Mid Term Essay

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Mid Term Essay

Introduction

The essay will put the ideas presented in Appiah’s “Racial Identities” and Pratt’s “Arts of the Contact Zone” in conversation with each other through Spike Lee’s film “Do the Right Thing.” The essay will majorly focus on the theme of social and racial relations, particular scenes and characters as presented in the film while incorporating the ideas of the two authors. However, before embarking on the discussion, a better understanding of the storyline of the film is important. Racial identities among the minority and dominant races have resulted to Autoethnography and transculturation, and to improve racial relations, collective identities should be encouraged

Summary of Spike Lee’s film “Do the Right Thing.”

“Do The Right Thing” is an American drama film that was written, directed and produced by Spike Lee. The movie brings out a story of a simmering neighborhood racial tension that degenerates and culminates in tragedy on the summer hottest day. A young black man, Mookie, resides in Bedford-Stuyvesant, an African American neighborhood together with her sister, Jade. Mookie delivers pizza in the neighboring pizzeria and Jade wants him out of her apartment because he is ambitionless. However, he works to support Tina, his girlfriend and Hector, their son. Salvator an American Italian, who is the owner of the pizzeria, has a son called Pino who hold racial contempt for the black and detest the working place. Vito, the younger son of Sal, is a friend of Mookie, but Pino is out to make the life of Mookie miserable. Lee pointed out that within the strict location and temporal confines of the film of “Do the Right Thing” lies the concerned work with tackling the enormous themes of America. That is liberty, violence, economics, and urban survival, ambition and race relations on a micro scale. With its unorthodox and thrilling blend of Black artificiality and Aristotelian unity, it gives the location of the big among the small and finally the national in the local.

Appiah’s “Racial Identities” and Pratt’s “Arts of the Contact Zone” and their application in Spike Lee’s film “Do the Right Thing.”

According to Anthony Appiah, there is no connection between the ideas of racial or cultural identities, color conscious or color blind, and racial justice or fairness. The central thesis of Appiah states that the concept of race is a mistaken American idea and that the only race is the human race. Given that the current use of the term race is based on the world’s previous misunderstandings, the author explores the history of the use of the term race. For instance, Appiah pointed out that Thomas Jefferson relied on the perceived psychological and physical differences between whites and blacks to use the term race as an explanation for “social and cultural phenomenon” (49). Similarly, the biological approach viewed blacks as inferior intellectually and physically. They were viewed as shallow, unintelligent, unimaginative and crude but more adventurous and brave compared to the whites.

On the other hand, in the essay Mary Louise Pratt “Arts of the Contact Zone,” she uses terms like imagine community, autoethnography and safe house to help in demonstrating the reasoning of her feelings and thought about actual and historical events she speaks about. Pratt in her essay talks about ethnography and transculturation. She talks of imaginary spaces where inequalities and differences are sensed and recognized. Acceding to Pratt, these imaginary spaces are referred to as contact zones. Contact zones according to Pratt refer to social spaces where cultures grapple, meet and clash with each other, in the context of power such as slavery, colonialism or their aftermaths (Pratt 584).

The theme of social and racial relations is seen in many scenes in the film. According to Pratt, contact zone can be either negative or positive. For instance people communing together from different backgrounds, and discussing certain aspects of history provides them with an opportunity of identifying with interest, ideas and other people’s history. In contrast, negative contact zone in.............


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