Marlon Riggs

Ethnic Notions

Ethnic Notions

Marlon Riggs brings viewers face-to-face with the insidious images that have shaped America’s racial mythologies, in his first major work, a brilliant and disturbing deconstruction of the ways in which anti-Black stereotypes have permeated nearly every aspect of popular culture. Through razor-sharp historical analysis including interviews with historians and folklore scholars, powerfully deployed imagery, and narration by actor Esther Rolle, Ethnic Notions illuminates, with devastating clarity, how dehumanizing caricatures of Black people—seen everywhere from children’s books to films to household products—have been used to uphold white supremacy and to justify slavery, segregation, and the continuing oppression of African Americans. In its refusal to look away from racism’s ugliest manifestations, this Emmy-winning documentary has become an essential text for understanding the origins of American racial violence.

Film Info

  • Marlon Riggs
  • United States, Canada
  • 1986
  • 58 minutes
  • Color
  • 1.33:1
  • English

Available In

Collector's Set

The Signifyin’ Works of Marlon Riggs

The Signifyin’ Works of Marlon Riggs

Blu-Ray Box Set

2 Discs

$39.96

Collector's Set

The Signifyin’ Works of Marlon Riggs

The Signifyin’ Works of Marlon Riggs

DVD Box Set

3 Discs

$31.96

Ethnic Notions
Cast
Barbara Christian
Featuring interviews with
Jan Faulkner
George Fredickson
Larry Levine
Carlton Moss
Erskine Peters
Leni Sloan
Patricia A. Turner
Leni Sloan
Bert Williams monologue written and performed by
Rene Collins
Two-man minstrel skit
Derique McGee
Ernie Fosselius
Voices
Jeffrey Friedman
Janet Keller
Marlon Riggs
Credits
Director
Marlon Riggs
Produced by
Marlon Riggs
Written by
Marlon Riggs
Editor
Deborah Hoffmann
Narrator
Esther Rolle
Original music
Mary Watkins
Associate producer
Keris Salmon
Assistant editor and production coordinator
Isaac Mizrahi
Videographer
Calvin Roberts
Chief research
Marlon Riggs
Sound mix
Robert Berke Sound