Racism has always been a widely discussed subject, and a matter of conflict between many generations. Being so evidently present in our day-to-day lives, it was only natural to assume that the motion picture business would start incorporating it as the main issue of its blockbuster plots: somewhere on purpose, in other places accidentally. The era of modern filmmaking has brought us some of our favorite comedy caricatures and heartwarming characters we love to sympathize with.
Oppressed African-American slaves, ridiculously portrayed Arabians and inferior Asian people are often the main characters of these films. We’ve put on a short list of famous racist movies you’ve most probably seen, but if you haven’t we highly encourage you to do so.
Stereotypes about black people are the most common even today, and they are nowhere as evident as in this motion picture, showing us how it all started before the American Civil War, when slavery was at its peak. This tragedy drama is sure to make you feel together with the oppressed slaves Mede (Ken Norton) and Ellen (Brenda Sykes), after seeing what humiliation they had to face every day. The raping and the beating is inevitable and expected, and even though the criticism that followed its release were huge, this movie remains a truly historical work of art.
Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
Another movie that deals with the racism against African-Americans, the plot of this comedy-drama takes place in 1948, when this so called Miss Daisy, a dedicated Jew, gets a new, black chauffeur (played by Morgan Freeman) to drive her around. In a typically expected way, this man is illiterate so Miss Daisy takes it upon herself to teach him how to read. The two become very good friends in time and the movie also deals with both black and Jewish stereotypes of the time.
Now this is an animated movie that all children from the 90’s grew up with and loved. Even though it deals with events based on true historic facts, there are certain things that have been hyperbolized to the advantage of the white race. One of the most obvious ones is the difference between the natives themselves: there are those who are very noble and friendly, and then there are the real savages! Not to mention the portrayed handsomeness of John Smith to his inferior native counterparts. And what’s with the happy ending anyway? What about the cruel oppression that came afterwards?
The Last Samurai (2003)
Ah yes, the obedience of the yellow race and the superiority of the white one that will push them into modernization. This war movie bases its storyline somewhere at the end of the 19th century, when a retired American officer from the 7th Cavalry Regiment is sent on a mission to train the Japanese army to fight against the Samurais. Of course, by the end of the movie, he finds his life purpose to be to embrace the Samurai life and nearly loses his life to do so.
The Dictator (2012)
Ever since the 9/11 tragedy, people find it impossible to look at Muslims in any other way than terrorists. And this was a terrible tragedy indeed, but it is up to us to find place for forgiveness; in the end, every man as an individual is responsible for their actions. However, Sacha Baron Cohen took this stereotype to his advantage in making the movie. Inspired by all the great dictators of the Far East, the main character he plays abounds with funny racist jokes about Muslims, commandments of execution and other dictator-like moves. Yet this movie, through comedy and exaggeration, also tries to show a more general picture of what’s truly happening with the world.