“Ya’ll Ig’nant”

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“Ya’ll are embarrassing. Period… Ya’ll ignorant! Ya’ll ig’nant.” When Sloan’s brother Womack approaches her to ask her about auditions for Dela’s production, this is the first instance in which we see a verbal, straightforward degradation and discrimination from colored people to colored people. This scene presents a form of racism in which people like Sloan, who are more successful and “decent”, internalize stereotypes that degrade other people of color, including her own brother. I was very surprised when Sloan made those comments in this scene. The stereotypes that society imposes on people like Womack are also used as a weapon by people like Sloan. This scene demonstrates stereotyping not solely based on race, but also intersectional discrimination based on class, color, wealth, and occupation, highlighting of form of colorism within people of colored communities.

Lee presents a striking contrast between the members of Mau Maus and producers like Dela and Sloan, in language, dress, and demeanor. In language, the way that Sloan speaks to Dela and Manray are very different from the way she speaks with her brother. In dress, Sloan and Dela are always wearing colors like purple, dark blue, white, and other pastel colors (just like the purple she wears in this scene). The Mau Maus are always presented in black and brown, in the same attire as Womack has on in this scene. In demeanor, every single scene featuring the Mau Maus are coupled with smoke from cigarettes, Da Bomb drinks, routiness, and chaos. On the other hand, Sloan is painted with a sophisticated, well-learned and well-spoken demeanor. In the time stamp following the one above, Womack is a misfit in Sloan’s house; he is a misfit in Sloan’s world. Lee uses this montage to hit home ideas about hierarchy that is continuously reinforced by societal standards within and outside colored communities.

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