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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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He Looks Like a Big Flag

He Looks Like a Big Flag

Rocky and the Origins of Hollywood Colorblind Heroism

(p.60) 3 He Looks Like a Big Flag
White Balance

Justin Gomer

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter traces the articulation of colorblindness as a coherent ideology around the issues of busing and affirmative action in the years between 1974 and 1978. The chapter offers a close reading of Rocky, highlighting the manner in which the film offers race-conscious images and implications to colorblind political discourse. Just as the political struggles over integration produced a coherent colorblind ideology, they also, through Rocky, reflected the first appearance of Hollywood’s colorblind aesthetics. Rocky was instrumental in shaping colorblindness, which was fundamental in the opposition to affirmative action and busing. This analysis of Rocky highlights the integral role Hollywood played in both the white backlash of the late 1970s and the articulation of colorblindness. The chapter then turns to the intersection of the rise of colorblindness and neoliberalism. Ultimately, it argues that neoliberal thought gained momentum in the 1970s because it offered solutions to two problems: first, to the economic sluggishness of the decade, and second, perhaps more importantly, to the broad “problem” of excessive government intervention and to matters of racial inequality specifically.

Keywords:   Colorblindness, Hollywood, Rocky, Affirmative Action, Busing, Neoliberalism, White Backlash

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