chapter  13
10 Pages

Black Spectatorship: Problems of Identification and Resistance: Manthia Diawara

Whenever Blacks are represented in Hollywood, and sometimes when Hollywood omits Blacks from its films altogether, there are spectators who denounce the result and refuse to suspend their disbelief. The manner in which Black spectators may circumvent identification and resist the persuasive elements of Hollywood narrative and spectacle informs both a challenge to certain theories of spectatorship and the aesthetics of AfroAmerican independent cinema. In this article I posit the interchangeability of the terms "Black spectator" and "resisting spectator" as an heuristic device to imply that just as some Blacks identify with Hollywood's images of Blacks, some White spectators, too, resist the racial representations of dominant cinema. Furthermore, by exploring the notion of the resisting spectator my aim is to reassess some of the claims of certain theories of spectatorship which have not so far accounted for the experiences of Black spectators.