, Barbara Smith and Maulana
Karenga to create a flavorful stew of personal testimony,
music, and history.
While Black Is...Black Ain't
rejoices in Black diversity, many speakers bare their pain at having
been silenced or excluded because they were perceived as "not
Black enough" or conversely "too Black." Black Is...Black
Ain't marshals a powerful critique of sexism, patriarchy,
homophobia, colorism and cultural nationalism
in the Black family, church and other Black institutions. Cornel
West concludes, "We've got to conceive of new forms of community.
We each have multiple identities and we're moving in and out of
various communities at the same time. There is no one grand Black
Riggs' own urgent quest for self-definition and
community, as a Black gay man dying from AIDS, ties the multiple
perspectives together. Hooked up to an IV in his hospital bed, Riggs
takes strength for his struggle against AIDS from the continual
resilience of the African Americans in the face of overwhelming
oppression. As his death nears, he conjures up the image of a Black
community nurturing and celebrating the difference and creativity
in each one of us.
88 mins, 1991
Producer/Director: Marlon Riggs, Producer: Vivian Kleiman,
Narrator: Ruby Dee)
|" George Foster
" Outstanding Achievement Award, International Documentary
" Erik Barnouw Award, Organization
of American Historians
In Color Adjustment, Marlon Riggs - Emmy winning
producer of Ethnic Notions - carries his landmark studies of prejudice
into the Television Age.
Color Adjustment traces 40 years of race relations
through the lens of prime time entertainment, scrutinizing television's
racial myths and stereotypes. Narrated by Ruby Dee, the 88 minute
documentary allows viewers to revisit some of television's most
popular stars and shows, among them Amos and Andy, The Nat King
Cole Show, I Spy, Julia, Good Times, Roots, Frank's Place and The
Cosby Show. But this time around, Riggs asks us to look at these
familiar favorites in a new way. The result is a stunning examination
of the interplay between America's racial consciousness and
network primetime programming.
The story, told with wit, passion, and verve,
shows how African Americans were allowed into America's primetime
family only insofar as their presence didn't challenge the mythology
of the American Dream central to television's merchandising function.
It demonstrates how the networks managed to absorb divisive racial
conflict into the familiar non-threatening formats of prime-time
Clips from the shows that captivated, amused,
and sometimes angered audiences are interwoven with the parallel
story of the Civil Rights movement as brought into our living rooms
on the evening news. Writers and producers - such as Hal Kanter
(Julia), Norman Lear (All in the Family, Good Times, The
Jeffersons), Steve Bochco (Hill Street Blues,
LA Law), David Wolper (Roots), and others - take us behind the scenes of
their creations. Esther Rolle, Diahann
Carroll, Tim Reid and other black performers ruminate upon the meaning
and impact of the roles they themselves played in shaping prime
time race relations. Cultural critics Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Herman
Gray, Alvin Poussaint, and Pat Turner point out that while these television
programs entertain, they also reinforce and legitimate a particular
notion of the "American Family."
As engaging as it is perceptive, Color Adjustment
sheds light on the racial implications of America's favorite addiction - television
watching. It will help viewers reexamine America's and their own attitudes
|Dr. B. F.
(color, 50min, 1966)
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Notable contributors to the Psychology of Personality series. Film
F. Skinner, Professor of
Psychology at Harvard University. Evaluation of Freudian Theory,
view on motivation, emotion, perception, conditioning,
reinforcement, punishment, teaching machines. Interviewed in
Cambridge, Massachusetts, January,
1964 by Dr.
Richard I. Evans, Professor of Psychology at the University of
|ONE DROP RULE
45 mins, 2001
Producer/ Director: James Banks, Elixer
Drop Rule explores a recurring and divisive issue in African
American communities - skin color. Candid, sometimes painful, but
also often funny, it picks up where California Newsreel's earlier
release A Question of Color leaves off. The film inter-cuts intimate
interviews with darker skinned African Americans, lighter skinned
African Americans and inter-racial children of Black and white
parents. In the process it investigates color consciousness, a
sensitive topic within the Black community, with great tact and a
clear commitment to healing divisions.
The infamous "one drop rule" dictated
that anyone would be considered Black if they had any African ancestry
and was given legal saction in many states.
One Drop Rule argues that, in practice, Blacks with more European
features, lighter complexion and straighter hair, have been favored
over those with a more African appearance. Interviewees testify
that even today whites seem to feel more comfortable with and give
preference to Blacks who more closely resemble themselves.
Darker skinned African Americans recall being
given baths in Tide in a vain attempt to lighten their skins. They
were told to straighten their hair and stay out of the sun lest
they become darker. They came to envy the lighter skinned blacks
favored by the mass media, their community and themselves. At the
same time, lighter skinned African Americans recount the hostility
of some of their Black brothers and sisters who assumed they felt
superior to them because of their complexion. They remember having
to prove their blackness by speaking "Ebonics" and denying
their middle class origins.
Participants discuss the stresses of inter-racial
dating in the face of pressure from family and friends. Many Black
women resent black men who date white women as a reflection on all
Black women. Conversely, black women who date white men face rejection
from their boyfriend's family. The children of inter-racial marriages
discuss being forced by others to chose
between two cultural identities. They explain the added burden of
not being readily accepted by either racial group.
One Drop Rule asks what makes someone Black?
Is it "one drop of blood?" A way of speaking and dressing?
One woman says that being Black is really a matter of attitude,
a world view, In the end One Drop Rule becomes an eloquent plea
that, in the words of Martin Luther King, we judge each other "not
by the color of our skin but the content of our character."
Stuart Hall: Representation and
the Media & Race, the Floating Signifier
Lectures with visual aid.
Fragments of a
Conversation on Language
819 Al384 Ve
English-Canadian and French-Canadian feminist poets get together
to talk about the issues of using and revising patriarchal language.
Frantz Fanon: Black
Skin, White Mask (see
intro from California Newsreel)
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Julien, the celebrated black British director
of such provocative films as Looking
for Langston and Young Soul Rebels, integrates the facts of Fanon's
brief but remarkably eventful life with his long and tortuous
inner journey. Julien elegantly weaves together interviews with family members and friends, documentary
footage, readings from Fanon's work and dramatizations
of crucial moments in Fanon's life. Cultural critics Stuart Hall and
Verges position Fanon's work in his
own time and draw out its implications for our own.
|The Greatest Thinkers Series--
922 B139 Ve
for Creative Thinker] A lively introduction to Marx's basic
theory about capitalism and relations ofproduction. Using as illustrations drama, drawing and a dialogue with "Marx."
Greatest Thinkers Series, Freud
921 B139 Ve
Dr. Edward de Bono of Cambridge University hosted
the series which explores the philosophy of major
Theory: what has it done for us?
Eagleton, Frank Kermode, Edward Said and Marina Warner)
literature - literary theory -
impact of literary theory on writing - impact of foreign thinkers on
criticism - theory & criticism - post modern discourses and the
literary discourse Literary theory has swept the academic world like
a tornado. In the opinion of some it has swept away the old and
atrophied, in the opinion of others it has been mainly a destructive
force. Terry Eagleton, Frank Kermode,
Edward Said and Marina Warner discuss the impact of literary theory
on the study of literature and agree to disagree upon its benefits.
Is it undermining close reading of texts and the idea of literature
or is it always present in all literary activity and simply
Philosophy Live-Jean Baudrillard Philosophical
Baudrillard is one of the world*s foremost philosophers
of contemporary life. His conceptions around simulation, hyper
reality and spectacle have had a profound impact upon contemporary
cultural practice. In this video he is joined by Alphonso
Lingis for a discussion of living in a post-moral
age, life as video, reality, hyper reality and virtual reality.
Back to top
The celluloid closet
& Jeffrey friedman)
(color, 101 min)
(Sony Pictures Classics, 1996)
791.43 E63 DVDe W051314V
What That’s Entertainment did for movie musicals.
THE CELLULOID CLOSET does for Hollywood
homosexuality, as this exuberant, eye-opening movie serves up a dazzling
hundred-year history of the role of gay men and lesbians on the silver
screen. Lily Tomlin narrates as Oscar-winning moviemaker Rob Epstein (The Times of Harvey Milk and Common Threads: Stories From the Quilt)
and Jeffery Friedman assemble fabulous footage from 120 films showing
the changing face of cinema sexuality, from cruel stereotypes to covert
love to the activist triumphs of the 1990s. Tom Hanks, Susan Sarandon,
Whoopi Goldberg, Tony Curtis, Harvey Fierstein
and Gore Vidal are just a few of the many actors, writers and commentators
who provide funny and insightful anecdotes.
City of the Dead and The World
(76 mins, 1995)
beliefs and monuments)
The concluding part of Julian Samuel's video documentary trilogy on
the relationship between the West and Islamic and Third Worlds. This
part looks at the rise of fundamentalism, the role of architecture
in gender segregation in the historical and contemporary Islamic city,
British and French laws of dispossession; the influence of the turn-of-the-century
World Exhibitions in creating a picture of the Orient, and terrorism
in contemporary Egypt. The work features interviews with Janet Abu-Lughod (Before European Hegemony, The World System AD 1250-1350);
Akbar S. Ahmad, (Postmodernism and Islam); Hussien
Ahmed Amin (Egyptian ex-ambassador to Algeria); Edwar Al-Kharrat, (The Girls of Alexandria); Max Rodenbeck (Egypt >From the Air); Timothy
Mitchell (Colonising Egypt).
Samuel was born in Lahore,
1952. After living in the UK
(1958-66), he moved to Canada,
first to Toronto (1966-74), then to
where he completed a degree in English literature at
graduating in 1979. Apart from a few months in India
and Pakistan (1981-82),
he has since resided in Montreal, where
he gained an MFA degree from
In Race, the
Floating Signifier (Reference and Classroom editions)
801 St929re Ve
Hall goes beyond the vast body
of knowledge available on the effects of racism to help us
understand the deeper questions about how race is represented. Hall
shows that the meaning of racial
signifiers (like skin color) are never fixed, but depend upon
cultural context, and are discursive, or "floating signifiers."
programs are produced, directed and edited by the producer of Dreamworlds I & II, Sut Jhally of the University
of Massachusetts at Amherst, who also introduces
Stuart Hall is a seminal
figure in the development of media and cultural studies in Britain and his influence is ever more apparent across the globe. First as Director of the Centre for
Contemporary Cultural Studies at the University of Birmingham, and currently as Professor of Sociology
at The Open University, he has helped to create environments for collaborative
intellectual work that have forged new directions in cultural theory
and cultural politics.
Into The European Mirror
minutes, English version, all formats, 1994)
801 S193 1994
documentary on political and imaginary
frontiers...the expulsions and resistance in Spain
1492, and in Palestine 1993; questions
of historical euro-nationalism are set in
the Alhambra - last Moslem fortress
in Europe... the fall of the Caliphate of Granada coincides with
crossing. Interviews with Homi Bhabha
(Nation and Narration), Chris Giannou (A
Doctor's Story of Life and Death in Beirut);
Thierry Hentsch, (Imagining the Middle East);
and Rana Kabbani
(Letter to Christendom).
The Locations of Culture
Discuss the implication of Homi Bhabha*s book The Location
of Culture, with Peter Osborne in the chair. They consider
notions of culture and cultural diversity, post-colonialism and
where we are to locate a real culture that does not always have as
its points of reference.
The Raft of the Medusa: Five voices on colonies,
nations and histories (Post-Colonial Theories)
English and French, 99 minutes, 1993)
A video documentary on the
Orient in intellectual history. Contemporary
and historical views are analyzed by Amin Maalouf, Thierry Hentsch, (Imagining
the Middle East); Sara Suleri, (The Rhetoric
of English India); Nourbese Philip, (Looking
for Livingstone, Frontiers) and Ackbar Abbas, commentator on Walter Benjamin and Hong Kong cinema. Extended interviews address issues of
emergent nationalism; (British India and its partition in 1947); the
unique case of Hong Kong as it faces integration with mainland China; Occidental modernism and
Representation and the Media
801 St929r Ve
An introductory lecture that unpacks
one of the central ideas of cultural studies - that reality is not
experienced directly, but always through the lens of culture, through
the way that human beings represent and tell stories about the world
in which they live. Using concrete examples, Hall shows how the media
- and especially the visual media - have become key players in the
process of modern story telling.
SOME AMERICAN FEMINISTS
feminist movement in late 60's. Feminists interviewed include Kate
Talking Ideas Feminism, deconstruction
and deconstruction have been two defining forces into cultural and
critical thinking for the last decade, but can they be reconciled?
Can the feminist project be deconstructed, or is the feminist project
a deconstructive project? American philosophher
Diane Elam is joined by a panel to explore the philosophical nature
Talking Ideas Paul Gilroy in
Oayk Gilroy is one of the important
post colonial theorists in this country, and one who is never afraid
to present arguments that cut across more fashionable approaches.
In this discussion with Barnor Hesse.
Paul Gilroy presents a synthesis of his arguments against the simplifications
of black nationalism and ethnocentrism and proposes an embracing of
more complex alternatives in which routes count for as much as roots
and displacement is more common than stasis.
Writers in conversation: Edward
Said with Salman Rushdie
Palestinian writing -Displacement, landlessness and exile - Palestinian
women -Zionism with reference to the Palestinian - Western attitudes
Edward Said, through much of his work, is concerned with the identity
of a dispersed and dispossessed people attempting to come to terms
with their exile: the Palestinians. Professor of English & Comparative
Literature at Columbia University,
Edward Said's publications include Covering
Islam, Joseph Conrad & the Fiction of Autobiography, Literature
& Society, Orientalism, The Question of
Palestine & the World, The Text &
the Critic. "Yes, we have been victimised
and our identity threatened, but no, we have neither been passive
or innocent...nevertheless, to most people Palestinians have been
visible as fighters, terrorists and lawless pariahs.
Writers in conversation: John Berger with Lisa
Choosing styles for different forms. Themes of space and time. Emigration
and displacement. Interpretations of the role of history. Memory and
history. Abscence, distance and rootlessness.
Writers in conversation--Salman Rushdie with Charlotte Cornwell
Writing about Nicaragua- the
tradition of cultural histories written. US involvement
in Nicaragua-the role of
newspapers from political- the writer's role
in Latin America.