Black Girls Diminished in Films

A disturbingly large number of films portray the Black female as someone who’s irrelevant, particularly in relationship to Black males.  Black male viewers (and others) are being indoctrinated to treat Black females as non-entities and whites females as significant.  Some filmmakers are more likely to have a Black male character call a Black female “bitch” than “baby.” The film industry regularly undermines Black male Black female interactions in ways both subtle and blatant.  Here are a few examples:

Streets of Blood

A four or five-year-old Black girl, adorned in a pink satin princess gown with white sequins, chases her older brother throughout the house.  When she catches up to him she tugs on his shirt and he growls, “Get off me bitch.”  This begs the question, “Was the word ‘witch’ unavailable”?  What kind of filmmaker envisions a giggling little Black girl in satin and sequins and thinks “bitch?”

Remember the Titans

A Black man (Boone) lives with his wife and their nine-year-old daughter Nicki and their five-year-old daughter Karen.  Boone’s one of the film’s main characters yet he and Karen don’t converse, and he and Nicki only do so for about 30 seconds throughout this movie.  Had Boone’s character been a white father who lived with his family, the film industry would have made it a point to show him talking with his children and his wife.  It’s part of the cohesive white family image formula employed in a boatload of films.  Boone doesn’t converse with Karen, but when a little blond-haired white female (Cheryl) visits the Boone’s home, he has a one-on-one conversation with her.  Since Cheryl’s scene with Boone takes place in the house, her camera shots are well lit.  She receives mostly close-ups.   Nicki’s scene with her dad takes place outside at night so the lighting was dimmer.  She receives one close-up at most.  When Nicki initially starts talking to Boone she isn’t even on camera.  The two little Black girls take a back seat to a white girl in their own home.

Hardball

This film is about a baseball team made-up of young Black boys.  There’s a scene where about 18 Black nine-year-olds are sitting in their classroom. Half of the kids are brown-skinned Black girls wearing some form of natural hairstyle.   The filmmakers render these Black girls completely invisible to the Black boys.  The boys never even glance in their direction.  The boys are the main characters in this movie yet none of them interact with Black girls, even though this film takes place in a Black neighborhood.  Four of the Black boys do, however, smile and wave at their white female teacher.  Compare this film to the white youth baseball movies like “The Sandlot 2” and “The Bad News Bears” series. White girls figure prominently in those movies and young white kids are often put on a puppy love track.  Not unlike many films, “Hardball” derails a Black male Black female connection. This film has Black boys completely ignore Black girls, but places starry-eyed Black boys on a white female admiration track. I don’t doubt that placing white children on a puppy love track contributes to a higher white marriage rate and that conditioning Black males to view Black females as irrelevant, to a low marriage rate.

Daddy Day Camp

This film takes place largely at a campsite and it includes a budding puppy love romance between a young white boy and young white girl.  There’s only one Black girl attending this predominantly white youth camp. She has no lines and she’s sitting towards the back of the camp bus.  Fourteen children walk through the woods and the Black girl is 12th in line.  In another scene a large group of campers are standing near a brook. All of the white kids are visible. The Black girl, however, is completely blocked from view by a heavyset white man.  Imagine the subliminal message viewers take from this film.  Black girls are irrelevant and invisible. Imagine the message Black females take from it.

 

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