Blaxploitation: Showing the Other


Just like Arabs in today’s movies, black people were once used within the boundaries of stereotypes in movies. There are still examples of them, Morgan Freeman generally plays a “magical negro” role. However, in 1970s, the use of black characters in movies was very much, and in the end, this created a genre called blaxploitation, which means black exploitation. As a result of the context of that era, in which African-American movement was in rise and successful, producers chose to use black characters and this causes over usage of this theme. In this genre, a wide range of subjects were used, such as fighting crime, martial arts or musical. They contain stereotypes as well as movies from different genres. In general, black people are violent. They kill people without hesitation, they can fight with women as well as men. The stereotypes aren’t always negative for black people. They are generally sexually attractive and have no problems in sexual lives in blaxploitation movies. However, the problem is that these movies don’t help us to get rid of the difference between people, or in other words, get rid of the “other”. They praise black culture and black people, they are shot for black audience; therefore, they aren’t for everyone. They show black people different from the reality. This illustrates that they also reinforce stereotypes.

In order to criticize these stereotypes in a fun way, Scott Sanders shot the movie Black Dynamite. The main character is Black Dynamite, a war veteran and former CIA agent, tries to dissolve crime organizations in streets to rescue youth of his neighborhood from these organizations after his brother was shot by one of them. He ends up fighting Nixon and his wife too. In the movie, Black Dynamite was an amazing kung-fu fighter, a gentle lover and an ambitious man. No one can stop him if he wants to do something. No one includes president and his wife too. So, it can be said that, this character contains some of the stereotypes that was used in blaxploitation era. He is violent, but he is good with women. Again, he is the other.


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