Psychology Essay

This essay has a total of 1446 words and 6 pages.


Analytical Paper on Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing

Director and actor Spike Lee presents his "truth" about race relations in his movie Do the
Right Thing. The film exhibits the spectacle of black discrimination and racial
altercations. Through serious, angry, and loud sounds, Lee stays true to the ethnicity of
his characters, all of which reflect their own individualism. Lee uses insulting diction
and intense scenes to show how severe racism can lead to violence. The biases reflected
through Do the Right Thing model those of today which has kept society in a constant feud
for so long. In Oprah Winfrey's dynamic episode, "The Color of Fear", Mr. Mun Wah projects
his strong opinion when he states, " . . . that racism is still going on today, that we've
got to stop to hear the anguish and the pain that goes with that and then we'll survive."
(3) People do not realize the severity of their own words. In the scenes of the movie that
emphasize the shocking reality of failed interracial communication, racial stereotyping,
trust or lack of trust, and acrimonious violence mirror the current concerns about race in
America as reflected in "The Color Of Fear."

The disturbing scene where different nationalities badger their opinions on each other
shows poor communication and horrible stereotyping. Pino's Italian slang, Mookies black
talk, and Korean obscenities are all mixed together to show how communication grows
impossible among different ethnic groups. Spike Lee is trying to show how nonsense
language results in a snowball effect which worsens any situation. Lorene Cary states her
view on this situation when she comments, "We need more of them, not less; more words . .
. What I do want is language: fighting words, love poems, elegance, dissonance, dissing,
signifying, alarms, whistles, scholarly texts, political oratory, the works. Without it,
we're dead."("As plain as Black and White") Maybe these "fighting words" unlock the truth
about the communication plague, spreading throughout history. Leonard P. Zakin once said,
" . . . it's all about conversation, not dialogue."("Scaling the Walls of Hatred") Like
the characters in Do the Right Thing, present day people can scream at each other all they
want and will not get anywhere because outcry is not conversation. Conversation is
talking, explaining, discussing, informing, and most definitely listening.

Many people do not think twice when a racial slur pops out of their mouths, and most
people do not even realize they have ridiculed someone different from themselves. In the
scene described by the previous paragraph, racial stereotyping far surpassed the feeling
of discomfort that many people do not want to deal with. A milder scene of a white man
trying to pass through a black neighborhood demonstrates racial problems also. The
egotistical attitude of the white man calling the black kids "Mo and Joe Black" ignited
the teens to hose down and ruin the car. Mr. Mun Wah comments, "I think racism isn't just
about giving out racial epithets. I think it's about what we don't say and what we don't
see."("The Color of Fear", 3,4) Every ethnic group had their own name for each other. The
three unemployed black men sitting on the corner had their own offensive name for the
Koreans across the street, and the Koreans referred to the policeman with their own twist
of insults. Even today the racial jokes, either out of jealousy or anger, continue to be
told. Lee showed how something so insignificant could plummet into a deep problem. Lee
also taught his audience that the stereotypes in his movie are all said in a habitual
manner. The characters, like people of today, use common slurs out of habit. James
Baldwin states his view on the subject, "I imagine that one of the reasons people cling to
their hates so stubbornly is because they sense once hate is gone, that they will be
forced to deal with the pain." Perhaps people stereotype to block away the nuisances they
so clearly think they can live without. In order to stop discrimination now, the hackneyed
images one-group places on another need to be thrown away.

The theme of trust appears in scenes involving the same race or color. In the same way,
distrust shows among people of different backgrounds. Radio Raheem and Mookie engage in a
significant conversation of love and hate. Raheem tells, "Right hand is for love, left for
hate. One is always fighting the other."(Do the Right Thing) Through Raheem's character,
Lee expresses black brotherhood and trust between people of the same ethnicity. In the
present, people still carry that close bond within their own nationality. If Radio Raheem
as well as the people of today open a hand with trust in someone of different origin from
themselves, then perchance a common interest could spark. Lorene Cary notices, " . . .
very few of us know just how difficult it is to talk about race. We haven't learned how .
. . it takes a common language, perspective, and even trust . . ."("As plain as Black and
White") Whites already have a "common language" with whites. Blacks have a common language
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