A recent article claims that the iconic Alien and Predator creatures “reinforce anti-Black racism.” This claim is based solely on the creatures’ black appearances according to the author.
On August 16th, an independent news site, The Conversation, published “How Hollywood’s ‘Alien’ and ‘Predator’ movies reinforce anti-Black racism.” The piece is written by Brock University Associate Professor of Sociology Tamari Kitossa.
The piece opens with Kitossa’s asking, “What makes Black people [are] more likely than others to be killed, beaten, tortured and raped by white police officers and vigilantes?”
He goes on to answer his own question stating, “A culture and history of racist misrepresentation may have something to do with it.”
He then asks another question, “Why has there been considerable tolerance among the silent majority of white people for animal-like, demonic representations of Black people in media and popular culture?”
“The short answer is that we are dealing with a culture of domination,” he writes. “It is a culture that thrives on the sexualized demonization of Black people.”
He then asserts that Alien, “comports with the trope of Black women as alien breeders” and Predator “riffs on images of Black men as dreadlocked, violent and superhuman.”
It should be noted that at no time has anyone related to either of these franchises declared that either the Xenomorph or the titular Predator were representative of black individuals.
To justify these claims, Kitossa infers sociopolitical parallels in these films where none truly exists. Much of his piece centers around his claims of historical instances of anti-black racism rather than any meaningful discussion of the respective films’ content.
Kitossa proceeds to compare black women to the Alien. He writes, “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.”
Kitossa went on to say, “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.”
“In terms set by historian Lothrop Stoddard’s white supremacist 1920 book The Rising Tide of Color, a Black woman’s sexual reproduction is imagined to signal the genetic extinction of the white republic,” states Kitossa.
One must point out that his claim that Xenomorphs represent Black women is based solely on the reading of a book written by a genuine white supremacist. A citation which may lead some to realize how absurd and disingenuous Kitossa’s arguments are.
This same form of writing holds true for his discussion on the Predator, as Kitossa spends most of this section discussing his claims of historically racist stereotypes of black men.
Kitossa writes, “In the context of racially charged white anxieties about immigration and social order, the historical demonization of Black men is a trope, a stereotype, that easily maps onto cinematic typecasting. The 1987 Hollywood film that launched the Predator franchise fits this pattern.”
Despite the noted fact that the Predator has never been nor ever intended to be a representation of black men, Kitossa states that, “Predator depicted a Black, dreadlocked, large and super-virile male in a way that converged white art with white political history.” This is stated without a hint of irony.
By this point in the article, most readers may ultimately realize that Kitossa is reverse-engineering outrage. He is attempting to force a narrative on an unassociated piece of media.
As with most disingenuous contemporary sociopolitical arguments centered around popular culture, Kitossa claims that the only way to move “forward” involves various admissions of guilt from general groups of unassociated people.
He begins by demanding that “First, there must be candid admission that there is both sexualized fear of and desire of Black people.”
Kitossa then proceeds to demand that there must also be an admission that “Hollywood and the media paint Black people as sexualized, superhuman monstrosities and that this meshes with racialized political discourse.”
Unsurprisingly, Kitossa’s final suggested action is that “more white people need to critically examine their whiteness,” as this will support the call for “whiteness to be abolished.”
YouTuber Mr. H Reviews commented on the Kitossa’s article and took him to task for his odd views, calling the professor an “utter moron.”
Mr. H also states, “There is no legitimacy to any of his points. There is none.”
What do you make of the claims made by Tamari Kitossa in regards to Alien and Predator?