Les Femmes Blanches et Les Femmes Noires dans les Cinémas Américains et Africains | White Women and Black Women in American and African Films

Student Author(s)

Rachael Kabagabu

Faculty Mentor(s)

Professor Brandon Guernsey

Document Type


Event Date



At the time of the creation of the American movie industry, the world was very different from the one we know today. Black citizens, though freed from slavery, were subject to legal discrimination, and women were treated as second-class citizens. At the same time, filmmakers were discovering the influence of cinema on society. The oppressive societal norms began to make their way onto the silver screen. The white, male filmmakers portrayed African-Americans as inhumane, savage beasts. African-American women received the most degradation; firstly for their race, and secondly for their gender. On the contrary, the African film industry portrayed African-Americans, men and women, as capable and complex human beings. This research takes a close look at the origins of American cinema and its representation of specific female characters of Rosie and Jane from the films The African Queen and Tarzan the Ape Man, respectively. Additionally, this research analyzes female roles of Diouana and Rama from the Francophone-African films La Noire De… and Xala, respectively. Despite the great racism and sexism that black women were subjected to in American films, their dignity and intelligence were recognized in African films.

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