A Review of “Mixed Race Hollywood”

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, United States on 2011-09-26 22:48Z by Steven

A Review of “Mixed Race Hollywood”

Quarterly Review of Film and Video
Volume 28, Issue 5 (2011)
pages 428-433
DOI: 10.1080/10509200902820589

Delia Konzett, Associate Professor of English
University of New Hampshire

Mixed Race Hollywood, edited by Mary Beltrán and Camilla Fojas. New York: New York University Press, 2008

The problem of the 20th century, W. E. B. Dubois would famously write in 1903, is that of the color line. Over 100 years later, we can unfortunately still say the problem of the 21st century is the color line, particularly our inability to move beyond entrenched binary conceptions of race (white/black or white/nonwhite) and acknowledge the new multiracial contexts that inform our present global, multicultural, and multimedia era. Mixed Race Hollywood is a timely and extremely valuable collection of essays that explores the various facets of the history of mixed race representation in mainstream American film and media.

Such representation has a long and complex tradition in Hollywood, ranging from the notorious depiction of the treacherous mulatto in Birth of a Nation (D. W. Griffith, 1915) and the non-threatening interracial pairing of Shirley Temple and Bojangles Robinson in The Little Colonel (David Butler, 1935) and The Littlest Rebel (David Butler, 1935) to the mixed race love affair in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (Stanley Kramer, 1967) that symbolically announced the arrival proper of civil rights. Since the mid 1990s, as the anthology’s editors Mary Beltrán and Camilla Fojas note, there has been a significant cultural shift in mixed race representation as seen in the “veritable explosion of multiracial imagery in…

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