Popular culture can sometimes be used as an instrument to analyze a particular ideology of a time period. One example of popular culture is seen in blaxploitation films. Blaxploitation films were crafted in the seventies and were mainly focused on "black social identities" (Porter 51). The nineteen seventies was a decade that put an enormous amount of emphasis on "the importance of racial and ethnic identities" (Porter 54). The Black Panthers were not a novel organization, getting their start in the late sixties (Carroll 50). Affirmative-action programs were also in full swing (Porter 57). In fact, in the seventies "more than any time before in U.S. history, people of color claimed race as a resource" (Porter 54). However, race as a tool caused an angry "backlash" (Porter 66). While people of color were holding fast to their identities as a social weapon, white Americans began to feel threatened and in jeopardy (Porter 65).
Identity, itself, was a tool of change during the seventies. The time period was centered around the "idea of
culture as a resource for making lives better
" (Porter 54). At the forefront of this "idea" was affirmative action. Affirmative-action programs "validated race as something of value" (Porter 57). The very challenge to affirmative action is responsible for its duration in American society. The challenge came in the form of Allan Bakke, a white student who was rejected admission twice into the University of California Davis Medical School (Porter 50). The medical school's program reserved sixteen spots for minority students out of one hundred spots available. Regents of the University of California v. Bakke eventually made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Once there, it was determined that the medical school was wrong in the way it went about diversifying its campus. However, the court did decide that "some consideration of race in admission policies was appropriate" (Porter 51). Race could be a factor into...
Cited: Carroll, Peter N. It Seemed Like Nothing Happened: The Tragedy and Promise of America in the
1970s. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1982.
Porter, Eric. "Affirming and Disaffirming Actions: Remaking Race in the 1970s." America in
the Seventies (2004): 50-74.
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