Jungle Fever, The Answer Is In Black And White

1718 words - 7 pages

In America, we are known as the melting pot, the country of diversity, where citizens can be who they want to be. We can be who we want to be, and look at ourselves however we want to; but how are others looking at us? In many cases, an individual does not even have a chance to make an impression on somebody, because they have already been judged simply by their physical aspects. The controversy of one's color has been around since the beginning of time. In the history of the United States, the racism against African American's has put them through much oppression, and many walls have been built up over the years between African Americans and other ethnic groups. As a result of the barrier between these ethnic groups, the movie Jungle Fever, written and directed by Spike Lee has many aspects of stereotypes against African Americans, not only how whites perceive them, but also how African Americans see themselves. In the movie, there is a major sign of symbolic interaction which is the study of how people use symbols to develop their views of the world and to communicate with one another. Most of these signs are easily pointed out and boldly states to the viewers.Like it or not we all grow up with some level of self perception. Self perception is defined as seeing certain features of an object or situation, but remaining blind to others in the book Sociology: A Down-To-Earth Approach. (Henslin 272) An example from the movie relating to self perception is when Paulie argues with the men inside his store. Paulie says that you can't judge someone just because they are black, because they are not all the same; but the men come back by saying "its black on black", meaning that if one of them does it they all do it. Henslin reveals a result of symbolic interaction, which is if we apply a label to a group, we tend to perceive its members as all the same (273). These men have had bad experiences with black people and therefore group every black person in a negative category; furthermore, they block out the good stuff they see blacks doing, such as the black woman that cares for Paulie's education and future. Another example of wearing "blinders" is brought up when Flipper and Angie are discussing Drew being a mixture of white and black. Flipper puts it to the back of his mind that Drew is in reality only half black. He exclaims to Angie saying "if they look black; they act black; they are black!" The act of being black according to this movie can be a form of symbolic interactionism in itself, and this label of being black affects many of the things Flipper does in the movie. Examples of this is how he describes himself as a strong black man when talking about his will power, and he also states that he is very pro-black when it comes to women.Flipper's brother also takes on the label of being stereotypically black, as Lee sees it. Not only is Gaitor addicted to drugs, but he likes that he is a junkie. He fully accepts the mindset that he is going nowhere...

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