We Always Die First — Invisibility, Racial Red-Lining, and Self-Sacriﬁ ce: 1980s
During the 1980s the urban world (also termed the inner-city, the ’hood, or the ghetto in pop culture) was depicted in ﬁ lm as being largely inhabited by Blacks and non-White Others, and home to uniquely “Other” problems. The urban setting, writes Nama in Black Space , “became political shorthand for discussing a myriad of social ills that disproportionately affected Blacks — such as poverty, crime, drug abuse, high unemployment, and welfare abuse — without focusing on race as the speciﬁ c source of the problem. Instead, geography or spatial location deﬁ ned the scope of the problem.” 2 Urban spaces were portrayed as places where the schools were poorly equipped ( Lean on Me ) and where school children behaved with insolence ( Stand and Deliver ). Urban neighborhoods housed gangs ( Colors ). These were places where murder and drug distribution ran rampant and unchecked ( Scarface ), and where criminals ruled over law enforcement ( Robocop ). They were also presented as places of brutal violence, rife with sexual assaults and slaughter ( Death Wish II ).