The "Not-Free" and "Not-Me": Constructions of Whiteness in Rosewood and Ghosts of Mississippi Article (Web of Science)


  • In this essay, I will discuss two recent film narratives that are specifically focussed on historical racialized conflicts: Rosewood (1997) and Ghosts of Mississippi (1996), examining how these cinematic representations connect with sociohistorical and personal accounts of the events, as well as how such representations impact on the present, particularly in the films' constructions of whiteness as a ritualised category. Primarily, critical race theorists have articulated the consequences of racialized constructions and racism on mar- ginalised groups such as African Americans, but some—for example, Toni Morrison and bell hooks—have urged further consideration of the conse- quences of racism on those who perpetuate it overtly, covertly, or unwit- tingly and of whiteness as it impacts on artistic narrativized representations. As Morrison asks, "What parts do the invention and development of white- ness play in the construction of what is loosely described as 'American'?" (1992, 9). She says further that "until very recently, and regardless of the race of the author, the readers of virtually all American fiction have been posi- tioned as white" (xii). Taking Morrison's claim about fiction to filmmaking, one could say that until very recently, and regardless of the race of the filmmaker, the viewers of virtually all American mainstream films have been positioned as white.


publication date

  • 1998

published in

number of pages

  • 15

start page

  • 31

end page

  • 46


  • 28


  • 3