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Compare the treatment of ethnicity in Crash Paul Haggis 2004 and Jackie Brown Quentin Tarantino 1997 What do the controversies stirred by these films tell us about wider attitudes to race in the USThe modern world likes to assume it is living in a politically correct era a term that first came into use during the 1990s and this is shown through its reception of film Race has always been a controversial topic when handled by the cinema as minority groups are often presented as negative stereotypes In a white dominated society such as America it is evident despite its increased level of racial awareness that ethnic groups are still being misrepresented by film Although there is a clear improvement from the early racial stereotyping shown in early Hollywood films such as Birth of a Nation movies such as Tarantinos Jackie Brown and Haggiss Crash have been criticised extensively for their depiction of African-Americans Both films ultimately demonstrate the ugly truth that despite their attempts to invert stereotypes the US is a still a white mans world Racial stereotypes however are not as clear as they once were today Early cinema often presented blacks as objects of ridicule Lawrence 2008 p3 such as Birth of a Nation 1915 The film was considered controversial due to its ludicrous portrayal of blacks Ibid to both African Americans and liberal whites alike as it featured white actors in blackface behaving in a apelike and sexually threatening manner towards women These negative black stereotypes were designed to control the black community and assert white dominance by presenting African Americans as inferior early racial caricatures were therefore both offensive and damaging to the black community as audiences in America were led to believe them Sims writesAs one of the most powerful communicative transmitters films have played an integral role in influencing the development shaping creating and changing cultural myths about ethnic groups and gender roles in American culture Sims
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