Skip to main content
Contribution to Book
Black Audiences, Blaxploitation and Kung Fu Films, and Challenges to White Celluloid Masculinity
China Forever: The Shaw Brothers and Diasporic Cinema (2008)
  • Sundiata K Cha-Jua

The roots of African Americans’ attraction to kung fu films are deeply embed- ded in their sociohistorical experiences. Simply put, it is a product of blacks’ political and cultural resistance to racial oppression. Although “repression breeds resistance,” opposing oppression is never simple; it is always varied and complex. Resistance is as likely to include cross-cutting strategies and discourses as mutually reinforcing ones. Two different but overlapping ideo- logical discourses, Pan-Africanism and Black Internationalism, help explain African Americans’ fascination with kung fu films. Pan-Africanists view the diverse dispersed peoples of African descent as one family. And perhaps, more importantly, they locate black unity in similar, if not common, national experi- ences of racial domination, discrimination, and degradation. Pan-Africanists believe that until African-descended people coordinate their resources to create a United States of Africa, they will never experience freedom, justice, and self-determination. Black Internationalism is also a direct outgrowth of African Americans’ meditation on and engagement in world affairs. According to Marc Gallicchio, “black internationalists believed that, as victims of racism and imperialism, the world’s darker races, a term they employed to describe the non-European world, shared a common interest in overthrowing white supremacy and creating an international order based on racial equality.” Al- though different in emphasis, both Pan-Africanism and Black International- ism have their roots in Black Nationalist opposition to racial oppression.

Publication Date
Poshek Fu
University of Illinois Press
Popular Culture and Politics in Asia Pacific
Citation Information
Sundiata K Cha-Jua. "Black Audiences, Blaxploitation and Kung Fu Films, and Challenges to White Celluloid Masculinity" Chicago and Urbana IllinoisChina Forever: The Shaw Brothers and Diasporic Cinema (2008)
Available at: