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White BalanceHow Hollywood Shaped Colorblind Ideology and Undermined Civil Rights$
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Justin Gomer

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781469655802

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469655802.001.0001

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Keep Away from Me, Mr. Welfare Man

Keep Away from Me, Mr. Welfare Man

Claudine, Welfare, and Black Independent Film

(p.44) 2 Keep Away from Me, Mr. Welfare Man
White Balance

Justin Gomer

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter examines Third World Cinema’s first film, Claudine, within the context of the emerging colorblind ideology and widespread antistatism of the early 1970s. It begins with an overview of the racialization of welfare discourse beginning in the 1960s. The chapter then analyzes the film through three lenses. The first is TWC’s larger philosophy, rooted in the integrationist ethos of the civil rights movement. The second is a close analysis of the film itself, focusing on how the movie offers a black nationalist critique of the welfare state and Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society that includes a direct rebuke of colorblindness. Finally, despite TWC’s civil rights origins and the film’s race-conscious black nationalist politics, the film’s marketing catered explicitly to colorblind sentiments, thereby contradicting the racial critique of the film.

Keywords:   Colorblindness, Claudine, Black Independent Film, Blaxploitation, New Hollywood, Black Power, Third World Cinema, Welfare

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