Dwayne Johnson – ‘Race Shifter’ In A Post Racial World?

Dwayne Johnson – ‘Race Shifter’ In A Post Racial World?

Shadow and Act: On Cinema Of The African Diaspora

Sergio Mims, Staff Writer

We all know that there’s been a lot of talk about how we are all now living in a “post-racial” society. Though I think, most of us will respond to that with a “Yeah right.”

But things are changing, albeit slowly, but they are changing. And it dawned on me last night, during  an advance screening of G.I. Joe: Retaliation, that the one person who could be an example of this post racial utopia we’re supposed to be living in, is Dwayne Johnson.

It should be very obvious by now the Johnson has been positioning himself to be a major A–list movie star. He easily could have just gone on to be a B-movie actor, content with doing supporting roles in action/exploitation films, and starring in direct-to-video movies, like some of his former WWE cohorts. But Johnson has much higher aspirations.

And it’s not just the film projects that he’s attached himself to, but also, either by design or by happenstance, how he’s been perceived racially by the public. He has become a “race shifter” for lack of a better word.

Through his obviously ethnic, but not clearly defined looks (he’s black Canadian/Samoan), he has managed to become “identified” as it were, by different audiences, as different things, and has used that to his advantage.

I should say that, of course, we identify him as black on S & A, or else we wouldn’t always be reporting news about his various film projects. And Johnson has neither ever obscured, or refused to acknowledge his bi-racial heritage, unlike Vin Diesel, who has gone out of his way to not publicly acknowledge his mixed heritage, preferring to instead let people think he’s, perhaps, Italian…

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