The Black Experience in Hollywood

Goldstein’s April 16 article, “Hollywood Burning,” noted that Dennis Hopper’s film “Colors” has been criticized for turning the tribulations of minorities into mere backdrop for white characters.

While I believe this is a legitimate criticism, I think Hopper’s use of sex is even more blatantly ethnocentric--some might say tacitly racist--and offensive. I refer to his portrayal of white sex as contrasted with Hispanic or black sex.

Consider these scenes: In the first, a white protagonist makes love tenderly to a Hispanic.

In the second scene, it is strongly implied that the same Hispanic woman has just had sex with a black. Her persona has now changed dramatically. No longer a romantic figure, she is clearly a fallen woman, and her actions are so reprehensible they make her former lover ill.


In the third scene, the camera lewdly tracks a black couple’s enthusiastic love-making.

The implicit message: Sex with a white male is romantic and tasteful; sex with a black male is repulsive; sex between a black man and black woman verges on the animalistic.

Sooner or later, film makers such as Hopper must begin to take responsibility for perpetuating misconceptions about the behavior and values of nonwhites.



Santa Monica