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Beyond Post-racialism in Lee Daniels' The Butler

  • Journal of Modern English Drama
  • Abbr : JMBARD
  • 2017, 30(1), pp.122-144
  • Publisher : 한국현대영미드라마학회
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Literature > Contemporary English Drama

Joo, Kee Wha 1

1고려대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper examines the ideology of post-racialism in Lee Daniels’s film the Butler and explores how to go beyond it. In 2008, with the explosive support of black voters, Barack Obama became the first black president in American history, but contrary to expectations, racial conflict became more serious during his eight years in office. With Obama as the face of United States, the ideas that Blacks and Caucasian in the U.S. are equal and that racial issues became a thing of the past have rendered racism invisible and concealed. One of the films that promotes post-racialist ideology is The Butler. In this paper, I argue that The Butler emphasizes the dramas of molar identity and promotes a post-racialist ideology based on ‘identity politics’. Furthermore, I propose that the different kinds of stories in the pores of the moral drama—the delicate and unperceptible molecular gestures(less clear than the moral dimension, but more powerful as the real)—offer alternative strengths and forms to break through the dominant discourse of post-racialism. To do this, I use the concepts of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari’s ‘line’ ‘mole’ ‘molecule’, Frantz Fanon’s ‘négritude’ ‘new humanity,’ and Michael Hart and Antonio Negri’s ‘revolutionary parallelism’. Through their cognitive approach and insight, I go beyond the traps of post-racialism.

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