This is an excellent article by Mita Sengupta, which explores the racist themes of the movies that topped the Oscars this year: Precious, Avatar, The Blind Side, etc.
Lee Daniel's Precious transports us to Harlem, to the world of Precious Jones, an illiterate, obese and sexually abused black teenager. John Lee Hancock's The Blind Side -- adapted from a biography of NFL superstar, Michael Oher -- follows the troubled life of another overweight and undereducated dark-skinned teen. Loaded with racial allegory, the science fiction blockbusters up for Best Picture also promise insight into the plight of the culturally distant -- segregated blacks under South Africa's apartheid regime in Niall Blomkamp's District 9, and aboriginal communities on the brink of colonization in James Cameron's Avatar. One might add to this mix last year's Best Picture winner, Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire, which ventured into the sprawling slums of Mumbai to chronicle the journey of a young boy, Jamal Malik, as he navigated through a childhood ravaged by poverty and crime.
The denials of humanity and agency we see in Precious and Slumdog are not without consequence. They provide ideological justification to policy agendas that only deepen the misery of the poor. Viewing the "slum" as a worthless space mired in evil and decay only paves the way for involuntary relocation and demolition (on this, see my earlier review of Slumdog). The spectre of the sexually voracious, criminally fertile, welfare-cheating black mother of Precious has been used to restrict the access of single black mothers to federal poverty programs and subject them to forced sterilisation (on this, see Melissa Harris-Lacewell's review of Precious).
The theme of pathological black motherhood also runs through The Blind Side (Oher's "mama's on the crack-pipe" and can't remember who fathered him or how many children she's had). In a particularly unsettling snatch of dialogue we're told by Oher's rich, white adoptive father that "Michael's gift is his ability to forget." Forget what exactly? His life of poverty, or his blackness?