Racial Segregation and Important Questions

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Julius Gordon
4/12/13

Invictus, Up In the Air, Bella, Gran Torino

Invictus
Invictus was a great film with a great message. Some important questions come to mind though when watching this film. The first, how are the processes of human socialization apparent in the film? The second, what moral orders are competing with each other and which prevail, and the third, what “big stories” or narratives are the characters enacting, and what plausibility structures are operating here? These are important questions that deserve attention.

The process of socialization is apparent in this film through the criticisms that are dished out for support or resistance of segregation. An example of what is meant by this is when the social worker attempted to give the young boy a Springbok practice uniform and he rejected it for fear of being criticized by his peers. Wearing the uniform represented support of the apartheid. This was an idea that was not accepted among his peers and they impressed rejection of this idea on him with force if he was thought to support it. This is a prime example of how visible the process of teaching what is socially acceptable is in this film.

Addressing the second question, racial acceptance is what’s being fought over in this particular film. Before Mandela came into office apartheid existed in South Africa separating the whites from the nonwhites in the country. Mandela is combating the social remnants of this segregation and doing so with the country’s beloved sport Rugby. Acceptance wins the fight in the end of the film. The team’s winning the world cup and their journey to this victory had an impact on all of South Africa and helped to erase the existing lines of segregation.

The big stories in this film are the main characters’ fights against racial separation from both sides of the spectrum. Mandela is fighting it from a “non-white” perspective. He’s attempting to do away with separation and does so initially through integrating his staff, and then ultimately by supporting the Springboks, a team that the non-white South Africans were totally against and felt stood for the apartheid that they opposed. Francois, the Rugby captain, is fighting segregation from the white perspective. His relationship with the president and having his team do things like learn the South African anthem and interacting with the black children on a trip to the less wealthy side of South Africa. Francois is fighting, alongside Mandela, for unity in this film. The plausibility structure that’s operating here is society itself, people’s peers effecting their personal views.

Up In the Air
Up In the Air was a great film with a great message. Some important questions come to mind though when watching this film. The first, how are the processes of human socialization apparent in the film? The second, what moral orders are competing with each other and which prevail, and the third, what “big stories” or narratives are the characters enacting, and what plausibility structures are operating here? These are important questions that deserve attention.

The main character’s workplace is what impresses upon him the social behaviors he values and sees as his norms. Ryan’s excessive time on the road has isolated him and made solitude his norm and what he values. He has absolutely no desire to be around people and forge genuine personal bonds with people because of the idea of solitude that his career has instilled in him.

The ideas of stability and instability are at war in this film. The idea of putting down roots and being somewhere long enough to forge genuine bonds and relationships with people, and the idea of not being burdened by the responsibility that having and sustaining these relationships, are fighting for precedence in the life of the main character in this film. Initially, the life of the loner on the go with no personal lives wins, but as the movie progresses and the main character begins to see the value in...
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