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movies with Blackface. Discussion will ensue.

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movies with Blackface. Discussion will ensue.

Old 11-29-05, 11:28 AM
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Well, Mickey Rooney playing Japanese in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" was terribly offensive (both from an acting and ethnic slur perspective). It depends on the actor and the material. Heston wasn't offensive as much as silly (but he was still quite effective in the role).

Blackface (in the 'classical' Al Jolson sense) is an overt reference to a culture of racism.
Old 11-29-05, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Nick Danger
Why is blackface more offensive than Joel Grey playing a Chinese in Remo Williams or Charleston Heston playing a Mexican in Touch of Evil?
I see where you are coming from but I think it depends on how it is portrayed. I think the difference is that a lot of the blackface stuff used very exaggerated stereotypes to belittle or poke fun at. For whatever its worth, Charleton Heston did play his character "straight" in Touch of Evil. He's the hero of the story and was portrayed as capable, honorable, devoted, dedicated and other "postive" qualities. Sure his accent is off but his performance wasn't demeaning in any way.

What really makes me cringe is stuff like Pat Morita's (RIP) potrayal of a chinese launderer in Shakiest Gun in the West. Pony-tailed, buck-toothed, kowtowing, etc. Total demeaning stereotype.
Old 11-29-05, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Mrs.Nesbit
or Michael Clark Duncan playing the kingpin.

Does he actually put on make-up and pretend to be white or did they actually change the race of the character?

Think there is a difference, or is it just me?
Old 11-29-05, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by iggystar
Does he actually put on make-up and pretend to be white or did they actually change the race of the character?

Think there is a difference, or is it just me?
It was a joke.
Old 11-29-05, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by chente
I see where you are coming from but I think it depends on how it is portrayed. I think the difference is that a lot of the blackface stuff used very exaggerated stereotypes to belittle or poke fun at. For whatever its worth, Charleton Heston did play his character "straight" in Touch of Evil. He's the hero of the story and was portrayed as capable, honorable, devoted, dedicated and other "postive" qualities. Sure his accent is off but his performance wasn't demeaning in any way.

What really makes me cringe is stuff like Pat Morita's (RIP) potrayal of a chinese launderer in Shakiest Gun in the West. Pony-tailed, buck-toothed, kowtowing, etc. Total demeaning stereotype.
So for you it's a matter of 1) respect, and 2) avoiding racist stereotypes. All those guys who dyed their hair black and played 'lazy Mexican' extras are distasteful. Iron Eyes Cody is not.

I have never seen a blackface role. I haven't even seen Amos and Andy, who were changed from blackface comics to African American comedians.
Old 11-29-05, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Nick Danger
So for you it's a matter of 1) respect, and 2) avoiding racist stereotypes. All those guys who dyed their hair black and played 'lazy Mexican' extras are distasteful. Iron Eyes Cody is not.

I have never seen a blackface role. I haven't even seen Amos and Andy, who were changed from blackface comics to African American comedians.
Right. Although I may have just realized a contradiction within myself. I think men in drag are hilarious, There are innumerable comedy routines where someone like Carl Reiner, Flip Wilson, Buggs Bunny! etc. dress up in drag and they are definitely playing up the woman physical stereotype with exaggerated features (balloon boobs, big butts, etc). Do women find men in drag in comedy routines offensive? I've never heard of any that do but it is a possibility.

How is it different than black face comedians where they are basically doing the same thing?
Old 11-29-05, 04:30 PM
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Most black face comedians were talking about eating watermelon and chicken, were very stupid, and spoke with a stereotypical accent. If Bugs Bunny said something like, "Don't let me near the wheel of a car or a check book because I can't drive or balance a checkbook. You can't blame me because I'm a woman and thus I'm mentally inferior to all men," when he was in drag it would be comparable.
Old 11-29-05, 04:35 PM
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yah, but like holiday inn, there are many roles with white actors in blackface that don't paint a picture of fried chicken and watermelon jokes.
Old 11-29-05, 04:39 PM
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Speaking of Bugs, he even went blackface on a few occasions.
Old 11-29-05, 06:51 PM
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Mrs. Danger suggests that in comic blackface, the actor is playing a black man. In comic drag, the actor is playing a guy pretending to be a woman. There is an additional level of remove, and the humor is based on how unlike a woman he really is.

Bugs Bunny puts on a mop for hair, a dress, and a beartrap with lipstick, but he doesn't look anything like a female to us.

OTOH, Monty Python played old women as old women. That isn't drag humor anymore. They were nasty old women played as such. So, is it offensive for Oxford grads to play stupid, lower-class women?
Old 11-29-05, 06:54 PM
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Good discussion here. I also the the difference between Flip Wilson or Robin Williams portraying a woman and a white actor in blackface is simply context.

Flip Wilson or Robin Williams do it for everybody. It's for men, women, blacks, whites, etc. And you aren't laughing at the idea of what a women could be or how the woman is being portrayed, but you laugh at the male actor doing his best to pretend to be something he's not.

With blackface, it was white performers portraying another race strictly for other white people's entertainment. It was racially exclusive. Not to mention the way in which they actually looked was just wrong. Dark, jet black skin. They used red lipstick around the lips to accentuate the "big lipped black person." Sometimes they would wear hair pieces to display the pickaninny character. In other films, like ones with Buster Keaton, he would just put on a hair piece that made him look like he had a low haircut (fade) like a black man.

It really just wasn't some dark stuff they put on their faces. Many white performers completely demeaned blacks with these actions. I'm not sure if what's worse: that it happened, or that they did it and thought nothing of it.
Old 11-29-05, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Nick Danger
Mrs. Danger suggests that in comic blackface, the actor is playing a black man. In comic drag, the actor is playing a guy pretending to be a woman. There is an additional level of remove, and the humor is based on how unlike a woman he really is.

Bugs Bunny puts on a mop for hair, a dress, and a beartrap with lipstick, but he doesn't look anything like a female to us.

OTOH, Monty Python played old women as old women. That isn't drag humor anymore. They were nasty old women played as such. So, is it offensive for Oxford grads to play stupid, lower-class women?
I'll buy that explanation by Mrs. Danger regarding drag vs blackface.
Old 11-30-05, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by scott shelton
The recent DUKES OF HAZZARD film had a blackface sequence. Some in Hollywood still think it's funny.
In all fairness, that scene used blackface (although it was soot or something from an explosion) to make fun of blackface itself, not black people. The film readily acknowledged the fact that "blackface is bad" by the black crowd's reaction to the Dukes' appearance. I think there is a very big difference between racial humor (plays off racism and stereotypes but isn't designed to belittle or mock the race itself) and racist humor (making racial/stereotypical jokes at a race's expense).
Old 11-30-05, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Giles
I haven't seen the movie but wasn't there a scene where white actor Michael Rapaport is in blackface?
Totally...

When he fires ManRay (ManTan) he's wearing a black-face. The white guy, who claims to be black all movie, turns out to be a black guy with the white man's power (Blackface).

The role inversion in Bamboozled is awesome. All movie long, there's an inverted relation between black and white.
Old 11-30-05, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Rockmjd23
It was a joke.
Hence the .
Old 11-30-05, 11:14 PM
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Or Chuck Conners, Rod Steiger, Paul Newman!, playing Native Americans...
Old 11-30-05, 11:44 PM
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Tonight's episode of South Park featured a quick scene of all the boys in blackface with Token of course wearing whiteface.
Old 12-01-05, 12:06 AM
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I don't see how blackface is any worse than the fact that about 5 black movies come out a year and they are all horribly demeaning comedies.
Old 12-01-05, 05:33 AM
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That's a whole nuther subject. I recently bought a 1940 joke book that has a lot of ethnic humor. The stereotypical negro was lazy, promiscuous, criminal, and lived off his wife's labor. Pretty much the same image as a gangsta rapper. Only now, black entertainers are promoting the stereotype.
Old 12-01-05, 08:08 AM
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I can see the promiscuous and criminal part but rappers don't promote the image of black people being lazy or living off their wife's labor.
Old 12-01-05, 08:10 AM
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more movies people....i need some examples
Old 12-01-05, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Mrs.Nesbit
rappers don't promote the image of black people being lazy
Old 12-01-05, 10:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Cameron
more movies people....i need some examples
http://us.imdb.com/keyword/blackface/?sort=alpha

Not sure if you've seen this (not that it is a complete list)...
Old 12-01-05, 11:02 PM
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If anyone who is claiming that rappers promote the stereotype of blacks being lazy can give me examples I would love to hear them. Something tells me you aren't the biggest rap fans out there. I'm not saying that they don't promote a lot of negative stereotypes however laziness is one that I have yet to see.
Old 12-02-05, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Mrs.Nesbit
If anyone who is claiming that rappers promote the stereotype of blacks being lazy can give me examples I would love to hear them. Something tells me you aren't the biggest rap fans out there. I'm not saying that they don't promote a lot of negative stereotypes however laziness is one that I have yet to see.
Hmm, so the copious amount of cannabis promotion is all about smoking up and then going out and being productive?

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