On SAGE Insight: Between Colorblind and Colorconscious – Contemporary Hollywood Films and Struggles Over Racial Representation

From Journal of Black Studies

Hollywood films reflect the racial order in which they are made. The sociological significance of understanding racial representations within films is highlighted in this study as it recognizes that films offer a useful site for contentious views of the racial order—colorblind and colorconscious— to be played out. Although power and leadership in the contemporary mainstream Hollywood film industry is led by White men, significant in-roads have been made by Black actors, actresses, and directors—leveraging that position for more power on the sets of Hollywood films. Thus, today Hollywood films are contestable spaces, a battleground even, for the racial representations seen on the silver screen.

This study looked at the ways in which colorblindness is both maintained and opposed in contemporary Hollywood films. Elements of colorconsciousness assist in creating avenues for alternative presentations to be displayed on the screens of theaters, home television sets, computer screens, and mobile devices. Although the colorblind framework persists, acknowledging the presence of colorconscious themes is a new perspective that can help challenge the colorblind framework.


Abstract

Hollywood films reflect the racial order in which they are made. The sociological significance of understanding racial representations within films is highlighted in this study as it recognizes that films offer a useful site for contentious views of the racial order—colorblind and colorconscious—to be played out. Focusing on films with an African American actor and/or actress, this study will highlight how actors and actresses in these films demonstrate the pervasiveness of racial inequality, as well as how the films still maintain a colorblind framework. Although the colorblind framework persists, acknowledging the presence of colorconscious themes is a new perspective that can help challenge the colorblind framework.

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Article details
Between Colorblind and Colorconscious – Contemporary Hollywood Films and Struggles Over Racial Representation
Jason Smith, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA
First Published December 24, 2013
DOI: 10.1177/0021934713516860
From Journal of Black Studies

 

 

 

     
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