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Circular Imaging The American society has oppressed the black culture and society since the first slave was dragged onto American soil Hollywood first embraced this oppressed image and depicted it on film Early depictions of blacks on film commonly played by whites in blackface fulfilled the white stereotype of black society As the American culture advanced the image of blacks created on film was also altered Blacks experienced a period of whiteness on film During this time Hollywood utilized the equal-by-being-superior philosophy Bogle 178 This role was most successfully played by Sidney Poitier As the cycle continued the image of blacks on film regressed back to stereotypical depictions Only this time blacks played the stereotyped characters David Wark Griffiths epic film The Birth of a Nation 1915 used white people to play black characters The whites wore blackface common for the time to create the appearance of being black Under this guise whites were able to portray a stereotyped depiction of the black people The NAACP opposed the film immediately Griffith himself was puzzled by the reactions Griffith argued that The Birth of a Nation was about war and reconstruction not race This stance Griffith had taken only furthers the stereotype created on film The idea that Griffith did not realize he was creating a highly racist film signifies the attitude of society at the time It points to the idea that much of the American culture at the time was passively racist They views that society had come to accept as reality was not reality at all The black depiction as seen in The Birth of a Nation continued for several years until Hollywood film reached another turning point This turning point was the height of the integrationist era The integrationist age spanned from about the mid to late 1940s to the late 1960s and into the early 1970s During this age several actors participated in the refined image of
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