I am intrigued by the statement “to live as large and insolent as we all dream we might”. The genre of Blaxplotation makes a giant leap into doing just that. With the disillusionment of the sixties hanging over their heads, the black population leapt right into the seventies with an attitude they had long been repressing. Trying to erase the racial lines by living “large and insolent” failed miserably though. They took from the sixties the attitude of rebelling against what was socially conventional and expounded on it to a major degree. But it seems they were so eager to obliterate the racial divide that they instead defined it even more.
In this year of 2004, it is still too soon. I think of Whoopi Goldberg’s sit-com, Whoopi!. In this show Whoopi’s black brother is dating a white girl who does everything to appear black, short of dying her skin. Her physical actions mimic the stereotypical black person. The blaxplotation movement personified the stereotype of who a black person should be. If you want to be black you have to have the attitude, you have to dress this way, speak way, and move this way. So did the movement explode racial lines or divide them further with their in your face attitudes?
Even the term ‘black person’ is politically incorrect – we are taught to say ‘African American’, but not every person with black skin is from Africa. By using the term African American we are again making a division that is nonsensical. Aren’t the Haitians, Europeans, Jamaicans, etc. offended by the term African American? The Sixties and the Seventies began a move toward erasing racial divisions but we still have a long way to go. Somehow there has to be a better way of ending the racial division than this.
K. Y. Hamilton, BA, MA - Copyright 2006