Blackkklansman: A Focus on Black beauty

Having previously watched the movie Blackkklansman we feel that there are multiple avenues of discussion. This is a story of racial tension. 

“It’s (racism) becoming mainstream…It’s (politics) another way to sell hate…One day we get someone in the White House that embodies it” says Sergeant Trapp. 

Well… no words.

We particularly wish to focus this discussion on the subject of identity. While this film is set in 1970s, we want to highlight the similarities to the current time in 2022.


In the narrative of Blackkklansman, there are multiple symbols and meanings. Yet there is an inward “twoness” that Black people face in society and in the workplace. This movie captures that.

  • There is an element of ‘tokenism’ in the film  – Ron as the only, visible and representative Black person on the force.
  • Assimilating and code switching are unique aspects of Black identity that cannot be related to by other races. More often than not, Black people are expected to display an ‘appropriate appearance’ and ‘appropriate feelings’ to adhere to social rules that have been set by the ‘dominant’ group that has the power – White people. 
  • The central theme running through the film is the relationship Ron develops with the KKK. Ron has two identities. This dichotomy is represented through Ron as Black in the office and as the ‘other’ where that he curates an identity as White. This demonstrates how Black people evidence double consciousness and codeswitch every day due to the constant racism and microaggressions they face every day. 
  • Black people are expected to tone down, conceal or hide parts of their identity for the sake of other people’s perceived comfort, especially in professional/work related environments. 
  • Ron and fellow officer Flip Zimmerman are in the records room during the conversation, Ron responds to Flip saying, “That’s what some light-skinned Black folk do, they pass for White.”
  • Identity is strongly tied to black features which unfortunately, are often, undermined, ridiculed and minimalised in society. Kwame Ture speaks to the Black student union and says that Black people must define beauty for Black people. brother Kwame’s speech is centred around black love, identity and acceptance of Black beauty.
  • At the shooting range, the KKK are shooting at targets with exaggerated black features, again reinforcing the significance and strong attachment black features have in perceptions of black identity.

Whilst there are further notable examples of Black identify throughout this movie, we have chosen few to support critical conversations on race.