The stereotypical view of African Americans of being violent, fascinated by material wealth, chasing after the American dream, politically disoriented and gender biased are clearly portrayed in the satirical movie Bamboozled. The movie portrays how Caucasian Americans relate to black Americans in the context that they (black Americans) hold negative virtues such as violence, thus should be despised. The image of black Americans in the movie is portrayed by bringing insights of a certain character (Delacroix) as being a racist, disrespectful, regretful, and fantasized by material wealth.
Lee portrays the image of the characters by the use of a movie in a movie. The minstrel show, which is the basis of the movie Bamboozled, portrays identity negotiations, race, political and social comments of the characters as that of being awkward. This is done through the use of Delacroix (Lee). The stereotypical view of black Americans by Whites is portrayed by how Dunwitty (Boss) view the blacks. Delacroix, who is the pivotal character, is Harvard educated African American employed as a television producer for CNS. Not withstanding his education, Delacroix’ creative ideas for the show, which portrays black Americans positively are frequently rejected by Dunwitty (Lee). Lee expects the audience to relate to Delacroix as being educated, but not productive enough. In this sense, black Americans are portrayed as being unproductive even with high education.
Delacroix is strangely portrayed as being fantasized by material wealth and preoccupied with fame. This is distinctively portrayed when Delacroix says that, ‘The mission was accomplished. All of these people left the room thinking they would have real input. I was writing this pilot alone. Myself. Me. Moi.’ (Lee). This shows that Delacroix despises others because of his new status. This is a stereotypical portrayal of black Americans of being fazed by fame and being preoccupied with achieving material wealth going to the extent of despising others in the society. Additionally, Delacroix is strangely portrayed as being egoistic, excessive and lacking seriousness. His lack of seriousness is evident in the fact that he cannot even give his personal assistant (Sloane) the chance to advice him accordingly (Lee).
Racial ideology is portrayed in Delacroix’ character in the way he relates with other characters. For instance, there is a scene he says that; ‘I do not want to have anything to do, with anything black, for at least a week’ (Lee). This demonstrates the stereotypical view of African Americans as being racists and despising their own race. Delacroix’ racial relationship with fellow characters is also displayed as being extremely racial and vulgar. For example, he is heard shouting at one of the characters, ‘Feed the idiot box. Feed the idiot box’ (Lee). This demonstrates the stereotypical view of black Americans as being disrespectful and racial towards their colleagues.
Delacroix is portrayed as being different to other characters in the movie in the sense that he is remorseful at his death. After being shot by Hopkins, Delacroix watches the tape that he had initially refused to watch regretfully stating that,
‘As I bled to death as my very life oozed out of me, all I could think of was something the great Negro James Baldwin had written. "People pay for what they do, and still more for what they have allowed themselves to become, and they pay for it, very simply, by the lives they lead." (Lee).
The movie Bamboozled portrays black Americans as having awkward characters in all sectors of their lives. The movie is structured in a stereotypical way that portrays black Americans in a negative perspective. Delacroix is used in this sense when he is portrayed as one of the learned Black Americans, but being backward as he is disrespectful, fazed with material wealth, lacking seriousness, regretful, and above all, a racist.
Bamboozled. Dir, Lee, Spike. Perfs. Wayans Damon, Davidson Tommy, Glover Savion, Smith
Jada-Pinkett, Rapaport Michael and Def Mos. 2000. DVD. New Line Cinema, 2001.