Blazing Saddles Research

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Jonathan Kraft
Ms. Ward
April 7, 2013
Comp 2
Racism in Blazing Saddles
Even in the advanced world we live in today, racism is still a strong presence in our everyday lives. Racism today can be seen in a variety of ways that are different than past displays. For instance, my friends that attended public high schools said that they noticed more racism from African Americans toward Caucasians than vice versa. In a lot of movies that are released in theaters today, it seems that the directors do a very good job of not displaying racism in movies, unless the movie is obviously about racism. In one of Mel Brooks’ most well known movies the 1974 film, Blazing Saddles, racism is shown in a different manner than almost any other film. In this movie, racism is depicted as more of a comedy. Cleavon Little plays the role of the first black sheriff in a town scheduled to be demolished by a railroad that is in line for construction. Blazing Saddles is the perfect film to social commentary on racism because as Mel Brooks uses racism in a comedy goes to show how racism has more of a role of comedic relief in this film, not something to run one’s life by. Being as this movie is shown to be a comedy to most, if someone were to watch the film and evaluate it, they would realize that the extreme hatred between two races is actually social commentary on race. This movie is set to have taken place just after the Civil War. As soon as the movie begins, the audience is drawn into the subject of racism. As the black men work on the railroad, Taggart (Hedley Lamarrs sidekick), pulls up on the horse and says to the men watching all the slaves work; Taggart: “The surveyors say they may have run into some quicksand up ahead. Better check it out.” Lyle: “Okay, I'll send down a team of horses to check out the ground.” Taggart: “*Horses*?”

[hits Lyle's head]
Taggart: “We can't afford to lose any horses, you dummy! Send over a couple of niggers” (Blazing...
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