Originally Posted @ We Are Respectable Negroes — While we wait for the epic sonning that Tom Brady, the Hooded One, and Josh McDaniels are about to put on Mr. Tebow this evening (that trio sounds like a country rock group, no?) here is something to pass the time.

There is a good conversation on Clutch magazine’s website about the interracial gender politics of Red Tails, George Lucas’upcoming Tuskegee airmen movie. One of the primary tenets for those who study the politics of popular culture is that audiences (or “publics”) receive, process, interpret, and circulate ideas on their own terms. Of course, there aren’t any number of corollaries and complications to this argument. But, the basic idea is that populism “matters”; once a “text” is out among the public, part of our work as critics is understanding the “why’s” and “how’s” of their investment (or not) in it.

I reviewed Red Tails months ago. There, I made mention of one aspect of the story–the romance between a black airman and a white Italian woman–that I thought was superfluous to the plot and could easily be left on the cutting room floor. I did not read this plot point as subverting the overall story, or as being deeply symbolic of the state of the family and love relationships in the African American community in the twenty-first century. Moreover, there were many love and sexual relationships between black GI’s and European women in all theaters of World War Two. Given the “historical” nature of Red Tails, a wink to this fact would not be out of order. Ultimately, my observation was based on efficiency in story telling. It was not some deep aversion to the idea that a young man far from home would find comfort in the arms of a beautiful woman.

Populism can be empowering. It can also be confusing, distracting, and lead to any number of interpretations–some of these are cogent and compelling, others much less so. What strikes me the most about the comments on Clutch magazine’s site is not how some readers (in a vacuum not having seen the movie) are making impassioned claims, but how short the leap is from Red Tails the World War Two action film, to “black women in Hollywood are misrepresented all of the time and hated by the mass media,” to “black woman are unloved by black men and Red Tails reinforces this fact,” to “Red Tails should be boycotted because there are no black female love interests.”

It would seem that there is much pain in parts of the black community, where the seemingly trivial and benign are interpreted as the significant, the poignant, and the meaningful.Thus, I must ask: Are matters really this dire?

Originally Posted @ We Are Respectable Negroes

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  • Prina

    Just finished listening to Joe Madison’s radio show “The Black Eagle”. A daughter of a 93 yr old POW Tuskegee Airmen called the radio show. Very interesting discussion regarding the viewing @ the white house and how her dad was dis invited @ the last minute. The daughter went on to say her father told her that boyfriend-girlfriend relationship btw a Tuskegee Airmen and an Italian lady was unrealistic, things like that didn’t happen. The men were kept in closed quarters are “watched”. Like i posted before Emett Till’s father a soldier in WWII was court martialed and publicly hung for allegedly “raping” an Italian prostitute. I chose not to view Redtails because i hate the way holly wood twists and turns history. I had the oppty to view the film for FREE @ the CBC legislative conference in which the actors were in attendance and I chose not to see the film. In addition I do not have to go see “Redtails” to be learn about Black History. I read about Tuskegee Airmen when I was in 5th grade, parents need to encourage their kids to read and not rely on hollywood to teach “our history”.

    Last question, why was it ok for Black men to complain that “Saving Private Ryan” excluded black men?

    Black women lets do ourselves a favor and stop worrying about black men. I mean really what power do they really have? High prison rate, dropout rate, “deadbeat dad rate” (must i go on). I often wonder why white women would want to marry them.I mean often times we feel stuck with them, but white women have choices, since their “beauty” is revered around the world. Im so through with trying to force black men to respect us. Calling us gold diggers, how that be possible when we marry 92% of us marry black men, who have an abnormal unemployment rate and college graduate rate!

    • I`am not MAD

      So Ms.Prina,Have read that book by Professor Ralph Richard Banks “is marriage for white people?”.It did my soul will to read your comment….The black men that complain
      about “Saving Private Ryan” were asleep during 5th grade history class…!
      Keep the iron in your words & Soul….Have a great day…Once more THANKS….!

  • Prina

    To all of you guys who believe black women. should not have been included in Redtails: http://www.cnn.com/2012/01/22/us/tuskegee-airmen-first-couple/index.html . Maybe a few us female writers can get together and work on bringing this beautuful black love story to film. This would be a great independent film!

    • http://blackonpurpose.blogspot.com/ gryph

      a wonderful story! thanks for posting.
      that is a movie i’d go see!

  • http://msn I. Walter Jones

    Red Tails is about the lost history about men of color fighter pilots in world war ll, not about black women in a love seen. Why do some us think negative of it is what it is. I am so glad we only have a few who think like the ladywho talked about a man of color pilot have a romance with a white woman.

  • LMAO

    Im sorry but bw on the whole seem to be nutz-blk ppl, hell ppl in general-but blk women are by far the worst..they promote IR relationships more than any other group thru blogs, vlogs, mags, books, movies and then pull this shit lmao..completely hypocritcial nut cases

    • caleson5

      I think you are missing the point. I hope this is not just about black women being jealous of interracial romances. Because that would be ridiculous!!! But I think that a story like this would have been way more interesting to black women if at least one romance could have existed in the movie between a soldier and his black American sweetheart. This was the 1940’s and the likelihood that these men had non-black wives at home is highly unlikely. Plus I saw actual pictures of these men in their uniforms. They were fine!!! You know they had some cute black female love interests at home. So the movie could have shown BOTH an wartime interracial romance AND a romance between a soldier and his black female wife at home. That way everybody could have been happy. What is wrong with black women expecting such a thing? It would make the movie far more interesting to BLACK WOMEN. Bare in mind, the movie is about BLACK PEOPLE and BLACK PEOPLE are more likely to be interested in the movie than any other ethnic group. So why not cater to black women? We are the ones who are going to be buying the movie tickets at the box office. And lets be real showing black female love interests is way more realistic especially because it was during that time, in the 1940’s. I don’t know. I think that the people who are on the extreme opposite of this debate are purposely being irrational. Why not just compromise and show both a black American AND a white European wartime love sweetheart. .

  • caleson5

    Well, I have mixed feelings. On one hand, I don’t have a problem with interracial romances being portrayed in a movie. Like many have mentioned, many American soldiers had romances with foreign women during wartime. It was rather common. I haven’t seen Red Tails and I don’t know all the facts concerning the movie. Was the interracial romance in the movie something that happened or just fiction? You have to understand that black men during those times were watched closely and many of them, rather in the armed forces or not, were not allowed to have anything to do with white women. It might have happened in War Word ll some of the time. Many black men might have sneaked away and had romantic relationships with European women. I am not really sure. I just think that it would have been nice if the movie had shown at least one romantic relationship between the soldiers and their black American sweethearts/wives. Once again, this is the 1940’s and I am sure NONE of them had non-black girlfriends/wives at home in America. The Klan would have had a field day with those men if these men openly had non-black sweethearts at home. Especially in the South. These were very attractive, strong, and courageous black men and I am certain they had black female sweethearts who were crazy about them in America. Some of the soldiers probably wrote to their American sweethearts from Europe on a regular basis. So why not show both? The movie could have shown an interracial romance between a soldier and a European women AND a romance between a soldier and his black American sweetheart. What is that so hard? That way you can satisfy everybody!!! And black women would feel more interested in the movie. I am sorry but I don’t think that black women are overreacting. Maybe a little. I don’t think the movie should be boycotted. But if black women find the movie uninteresting because there aren’t any black women in the movie, then that is how they feel. I am sorry but black historical movies are way more interesting to black women when there are actually some black women in the movie!!! And lets be real, there HAD TO HAVE BEEN some attractive black women in the lives of these soldiers. To not show that makes the movie historically inaccurate. So why would anybody want to watch it? especially black women.

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