Racism is defined as, “the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races” (Merriam-Webster). Director Philip Noyce conveys Webster’s definition of racism in his 2002 film, Rabbit-Proof Fence, by examining Aboriginal racism of the 1930s through the eyes of three young girls: Molly, Gracie and Daisy who are forcefully taken from their mothers by the Australian government; and a man, Neville, who believes that giving half-castes a chance to join his “civilized society” is the virtuous thing to do, even if it means stripping them of their family, traditions and culture. The film follows the girls as they escape from the Moore River Native Settlement, an indentured servant training camp for half-castes, and walk 1,200 miles back to their home in Jigalong. Noyce weaves story progression and character development throughout the film to demonstrate the theme of racism and covey the discriminations that occurred to Australia’s stolen generation and Aboriginal people during the 1930s.
Specific elements of the storyline that display the theme racism include: the display of animalistic treatment, enforced religious practices, and historical comparisons. The film reveals the overarching government belief that the white race is smarter and purer, to the inferior, uncivilized and misguided, darker-skinned, Aboriginals. This belief is demonstrated throughout the film and signifies the government’s attitudes toward the half-caste race as: uncivilized animals that need a trainer to discipline them. For example, the film shows the girls being transported like livestock to th...
... middle of paper ...
... Through the use of story and characterization, Noyce accurately depicts the theme of racism as a prominent element of the film and also shows the audience the deep-seated attitudes towards the Aboriginal culture in Australia in the 1930s.The film convinces us that racism
and cultural prejudice lead to pain and suffering and hurts the
diversity of this world. The last few minutes of the film we learn that Molly and her two daughters were transported back to the Moore River Native Settlement and made the 1,200 mile trip for a second time. This shows the audience that the racism in Australian did not just end with the movie; there were many more years of oppression against the Aboriginal culture.
Noyce, Phillip, dir. Rabbit-Proof Fence. Miramax Films, 2002. Film. 3 Apr 2014
"Racism." Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, 2014. Web. 3 April 2014.
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