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Critical Rhetorics of Race$
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Michael G. Lacy and Kent A. Ono

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780814762226

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814762226.001.0001

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Cinematic Representation and Cultural Critique

Cinematic Representation and Cultural Critique

The Deracialization and Denationalization of the African Conflict Diamond Crises in Zwick’s Blood Diamond

(p.233) 12 Cinematic Representation and Cultural Critique
Critical Rhetorics of Race

Marouf Hasian, Jr.

Carol W. Anderson

Rulon Wood

NYU Press

This chapter shows that, in spite of the filmmakers' noble intentions to raise public consciousness about the oppressive diamond trade in Sierra Leone, Blood Diamond (2006) reproduces a colonial narrative formula (and neocolonial in the United States) of a rugged white masculine hero who learns to change his racist ways and saves an infantilized noble black man and his son by confronting brutal black villains. This white savior narrative redeems whites who express anti-black sentiments, while reproducing ideologies of black and African inferiority. Moreover, while the film calls for U.S. audiences to take action about the diamond trade, it forsakes realistic depictions of black Africans and the conditions they face in Sierra Leone.

Keywords:   Sierra Leone, Blood Diamond, diamond trade, colonial narrative formula, white savior narrative, anti-black sentiments, black African inferiority

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