Trying to Enjoy Halloween: The Quagmire of Race and Horror in Cinema

Dani Bethea
10 min readOct 31, 2018

Dr. Joy DeGruy: How many people think they understand what racism is? Show of hands? Come on. Yeah, you think you know.

**Audience murmurs, and a few hands raise**

Dr. Joy DeGruy: I’m not suggesting I know, I just have a couple definitions that kind of came to me as I thought about it…how many people think there are White racists?

**A lot of audience hands raise.**

Dr. Joy DeGruy: How many think there are Black racists out there?

**Less, but a moderate amount of hands raise.**

Dr. Joy DeGruy: Okay. Now, this is an interesting thing because this becomes important as we begin to define concepts. I do that…I usually define concepts all the way but one of the things that I do is try to help people get a picture of what I mean by racism. So, tell me how it is…first category is White racism and then we’ll deal with Black racism. So White racism…tell me the ways in which White racism adversely impacts the lives of Black people? Just what are the ways that White racism can adversely impact the lives of Black people as a group? What are some of those ways?

**Audience person: Power.

Dr. Joy DeGruy: Power. But how is that defined, specifically?

**Audience responds with a few of the following responses, and Dr. DeGruy visually counts them off.**

Dr. Joy DeGruy: Education…

Dani Bethea

Horror Sommelier & Pop Culture Pontificator. Prev EIC: We Are Horror. Mental Health and Horror Doc. Published: Studies In the Fantastic + Women of Jenji Kohan.