Monthly Archives: February 2010

“Miss Gorightry, I protest!”: Racism in the Movies


I really don’t want to be the movie-racism police, especially after the flame war that started after I pointed out the lazy and thoughtless stereotyping in Avatar, but hey, Moviefone asked me to, so here’s my commentary on this Complex.com list that supposedly documents the 50 most racist movies you didn’t know were racist. (No. 1 is Breakfast at Tiffany’s, which you wouldn’t know was racist only if you’ve forgotten Mickey Rooney’s embarrassing and entirely gratuitous yellowface performance, shown above. Which would be a pretty normal thing to want to forget.)

I don’t have much to add to what I already wrote, except to note (with dismay but not surprise) the comments that demonstrate that many people still remain in denial about this, to the point of violence (figurative, so far, though someone named Buffmuffin thinks I should be “summarily executed”). I’m not saying that people who disagree with my essay are racists, but there’s an awful lot of entrenched sentiment that moviegoers and critics who will no longer sit idly by and allow racist imagery and narrative to pass without remarking on it are somehow impinging on creative freedom, that freedom being the privilege of insulting people according to group affiliation without ever being called on it.

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