chapter  17
15 Pages

Race, Gender, and Psychoanalysis in Forties Film: Lost Boundaries, Home of the Brave, and The Quiet One: Michele Wallace

Whereas oral representations of Afro-American culture,' as epitomized by Black participation in the record industry and in some aspects of popular theatre, demonstrate a cycle of invention, appropriation and reinvention,' in the realm of visual representations of Blacks, it often appears as though only one predatory kind of figuration dominated. That figuration can be summed up as what Botkin calls the Sambo figure." His first appearance occurs on the theatre stage in the minstrel dramas that manufactured White

supremacist versions of Black culture, in which White actors played all the roles in blackface. This figure was quickly adapted to a set of conventional stereotypes in illustrations, photography and advertising. The filmic counterparts were in evidence most strikingly in the early film The Birth ofA Nation, which set the racial agenda for the film industry.'