The Reel Injun offers a subtle portrayal of Native Americans especially the Indians in a flattering light. It delves into the different stereotypes that are inherent in American culture. In particular, the video illustrates the conservative nature of the natives and their distaste for civilization while also offering an analysis of their culture in comparison to the modern architecture adopted by other ethnicities. As such, it shows that whites are supremacists within the society and they occupy a higher social class than other minorities, especially the natives. Accordingly, the message conveyed is that such people belong to an inferior race which is relegated I communal rankings and its inhabitants are viewed as being backward. The video offers an insightful glimpse into the perils facing Native American populations by asserting that their traditional aboriginal culture is retrogressive hence sidelining them from the civilized society in all aspects of life thereby limiting their social and economic development.
Whiteness is depicted as the epitome of power within the American culture hence the lack of this pigmentation in natives is an indication of their unsuitability for equal rights. Whereas whiteness is considered a sign of competence and intelligence, the aboriginals are seen as immature and dumb owing to their skin color hence are denied acceptability in forums deemed elitist (Marx and Engel 208). In fact, their ignorance is used to justify such discrimination since they are not expected to add value to discussions or other discourses of life. Similarly, the clustering of different races together has been employed as a formality to explain the tendency of various races to group together. Segregation, which is the apparent separation of people according to their color, is used to divide them along such tribal lines. In the film, whites huddle together while blacks prefer each other’s company just as the aboriginals are forced to cluster together hence alienating them according to their race. Likewise, class stratification is the separation of people according to their income levels. Consequently, the film reinforces the notion that natives have poor working skills hence depend on menial labor for wages. In contrast, other races are able to secure well paying blue-collar jobs due to their intellect. Therefore, the film expressly affirms that the poverty conditions of these minorities limit their social interactions hence allowing other economically endowed ones to occupy higher social ladders.
Furthermore, class antagonism is revealed as the main contributor to societal divisions. In this phenomenon, the sentiments from different interviewees reveal that the existence of conflicts, between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, reduces cultural integration. For instance, the need to improve factors of production for the economic well-being of the rich leads to their exploitation of the poor. This creates a master-servant relationship. By so doing, the aboriginals are seen as laborers who do not deserve to be afforded the respect and prestige of other races hence marking their demotion in rankings within a feudal society (Pattillo-McCoy 211). Moreover, the quest for affirmative action aims at the equal treatment of all people, regardless of their differences. However, actors in Reel Injun indicate that this concept meets resistance regularly due to the need for observing a social hierarchy. For instance, the above film’s emphasis on the fate of the natives as people with minimal qualifications to warrant similar treatment as others shows that such despise is rooted in the belief that they are inferior. Accordingly, there is an endless fight to maintain a distance between them and other tribes thus alienating their views, practices, and even presence. It is evident that each participant, especially the white majority would like to maintain their privileged background at the expense of the minority hence facilitating class segregation within the nation.
Similarly, capitalism is also considered as an integral part sociopolitical alienation of certain segments of the society. In this feature, people have a genuine desire to work hard and earn incomes in a free market economy. Speakers in the Reel Injun reveal that native groups are loathed for their noble savage behavior, which places communism as the driver of development. In particular, it shows that the adoption of communism among traditional tribes limits their productivity while allowing other races to improve their economic status through industrialization. By so doing, the latter experience more success and even intermarry among themselves to avoid interacting with “impure” minority groups. Therefore, such tendencies also cause gaps within social settings (Doane and Bonilla-Silva 363). Likewise, the video is laden with images of aboriginals practicing outdated rituals in honor of their culture while other races use modern methods. Cultural identity is the use of certain habits to recognize a particular group of people. As such, having differing religious, political, and economical affiliations is also seen as causing differences in ideologies hence making integration difficult. For example, the natives had some traditional alternative healing methods whereas African Americans believed in modern medicine. Therefore, such conflicting ideas result in the separation of communities along racial and class lines since they all profess antagonizing theories. By building such divisions, it is evident that some groups would be more successful hence reinforcing the notion that the former are superior to the latter.
Doane, Ashley, and Eduardo Bonilla-Silva. White Out The Continuing Significance of Racism. New York: Routledge, 2003. Print.
Marx, Karl, Friedrich Engels. The Communist Manifesto: A Modern Edition. London: Verso, 1998. Print.
Pattillo- McCoy, Mary. Black Picket Fences: Privilege and Peril Among the Black Middle Class. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999. Print.
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