Racism in Chinatown

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Chinatown – Racism “Chinatown”, one of director Roman Polanski’s finest films, contains an underlying deep rooted sense of racism within it. Those who weren’t of white race were constantly in the background of scenes yet rarely ever heard, busily tending to their wealthy superiors. The roles they were presented with in the film, including that of waiters, cleaners, housekeepers, gardeners held as little as authority as possible, yet unfortunately, seemed to be realistically representative of those living decades back. The cultural divide and segregation in particular of the Chinese and Mexicans is clearly evident as displayed in the homes of Mulwray and Cross. A key scene where Gittes meets with Cross has the two main protagonists talking in the foreground, and captured in the background is an array of Mexican servants running to meet their “masters” demands. This continuing theme of racism is only reinforced by the numerous amounts of discriminative references in the film. This is displayed by Gittes, who is in particular a serial offender of these “jokes”, firstly with his tasteless “screwing like a china man” line. Another important scene has the Mulray’s gardener mumbling “Bad for grass”, yet through his accent it is interpreted as “Bad for glass”. Audiences share Gittes perception of irrelevance and consider this to be just an error, but this racist pun in fact contains the truth to the murder, and is the key line to uncovering the repulsive villain. Although, the “help” are first considered by the audience to be irrelevant, in actual fact, the main protagonists seem to rely on their staff far more than first thought. It is in the Mulwray’s butler that Evelyn most trusts, she turns to him for help with Katherine, and for protection of her secrets. He ironically ends up playing a greater part in helping Evelyn and Catherine than Gittes himself. The casual throwing around remarks of racism seems to reflect the true extent to which this prejudice is embedded in the...
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