Founded in 1974, the Women’s Center was established to:
Dismantle, from a feminist perspective, all forms of oppression, including but not limited to those based on ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Advocate for an equitable environment free from violence and harassment based on gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Create an anti-racist, non-sexist, queer-affirmative space where all people can feel valued and safe.
Facilitate and strengthen connections among people across lines of difference through programming and educational campaigns.
Integrate an appreciation of Women's Gender and Multicultural Studies across the disciplines.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

What constitutes a race theme?

Recently, USA TODAY, one of the biggest news sources in the nation, has been publicly criticized for their language choice regarding a movie headline.   In a tweet that linked back to their article, they labeled the new successful film released, Best Man Holiday, a race-themed film. A description of the the film from IMDb  states"When college friends reunite after 15 years over the Christmas holidays, they will discover just how easy it is for long-forgotten rivalries and romances to be ignited." Although the cast of the film is all black, from that description, it is easy for one to wonder - what exactly makes this film race-themed?

With the influx in the last year of films about slavery and other issues of civil rights, like Twelve Years a Slave, The Butler, Django Unchained, and more it is very clear that there have been many films as of late that have indeed been race-themed. These films explored issues of race in depth, especially the historical aspects of race relations. Unlike these films, the film Best Man Holiday did not explore these different issues or tap into these themes. Best Man Holiday's only connection tor ace was its mostly black cast. Despite the cast being all black, none of the films themes or plot devices had to do with the race of the characters, and the film simply portrayed the characters as complex human beings dealing with the ups and downs of life.

  One could honestly say that if Best Man Holiday is a race-themed film simply because it had a mostly black cast that then by the same logic most movies in Hollywood are race-themed; that is to say that most movies in Hollywood boast casts that are majority white, often with one or two token exception. To many this race-themed label seems benign, but often times one must wonder, why is seen as normal for the majority of Hollywood's movie to have all white casts, but once a movie has a cast with more minorities than white actors, it becomes part of some sort of genre that it is not even catering to. This happens with more than just movies, but also with books or other forms of media by people of color as well. Often times the works of people of color are relegated to the "Black Section" or the "Asian Section" even if the story that these works tell are one that is universal and really one that reflects humanity.

My intentions with this blog post is to provide food for thought, more so than push any readers a direction, so I hope next time you visit the movies or a Barnes and Noble, maybe just check out one of these books, films, or whatever else. You might find your new favorite book or movie! Take a step out of that comfort zone and see what the world has to offer, and also think about why these arbitrary labels are created.

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