For you will be viewed as neglecting

For our group’s video essay we focused on the consequences and the difficulty that comes with “passing as white”. We did by shifting our focus on two movies that we watched during the semester, “The imitation of life”, and the “Jazz singer”. These movies focus on the racism and the thin line of racial crossing of being accepted into the ‘superior race’ with the intention of climbing the social ladder. The individual crosses through the racial line to assume a new identity that  escapes the subordination and oppression of one identity to access the privileges and status of the other”(Ginsberg, 3). Ginsberg explains that these individuals passing as white believe that it would open their life onto a whole new horizon of privileges and power. This idea of passing and assimilating into new race leads to the moral conflict that during the process of passing, you will be viewed as neglecting your past and heritage and in some way contributing to the subordination of your race. I believe that our video essay did a great job showing the main points we wanted to cover to prove our thesis, however, due to the time constraint we were unable to include certain scenes that would have helped us dive more into other topics supporting our thesis. Imitation of life that was directed by Douglas Kirk contains many scenes that support our thesis. The narratives of passing are all shown and displayed by Sarah-jane, who is constantly trying to pass as white throughout the whole movie. One of the scenes that we chose to analyze because we thought it represented the whole movie scene was when Sarah-Jane, Susie, Lora, and Annie all meet at the beach and Lora invites Annie and Sarah-Jane to come home with them. Susie takes Sarah-jane to play with her dolls however, Sarah-Jane becomes furious when she is given the black doll to play with and refuses to hold the doll stating that she would much rather play with the white doll. This scene clearly portrays the inner struggle Sarah-Jane feels and the continuous denial and rejection of being affiliated with the black race. Another scene that that showed Sarah-Jane’s denial of her natural identity is when Annie picked her up from school just to find out that Sarah-Jane has been passing as white in school the whole time. The scene then shows Sarah-Jane’s irritation as she screams that she would rather die than to be black and proceeds to ask the question of why she couldn’t be like Susie. This shows how Sarah-Jane looks at Susie as being different and views herself as being much less than Susie. Throughout the whole movie you can see Sarah-Jane’s struggle as she tries too close the gap between herself and Susie while Annie is shown to be agitated by the fact that her daughter is making a lot of effort in order to distance herself from her african heritage, unlike Annie that takes pride in her ancestry. Sarah-Jane’s inner struggle and identity refusal with her identity doesn’t stop there. As she matures into an independent lady she goes through a secret relationship with a white man where she again passes as white. She then decides to take the path of being a burlesque dancer, however in a scene we chose shows how she supresses her black identity and denies her relationship to her mother, eventually losing her job due to hiding her black identity which for her is haunting her and holding her back from success. By the end of the movie Sarah-Jane is seen devastated by her mother’s death and ultimately feels guilty and blames herself for trying to pass as white as the cause of her mother’s death. In The Jazz singer tells of story of Jake Rabinowitz who is in conflict between his long jazz singing and being devoted to his family traditions and religion. We show a scene where Jake is seen singing and entertaining people in a cafe where a man goes and tells his father who is furious with the incident and forces Jake to come off stage. Through the whole movie Jake distance himself from his Jewish heritage in efforts to become a whiter version of himself where he can freely do where his heart lies as a jazz singer. Throughout the process of passing as white, he takes roles that are only played by white people such as performing using blackface. We found that passing was not the only similarity in both movies, but in both The imitation of life and The jazz singer  death was seen as the wake up call for accepting one’s roots rather than trying to pass as someone you are not. In order to also focus and tie in white guilt, I believe that we should have focused only on The imitation of life rather the jazz singer. Another aspect that we should have also touched on was in the movie bulls worth and how passing as white is extremely different than trying to pass as black and the cultural appropriation that comes along with such acts. Although we focused on people passing as white we could have strengthened our argument by analyzing scenes where the senator is seen introduced to black culture during his campaign and tries to fit in by giving his speeches by rapping and being “Ghetto”. Our get along and collaborated perfectly. Marissa did a great job getting the group together by constantly reaching out and making sure that everyone was making progress. One of the main reasons why everything was on time without stress was because how all the group members made time during their busy schedule in order to work on the project as a whole. Charlotte and Victoria helped a lot with editing the proposal while I worked on picking the scenes chosen in the video essay. In order to avoid redundancy, we all worked together on making sure to chose the scenes that best describes our thesis and supports our argument. All in all, I believe that our annotated bibliography and video essay perfectly supported our thesis. However, if it wasn’t for the time constraint and being forced to exclude some of the scenes, we would have had the chance to have strengthened our argument even more. I Have definitely learned alot from analyzing these movies and got the chance to look at certain aspects from different perspectives.

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