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American Studies

            The paper describes how the film sector perpetrates racism in their movies either knowingly or innocent and oblivious of the negative impacts it might have. The media such as the film sector promotes racism; the paper outlines the notions surrounding the concept and gives a suitable recommendation. Racism entails both discrimination and prejudice focused on social discernment of biological dissimilarity between the populace. It habitually takes the outline of social beliefs, deeds, practices and political structures that consider diverse races to be positioned as intrinsically inferior or superior in society, based on supposed common inheritable qualities, abilities, or traits. It also assumes that elements of diverse races must be perceived differently. Stereotyping, collective assumptions and social stratification go hand in hand with racism. The media especially the film sector has witnessed the worst impact from racism influences. However, great improvements have been witnessed where the industry has been in the fore front to discourage racism and ensure social integration and cohesion.

            The controversial film “The Birth of a Nation,” was among the first racist movies by Griffith and very popular upon its release. The controversial film’s plot essentially purported that the ethnic-political (KKK) Klansmen appeared to be the redeemers to an ailing country and ensure the re-establishment of a strong and steady government. It also entails the application of performers in blackface. The film has sections which it revolves around, with sections depicting existence of a chronological civil conflict. After an original prologue that faults the War and restoration on the entry of black people to America, the lads of Stone-man journey south throughout the antebellum epoch to see their old-time friends. Romance between the characters slowly develops as Phil loves Margaret, while Ben loves a daguerreotype of the lady Elsie. Dr. Cameron eloquently reads his kin an article in a paper revealing that the emanate South will break away from the established Union due to elections wrangles and dissimilar ideologies in elections. War breaks interrupting associations and family ties between.

            The film further shows how in retort to a dreadful Election black supremacists affiliated to lynch terrorize the whites. Ben tries to discover his soul only to get inspired by the trend of white kids’ fear-provoking black kids by playing as ghosts hidden and covered by white-colored sheets. The birth of the group Ku Klux Klan emerges. Southern women clandestinely make uniforms having a St. Andrews woven Cross, starting warfare against Lynch’s side. Elsie has no clue of the involvement of Ben with the Klan, but never does she betray him. Flora comforts Elsie before going to the forest where Gus proffers marriage to her. Gus is a black officer and promoted due to his skills, Flora declines the offer and escapes. Cornered with no escape point, she falls from a cliff and dies even though Gus was innocent and had no intentions to do anything bad to her. Ben calls for a thorough search and apprehends Gus with the aid of the Klan and stones him killing him and dumping him at the door of Lynch Silas (Laufs, 67).

            The film is rather racial subjective and appears to take sides showing the Blacks to be the villains and the whites to be the heroes. Although it might have its reasons to depict the theme of racism in such a manner, in reality it is not an isolated case in the film industry. Rather interestingly, nationalism, class and culture, revolves around the theme showing the segregation in the societal hierarchy and class. The whites usually depicted as rich and better off to further show white supremacy just clarifies the racial theme in the movie. Although it is supposed to be entertaining, it surpasses the objective to proving a point of racial supremacy. Humor also builds around it especially where the white kids mimic ghosts and scare the black kids. The challenge that encounters most film makers is balancing racial humor which is associated with racial stereotypes and the telling of the story. The slightest hitch in balancing the two, will disgust many viewers and that is bad for business.

            American studies aids to dig dip in topics like racism and helps in the understanding of the prevalent issues from it (Horwitz, 88). People in reality appreciate the diversity among society and it is through that they try to examine and prove to be the better ones. However hard the society might try to conveniently push the issue under the carpet, it is also imperative to understand that the sooner the issue is brought up the better mechanisms will be put in place to mitigate the issue. In other numerous movies that depicts the battle between aliens and humans, they try to purport that humans are superior in all dimensions which in the real sense contains aspects of racism (Horwitz, 53). The audience has accepted this trend in films and established a culture of racist and self righteous people who believe to be superior and the rest are nothing close to that.

            The film occurring in the racist era showed how white supremacy was justified and aided in saving the state. Commonly, humor is intertwined with racism without meaning harm to the viewers. Due to the mature and permissive nature of the American citizens, this mix of racial humor has led to the emergence of a new blend of genre in the film sector. In the short term, everybody might just laugh and enjoy the moment. However, movie makers show the American culture through movies, and everything shown from the themes and other inspirations directly come from the society depicting the reality on the society (Fredricson, 111). The Blacks, Asians, among others hold various racial stereotypes in the society and Hollywood and other film makers derive joy from optimizing humor in them.  

            Since it is a well decided fact that the film and movies encourages racism elements to the viewers, mitigation to this issue can be the encouragement of making Anti-racism films. Anti-racism films must entail policies, actions, beliefs, made and established to counter racism. Furthermore, it must endorse a free and egalitarian society. All the film industries with their influential power must censor racial rhetoric’s or ideologies that are stereotypic because they further damages the delicate wounds of racism instead of mending them. A shift towards social cohesion needs the aid of the media including films as a tool of emancipation by freeing the minds of the citizens from harmful racist practiced. It also requires to be approached in a manner that does not antagonism or superiority battles since all citizens are humans and diversity brings about diverse skills, traits and is beautiful.




Fredrickson, George M. Racism: A Short History. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011. Internet resource.

Horwitz, Richard P. The American Studies Anthology. Wilmington, Del: SR Books, 2001. Print.

Laufs, Stefanie. Fighting a Movie with Lightning: "the Birth of a Nation" and the Black Community. S.l.: Anchor Academic Publishin, 2013. Print.

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