Racism in Film

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When we think about American culture and the pieces of the puzzle that comprise it, many things come to mind. In that box of puzzle pieces lie the front runners: television, music, the internet, and film, or to sum it all up, media. People are overly exposed day in day out to media and the points of view it portrays. Sometimes, the points of view media knows to be true shift into the thoughts and minds of its audience. We cannot solely blame this on media because ultimately it is up to the American public to decide what they indulge in and when. Although it seems that the majority of the time, the public is influenced by media, it is not uncommon that the exact opposite occurs. More often than not, it is the overwhelming thoughts and beliefs of the American public that affects the film industry. Perhaps one of the best examples of this is racism. Racism is a deeply rooted facet of American history, one that will remain a crucial and controversial point of view. From the end of the nineteenth century to the present, racism in America has changed the way minorities influence the film industry and the positions within. At the beginning of the twentieth century, media in America was comprised primarily of newspaper and the recently developed silent film. One film from this era that was made popular by its content was The Birth of a Nation (1915). “Film is a powerful medium, and any study of race and racism must examine the impact of negative motion picture images of blacks on the larger community, because images carry ideas, and in the social construction of race, ideas are of supreme importance” (Moore 174). The Birth of a Nation is widely known to be one of, if not the most racist film ever made. Needless to say, the overall mistreatment of African Americans in the film by the Ku Klux Klan is frightening. D.W. Griffith, the director of The Birth of a

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