White Man�s Burden

White Man�s Burden - WHITE MAN'S BURDEN 1...

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WHITE MAN’S BURDEN 1 Introduction “White Man’s Burden” is a story that “imagines an America where black people are the ruling class and whites are underprivileged minorities” (Speltzer, 2007). I had not watched one this movie, of my favorites, in several years. Therefore, when the time came to choose a movie, I chose the one that I remembered liking the most. Plus, if my memory served me right, John Travolta and Harry Belafonte worked magically together on the screen. Thus, I excitedly put the dusty DVD into my player. As I had not previously thought much about racism before this class (the military simply does not allow it), little did I know that I was in for quite a ride. Stereotypes and the Media Encarta World English Dictionary (2007) states that stereotyping is “an oversimplified standardized image of a person or group.” While some stereotyping can be positive, most stereotypes are found to be negative. Dr. Alex Tan is a professor and founding director of the Edward R. Murrow School of Communication at Washington State University. He has authored over 70 research articles and a book on media effects on racism. During a lecture at the American University of Kuwait, Dr. Tan reported that “negative stereotyping leads to avoidance, which can then lead to exclusion. Exclusion, on the other hand, he said, leads to discrimination, aggression and in the worst-case scenario, violence” ( Kuwait Times , 2007). Such negative stereotypes were shoved into the face of the viewers of “White Man’s Burden.”
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WHITE MAN’S BURDEN 2 The first noticeable seemingly negative stereotype was the typical shoddy neighborhood. As John Travolta’s character, “Pinnock,” drove home from work, the camera would pan to show liquor stores, homeless lying on the street, trash to be found all over the streets and sidewalks, and loud music coming from cars that were in passing. He drove a run-down truck and pulled into the driveway of a dilapidated home.
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