Gran Torino is a powerful drama film that portrays a man’s journey in a crime-ridden neighbourhood. The protagonist, Walt Kowalski, a racist Korean war veteran lived in a neighbourhood where the majority of the residences were of Asian descent. The difficult part of this was he was racist and prejudiced against minority groups. All started to change after the failed attempt of his next-door neighbour Thao of stealing his precious Gran Torino. As part of the Hmong tradition, Thao was forced to return to Walt and work for him as an act of penance. After a while, the two bonded and where Walt helped him through manhood by toughening him up, providing dating advice and helping him get a job in construction. During this, Walt learned that Thao had tried to steal the car to be a part of the gang that he confronted earlier in the movie. Throughout the rest of the movie, the gang had harassed Thao by destroying his construction tools, conducted a drive-by shooting, sexual and physically assaulting Thao’s sister. He then realized that Thao and his sister will never safe as long as the gang is still in the neighbourhood. For this reason, he had gone to the gang member house and committed one final act to help save them.
In this paper, the effects of social construction of race and how it is portrayed in the film will be examined. First, the concept of social construction will be analyzed, providing an overview of the definition and its effects. Furthermore, how it is illustrated in the film will be examined.
Race as a Social Concept
Historically, race has been utilized to differentiate individuals based on their biological and physical appearance. Traits including body shape, skin color and hair style were used to divide individuals into particular racial group (Machery and Faucher, 2005, pp.1208). However, no empirical evidence exists to supports these classifications. This, in turn shows that differentiations are not rooted
References: Eastwood. C., Gerber, B., & Lorenz, R. (Producer). (2009). Gran Torino [Motion Picture]. United States of America: Warner Brothers Jiwani, Y. (2011). Mediation of Race and Crime. In B. Perry (Ed.), Diversity crime and justice in Canada Jiwani, Y. (2002). The criminalization of race and the racialization of crime. In Chan, W., & Mirchandani, K (Ed.), Crimes of Colour (pp Machery, E., & Faucher, L. (2005). Social Construction and the Concept of Race. The Philosophy of Science Association, 72, 1208-1219 doi: 0031-8248/2005/7205-004. Perry, B. (2011). Criminal Justice/Social Justice. In B. Perry (Ed.), Diversity, crime, and justice in Canada (pp Rothenberg, P. (2010). Race, class, and gender in the United States (8th ed.). New York: Worth Publishing Symons, G. (2002). Police constructions of race and gender in street gangs. In Chan, W., & Mirchandani, K (Ed.), Crimes of Colour (pp Zong, L., & Perry, B. (2011). Chinese Immigrants in Canada and Social Injustice: From Overt to Covert Racial Discrimination