Racism in Film Essay

2717 Words Apr 7th, 2012 11 Pages
Racism in Film Throughout the history of film in the United States, the depiction of race has only changed slightly. Although, the display of various races in film is pertinent to the specific time period in which the film was made, films have, for the most part, always portrayed white superiority over other races. People of color have traditionally been presented in a negative way (if presented at all) that helps to maintain the status quo where whites are at the top of the social hierarchy. A few common methods are used to elicit the issues and depiction of race, in the films, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Glory, and Bamboozled. According to Stephanie Larson, the three common methods that are used in film to depict racial …show more content…
In fact, all but one of the doctors and nurses in the entire mental institution are white, the exception being an Indian doctor (from India). While all of the esteemed employees are white, the workers who have less significant jobs are all black. This presents an imbalance between two races and depicts the whites as having a white privilege. The inequality between the two races is a system-supportive theme that depicts blacks in a negative way, and promotes the status quo and white superiority over blacks. Blacks are selectively excluded and stereotyped in a negative way throughout the entirety of the film, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The black workers have very few lines in the movie and their main function is to subdue patients when they get out of control. Since they have a very limited role in the film, it is not possible to recognize any characteristics of these characters. There are acts of violence in most scenes that the blacks are included in. Therefore, the audience is inclined to make generalizations about blacks as a whole. Also, the black workers take orders from Nurse Ratched and the other white staff members and carry out whatever they are told to do. This represents the superiority of whites. This film is racist towards blacks because they have no major role in the film, are seen as violent, and act solely as the pawns for Nurse Ratched and the rest of the white crew. Native Americans are depicted in the film
Open Document