Author: Eileen C. Moore
Publisher: Cool Titles
ISBN: 978-1-935700-0-3

Click Here To Purchase Race Results: Hollywood vs the Supreme Court; Ten Decades of Racial Decisions and Film

Eileen C. Moore has been a Justice on the California Courts of Appeal since 2000, and from 1989 to 2000 she was a trial judge on the California Superior Court. It was during her pursuit of a Master's Degree at the University of Virginia, which she received in 2004, that she decided to write her thesis about the messages that were been sent out by the United States Supreme Court and Hollywood pertaining to African Americans during the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first century.

As Moore states in her introduction to Race Results: Hollywood vs. The Supreme Court Ten Decades of Racial Decisions and Film, “The Court, is often considered the most conservative in the county, and Hollywood has always been perceived as being quite liberal.” The focus of Moore's thesis and her subsequent book was to compare the two, decade by decade, in order to discover the kind of legal and cultural messages the American people were receiving. After reading this enlightening book, I must admit that the Moore's findings are not exactly what I had initially expected.

Moore divides her book into eleven decades beginning with 1901 to 1910 and ending with 2001 to the present. Each section begins with a racial framework of the decade and then goes onto discuss some of the more important Supreme Court cases, followed by well-known Hollywood movies and ending with a decade wrap-up. Movies that are not discussed in the text of a chapter appear in the endnotes of the book.

As we read excerpts from these cases, we notice that for the first few decades both Hollywood and the Court were quite passive in their philosophies. Initially, the court did not respect the spirit of the Fourteenth Amendment, which was passed after the Civil War and was supposed to secure and protect the right to be free from discrimination in the exercise of both state and federal rights. Instead, the Court favored business over civil rights. Eventually, the Court began to intervene when many of the Southern States persisted in maintaining bits of slavery in such matters as denying African Americans the right to vote and due process in its courts.

Hollywood, on the other hand and contrary to common belief, continued its racist behavior. Moore spends considerable time analyzing D.W. Griffith's 1915 movie The Birth of a Nation and illustrates how some of its racist themes reappear for the next ten decades in a variety of well-known movies. According to Moore, up to the 1960s, the Hollywood moguls lacked sensitivity and did not challenge national or regional racism, although they did not overtly try to harm African Americans. It was during the 1960s that the Court and Hollywood did share the same kind of fairness and equality toward African Americans. However, when television came along and whites began moving to the suburbs, the “almighty buck” took over, and Hollywood appealed to white Americans' biases and prejudices in order to attract audiences-”Black bashing was profitable for big business in Hollywood.”

What is quite noteworthy, and as pointed out by Moore, is the Court's rulings for several decades pertaining to housing wherein it demonstrated an unswerving intolerance toward racial restrictions in housing. As illustrated with the many movies Moore discusses, Hollywood rarely showed integrated neighborhoods. It seems that all the neighborhoods are white with few African Americans. You can also say the same about shopping centers, bus stops, thoroughfares, train stations, airports, etc. In other words, what happened to African Americans? Right through the end of the twentieth century, as Moore illustrates, Hollywood continued to depict African Americans in a harmful way, though its methods were more subtle.

After reading Race Results, I would have to agree with Moore that, although the US Supreme Court is often perceived as stodgy, slow and conservative, nonetheless throughout the twentieth century it was at least as equally as advanced and sometimes even more advanced than Hollywood in acknowledging and recognizing the achievements of African Americans. Moore`s exposure of the dirty truths behind Hollywood's behavior towards African Americans hopefully will open some eyes to the multitude of injustices that persist even today, although I don't doubt that it may also cause some outrage among bigots. As a competent jurist, Moore has presented sound documentation with a wide selection of movies and Supreme Court decisions over the decades. And alongside, Moore mixes in a few good history lessons concerning the plight of African Americans after the abolition of slavery. The only complaint I do have is why didn't the book have an index?

Click Here To Purchase Race Results: Hollywood vs the Supreme Court; Ten Decades of Racial Decisions and Film