Blackface

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This scene really struck me because of the subtle and gradual progression of the theme regarding the ciclical nature of media representation and the reality of said representation. In the beginning of “the new age minstrel show” the audience members, both black and white are told how to behave and react to what they are being shown. As the movie progresses the audience takes a more active role in the response to the show and begin to perpetuate the culture themselves by this clip because of the fact that they have chosen to all wear blackface while watching the show.

This begs the question of the role of media representation and reality, somewhat the same as the chicken and the egg. Which one came first? If media and pop culture are the reflection of a reality and reality then perpetuates what media portrays then which one is has a larger influence on the other and which one contains more of reality and less of altered representation? This scene especially exemplifies the fact that by the end of the movie there is no sharp distiction between reality and representation and what was one a one sided command and response communication was now an effortless two way street mode of communication. What struck me the most was that the black members of the audience we just as complicit as the white audience when the show had a historical narrative of which they were connected to. How were they not aware of their own oppression when it was literally presented to them? Is media representation so powerful that it hides the prejudicial and oppressive nature of institutional racism in plain sight? Does this power stem from the inseperable essence of media representation or reality?

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