Friday, August 28, 2009
The Ingolorious Interracial Relationships
For those of you that were excited about the top five black superheroes (and I know it was all of you) I hate to disappoint, but that is going to be a topic of another blog. Fortunately, bored one night and a bit of an insomniac, I went and saw a late showing of Inglorious Basterds. For those of you living on Mars in a cave somewhere, Inglorious is the next movie by Quentin Tarantino, starring Brad Pitt and the guy from the office, and some other Jewish and Germany looking people. If you haven’t seen it, you should. It is a kick-ass movie that will leave on the edge of your seat, begging for more. But I am not writing this to blow air under Tarantino’s ass (though it should, he did a fantastic job), I am writing because of action that occurs within the movie that is prevalent, and important to Black People. Spoiler (I put that there so not to ruin the movie for anyone, but I usually ignore it in my experience): there is an interracial relationship in the film.
And what’s more, the brotha is dark. Like African Dark
And the women is blond
Hell just froze over.
I remember sitting through the movie, seeing the subtle hints of love and flirtation between the two characters. I watched the wonderfully underplayed glances, soft caresses, and could not stop hoping that what I was seeing was true. I was praying that these two were in love, because it was the first truly genuine cross race relationship that I have seen out of Hollywood in a long time. When they finally kissed near the climax of the movie, I braced myself for the invariable gasp, and tension in the audience. It passed, and nothing happen. There was no up roar, no anger, and no tension. People in the audience let it pass as if it were Brad Pitt kissing a white actress.
I felt like throwing my hands up in triumph, and prancing through the halls. I did no such thing, but I did shake my fist in a small victory.
Hollywood has a habit of being very backwards when it comes toward socially relevant issues. As liberal as Hollywood claims to be, when it comes to the pulse of America it remains a little ignorant. This is somewhat an act of self-preservation. Hollywood needs to market itself to the masses, so it is hesitant to offend too many people at once, especially when it comes to huge summer blockbusters. For example, homosexuals are still portrayed in Hollywood in a comic light. Very rarely are homosexual relationships portrayed in a loving and positive manner. Which compared to theater, Hollywood is deep in the dark ages. This is mainly because homosexual relationships, specifically men, are still viewed by many in America as evil occurrences. America culture still has some vestiges of homophobia, which is prevalent. As not to turn people away at the sight of two men kissing, Hollywood leaves it out, or manipulates the situation into comedy so that everyone can laugh at gay relationships instead of sympathizing with them.
The move is also placed on the background of Hollywood consistent demonic portrayal of black people up until very recently. We were ether evil or stupid. The famous phrase of ‘cooning” is something black people can all recognize, and was a pinnacle of how we were characterizing through much of early Hollywood history.
And the fact the brotha was dark, was even more of a victory. Hollywood has an affinity for light skinned black people. We all see them, the curly afro brothas in the Abercrombie and Fitch catalog, the long hair light skin sistas like Haley Barry, etc. Though there is nothing wrong with being light skinned (I am as light as light can be and so is my family), dark skinned brothas and sistas are left by the wayside, specifically when it comes to romantic portrayals.
(Have to throw in a picture of Halle Berry once in a while.)
I don’t think Tarantino’s film is going to break new cultural barriers or change people’s minds. I think Inglorious is a testament to how much American values have changed. The fact that a black man and white women can kiss on screen and not receive a cultural uproar showcases how far we’ve come. We have a long way to go, but let’s sit for a while and contemplate the change that has occurred.
Posted by Optimus Negro
Labels: 5ive bruhs; Halle Berry; Ingolorious Basterds; interracial relationships; black; african american