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COM 3534

Spring 2009/ Week 3-4

Viewing Guide: Ethnic Notions by Marlon Riggs (Documentary)

Some questions to answer while you watch the film:

1. List and define the main stereotypes of blacks that have been
presented in popular entertainment documented in the film.

2. Choose one the main scholars who are quoted in the film. Keep track of
the main ideas they state about the dangers of stereotypes.

3. A common criticism of the majority culture that African Americans have
regards the “appropriation” of black culture (i.e. the adoption of
some specific elements of “blackness” by a different cultural group) .
What historical evidence does the film present to support that

4. Over the past few years have been a number of incidents on college
and university campuses involving members of white fraternities
dressing up in blackface (Auburn University, the University of
Tennessee, the University of Texas, Syracuse University, among
others). As you watch the film, explain how the film provides support
for the argument that their actions were offensive?

5. When asked about relations between blacks and whites in a 1967
interview, author James Baldwin made the following statement: “If I am
not who you say I am, then you are not who you think you are.”
Discuss the meaning of this quote in relation in relation to the
various types of stereotypes discussed in the film.

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