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'Free, White & 21': Startling Montage Of Racist Catchphrase In Old Hollywood Films

  • by: Alan Duke
  • (Thu, 07 Apr 2016 20:15:02 Z)

If you knew this, you are either very old or spend a lot of time watching old movies from the 1920s or 1930s. "I'm free, white and 21" was a popular catchphrase nearly 100 years ago in American culture, as reflected in Hollywood films.

Jezebel magazine assembled this video montage of scenes from early talkies and silent films in which characters used the phrase -- or variations playing off of it.

What does this say about that era? Perhaps that it was commonly accepted that being black was a disadvantage?

About the author:

Editor-in-Chief Alan Duke co-founded Lead Stories after a 26-year career with CNN. He mainly covers entertainment, current affairs and politics. Duke closely covered domestic terrorism cases for CNN, including the Oklahoma City federal building bombing, the UNABOMBER and search for Southeast bomber Eric Robert Rudolph. CNN moved Duke to Los Angeles in 2009 to cover the entertainment beat. Duke also co-hosts a daily podcast with former HLN host Nancy Grace, "Crime Stories with Nancy Grace." You'll also see Duke in many news documentaries, including on the Reelz channel, CNN and HLN.

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