Passing Privilege and Discrimination

In this YouTube video, Joy DeGruy shares a story of her trip the the grocery store with her white-passing sister-in-law where Joy is discriminated against for paying with a check, even though her sister-in-law had no issue paying with a check just moments earlier.

By using this video, we can see that the decision to ignore racism faced by black women watching movies is also heavily prevalent in their daily life. In bell hooks’ “The Oppositional Gaze,” she describes how many black women ignore the portrayal of black female characters because of the frequent racist characteristics, one being the “angry black woman.” Instead of looking too deeply into the issues at hand, bell hooks writes that many black women watching films with racist characters or no black characters will choose to “not look too deep” to avoid being hurt and upset.  

In the video, Joy states that she refused to say anything to the cashier because she feared that she would become the “angry black women” to the elderly white women in line behind her. By choosing not to stand up for herself at the grocery store, Joy makes a conscious decision to not look too deep into the situation to avoid being labeled with a stereotype. The decision to ignore racism made in the movie theater carries over to daily life decisions, especially when black women constantly have to worry if other people will place labels on them.

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