In American film and cinema, there are always carefully strategic devices that are placed in front of audiences that speak smoothly to your subconscious. There is a reason why the majority of black films deal with the cliché issues and genres. There is a reason why in a majority-white cast, to have an Indian, Asian, African American, or Mexican cast in a lead role would be an anomaly. There is the age old debate that an artist that is from a different race, would never be able to encompass the true essence of the subject from another race. But the last time I checked, race was a category.
Webster defines it as “a family, tribe, people, or nation belonging to the same stock,” or, “a class or kind of people unified by shared interests, habits, or characteristics,” or even, “a category of humankind that shares certain distinctive physical traits.” Only one of these define anything that has to do with behavior of some sort, not any type of skin color.
Which gets me to thinking about the movies Lagaan and Mississippi Masala. Both films depict the majority of the “white race” as evil, greedy, and conniving. For the two films they also have Indian directors. Lagaan shows the British that have authority over Indian villages and in a game of cricket will allow for the Indians to not pay taxes for three years if they win. Mississippi Masala has many different representations of white people, but the one that sticks out to me is the college kids that rented a hotel room. They were noisy, drinking underage, and destructive. In my experiences with my friends who are white and strangers who are white, these images are not the only representation of how white people are. However, if someone who has never experienced a white person before only sees these films, how do you think they would feel about white people? I am assuming the same way the white American that has never experienced the minority American, but has watched nothing but American films. The representation for all of us is horrible. Let human nature be the determining factor and not one’s race be the determining factor.