Race Relations Light Years From Earth

913 WordsApr 1, 20164 Pages
In 1899, the term “white man’s burden” was coined by Rudyard Kipling to depict the social responsibility that white men believed they had towards blacks. Although the term is out of date, the meaning behind it has not left society, as the “white messiah” has come to replace it. Although the connotation of the term is no exactly the same, the basic meaning behind “white messiah” is that a white male protagonist will save a desperate group of people from the evils that superior, white society has placed on them. The “white messiah” figure can be seen in the film, “Avatar”, directed by James Cameron. Even though Avatar deviates from the typical “white messiah” formula occasionally, according to Mitu Sengupta in her article, “Race Relations Light Years From Earth,” one can conclude that the entertainment industry is still perpetuating racial inequalities and racism. By analyzing “Avatar” and the concept of the “white messiah”, one can argue racism still exists in the American society and whites feel guilty about the racial inequalities. Even though they have this guilt, whites will not change if it means that they must give up their “white privilege.” The term “white messiah” is crucial to understand, to realize why racism is still prevalent in the American culture. In a New York Times article written by David Brooks titled “The Messiah Complex,” Brooks discusses the typical progression of the “white messiah” while comparing it to “Avatar.” The “white messiah” story begins with
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