Social and Political Themes in the Movie Milk

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Extra Credit Assignment
MILK 

1. What are the main themes, politically and socially, that are portrayed in the film? Milk is a biographical film based on the triumphs and struggles of Harvey Milk. He was a gay rights activist and the first openly gay elected official in California. Socially, the film addresses the discrimination homosexuals faced on a daily basis. “(T)he normal majority”, as labeled by Anita Bryant, inflicted prejudice upon the homosexual minority. “The Castro”, the name of a street in an area often inhabited by homosexual bars and such places, portrays the clan like social groupings. The entire neighborhood however was not friendly. A fellow merchant on Castro Street refused to allow Milk to join the Merchant’s Association and even threatened to call the police and have his business license revoked on no legal grounds. Homosexuals were often portrayed as social deviants and often faced severe police brutality. The film addresses many political issues, as it is centered on the gay rights movement. Milk faces multiple loses at the voting polls before making it as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. The quote, “I am not a candidate, I am part of a movement. The movement is the candidate”, Milk said and that resonated with me. In the face of defeat he often said that its not only about winning, it’s about making a statement and getting the attention needed for change. Milk just wanted fair and equal representation, he didn’t necessarily have to be the one to be in office. 2. Discuss the overall significance of the events portrayed in the film and how they relate to changes in American society. In the film, Harvey Milk stated, “almost everything was done with an eye on the gay movement”. He compared it to the civil rights movement of the African Americans. He said that they had a leader and a successful movement and it was time for homosexuals to have the same. Like other civil rights movements, the gay rights movement...
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