Starring: Wesley Snipes, Woody Harrelson, Rosie Perez
The title of this movie says it all. Although White Men Can’t Jump is an older movie made back in 1992, there are still a lot of stereotypes from the movie seen today. The plot of this move is about a white man who likes to hustle black basketball players because they think he can’t play because of the color of his skin. It is the black players’ own assumptions that get them into a little bit of trouble. Billy (Woody) and Sidney (Wesley) decide to join a 2-on-2 tournament as partners. Billy is a good basketball player, but as Sidney says, “White men can’t jump.” Billy doesn’t think you need to dunk it to be a good basketball player and that black men just like to look good and show off.
I know I didn’t go into great detail about the movie but as you can see there are a lot of stereotypes and schemas going on already. A stereotype is a group of people we assume are all the same. Schemas are the are our way of organizing the information we already know. We see stereotypes going both ways in this movie. The black man is stereotyping the white man because of his inability to jump and the white man is stereotyping the black man because he thinks he dunks to show off and look good. You hear a lot of the stereotyping of black men being better ball players than white men. This is also a schema that people use when looking at athletes. They tend to put black people in the “better” category and white people in the “average” category.
I think our society has always been this way so we use our previous knowledge to create these schemas and stereotypes. I don’t think these schemas and stereotypes are necessarily bad in this situation, but we do need to look at the bigger picture and look at each person as an individual. If we start looking at people as individuals we would eliminate some of the stereotypes and schemas.