From "Post-Race" to "Diversity and Inclusion": Contextualizing Contemporary Black Visibility
In recent years, U.S. culture at large has danced around questions of "diversity and inclusion." These buzzwords have become so ingrained in day-to-day conversation that we forget that in the recent past these same conversations often veered in a very different direction. The election of President Obama in 2008 led to a rise in post-race rhetoric that colored the national discourse for the entirety of his tenure. This paper asks how these larger cultural and political conversations that often obscure questions of race and representation impact black visibility in film and television. More specifically, representations of Blackness and Black people across media platforms are more 'diverse' than they have ever been. And still, the current spate of Black images comes with their own set of questions. In an effort to contextualize the present glut of black images, in this paper, I trace major shifts in the contemporary media landscape that correlate with shifts in politics and culture.
Jade D. Petermon is an assistant professor in the School of Film, Media, and Theater at Georgia State University. She is currently working on a manuscript that examines visibility of radicalized subjectivities across several media platforms in the Obama era. Dr. Petermon has taught courses on race, class, gender, and sexuality in Women and Gender Studies, Black Studies and Film and Media Studies.