Race, Class, and Gender in Freedom Writers Movie

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Media, which serves as an information and entertainment outlet, also helps to illuminate the different classifications of people such as race, class, and gender. The movie Freedom Writers, directed by Richard LaGravenese in 2007, is a great example of a movie that is filled to the brim with insight and different perceptions of these barriers between people. We follow the story of a teacher, Erin Gruwell, as she begins her new teaching career in a school that has been introduced to an integration program. The students that occupy the desks in room 203, who are disinclined to learn from Gruwell, share their stories and how these social constructions shape their lives. Class plays a significant role in every individual’s life. LaGravenese focuses primarily on the lower class in this movie and shows how much of an impact it can have. Most of the students are portrayed as poor and uneducated, qualities generally consisting of lower class members. In the game that Gruwell plays with the students called ‘the line game,’ she asks students how many of them live in the projects. Incredibly, almost the entire class comes to stand on the line. This game is to show the students that they have more in common than they think and to show how they begin to bond, (Jung-Ah, 246). It also shows the audience what each individual has experienced and to give some background into each person. Learning that the majority of the class lives in the projects and everything they encounter on a daily basis, the audience gains a sense of sympathy and sorrow for them. This is what the director is trying to depict in this movie; that the lower class students’ needs compassion and understanding to help them change from their violent ways into the educated and tolerant youths we know they can be. Throughout the film there are many examples of what the lower class consists of in the eyes of society. It shows poor girls and boys wearing clothes from last year, working on the


Cited: Saltmarsh, David. "Movie Lessons: Cultural Politics And The Visible Practices Of Schooling." Review Of Education, Pedagogy & Cultural Studies 33.2 (2011): 108-131. Academic Search Complete. Web. 20 Nov. 2012. Jung-Ah, Choi. "Reading Educational Philosophies In Freedom Writers." Clearing House 82.5 (2009): 244-248. Academic Search Complete. Web. 20 Nov. 2012. Anderson, Margaret, and Patricia Hill Collins. Race Class & Gender An Anthology. Belmont: Ganster, 2013. Print. Freedom Writers. Dir. Richard LaGravenese. Perf. Hilary Swank, April Hernandez, Hunter Parish, Imelda Staunton. Paramount Pictures, 2007. DVD.

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