Screen Saviors: Hollywood Fictions of Whiteness

Screen Saviors: Hollywood Fictions of WhitenessAndrew Gordon and Hernán Vera

Rowman & Littlefield, 2003
ISBN: 0847699463

Screen Saviors studies how the self of whites is imagined in Hollywood movies – by white directors featuring white protagonists interacting with people of another color. This collaboration by a sociologist and a film critic, using the new perspective of critical white studies, offers a bold and sweeping critique of almost a century’s worth of American film, from Birth of Nation (1915) through Black Hawk Down (2001). Screen Saviors studies the way in which the social relations that we call race are fictionalized and pictured in the movies. It argues that films are part of broader projects that lead us to ignore or deny the nature of the racial divide in which Americans live. Even as the images of racial and ethnic minorities change across the twentieth century, Hollywood keeps portraying the ideal white American self as good-looking, powerful, brave, cordial, kind, firm, and generous: a natural-born leader worthy of the loyalty of those of another color.

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