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The REAL State of US Race Relations

Chicago sociologist Walter Benn Michaels thinks the racial divide is REALLY based on money?who has it, and who doesn't. He says, "We love race?we love identity?because we don't love class. We love thinking that the differences that divide us are not the differences between those of us who have money and those who don't but are instead the differences between those of us who are black and those who are white or Asian or Latino or whatever."

Michaels thinks that instead of worrying so much about racial inequality, we should concern ourselves more with economic equality?and race relations would take care of themselves. The only way for race problems to disappear is for the different RACES to disappear, by intermarrying and having mixed-race kids. But before more couples dare to break these ancient taboos, they need to see other people doing it too. A good place for this to start is in the movies, but our films are falling down on the job. Despite the growing numbers of mixed couples in America, movie relationships between men and women of different races are most likely to be short-lived, oversexed and downright dangerous, according to a new study. Florida researcher Nadia Ramoutar says, "A man and a woman of different races in the movies have a greater statistical probability of dying than of getting married or dating seriously."

White women have not appeared in an interracial relationship in a top-selling film since "Pulp Fiction" in 1994. American Indian women have not been portrayed this way since "Dances with Wolves" in 1995, and the last time an American Indian man was part of such a union was in "The Trial of Billy Jack" in 1974. The landmark film about interracial relationships was "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" in 1967. That was almost 40 years ago, and Hollywood has been going downhill ever since. And the black people who ARE shown in films aren't really so black: the majority of black women on the big screen were pale skinned like Halle Berry, with dark-skinned actresses rarely cast except as villainesses or femme fatales.

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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