An Exploration of the Dynamics of Ghetto Masculinity and the Upholding of Negative Representations in Training Day

1467 Words 6 Pages
An Exploration of the Dynamics of Ghetto Masculinity and the Upholding of Negative Representations in Training Day

I am going to look at the ways in which 'Training Day' uses mythic stereotypes of black males and 'ghetto masculinity' to portray negative representations of black society in America, and how hegemonic values of white audiences leaves these representations unquestioned. My main focus will be the representation of the main protagonist, Alonzo, an African America police officer played by Denzel Washington. First I will look at the history and background of Black representation in film.

Early Black cinema, known as The Plantation Genre, began in 1915 with the release of 'Birth of a
…show more content…
The character of John Shaft is represented as a streetwise, confident anti-hero cop and paved the way for many other films with similar characters.

By the 1970s clear mythic representations of black males had been established and were defined by Stuart Hall as three stereotypes; the 'subordinate slave', the 'unlawful slave' and the 'clown/entertainer'. These representations of black males have been seen time after time and so they have become hegemonic and unquestioned by society to the extent that white audiences believe they are entirely accurate and true to life.

In the 1980s was the 'Era of Hollywood Conservative Backlash & Creation of Crossover Black Stars' which saw a decline in Black film. Then in the late 1980s and early 1990s black film started to become prominent again with the showcasing of films by Black directors, such as Spike Lee and John Singleton, as well as Black actors. There were several different angles that these films used; films such as 'Malcolm X' which promoted black history; inner city movies such as 'Boyz 'n' the Hood' which attempted to portray life in the ghetto; and Black Middle Class films. The stereotypes of these films link to Stuart Hall's theory of the three stereotypes; the subservient slave: black sidekicks to a white hero; the unlawful slave: these are shown in many inner city films often known as 'Gangsploitation'
Open Document