‘Django Unchained’ & American Society- What’s it say about us?

movie poster cover for Django Unchained
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Django Unchained was a 2012 American movie by Quentin Tarantino that shook up so many of its viewers. With references to Spaghetti Westerns, Southern epics, and slavery pieces to name a few, this movie also had a lot to say about American society overall. Down below are a few of the points about our society, past and present, that were referenced in Django Unchained.

That’s Racist

The most obvious thing that Django Unchained tells us about America is slavery and racism. We all know about the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and the nation’s history of African enslavement. In the movie, we see how pseudo-religious and pseudo-scientific concepts were used in those days to justify slavery.

You remember the whole scene where Mr. Candie (DiCaprio’s character) uses one of his former slave’s skulls to demonstrate how black people are anatomically inferior to whites. Or that scene where the slaver uses the Bible to justify his whipping and punishing of the “sub-human” slaves.

The cold part is that this stuff really happened, and a lot. It seems like every five words in Django is the “n-word,” and this is more for a shock effect than anything. I mean, I’m sure white people in those days called black people nigger a lot, but not like every five seconds. Still, the use of this word and other racial slurs in the movie shows us how language has been used throughout our country’s history to uplift certain groups and diminish others. And that goes both ways.

Read more: Are there many interracial couples in America?

Okay, so we saw whips and chains, physical representations of bondage and dominance — not to get freaky. Oh, and we saw a glimpse of a pre-Ku Klux Klan group in one of the funniest scenes of the entire movie. The KKK really formed after abolition as a kind of retaliation against blacks gaining equality. Django (Jamie Foxx) and Dr. Schultz (Cristoph Waltz) later in the movie start to be treated with a bit of respect when they are presumed to have money and status. This shows how even racism can be curbed when there are benefits involved.

Frontier Living

Django Unchained at its heart is a Western, so the usual gun-slinging and street shootouts had to be a part of it. The characters throughout most of the movie are riding horses and carriages across open landscapes, mountains, and everything we associate with the Old West. We even see the classic cowboy stand-offs in the small frontier town, people running to get the sheriff, and a saloon fight.

The Antebellum South is also represented when they get to Mississippi. There we see big plantations and plantation homes being worked by slaves. Besides that, we get a look at some slave quarters, those common oak and poplar trees of the South, and big fields of cotton to be picked. And of course, all around is the sense of white dominance and complacency for being in control of that crazy world they’d created.

Read more: Isn’t America all cold and snowy?

The Outlaw is B(l)ack!

Another thing this movie does is show audiences how black outlaws and bounty hunters did exist in the Old Western days. I feel like this movie opened up in many ways for people to learn about such figures as black cowboys and bounty hunters, a subject that was not really touched on before in movies or TV (at least to this extent).

Django shows in part the presence of these lesser-known historic black figures of that time, informing that they were also a part of the development of the country. There’s also something many people forget, that some slaves were able to buy their freedom and lead interesting lives outside of the establishment.

Read more: Aren’t there a lot of black people in America, like on TV?

Reparations … or Revenge?

Since the times of slavery in America, there has been a sense of black people recovering some kind of dignity, strength, even ranging into dominance. It’s important to remember that not all people in any group will want the same things, which is normal. Still, when Django goes and kills all of the slavers that did him wrong, there’s this sense of “justice served cold” that reverberates off of every gunshot and explosion.

There’s a constant debate in the USA of whether there should be reparations or compensation given to black Americans for the terrible deeds taken against their ancestors. There is this underlying feeling of getting revenge on these racist actions, which is completely exploited in this movie. Let me also remind you that the German’s full name is Dr. “King” Schultz, likely a nod to Dr. Martin Luther King as a kind of liberator and symbol for good.

Through all the killing that Django does, we also get an idea of the violent nature of rebellions in general, especially as it deals with the black-led ones. There was many a violent uprising in America’s past, and this movie plays a bit on such true historic bloodbaths.

And the White Director

So Quentin Tarantino doesn’t look very black, as far as most of us can tell. The fact that a white guy had directed a movie like this did conjure up some backlash for the film. Django Unchained touches on some pretty sensitive subject matter, particularly concerning black Americans. So one might imagine how some people felt uncomfortable with it.

Tarantino movies aren’t for everyone and lots of people are already uneased by the cartoonish violence in them. Put that together with about a thousand “n-bombs” and you’ve got a sure recipe for retaliation. Even though many people thought he had no business making a movie about slavery, there were still those that enjoyed Django Unchained regardless of its crazy subject matter. Q. T. does actually have a cameo in the movie and gets blown up, which shows that even the director wasn’t safe from Django’s vengeful rage.

Boy, I Swear

Another common feature in Tarantino’s movies is the liberal and consistent tendency of his characters to swear. This is just his style, and it comes more so from this culture surrounding Hollywood or Southern California — where almost everyone I know curses. Some are offended by this constant use of bad words, and others could care less.

One thing that’s funny about this, though, is that people back in those times (early-mid 1800s) definitely did not curse as much as in the movie. Sure, there was cursing, but people back in those days were generally pretty conservative and religious by today’s standards. I had this same thought watching The Hateful Eight which had a similar amount of cussing in a time period that people probably didn’t have such dirty mouths.

Read more: The Wolf of Wall Street

This feature of the movie was likely used to connect modern audiences to this past period in time, similar to how the score contained some rap songs. It also reminds audiences that this story is fictional and for entertainment purposes, so don’t be taking it all so seriously.

America, the Beautiful Mixed Baby

In Django Unchained are black people (obviously), Germans, Australians, other Americans, and Mr. Candie who loves French — even though he can’t speak or understand it. Some aspects of the culture, especially on the German side, are explored a bit deeper. With all of this, we get reminded of America’s very mixed heritage.

Germans at a certain point in the U.S. interior were very prevalent and made up a large part of the immigration there. All these different people of varying backgrounds remind us of this uncommon origin we share that turned the U.S. into a land of immigrants. It also reminds us that a large part of the country, like the West, was built by outlaws, runaways, and people seeking the thrill of adventure until turning it into what it is today.

Read more: Aren’t Americans white?

**What did you think of this movie? Are you fond of Tarantino or do you avoid his movies at all costs? If you can, share what else Django Unchained showed us about American or world society. Also, feel free to check out similar posts on At the Movies. Message me at tietewaller@gmail.com for direct contact or to collaborate on something! Thank you for reading and peace to you.

Os americanos não são racistas? Segregados? E xenófobos? – Preconceito nos EUA

Bem, quais? No nível interno ou no nível político? Depende de quem você está perguntando, mas aqui estão algumas coisas para manter em mente:

Vidas negras importam. Este movimento social recentemente acendeu toda uma onda de emoções de apoiadores e oponentes de seus ideais.

  • “Todas as vidas importam, não é o correto?”

–um pode perguntar. E numa ideologia filosófica baseada em princípios, sim, todas elas importam. Mas olhando para vários parâmetros que comparam americanos negros a outras “raças/etnias”, é fácil detectar uma disparidade, especialmente entre brancos e negros.

Aqui estão apenas alguns gráficos que achei particularmente alarmantes:

Tiroteios policiais fatais por milhão, por etnia

Fatal police shootings per million by race
Shayanne Gal/Business Insider

Consumo de maconha vs. detenções por porte, por etnia

marijuana usage vs possession arrests by race
Shayanne Gal/Business Insider

Riqueza doméstica de norte-americanos negros e brancos

household wealth of black and white americans
Madison Hoff/Business Insider

Nesses três gráficos, você pode começar a ter uma ideia de como a sociedade trata de forma desproporcional um grupo de pessoas sobre o outro. Bem, existem algumas coisas importantes para ser observadas aqui:

  1. Cerca de metade das mortes causadas pela violência policial são sofridas por brancos. No entanto, mais negros são mortos em proporção a qualquer outro grupo racial, o que é alarmante, pois constituem uma parte muito menor da população
  2. Embora o uso de maconha esteja se tornando mais legalizado em todo o país nas últimas décadas, e aproximadamente a mesma quantidade de brancos e negros admitam usá-la, uma porcentagem muito maior de negros são presos por porte de maconha
  3. As famílias brancas em geral têm maior probabilidade de ter alta renda, enquanto as famílias negras em geral têm maior probabilidade de serem pobres

Isso é apenas o que os números nos mostram; faça com eles o que quiser.

Há muitos brancos mortos pela polícia ou presos, e muitos negros são ricos. Mas, no fundo, o sistema dos EUA atrasa o progresso de certos grupos.

E não é apenas um fenômeno atual. Muitas oportunidades existem para todos os povos hoje, que é ótimo, embora, historicamente, essas minorias não tiveram uma chance. A escravidão institucional era uma parte disso. As teorias de que algumas raças serem melhores do que outras era outra parte ainda relacionada. Por qual outro motivo um grupo de pessoas viria para um continente pensando que estava “destinado” a ensinar e conquistar os outros?

Também quero deixar claro que este problema não é exclusivamente europeu. Escravidão, colonização e segregação existiram em todos os continentes povoados durante a maior parte da história humana. Os humanos são legais assim.

A América tem uma história suja com xenofobia, que é temer ou desprezar pessoas de nações, culturas, e religiões estrangeiras. Nos primeiros dias, estávamos preocupados com os alemães e escandinavos tomando nossos empregos e terras. Mais tarde, foram os irlandeses, depois europeus orientais, italianos e asiáticos. Mais recentemente, foram latino-americanos e muçulmanos, mas essa história é antiga. Todos esses grupos sofreram violência e retaliação ao migrar para a América, com a única diferença de que aqueles grupos vistos com uma cor de pele “menor”, ​​religião “menor” ou de países “mais carentes” sofreram bem mais. Essa discriminação persiste de maneira especialmente forte em comunidades que estão segregadas há gerações.

Os EUA são um país incrivelmente complexo. A percepção de ser uma nação de imigrantes influenciou muitos a chegar e continuar com seus antigos costumes, afastando eles da cultura americana em geral. O medo de imigrantes e a hostilidade frequente em relação a eles deixou muitos se sentindo mal recebidos a ponto de irem voluntariamente para outros países ou voltando para sua casa. Quem quer alguem gritando,

Volte para onde você veio!

ou recebendo olhares de desprezo o tempo todo apenas por causa de sua aparência ou crenças religiosas? Tenho certeza de que me sentiria péssimo comigo mesmo se eu fosse receber preconceito por coisas que nem posso controlar. O governo definitivamente cria políticas que estimulam esse medo dos estrangeiros. Lembre:

  • Nipo-americanos colocados em campos de internamento
  • Imigrantes irlandeses anunciados como invasores subumanos
  • Mexicanos e centro-americanos sendo deportados em massa
  • proibição de viagens imposta a países de maioria muçulmana

Esse último foi bem recente, hein?

Para colocar um pouco de sol nessa história, os americanos, em geral, parecem ser pessoas realmente bem-intencionadas. Não gostamos de ver os outros sofrendo e queremos ser uma sociedade pacífica e feliz que trabalhe em conjunto aos outros. Muitos estão realmente curiosas ​​sobre outras culturas, línguas e religiões. Temos uma má reputação, mas muitos de nós estamos tentando quebrar esses estereótipos de mente fechada e de preconceituosos que tacamos em nós mesmos.

De qualquer forma, dê uma olhada nas páginas abaixo para ver mais gráficos sobre a percepção das questões raciais nos EUA e me diga o que você acha! Há de tudo, desde comparações de renda a opiniões sobre como a raça de uma pessoa afeta a mobilidade de classe social. Tem até um grafiquinho interessante que mostra como os americanos veem a tal palavra com “N”. Há um total de 7% de brancos que pensam que está tudo bem “Às vezes” ou “Sempre” para gente branca dizer a palavra “N”, o que é simplesmente doido. É uma porcentagem muito pequena, mas estou tentando imaginar quem são essas pessoas. Eles são realmente racistas ou são apenas uns caras brancos loucos que andam muito com negros e se safam? Provavelmente ambos, mas essa palavra merece um artigo inteiro para si mesma.

Portanto, a resposta à pergunta original é: Sim, somos um pouco racistas, segregacionistas e xenófobos, mas é um mau hábito de longa data. Fomos treinados dessa forma. Fomos ensinados dessa forma. Nossa nação começou assim. Mas não se esqueça, não é apenas um problema americano. E, estamos tentando! Muitos estão lutando para consertar isso. Pensar naqueles cidadãos que tem uma mente positiva me ajuda a dormir melhor à noite.

Se você consegue ler em inglês e quer aprender mais, aqui estão recursos:

Gráficos que mostram como as diferenças raciais aparecem na sociedade: https://www.businessinsider.com/us-systemic-racism-in-charts-graphs-data-2020-6

Para a história da xenofobia nos EUA: https://now.tufts.edu/articles/long-history-xenophobia-america

Para a percepção dos americanos sobre questões raciais: https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2019/04/09/race-in-america-2019/

Aren’t Americans racist? Segregated? What about xenophobic? – Discrimination in the USA

Well, which ones? At the home level or the political level? It depends on who you’re asking, but here are some things to keep in mind:

Black Lives Matter. This recent movement has ignited a whole swath of emotions from both supporters and opponents of its ideals.

“Don’t all lives matter?”

–one might ask. And on a philosophical, principle-based ideology, yes, they do all matter. But looking at several parameters comparing black Americans to other “races” it’s easy to spot a disparity, especially between whites and blacks.

Here are just a few charts I found particularly alarming:

Fatal police shootings per million by race
Shayanne Gal/Business Insider
marijuana usage vs possession arrests by race
Shayanne Gal/Business Insider
household wealth of black and white americans
Madison Hoff/Business Insider

In these three charts, you can start to get a taste for how disproportionately society treats one group of people over another. Now, there are some important things to note here:

  1. About half of the deaths caused by police violence are suffered by whites. However, more blacks are killed in proportion to any other racial group, alarming since they make up a much smaller part of the population
  2. Even though marijuana usage is becoming more legalized across the country in recent decades, and about the same amount of whites and blacks admit to using it, a much higher percentage of blacks are arrested for marijuana possession
  3. White households overall are more likely to be high income, while black households overall are more likely to be poor

These are just what numbers show us; do with them what you wish.

There are plenty of white people killed by police or put in jail, and plenty of black people are wealthy. But at the heart, the U.S.’s system slows down the progress of certain groups.

And it’s not just a current phenomenon. Many opportunities exist for all races today, which is great, although, historically these minorities didn’t have a chance. Institutional slavery was one part of this. Theories of some races being better than others was another yet related one. Why else would a bunch of people come to one continent thinking they were “destined” to teach and conquer another?

I also want to point out that this problem isn’t uniquely European. Slavery, colonization, and segregation have existed on all populated continents throughout most of human history. People are just cool like that.

America has a dirty history of xenophobia, which is fearing or looking down upon people of foreign nations, cultures, religions, etc. Back in the early days, we were worried about Germans and Scandinavians taking our jobs and land. Later it was the Irish, then Eastern Europeans, Italians, and Asians. More recently it’s been Latin Americans and Muslims, but the history is long-standing. All these groups suffered violence and retaliation when migrating to America, the only difference being that those groups seen as having a “lesser” skin color, “lesser” religion, or from “needier” countries have suffered a lot more. This discrimination persists especially strongly in communities that have been divided for generations.

The U.S. is an incredibly complex country. The perception of it being a nation of immigrants has influenced many to arrive and continue with their old customs, estranging them from the general American culture. Fear of immigrants and frequent hostility towards them has left many feeling unwelcome to the point of willfully leaving to other countries or going back home. Who wants someone yelling,

Go back to where you came from!

or receiving despising looks all the time just because of their appearance or religious beliefs? I’m sure that I’d feel terrible about myself if I were put down for stuff I couldn’t even control. The government definitely creates policies that encourage this fear of foreigners. Think of:

  • Japanese-Americans put in Internment Camps
  • Irish migrants advertised as being subhuman invaders
  • Mexicans and Central Americans being mass deported
  • travel bans imposed on Muslim-majority countries

That last one’s pretty recent, eh?

To bring some sunshine to this story, Americans, in general, seem to be really well-meaning folks. We don’t like to see others suffering, and we want to be a peaceful and happy society that works together. Many are truly interested in other cultures, languages, and religions. We get a bad rep, but many of us are trying to break those closed-minded, bigoted stereotypes that we’ve put on ourselves.

Anyway, check out these pages below to see more charts about the perception of racial issues in America, and let me know what you think! There’s everything from income comparisons to opinions on how a person’s race affects social class mobility. There’s even an interesting little graph showing how Americans view the “N” word. There are a whole 7% of whites that think it’s okay “Sometimes” or “Always” for white people to say the “N” word, which is just silly. It’s a very small percent, but I’m trying to imagine who these people are. Are they really racist or are they just dotty white dudes that hang out around black people a lot and get away with it? Probably both, but that word deserves a whole article to itself.

So, the answer to the original question is: Yes, we’re a little racist, segregationist, and xenophobic, but it’s a long-time bad habit. We’ve been trained this way. We’ve been taught this way. Our nation started this way. But don’t forget, it’s not just an American problem. And, we’re trying! Many are fighting to fix this. Thinking about those positive-minded citizens helps me sleep better at night.

Resources:

Charts showing how racial differences appear in society: https://www.businessinsider.com/us-systemic-racism-in-charts-graphs-data-2020-6

For the history of xenophobia in the U.S.: https://now.tufts.edu/articles/long-history-xenophobia-america

For Americans’ perception of racial issues: https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2019/04/09/race-in-america-2019/