Intercultural Intersections: ‘Ethnic Notions’ Looks at Racial Stereotyping

KNOXVILLE –- Intercultural Intersections will feature the documentary “Ethnic Notions” at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 10, in the Hodges Library Auditorium.

Intercultural Intersections, sponsored by the Ready for the World initiative, is a series of Sunday afternoon events designed to help UT students, faculty, staff and the public explore cultures meeting across national, ethnic, racial, religious, political and sexual boundaries. Events will include films, forums and more.

“Ethnic Notions,” directed by Marlon Riggs and narrated by Esther Rolle, is a documentary that traces the deep-rooted stereotypes that have fueled anti-black prejudice.

“Loyal Toms, carefree Sambos, faithful Mammies, grinning Coons, savage Brutes, and wide-eyed Pickaninnies roll across the screen in cartoons, feature films, popular songs, minstrel shows, advertisements, folklore, household artifacts, even children’s rhymes. These dehumanizing caricatures permeated popular culture from the 1820s to the Civil Rights period and implanted themselves deep in the American psyche. Commentary by respected scholars shed light on the origins and devastating consequences of this 150-yearlong parade of bigotry,” a description of the film says.

Here’s a look at films that will be shown during upcoming Intercultural Intersections:

• Feb. 17 — “Bamboozled,” directed by Spike Lee, is about a frustrated African American TV writer who proposes a blackface minstrel show in protest, but to his chagrin it becomes a hit.

• Feb. 24 — “Hip Hop: Beyond Beats & Rhymes,” directed by Byron Hurt, a former college quarterback-turned-activist, is a personal and heartfelt documentary that explores gender roles in hip-hop and rap music.

• March 2 — “Wild Woman Don’t Have the Blues” looks at Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Ida Cox, Alberta Hunter, Mamie Smith and other great female blues performers of the 1920s who helped launched a craze for the genre.

• March 9 — “What I Want My Words to Do to You” focuses on a writing group led by playwright and activist Eve Ensler at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility.

The goal of “Ready for the World: The International and Intercultural Awareness Initiative” is to transform the campus into a culture of diversity that best prepares students for working and competing in the 21st century. The initiative involves increasing the diversity among students, faculty and staff; infusing the curriculum with international and intercultural content; expanding study-abroad and work-study opportunities; and encouraging students to take advantage of all of these opportunities.

For more information about Ready for the World, see http://www.utk.edu/readyfortheworld/.


Contact:

Amy Blakely, (865) 974-5034, amy.blakely@tennessee.edu