District 9 and Racism
The aliens encountered in District 9 are treated with the same level of distain and indifference usually reserved for refugees and ethnic minorities. District 9 concerns itself with after the first encounter and the struggle of coexistence. The film is set in South-Africa and bears similarities to the apartheid system including those of the District 6 initiative. In District 9 black and white characters come together to hate on the “prawn,” the aliens in this story, who then segregate the prawn from the rest of society. District 9 altogether shows the great deal of segregation and discrimination happening in South Africa. What follows this “first contact” is a series of conscious and unconscious processes to oppress and debase the alien populace. First and foremost is the term used to describe the aliens – “Prawn”. This name not only refers to their disfigurement, but designates their entire species as bottom-feeding parasites. It creates in the minds of South African’s the image of a base entity, and unites black and white communities in their disgust for the aliens. The Prawns have been segregated and quarantined from the rest of the people, which further aggravates the feeling of opposition between the two groups. Since the humans have no communication with the Prawns, and view them only through the lens fashioned by the media, and the weapons company, they view them as an “Other”; a divergent and unwelcome presence in their society. While the appearance and demeanor of the Prawns certainly contributes to this feeling of mistrust, it is also in the interest of the government to dehumanize and distort their image, as it provides a useful scapegoat for all of society’s ills, and hides the inhumane treatment and experiments being carried out by the defense contractors. The defense contractors are built into the structure of the society. The contractors are responsible for making sure the aliens are doing what they are supposed to in...
Citations: Johnson, Scott C. "The Real District 9: Cape Town 's District Six." Newsweek, 26 Aug. 2009. Web. 26 Feb. 2015
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