Blind-Sided: Dr. Evan Carton on Race in Pop Culture

In the second of a series of masters classes this fall, Free Minds students and alumni welcomed Dr. Evan Carton, UT Professor of English and former Free Minds faculty, to discuss The Blind Side, the 2009 film about a homeless boy who became an All-American football player. The class met over coffee and cookies at the UT Community Engagement Center and delved into the issues of race and sexuality that undermined the feel-good message of the film. Dr. Carton pointed to the long history in literature and pop culture of the rescue by white folk of people of color. “Images come with deep histories,” he said, and students jumped in with observations about the images that revealed the film to be a well-intentioned fantasy — a world where women have to be sexy to be powerful, and black men have to lose their identities to be saved. “I don’t care about Sandra Bullock’s story,” said one student. “Tell his story. I want to hear his story.” The class went almost 30 minutes over, and students continued discussing the movie as they pulled on coats and headed out into the evening.

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