• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

An Exploration of the dynamics of 'ghetto masculinity' and the upholding of negative representations in 'Training Day'

Extracts from this document...


An Exploration of the dynamics of 'ghetto masculinity' and the upholding of negative representations in 'Training Day' I am going to look at the ways in which 'Training Day' uses mythic stereotypes of black males and 'ghetto masculinity' to portray negative representations of black society in America, and how hegemonic values of white audiences leaves these representations unquestioned. My main focus will be the representation of the main protagonist, Alonzo, an African America police officer played by Denzel Washington. First I will look at the history and background of Black representation in film. Early Black cinema, known as The Plantation Genre, began in 1915 with the release of 'Birth of a Nation' an overtly anti-black film which represented black slaves as untrustworthy and immoral and included positive representations of the Klu Klux Klan. In 1939 'Gone With the Wind' contradicted these representations by portraying black slaves as loyal and happy, a representation that is said to be unrealistic. The Era of the Integrated Negro came about during the 1950s and 60s after the rise of civil rights movements in the 1940s. Black representation in film was focused on black protest and the integrated Negro. One of the first integrated Negroes in Hollywood was Sidney Poitier who starred in films such as 'Guess who's coming to dinner' which represented black males as intelligent, handsome, well spoken and respectful. ...read more.


Alonzo threatens Jake's safe family life by telling him to "never wear that wedding ring to work" as it will be used against him. This also threatens white ideology of hegemonic family values. The use of a white co-star to identify a white audience has been used many times before, specifically in the Bi-racial buddy films of the 1980s. However, in these films the black protagonist is usually put into a white context in order to suture in white audiences further, unlike 'Training Day' where these roles are reversed and the white protagonist is in a black context. 'Training Day' is targeted at both black and white audiences and therefore reinforces the idea of Vertical Integration. At the start of the film Jake is represented as vulnerable and weak in Alonzo's presence and his belittled by Alonzo due to his lack of experience. This representation is built upon when Jake is referred to as a "rookie" by several characters later in the film. However this role is reverse when Jake saves a young girl from being raped by two drug addicts. Jake is now represented in a similar light to Alonzo; strong, confidant and streetwise. Alonzo commends him on his work and the audience feels he has transitioned into Alonzo's world; into the ghetto. This is anti-hegemonic for both black and white audiences who are used to the "blacks only" mentality of the ghetto. ...read more.


Jake is represented as clean-cut and vulnerable and out of his territory. This contrasts with Alonzo who is in control and far more experienced. High angle shots of Jake and his non-verbal communication, as he is talking to Alonzo across the coffee table shows his vulnerability and helplessness. These binary opposites are clearly established after the Alonzo lets two drug dealers go free after attempting to rape a young girl. Alonzo doesn't see the injustice of this and believes "street justice" is the way to deal with it. Jake disputes this, showing he has morals that Alonzo doesn't. He continues to take the law into his own hands throughout the film, searching a house without a warrant, holding a group of teenagers at gun point and forcing Jake so smoke drugs. This leaves an enigma code of whether or not he will get his comeuppance, interpellating the audience into these representations. At the end of the film, these mythic representations are challenged as the roles of Alonzo and Jake are reversed. A high angle shot looking down at Alonzo and a low angle shot looking up at Jake as he holds Alonzo at gun point shows this as Jake says, "it's no fun when the rabbit has a gun is it?". The rest of the black community turn on Alonzo and allow Jake to escape. This acceptance of Jake into the ghetto challenges hegemonic views and breaks down the barriers of the ghetto. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sociology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Sociology essays

  1. Langston Hughes's The Ways of White Folks,

    Hunter's maid belonged," (101). Oceola is fearful of gaining fame and fortune because she is all too familiar with the hatred of jealous rednecks towards a well-established Negro: "as for the cultured Negroes who were always saying are would break down color lines, art could save the race and prevent lynchings!

  2. Crime - 'The media portrays ethnic minorities in negative ways', Discuss.

    know if I proved my hypothesis, by having both sides of the arguments, also by having a one sided view will make me think that the public were being biased and giving false data, and this would affect my results.

  1. Compare and Contrast the representation of female characters in Snow White and Mulan. To ...

    In more recent films such as The Little Mermaid, Ariel wants to transform her body so she can win the prince, and in Beauty and the Beast, it's suggested that all an abusive man really needs is the love of a good woman to tame him.

  2. Discuss the view that contemporary society is experiencing a crisis of masculinity

    Goode believes both sexes find it difficult to appreciate the problems of the other sex, and consequently many men reacted with hostility and jeered at feminists. Slowly, men started adjusting to changing gender roles. Rutherford says that there is a 'plurality of masculine identities; different models of fatherhood, sexualised images of men and new sensibilities'.

  1. The image of the 'big house'.

    John Cronin commented on the use of the crumbling Big House when analysing Castle Rackrent, "At the centre of the work is the rotting house itself, that great symbolic focus of the Protestant Ascendancy's preoccupation with it's decline." [10] Their inability to modernise and adjust to political change meant that

  2. Have (or how have) representations of the ethnic or national 'other' changed in post-war ...

    the immigrant, the visible foreigner, who now marks the boundaries by reinforcing his cultural identity which often leads to feelings of isolation and alienation. Hence, British culture is considered the dominant norm and others must adjust and adopt this in order to assimilate.

  1. First Day

    I slowly look up at the class, seeing what seems like hundreds of eyes all staring straight at me. I quickly scan the room for any possible new friends. All of this just taking a few seconds but seeming like a lifetime.

  2. Gangs and Hip-Hop

    Bermudez is now attending college and owns his own dance school. Additionally, a group called Massive Monkees (who also were featured on America?s Best Dance Crew) is a dance crew who have a history of gang affiliation. They now strive to teach high school kids that gangs and hip-hop do not always have a connection.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work