Racism has been an issue of concern globally for more than fifty years. The problem of racism is promoted by concepts relating to the existence of superior and inferior races. The history of slavery also promotes racial discrimination towards people of African origin. Aside from African Americans, other minority races also face racial discrimination. The problem of racial discrimination can be traced back to the period of slavery and its impact still affects people in the modern world.
My earliest exposure to people who were racially different from me was through a movie a watched while in elementary school. I was around seven years when I watched the film. The film was based on dance battles between different groups of young students. I recall noticing two groups of dancers who were trying to outdo each other by holding dance battles in their neighborhood. One of the groups had a mixture of students from different racial backgrounds who lived in a low-income neighborhood while the other group consisted mostly of White students who lived in a neighborhood characterized by wealthy families. I remember noting that the group from the low-income community was characterized by individuals with a darker skin color and families that spoke Spanish while the group from the high-income communities had White students only.
The leader of the group from the low-income neighborhood was an African American student who embraced the variation in his group. He was from a low-income household characterized by domestic violence. The dance allowed him to deal with the challenges in his home. He was different because of his African American race. My impression from the film was that African Americans lived in low-income communities and are great dancers. I also assumed that all African Americans embraced Hip Hop music culture.
From a cultural pluralist perspective, I think the experience was negative because of the portrayal of African Americans as individuals who lived in low-income communities. The film also associated African Americans with domestic violence and portrayed Whites as being wealthy individuals who came from stable households. Schools are essential for both the development and acculturation of children from different background. For communities to achieve positive cultural pluralism there must be unity and acceptance of people’s diverse backgrounds (Schachner, 2017). The distinct racial differences between the two dance groups illustrate the depth of the racism issue in society. While the film was mainly focused on the dance battle between the two groups, the negative portrayal of African Americans promoted the legacy of racism and negative cultural pluralism.
From a cultural pluralist’s perspective, the variation of the skin color between African Americans and Whites continues to set African Americans apart. Although the students in the film attended the same school, the color of their skin and backgrounds affected their interactions. While the aspect cultural pluralism contends that, all Americans are somewhat members of minority races, attempts to promote cultural diversity have not been successful (Archdeacon, 1990). Despite the end of slavery, modern racial discrimination continues to affect minority groups.
Although the producers of the film might have been trying to focus on promoting Hip Hop culture and the rich cultural dance moves associated with African American dances, portraying African Americans as individuals who lived in low-income violent communities promoted the legacy of racism. The portrayal of African Americans in the film supports the general view of this minority group as being the only individuals who struggle with domestic violence and poverty.
Archdeacon, T. (1990). Melting pot or cultural pluralism changing views on American ethnicity. Revue Européenne des Migrations Internationales, 6-1, 11-28. Retrieved from https://www.persee.fr/doc/remi_0765-0752_1990_num_6_1_1224.
Schachner, M. K. (2017). From equality and inclusion to cultural pluralism – Evolution and effects of cultural diversity perspectives in schools. European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 16(1), 1-17. Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17405629.2017.1326378.