In recitation we began with Jake’s presentation of the Zinman reading. He dicussed the evolution of the race movement which was heavily led by Martin Luther King who had a civil and peaceful approach to the matter. But there were other African-American figures and groups who became impatient with the notion of non-violent ways and adopted violence. The Black Panther Party emerges and we see hypocrisy and weakening of the race movement throughout the nation. We then discuss the 5 Links that tie into the movement. They are 1) Women’s Movement 2)Anti-War movement 3)Religion 4)Class Based –> Communism 5) Decolonization The links strengthened or rather progressed the civil rights movement for African-Americans.
Jaap then showed us the intro scene of “Shaft in Africa”. We defined the conventions of black exploitation film as stated in the in the Guerrerra reading: 1) Black consciousness 2) Critique of Hollywood 3) Collapse of Hollywood. The question asked was then whether or not Shaft or “Swetback” fell under the blaxploitation category. Some argued that Sweetback was definitely a blaxploitation film as it fit the conventions of taking place in various ghettos and playing with African-American and caucasian stereotypes. “Shaft in Africa” seems to pull away from the category with it’s storyline focusing on Shaft being kidnapped by “brothers” and not white men.
Last, we see a scene from “In the Heat of the Night”, starring Sidney Poitier. Poitier plays the role of a black detective from Philadelphia who gets involved in a homicide case in a small town in Mississippi. Just as Poitier’s character had to indue heat from the racists in the town, Poitier had to confront criticism from his own people. Because of the role, he was accused of conforming to white culture and not playing a role “realistic” to his times and own culture. It was then argued in class that Sidney Poitier and other actors should not have to be responsible for the after effect of such films, for acting and reality aren’t a true marriage. To play stereotypes seems to regress the race movement or stagnate it, so why would the black community not want their own members to grow and move away from the negativities of their past?