First and Analyzing cultural representations The U. S. society experienced many categories of the concept of ethnical and racial identity, which is now considered as a complex one. It is thus shaped by personal characteristics, family distinctions, numerous historical events and social and political factors. While there are many ways of the exceptional categories of otherness, which the notion of identity can be assumed, people are commonly defined as other on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion and in the modern society even sexual orientation each of these categories has a form of oppression associated with it.
Thus, according to Wright (2009), the modern society is also aware of such oppressions as racism, sexism, religious oppression or anti-semitism and heterosexism (Wright, 2009). Despite the fact that in the current world all these groups are equal, in each case, there is a group considered dominant and other considered subordinate (Tatum, 2000). The vivid example of the concept of identity can be traced through Spike Lees movie “Bamboozled”, a satire of the television industry that has caught a lot of discussion because of its display of blackface, a question that was not talked about until the release of the movie.
There are no free passes in the film and the film maker gives no excuses for the white establishment and hard-to-expose racism. He does not also excuse the black people or non-whites for becoming the literal agents of the story. The movie illustrates the crisis in the development of television show, the circumstances of which force black screenwriter to use the old forgotten genre of minstrel show, which portrayed black people by the whites. This time, the screenwriter decided to involve Afro-Americans solely notably that the content of show would be politically incorrect and even racist.
However, this fact did not create any obstacles for the show to become popular among white and black people. Moreover, the whole show changed totally the lives of its players. The story describes two young black men who due to financial fail use their talent for commercial glory through demeaning themselves into characters who portray black guys with painted faces in the melon plantation. The movie should be noticed by people and history as one of the most important films about race and social status and the misconceptions and stereotypes about the ethnical and racial belonging.
There is also a reason to consider how almighty dollar can change lives of people, forcing to change their points of view and integrity to some extent. The question of skin color and black culture is portrayed in the hysterical, contemplative and even violent ways. Thus, the most effective display can be considered the pop culture, gangsta rap and hip-hop in particular.
The vivid representative of gangsta rap singers is the Mau Maus group, whose ridiculous actions directed against white people. However, even in their group there is a white person, which makes a viewer to think about such contradiction as something that is against the group rules and beliefs. The other moment shows artificial aspect of such culture, which perceives woman as bitches and Timmi Hilnigger ad as toxic nature of gangsta culture. Men are observed as cool as they do drugs. For decades, racial ideologies supported the historical trade of humans where black people were taking the main role, however, which also created the endless paradox.
Such contradiction was in black culture that had both an enduring symbol of unchanging purity and complete opposition to white and something that gave white people new things, dynamism and innovation (Elam & Jackson, 2008). That can be considered the reason why black cultures are playing the main and increasing visible role in the culture of white people. Black culture is a key player in the world of racialized cultural exchange that impacted greatly the modern word.
Besides, in the age of globalization, black cultures have placed the more visible and complex place. In the U. S., while the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s was fighting against race discrimination, it also went into the twentieth century and led to such changes as acceptable status of ethnical and race discrimination within the mainstream discourse on race (Aboulafia & Shook, 2009). In Lee’s opinion, however, and it was vividly shown in Bamboozled, comedy genre was still condemned in the culture industry and the white media assimilating the potency of black culture was still using black people in its portraying of stereotypical imagery.
There is at the same time not only the racial white thing among the specific characters of Lee’s movie. He also criticized blacks for being seduced and dominated by the current system of whites and justified their own relation to those stereotypes white people have. The black screenwriter is viewed as a stereotype himself, because of the perfect posture and affected gestures, manner to sends up the black middle class and disaffection form the masses.
Only a few black people could connect with him in the audience (Elam & Jackson, 2008). What is also important is to pay attention to the African Americans historical lack of control over their own representation and continued unaffected willingness to perform as those disengaged consumers. During the movie, commercials were also illustrated as those directed at the black consumers’ appeal to their financial and lustful interest of sex, clothing and alcohol. This episode may be interpreted as hegemonic act, which is racialized by ad of clothing from Timi Hilnigger, the parody of which was called by the popularity of Tommy Hilfiger’s clothing line.
The words of artist who plays Timmi Hilnigger discussed his open attitude for black people to stay inside their ghettos in broke, because then they would add another million dollars to his enterprise and their place should be on margins of society. This is one of the revealed modern unresolved contradictions of how modern America sees its black citizens. They are free to do whatever they want and are considered equal people and the next moment simple ad directs them completely the other way of “well-being”.
Such ad should call for critical awareness of the politics, which can find possible ways out from such situation and see the harmful impacts of the commercial trafficking in blackness. In the United States, however, the dominant ideological context in which these judgments are made puts more attention on individualism and the denial of race and class privilege maximizes the tendency to see poverty as a personal failing of every concrete person (Bullock, 2006). Whether one wants to find the counterhegemonic representation of black or white races during the movie, the vivid example may be the character of boss Dunwitty, who confesses that his wife and a kid are black and the office is full of pictures of famous black people.
However, his performance of appropriation of what he thinks “blackness” is a cliché of the person who above all states that he probably know “niggers” better than black people themselves. Such satiric stance illustrates that Dunwitty is right since the black man should be always oriented on white culture to achieve certain goals and success, while a white man is already in a advantageous position of one’s cultural privilege and thus can know black people better.
However, here is a mistake, as such knowledge is a stereotype with the missing knowledge of the real living conditions of black people. The character of the main hero of the movie, the screenwriter, is the most vivid representative of hegemonic person as his actions are directed against white people. However, being a black himself there is no other way to deface white people as to show their negative attitude toward black ones.
The position in the company allows him to do that and thus enables the viewers to see that white people are still expressing their hegemonic nature. Even his boss protecting black people finds the idea of show acceptable, however, he understands that such show can harm feelings not only of all black people but also his closest people, wife and kids. In the episode of screewriter death, there is a proof that shows that he is racist toward white people, because by all left means he tries to erase the fingerprints evidence that would make his assistant, the black woman, a murderer.
The other example can be seen through expressions of screenwriter’ assistant, who at the discussion of the future TV project is trying to protect black people. She is black herself and didn’t want to make racial sayings toward other black people. Her struggle for protection of black people are the part of her counterhegemony character, which at the same time meets the oppression shown by her agreement on helping to make a show.
However, this may be explained by the desire to direct society and let people know that problems of racial discrimination exist in the modern world. During the talk with her brother she was also staying on the side of counterhegemony. However, the viewer can see hints of hegemony as he speaks about the white people to be cruel and use his sister in the vested interest. He himself expresses racial attitude toward white people. The cruel killing of Manray at the end of the movie proves that Mau Maus group were showing hegemonic behavior themselves and their anger was so big that they killed the black guy in retaliation for racial discrimination of black people. It is almost unreal so black people would be engaged in such situation as in Bamboozled in real life, however, the director manages to successfully reconstruct the blackface minstrelsy.
African Americans are shown as free people, however, one may doubt that only physically. However, in real life, the identity dilemmas of real black people are no different from those displayed in the movie.
Blacks find themselves well represented in the blackface and they are recognized as equal people, however, they are still reminded of their blackness and of what it cost to them to live and be black in U. S. White domination remains highly debatable in the current world despite Lee’s attempt to succeed in renegotiating a identity and stereotypes. Satire is effectively used to engage more people into the existing problems of black people and the history of racism is used to impact heavily on the audience.
The bad ending of Bamboozled shows the viewer how intense the sense of helplessness can be, how humanitys chances can be get rid of and how people can be intolerant to thoughts and views of others. So far, this is a huge gap between different ethnical and racial groups within the U. S. Works cited Aboulafia, M. and Shook, J. 2009. Contemporary Pragmatism, Vol. 5, N. 2, Rodopi Bullock, H. 2006. Justifying Inequality: A Social Psychological Analysis of Beliefs about Poverty and the Poor. National Poverty Center Working Paper Series. Web. April 19, 2015. Elam, H. and Jackson, K.
2008. Black cultural traffic: Crossroads in global performance and popular culture, University of Michigan Wright, E. 2009. Racial inequality, ContemporaryAmericanSociety. Web. April 19, 2015. Tatum, B. 2000. The complexity of identity: Who am I? Web. April 19, 2015.