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Birth of a Nation: Gus & Pet Sis

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Uploaded on Aug 29, 2009

Birth of a Nation, 1915, USA. A silent "classic," technically brilliant but rabidly anti-black. A "realistic" retelling of the Civil War and the aftermath. Portrays former slaves as unable to be civilized because they are little more than animals. Note how this film portrays white women, especially Southern White women. Think of how white women's virtue has always been depicted as the one "treasure" men of color have hungered for, a treasure that white men must defend at all costs. Why? And is using women's purity as central to the sanctity of all that is important purely an American ideology?
How does race play into all we discussed? What are the stereotypes about black men and white women depicted here? Are they still effective today?

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