Confronting Whiteness in Hollywood: The Color Line

Examine the depiction of racism and the color line in film, and what that teaches us about whiteness.

February 13, 2020


Hollywood has tried tackling race, segregation, and the color line in America since the earliest days of cinema. Since the first film adaptation of Uncle Tom's Cabin (1903), films about racism have highlighted how white progressives think about race. In this session, Randa Tawil will lead a discussion on the depiction of racism and the color line in film, and what that teaches us about whiteness. The class will focus on Green Book (2018), with analysis of Imitation of Life (1959), In the Heat of the Night (1967), and Dangerous Minds (1995)

SIFF year-round passes and vouchers are not valid for this event.

This class is part of the three-class series, Confronting Whiteness in Hollywood series. You can purchase a discounted package of all three classes of $51 ($39 SIFF Members).

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February 13, 2020
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
SIFF Film Center
$20 | $15 SIFF Members

CERTIFICATED EDUCATORS: This class is available for 2 Continuing Education Clock Hours through the Puget Sound Educational Service District. There is additional administrative cost through the ESD to redeem the hours. See additional clock hour class offerings and email us if you have any questions.

Student in this class will be expected to have seen Green Book (Peter Farrelly, 2018) in advance of the class. It is also recommended to have a familiarity or recent viewing of Imitation of Life (Douglas Sirk, 1959), In the Heat of the Night (Norman Jewison, 1967), and Dangerous Minds (John N. Smith, 1995). There may be supplemental readings shared in advance of the class, but beyond viewing the film(s) and participating in the class conversation, there are no additional pre-requisites.

Randa Tawil is a PhD Candidate at Yale University in the Department of American Studies, where she teaches courses on race, gender, and migration in the American Film Musical. Her research interests include history of migration, diaspora, and film, and has written several articles on these issues for the Washington Post. Her work is supported by the Yale Macmillan Center, Yale American Studies Department, and the Mellon/ACLS Foundation. Visit

"If whiteness gains currency by being unnoticed, then what does it mean to notice whiteness?" -Sara Ahmed. Whiteness is everywhere in Hollywood films, and yet rarely discussed. Even in films which take up race as a central question or problem, whiteness often serves as a neutral or natural backdrop through which stories of race are told. In this series, we discuss "white savior" movies, and what these movies can teach us about the deliberate and subconscious construction of whiteness in American cinema. 

Confronting Whiteness in Hollywood Series