Monday, November 9, 2009

The normalness of whiteness

I haven't seen any of the three movies Dyer talks about, but from his selected descriptions of the three, I see that he's trying to explain how whiteness has maintained itself as being the "norm" or neutral (141). Whiteness has "secure[d] its dominance by seeming not to be anything in particular but also because... [whiteness] is often revealed as emptiness, absence, denial, or even a kind of death" (141). Using black characters helps emphasis how normal whites are because races other than whites are super distinguished.

Basically, whites are "the endless plenitude of human diversity," and can be anything and are everything without stereotypes, keeping them naturalized (145). I've never thought of whites being "death" as in Night of the Living Dead, but I see the binary contrasts that Simba shows.

This is interesting because it's always a big deal or something racist when there are races other than whites. I really don't know about recent films or shows that use whites as dominant characters, relying on blacks to show how normal they are. But I was just thinking about--and this might be on another tangent, but--the Wayans brother film White Chicks because it is the inverse of "blackface" and tries to show how white girls are (or basically any girly stereotype because this is a change in gender as well). This is quite a twist that emphasizes what blacks aren't to show what whites are, including their manners and music tastes.


  1. It's a little crazy that this film was socially (although not critically) acceptable and rather successful, in a world where blackface and minstrel shows are terrible. What would the reaction have been had the races been reversed?

  2. hahaha
    I agree with the above comment:)
    but nevertheless.. I think it was a brilliant way of showing how the norm is used is society :)

  3. When i first saw the trailer for this movie, i thought how stupid it would be and that i wouldnt go to see it. However, one afternoon i found myself watching it after it had been released and to my surprise, I really enjoyed it. I agree with the comments above. I think the movie was very well done in terms of showing the reversal (sort of) of blackface, but also very clever in the way the film was done.