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Exploring stereotypes through the film Crash 2005

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Introduction

Coursework Social Historical context Part 1. Stereotypes often reflect and are formed from dominant hegemonic values of that specific time. In victor Fleming's Gone with the Wind (1939) characters such as 'mammy' clearly reflected the dominant ideological beliefs of that era. With the acceptance of slave labor shaping these beliefs she was representative of the expected and accepted historic black stereotypes of funny fat woman, comic servants, and natural entertainers. In the 1960's revolutionaries such as Martin Luther King played a key roles in challenging peoples perceptions of women and men of all equalities. Along with the civil rights movement these derogatory and dominant stereotypes gradually began to change. During the late 50's to the late 60's Sidney Poitier was the only black leading man working consistently in Hollywood feature films. The civil rights movement had shaped the contours of Poitier's career. Non violent demonstrations for black equality had forged a culture in which his image resonated, and his movies had prompted racial goodwill. He made his feature-length movie debut as Dr. Luther Brooks, a black doctor who treats a bigoted white criminal, in No Way Out (Joseph L. Mankiewicz. ) (1950). He was the second black actor to win an Academy Award (Hattie McDaniel had won a best supporting actress Oscar for Gone with the Wind in 1939) His role in (No Way Out) established a significant pattern both for Poitier himself and for the black actors who followed him; by refusing roles that played to a racial stereotype, Poitier pushed the restrictive boundaries set by Hollywood and made inroads into the American mainstream. ...read more.

Middle

Most of the representations offered to us in the film are stereotyped characters who do not subvert previous representations or ideologies. However it could be argued that there is a need for these stereotypes. Many large Hollywood production executives would argue that in order for a mass audience to accept a text as reality stereotypes still need to be present to enable an audience to connect with the characters and to find them to be believable. It is important in many parts of the film for the audience to engage and empathise with characters. In order to generate empathy and to allow the audience to relate to characters there must be a certain degree of identification. This idea explored in the film. Cameron (a black film director) is asked by a colleague to shoot his last scene again because one of the black actors on set isn't speaking 'black' enough, the white director believes that the audience will not recognise the actor as 'black' unless he speaks in slang. Many people who haven't experienced these ethnic minorities directly in L.A are likely to accept them as reality, thus generating and fueling previous negative ideologies. The alternative stereotype of an African American is offered in "Crash" through the characters of Christine and Cameron. Educated, successful and affluent citizens, Cameron and Christine could be seen to fall into the stereotype of "noble negro". This is avoided as we get glimpses of a profound relationship in which they are far from a sexless married couple. ...read more.

Conclusion

We love to say "Good person, Bad person." "In this film at least I didn't want us to be judging others. I wanted us to be judging ourselves." This offers us an insight into his original intention for the film, with the idea that the film would revolve around race decided later. The twin elements of accident (literally and figuratively) and coincidence connect the various stories, which are intended to prove that people form harmful prejudices from a combination of impressions and individual psychoses. I believe Ethnic stereotypes play a very significant role in the understanding of the film "Crash", On either of its two dimensions. In order to understand the film either on a simplistic representational level, or else seeing the film as an example of maybe considering social conflicts as externalisations of a fundamentally internal crisis, which therefore allow the audience to realise that the complexity found in each character can in fact undermine the entire concept of a stereotype, consequently producing realistic individuals who are surrounded by racial conflict in post 9/11. To understand and examine racial issues in the after math of 9/11 looking towards real life will enable us to predict the stereotypes that may also become hegemonic ideologies in America. I am stuck here on another paper you said that team America would be a good example of how new stereotypes are being challenged and also need a small conclusion would be grateful for your help hope its ok I found it really hard||!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ashleigh xxx p.s please could you email me to confirm you have got it thanks xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Simon_xazza@hotmail.com ...read more.

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