American Deceptions Stakes Of Oscar Micheaux 's Within Our Gates

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American Deceptions and Reflections: An Analysis of the
Sociopolitical Stakes of Oscar Micheaux 's “Within Our Gates”
“If you want to make a human being into a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves.” ― Junot Díaz
For many Americans, ideas of what constitutes Blackness are heavily influenced by media portrayals of African Americans; yet, these popular representations of Black Americans and their culture often highlight dated stereotypical images. As a result, white Americans who have limited contact with Black people often project racist ideologies onto the bodies of African Americans upon finally making contact. Moreover, the normative -- white authored -- representations of Black people serve to reinforce white supremacist thought in American politics and other spheres of American society. African Americans have not, however, been complicit in this misrepresentation. Instead, many, including Oscar Micheaux, known as the father of Black cinema, have created counter representations to showcase the nuance of Black identities for American audiences. Such established, in this paper, I hope to investigate how images of Blackness constructed by white Americans for white audiences contrast from images authored by Black cultural content producers to advance understanding of Black representation. Drawing primarily upon Micheaux’s work, this essay will expose how his film “Within Our Gates” was released to be a corrective against culturally harmful…

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