Analysis Of The Movie ' Billy Jack ' Essays

Analysis Of The Movie ' Billy Jack ' Essays

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In 1971 Tom Laughlin released Billy Jack, the sequel to The Born Losers (1967) starring himself as the main character, Billy Jack, a biracial Navajo Native American. The film explores the plight of Native Americans in the aftermath of the Civil Rights Movement (the film is set in and was filmed in 1969), as well as their interactions with the dominant White American culture. The main character Billy Jack is set up to be a myth like warrior-savior of the Native Americans and the multi-ethnic populace of their reservation. Billy Jack, even though he is half-white is completely submerged in his Navajo culture, taking a vow of peace that throughout the film is broken. The film shows an unadulterated depiction of White American racism and privilege, and examines the use of violence in response to racism in a newly desegregated and civil rights era America.
By 1971 America’s legal approach to racism, The Voting Rights Act, The Civil Rights Act, Brown vs Board etc., were well executed and made into law, making discrimination and segregation illegal. America, for the first time in since its conception, had provided equal treatment and rights for its inhabitants, but no law passed can change the relations between people. In Billy Jack the audience gets to witness post-Civil Rights Movement America and how little things have changed for people of color, especially Native Americans. American White people’s attitudes towards their place in society and how their ideologies towards people color didn 't change with the Civil Rights Movement. It can be argued that race relations became worse because of the refusal to adjust and accept people of color into the dominant culture and society. The White townspeople in the film feel as though the pres...


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...overty and oppression under a White dominated society that seeks to keep White people on the top and people of color at the bottom. It can be argued that Laughlin acted as a white savior to Native Americans whilst portraying red-face by portraying one thus taking an acting opportunity and representation away from actual Native actors and people, respectively. The film is still enjoyed by fans today as a means to justify their liberal views and the ill-treatment of people of color under conservative mindsets and establishments. The myth-like vigilante of Billy Jack asks us to challenge the status quo and the mandates we place on people of color on how they are supposed to racism. That peace as an answer to violence hasn’t worked by itself and that those who face racism and other forms of oppression shouldn’t be afraid to retaliate and force respect for their humanity.

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