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Op-Ed: ‘Alien’ And ‘Predator’ Movies Reinforce Anti-Black Racism

Op-Ed: ‘Alien’ And ‘Predator’ Movies Reinforce Anti-Black Racism
Alien and Predator costume characters spend the day as tourists exploring London ahead of the launch of Alien vs. Predator 2: Requiem.

Even though both the “Alien” and the “Predator” franchises featured black people fighting against those malevolent forces, a sociology professor stated that those movies helped perpetuate anti-black racism.
In an op-ed for The Conversation, sociology professor Tamari Kitossa argued that the “Alien” and “Predator” movies help perpetuate the “animal-like, demonic representations of Black people in media and popular culture.” Such representations, he claimed, leads to black people being “killed, beaten, tortured and raped by white police officers and vigilantes.”
“Two examples of this are Ridley Scott’s Alien, which comports with the trope of Black women as alien breeders and Predator, written by brothers Jim and John Thomas, that riffs on images of Black men as dreadlocked, violent and superhuman,” he argued.
On the subject of the “Alien” franchise, Kitossa argued that the movies somehow perpetuate the stereotype that black women are “super-fertile and indestructible breeders whose sexual reproduction must be controlled.” As he argued this point, Kitossa did not address the fact that the alien for Ridley Scott’s 1979 horror masterpiece was designed by Swiss artist H.R. Giger with the specific intent of representing male sexual dominance (hence its phallic-shaped head).
“Ridley Scott’s Alien franchise, with its vicious and endlessly breeding carbon black alien mother, came at the height of neoliberal experiment and in the U.S. especially, an all-out assault on Black people,” he asserted. “In the context of anti-Black culture, the film signifies the Black woman as an unkillable and ceaselessly breeding alien who threatened the body politic.”
It should also be noted that the original “Alien” and its sequel “Aliens” prominently featured black people fighting the xenomorph: Parker (played by Yaphet Kotto) in the former, and Apone (played by Al Matthews) in the latter.
Kitossa did not address that fact.
Regarding the “Predator” franchise, which featured black actors Carl Weathers, Bill Duke, and Danny Glover in prominent roles, Kitossa asserted that those movies reinforce the fantasy that black men and boys are “Dangerous, threatening, inherently criminal and superhuman — bigger, faster, stronger and less likely to feel pain.”
“‘Predator’ depicted a Black, dreadlocked, large and super-virile male in a way that converged white art with white political history. A white man once said he thought it was cool that I had dreadlocks like the Predator. This is not a compliment,” he wrote.
“The police rapetorturecastrate and murder Black men. The link between visual culture and anti-Black, racist, dog-whistle politics reveals that these violent, racist behaviours strikes deep at the heart of white psychosexual fears and pathologies,” he continued. “Black men are imagined as predators who must be controlled, if not eliminated with extreme prejudice.”
Again, Kitossa did not address the fact that the “Predator” franchise featured black men fighting alongside white men to kill the beast, whose “dreadlocks,” apparently, are “complex sensory organs that provide the creatures with their exceptional balance and reflexes,” according to Xenopedia.
Going forward, Kitossa said that Hollywood must admit that “the media paint Black people as sexualized, superhuman monstrosities and that this meshes with racialized political discourse.”

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