Monday, April 7, 2008

making sense of masala

Although I think the film just touches the surface on many issues of race, color casting, class and ethnicity (etc.) I do have to agree with Rye-Jim's post below. This film presents a much more complex interracial dynamic then I think is typically seen in mainstream popular culture around race and even interracial dating.

The binary of black-white or asian-white (which we have seen throughout a number of the films in this course) is disrupted (finally). To disrupt the binary and break-out of our cultures "fixation" on black-versus white, which Mehta notes is "outdated" and "misleading," opens a space where we can talk about relations between different people/communities of color. These relations are often divided (divided we fall) and individuals/communities may not feel a sense of solidarity with other people of color despite historical and modern day racism, class oppression and exploitation.

Demetris's brother, Dexter, really stood out to me. I saw Dexter as this character representing the new wave of young black americans in the '90s. His love for hip-hop, wanting to go back to his roots through African nationalism (African Americans are Africans who've never been to Africa) and questioning why he should work in a racist system are some examples of this. I think Dexter in some ways was the character that most challenges this racial oppressive system we live in.

Mina's a really interesting character that I hope we can talk more in-depth about on the blog and in-class. I think she is both exotified and objectified by her male counterparts. Besides her looks, I wonder what attracts Demetris to Mina. He NEVER asks her any questions about herself besides where she's from and even that he never asks her questions about why she moved around.
Even from the beginning he "uses" her to get back at Alicia.

Does Mina (or any women in the film for that matter) have agency?

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