In Quentin Tarantino’s 2012 hit movie Django Unchained, the themes of identity, power, and injustice are clearly present issues throughout the entirety of the film. The film is situated just two years before the Civil War in which slavery and racial segregation was at an all-time high. The plotline itself centers around Django who was previously a slave. After being freed by German dentist and bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz, the pair begins their mission to hunt the most wanted criminals in the South, many of which are wealthy, racist, and white plantation owners.
This film addresses the issue of power through a variety of different dynamics. Foremost, power is addressed through the master vs. slave relationship. Throughout this movie, there are a variety of different characters and individuals involved in this master vs. slave dynamic. Since the protagonist of the movie, Django, was a former slave, the plotline obviously makes the audience sympathize with the slaves more than the masters, which in this case are often the plantation owners. Another obvious power dynamic exists within the racial segregation. Since this movie is depicting pre-Civil War America, there is an obvious unfair sharing of power between people of color and the white people. This notion and unfair balance of power is present within the entire movie and the resolution of the plot seemingly suggests that this unbalanced power sharing is immoral. Additionally, this film attempts to explore injustice through the display of the cruel ways in which the plantation owners treat their slaves. The whole role of Django and Dr. Schultz is to make the plantation owners face retribution for their actions and the harmful ways in which they have treated their slaves.
Overall, while Quentin Tarantino movies always seem to include just the right amount of action as well as overall interesting plot development, I think that Django Unchained attempts to really address identity, power, and injustice. I think his main purpose in the creation of this movie is to inspire individuals to fight for what is right and to stand up against injustice
42 is a movie that highlights the amazing career of the first Black professional baseball player, Jackie Robinson. This movie focuses on the injustices Robinson went through being the first Black player in an all-white league. This entire semester we have talked about injustice and this movie does a great job of showing how black people were treated back then.
This movie starts off with Jackie Robinson in an all-black baseball league. He is substantially better than all of the other players, but there were separate leagues because black baseball players could not play with white baseball players. A man by the name of Branch Rickey is bold enough to break down this barrier and send a scout to one of Robinson’s games to ask if he would want to move up to the big leagues. Branch told Robinson that he has to be strong because he will get a lot of haste and backlash for being the first black player in an all-white league. Robinson went on to get multiple death threats and even some of his teammates signed a petition to not play with him. This example of injustice stuck out to me the most because he was getting death threats in the mail just because he wanted to play baseball. Like many other people in the black community, Robinson had to stay strong and deal with all of the injustice he was facing. He even breakdown in the middle of a game because another team’s coach was harassing him.
I think this movie is a great example of how going against the social norm and ignoring racial injustice can make a big impact on the world. Robinson was the first of many black baseball players to make it to the big leagues and it didn’t stop there. Branch Rickey was bold enough to take Robinson into his program and made history by doing so. Other than telling the story of the great Jackie Robinson, I this that the author was trying to show how far our society has come in terms of racial injustice. We went from having baseball leagues separated by race to white males being the minority in the MLB.
A book that I think relates to this class would be, Farewell To Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatuski Houston and James D. Houston. James was Jeanne’s husband who helped her write and publish her story. This memoir is telling a story of a Japanes family that lived through the bombing of Pearl Harbor, World War II, and horrible living situations the family was put through after the bombing and during the war. Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and her 9 other siblings were all Nisei which meant they were the second generation of a Japanese person and were all born in Englewood, California. Their family was uprooted from their home like many other Japanese American families after the Attack on Pearl Harbor that started World War II and at the time Jeanne was only seven years old. This book is about the hardships her family endured while being sent away into detention camps for being “the enemy” during the war.
Many times during this semester I have thought about how this book relates to this class. The book The March, about John Lewis’ hardships he faced while protesting for equality. In this book Jeanne is literally put in a detention camp for being Japanese just like Deming’s mom in the book The Leavers.
The Japanese Americans suffered a great deal during the time of World War II. About seventy thousand Japanese families living in America were taken from their homes and sent to live in internment camps. A lot of Japanese families were detained because American officials thought they were disloyal and were in contact with the Japanese military and that’s how the Japanese knew to attack at Pearl Harbor. This shows injustice towards all Japanese families living in America.https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/2/24/FarewelltoManzanarCover.jpg
The text I decided to write about is the movie Glory Road. This is a historical movie about the Texas Western basketball team that went on an incredible journey to win its first and only NCAA National Championship. The movie was set during the 1960s when there was still great tension between Whites and African Americans. Throughout the movie, different scenes show the injustice and inter-cultural relationships surrounding racial issues.
The reason this movie is applicable to write about is because this basketball team was the first to team to have an all-African American starting five. The movie does a great job showing the racial injustice that was going on. Teams would boo and throw popcorn and drinks at the players as they came out of the tunnel. They would arrive back to their hotels with their clothes messed with and have the words “Negros” painted in red coloring on their walls. One player was assaulted in a bathroom by a couple other white men. They were treated poorly and looked at different just because of their skin, it did not matter if they were good at basketball. The beginning of the movie showed the racial tension among the African American and Caucasian teammates. However, throughout the movie they become brothers and learn of each other’s cultures and the racial tension was no longer there.
The scene below shows how one African American player “Bobby Jo” felt about being an African American playing basketball in what was perceived at the time to be a “White Man’s Game.” He described as being a “Negro token who would just sit at the end of the bench.” However, Don Haskins, the coach described to him how he did not see color and only saw “quick and skill.” He was a progressive coach who would put the best players on the court regardless of color and his own reputation being questioned.
This last scene portrays the coach giving a final pep talk to his team before the National Championship. He describes what other coaches think of when they talk about winning teams and what the players have heard the entire life. He tells the players he is only playing the African American players in the final game to put a stop to the racial injustice they have been playing against their entire life. This moment is when they make history and become the first team to ever have all- African Americans in their starting lineup. While the white players are devastated, they realize that this game is bigger than just basketball, they understand its their fellow teammates livelihoods at stake, and this is the perfect opportunity to change the narrative.
Overall, this movie should be a must watch for everyone! It shows the racial divide in America but shows how people can overcome this injustice through sports and through one common goal, the goal to win.