I am not too surprised that my students are enjoying Gone With the Wind. The discussions have been pretty good thus far. For Monday they must bring in a newspaper article about the movie and share it with the rest of the group. I am hoping that they come in with articles from different decades so we get a sense of how the movie was received/interpreted at different times. Today I began the class by playing Hattie McDaniel’s Oscar acceptance speech for best supporting actress in 1939. I asked my students to think about the sharp contrast between the woman who accepted the award and the character she plays in the movie. There is something very sad and disturbing about this scene once we acknowledge that McDaniel was given an award for her ability to depict a character that was the product of a racist society – one that satisfied the needs of white America. I want to know what it was like for Hattie McDaniel and the other black actors to have to depict these characters on film. To what extent were they aware of the racist stereotypes that lay behind these characters? Are McDaniel’s tears in her acceptance speech any indication of this realization. I am so curious about these and other question that I decided to purchase a biography about her.