Commentary & Forums

Re-framing Crime, Violence, and Poverty: new cinematic narratives of Black criminality in Imperial Dreams

Introduction: reframings

Redmond (2017) has noted that, in order to garner support for the punitive policies of the War on Drugs, Americans were presented with stories that framed those impacted by the war on drugs as enemies of the state. In the 1980’s, media outlets released a surge of stories covering the “crack crisis” that presented crime and drug use with a black face. Stories presented black males as “gangbangers” and played on historical stereotypes of black men being dangerous, predatory, criminals (Alexander 2012).

Films on the experience of inner city black Americans also reflected a negative image of these communities and their residents until around 1990. Before the 1990’s many films placed the blame for inner city problems primarily on the criminal actions of young black males (Alexander 2012, Brooks 1997).  For example, in the 1970’s, directors made movies about the experiences of black inner city Americans. These films were subsequently criticized for their exploitive depictions of urban black experience. This criticisms was in part due to the fact many of the these movies had white directors. This perception by commentators lead to the term “Blaxploitation” being coined in reference to films made in the era (Brooks 1997). Black character representation during this period was often as criminally deviant characters (Bausch 2013). It would be another 20 years before those subject to War on Drugs policy would start to be depicted as sympathetic characters (Brooks 1997).

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Black Lives Matter Syllabus Project, Pedagogy

The Anthropoliteia #BlackLivesMatter Syllabus, Week 29: Courtney Morris For Black Boys Who Look Blue

The editors of Anthropoliteia are happy to continue an ongoing series The Anthropoliteia #BlackLivesMatterSyllabus Project, which will mobilize anthropological work as a pedagogical exercise addressing the confluence of race, policing and justice. You can see a growing bibliography of resources via our Mendeley feed.  In this post, Courtney Morris explores teaching vulnerability, the Body, and Black masculinity through the film Moonlight.

I’m not sure anymore
Just how it happened before
The places that I knew
Were sunny and blue
I can feel it deep inside
This black nigga’s pride
I have no fear when I say
And I say it every day:

 Every nigga is a star

Every nigga is a star

Who will deny that you and I and every nigga is a star?

-Boris Gardner

Moonlight opens with the rich and soulful strains of the Jamaican soul singer, Boris Gardner’s R&B classic, “Every Nigga is a Star” as Juan, a young man, slowly pulls up in a sky-blue Cadillac to a derelict apartment building in Miami. Continue reading

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Black Lives Matter Syllabus Project

The Anthropoliteia #BlackLivesMatter Syllabus Project, Week 11: Jaime Alves on “The right and duty to change the world”

The editors of Anthropoliteia are happy to present the latest entry in on ongoing series The Anthropoliteia #BlackLivesMatterSyllabus Project, which will mobilize anthropological work as a pedagogical exercise addressing the confluence of race, policing and justice.  You can see a growing bibliography of resources via our Mendeley feed.   In this entry, Jaime Alves discusses teaching “Cultural Anthropology” with the themes of colonialism, global white supremacy, and racialized police practices.

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