The film “Higher Learning” portrays the many prejudices and race issues that existed in America around 1995, when the movie premiered. The movie takes place at Columbus University, which serves as a fictional university undergoing the transition of America being a more diverse, free nation. From the time when America began its struggle with race and culture boundaries, people of the United States have shown their true beliefs towards other people who may look differently than they do; and the movie “Higher Learning” is a good example of the type of prejudices.
Before the movie even starts, the title of the movie already promotes a message that lies in the title, “Higher Learning.” The title may suggest that, not only are students attending a university to gain more knowledge needed for the career they choose to pursue, but rather, obtain greater knowledge about life and living freely amongst one another without having race or culture boundaries. Students that are entering college are about to embark on a journey that will prepare them for real life adulthood. The title “Higher Learning” implies that being enrolled in college is not only for your academic development but also your social evolution. At the current time in the movie, when there were many race and culture boundaries that created conflict between people of different backgrounds; students, especially minorities, were being tested for real life situations by entering college.
The way Singleton implements group of students of the same background around campus symbolizes the cultural divide between many different ethnic groups. The racial-ethnic groups that were all the minorities on campus were always seen together and rarely separated. Throughout the movie, many groups of students from different ethnic backgrounds often experienced altercations with each other. Two of the main groups that clashed throughout the movie were the African American students; some of whom involved themselves in the Black Panther organization, and the white supremacist group who recruited Remy from the university.
Throughout the film we notice the extreme change of two students, Malik and Remy. Malik who is a gifted track athlete, attending the school on a scholarship, is a African American freshman whose views of different race and cultures are mature, whereas his attitude towards himself being a black track star are immature. We do not see him stereotype other students in the very beginning of the movie; however, we do notice that other students who were not African American acted differently toward Malik and they showed fear and also hatred towards him. One person who builds hatred toward Malik is Remy. Remy is a white freshman student who is enrolled in the university and is not involved in anything. Remy is placed with an African American roommate and in the beginning of the movie. Remy quickly develops hatred towards the perceived ignorance of his roommates and his friends. Remy then distances himself from his own room and falls into the arms of a group of white supremacist who would like to have him join the group.
Shortly, Remy is brainwashed into the group’s ideology that the group of white males promotes. The group of white supremacist displays their ethnocentrism of white people. Malik and Remy are caught in altercations throughout the movie, in which Singleton uses to cause rising action towards a climax that ultimately causes the belief that students have to change. Also, Malik, being involved in these situations, develops some frustration towards the beliefs and acts of Remy and the white supremacist. I believe that Singleton uses these rising actions as a symbol of the way that our environment can influence us and can sway our thoughts on issues. For example, Remy is vulnerable when he becomes an outcast after been known for saying things out of the ordinary. However, he is approached by skinheads that mold him into their group beliefs and values. At first Remy...
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