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Alex Woo Rebecca Peters HUM 3321-33 Term Paper The Dilemma of Assuming Americans: Loud, obnoxious, obtrusive

, hypocritical, spoilt brats. Typical stereotype of what much of the world sees the United States population as. It would be wrong to assume that Americans are the only group to profile people of other countries. In this course, we learn how to recognize and avoid stereotypes that serve as generalizations to larger and more complex groups, such as assuming our whole Multicultural film class fits all (if any) of these descriptions. Unfortunately, we often resort to such low categorizations simply because of the ease in doing so. In film, the same applies. It is much easier to assume a character than to develop one, the difference being that film addresses the wrong in stereotyping. This course also brings up howAmericans do in fact generalize groups based off certain criteria, particularly race. In the film District 9, we see how stereotypes are used to describe different factions. The whites are in an established position regulating everything, the blacks in an inferior position taking authority by unsanctioned force, the prawns shown as a sub-human species struggling to survive, and Wikustranscending all social boundaries set up by each group.Another film that focuses on the danger of stereotyping is American History X. Aside from mass genocide; the concept is similar and remains clear: A cycle of violence between two ignorant groups that assume the worst of the other which causes a relentless chain reaction between the communities.The protagonist named Derek

becomes enlightened to this disturbing progression of events and does what he can to prevent his younger brother, Danny, from inheriting his past views.

District 9 focuses on the humanization and the expected equality that should be given to all.It explores the danger that occurs when we begin to dehumanize a group. This concept can translate into any genocide that has occurred in our world such as The Holocaust, Pol Pot, Rwanda, and The Chinese Massacre. All of them began with objectifying, or rather lowering someone to being something;the quintessential moment of this occurring as they lit fire to a nest of unborn prawns with Wikus commenting on how it simply reminded of him popping some popcorn, perhaps for a late night movie with his wife.

The dialogue at this point of the movie is eerily said in a light heart manner that, when realizing the context sends chills. It seemed as if they director intended to allude to inspirational speakers such as Hitler or Pol Pot who began to speak ill of groups they intended to persecute. For Hitler, it was the Jews and for Pol Pot, it was the educated and those who lived in urban areas. Both sought to cleanse their land of what they deemed filth that tainted their nation. This very same idea can be seen in District 9 by simply comparing the filth that tainted their nation to what many of the Nigerians claimed during some of the interviews seen throughout the movie. Perhaps not every citizen was up to pull the trigger to set fire to a prawn s nest, but every one of them was content with setting a blind eye to it.

This concept is a theory known as The Banality of Evil, or the notion that atrocious acts that are committed were actually quite normal dependent upon the idea that it was okay. This usually occurs when a leader labels another group to be sub-human and requires the vigilance of the average citizen to do his best to reprimand or at least report said group to the authorities.In District 9, Wikus becomes a victim of the Banality of Evil when he is displayed as a threat to society that has broken all social boundaries. It is at this point that every citizen, including his wife, is obligated by the premise that he must be dealt with to do whatever they can to capture him.

The director incorporated racism into District 9 by bringing up several pre-conceived notions of each group.The whites were all assumed to be either a part of corporate, scientific, or militaristic immoralities. The blacks were seen as cannibalistic extortionists that lived among the filth of the prawns. Prawns were viewed as lazy yet violent addicts that were incapable of improving their own situation. For the two lower communities, it became acceptable to exploit and regulate them as the whites saw fit. Likewise, it was just as accepted for the two groups to retaliate when the whites agenda was uncovered.The inevitable outcome of this predicament leads to an everlasting animosity between the social groups. This behavior is also seen inAmerican History X.Summed up in the saying like father, like son, and in this case, as far as death.

American History X takes what we learn about the dangers in stereotyping other races and applies it to a more relatable story. One that has, and will happen again; unless of course if we learn

from the mistakes of our ancestors.American History X tells the fate of Derek and his younger brother. Raised in a hateful atmosphere, Derek mentions some African-American literature he was assigned to read just to be lectured by his father about how unfair affirmative action was. From this point on, it is likely his father continued to pass along his hate based on the idea that blacks are undeserving and incompetent.A generalization purely based on ignorance and the complete disregard of one s individualism.

The result can be seen later in another flash-back where Derek rants about the Rodney King trial. Stating his beliefs backed up by his statistics yet smirking at those given by his mother. Having been fully brainwashed into the Neo-Nazism, Derek was a lost cause at this point.This becomes clear when Derek is confronted by the burglary of a few African-Americans, a situation he readily takes on, trigger happy and smiling. The scene climaxes when he curb stomps a wounded burglar. It can be speculated that at this point that Danny was taking on Derek s hate, possibly blaming the burglars for his arrest, rather than the excessive force Derek used in his defense.

Among the state penitentiary, he has now become the minority.In prison, Derek immediately seeks the companionship of his brethren.During a short-lived association with the skin heads, he is turned on by the group. The effect leaves him doubtful about everything he believed in before. In just a few moments, he began to realize his pre-conceived notion that only African-Americans were able to commit crimes and atrocities were in fact completely materialized in his own head.After three years in

prison, Derek realizes the danger in stereotyping other races. He begins to see how his hate only fueled more hate from other groups. Reformed, Derek attempts to cut off ties with his former gang and prevent further participation from his brother.

Danny has become quite involved with the skin heads now, writing his paper Mein Kampf and relying on the gang to fulfill the family role he was now missing.You can see how his anger for blacks is almost completely based on conceived ideas of who someone is based on their skin rather than character from a quote of one of his skin head friends, Seth. None of them are fucking alright Danny, ok? They're all a bunch of fuckin' freeloaders. Remember what Cam said; we don't know em, we don't wanna know em. They're the fucking enemy. Know what you don t like about them and say it with some fucking conviction!

Unfortunately, it is too late and the movie ends tragically. His younger brother having finally accepted his new views, but paying the consequences for yesterday s foolishness. The most apparent motif throughout the movie is the fact that we are all part of a cyclic machine that won t stop until we stop feeding it the hate it needs to keep running.Danny is quoted changing his views saying, Life is too short to be pissed off all the time. Danny becomes more tolerant, beginning to understand the futileness of blaming some unknown group for all of his injustices.

I propose that there is still a danger today where people still stereotype and act upon other people solely based on race. While researching for this paper, I was refreshing myself to the robbery scene that sends Derek to jail by viewing it on Youtube. Among the comments that were displayed, one in particular shocked me.Bundymademedoit is quoted saying gutter crunched his head that black fucker got just what he deserved LOL. If that wasn t enough to make you realize that there is still much we can learn from a movie such as American History X and that social injustice based upon race is still apparent in contemporary America, that comment was associated with two thumbs up condoning it. This process of thought is not only ignorant, but is not conducive to society in any manner. Thankfully, stereotypes have been portrayed in a more satirical style to make it a point (such as in the films District 9 and American History X) but may require a more blatant method of spreading this message, so there will be less Bundymademedoit s in our world.

Works Cited Belton, John. American Cinema/American Culture.Ed. John Belton. New York, NY: McGraw Hill, 2009. District 9 Dir. Neill Blompkamp 2009 American History X Dir. Tony Kaye 1998 Kennedy, Bryan. "Teardrops of Hate -- American History X." Scribd. 14 Mar. 2001. Web. 01 Dec. 2010. <>. LaBossiere, Michael. "Racism in District 9?"A Philosopher's Blog. 19 Aug. 2009. Web. 01 Dec. 2010. <>.