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2

WEDNESDAY

Think about it: It’s called “film noir,” but there are hardly any black people in the whole genre. When people of color show up at all, they’re subsidiary characters—the occasional Latino gardener or “white ethnic” (Italian restaurant owner, Greek bookie, or heartbroken Enrico Caruso fan). You could argue that the great films noir were made in the ’40s, when Hollywood’s affirmative-action policy in all movies involved something like one black prizefighter for every 30,000 white folk. Or that the genre itself was about the alienation of cities and the search for selfhood in a world of shifting identities, and that using a black gumshoe would preclude the basic noir philosophy, because he’d presumably be undergoing a more complex and radically different process of individuation. Or you can attend this lecture and learn how film noir constructs whiteness as an ideal at the expense of minority characters. Unlike everything else in American culture, I guess. “The Whiteness of Film Noir” is accompanied by a screening of Double Indemnity at 4 p.m. at University of Maryland’s Hornbake Library, University Boulevard and Adelphi Road, College Park. Free. (301) 405-3535. (Arion Berger)