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The Walter White Project

Randy Stakeman, Jackson Stakeman, Authors

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Walter White tries to persuade Hollywood to change its portrayal of African Americans

Walter White saw the stereotypes in which Hollywood portrayed African Americans and tried to change it. David O. Selznick had asked White to be a consultant on Gone With The Wind in 1938 to insure that the script did not demean blacks.  White had simply directed him to Du Bois' book Black Reconstruction and suggested he hire an African American to check the facts.  When the actual movie was released White was greatly disappointed because it simply confirmed the old racial stereotypes.  As World War II broke out White saw an opportunity to affect the motion picture industry's portrayal of blacks in its drive to help the war effort.  In 1942 he went to Hollywood to meet with celebrities and moguls to try to get them to have a wider gamut of Negro roles and to better portray African Americans and Americans and human beings. The African American actors who made a living playing these subservient or buffoonish roles were ambivalent at best to White if not outright hostile. Although White would have elaborate lunches and meetings with some of the movers and shakers of Hollywood, his visit produced little in the way of change.
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