Essay on Discrimination and Misrepresentation of Minority Races in Film

Essay on Discrimination and Misrepresentation of Minority Races in Film

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Discrimination and Misrepresentation of Minority Races in Film

Racists often believe that alternative races are inferior. Stuart Hall, an expert in the field of cultural studies who is also interested in media studies, believes that it is difficult to completely eliminate race as a "floating signifier" because it is impossible to remove the obvious physical differences of distinct races. These distinctions are made increasingly aware by filmmakers to their audiences in such films as West Side Story, Birth of a Nation, Gringo in Mananaland, and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Even when films were silent movies, "The technology of film entertainment was so powerful…" in altering the mindsets and viewpoints of minority racial groups that, "…one of the side effects of American cinema was often crushingly brutal portrayals of other races and cultures, depictions that spread to larger audiences than ever before possible around the nation and even around the globe"(Keller 5). The representation of Latino men, in my opinion, was the most severe and the most commemorated stereotype from the era of silent film to present day films because even from the earliest days, "racial stereotyping and distortions of Latino, Latin American, and Spanish history and culture were present…"(Noriega 20).

From 1903 to 1915, the United States film industry catapulted race and ethnicity stereotypes from the emergence of technological advances as well as cultural developments, leading to decades and decades of depictions by American cinema (Keller 13). American cinematographers were delighted by the use of such racial slurs as "chinks," referring to those of Chinese descent, "darkies," "coons," "niggers," in reference to African Americans, ...

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...tence and worth when compared to Anglos.

"Today cinema has become a major productive force in the world. Its function is more than economic. It manipulates the human psychology, sociology, religion, and morality of the people…" More specifically, film has used its amazing power over the minds of millions of individuals to alter the way in which they believe by the images they see on television. Modern technology has become such a powerful weapon in creating an off-balance between Anglo males and minority males that Anglo audiences have trouble distinguishing truth from fabrication, from what is real and what has been distorted. Now, many do believe that one group is superior to the other, and as Stuart Hall would say, no real textual difference exists between two races. Rather, humans through their own culture and what they are taught create these differences.

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