Psychological Analysis of White Man's Burden Essay

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White Man's Burden

The film White Man's Burden directed by Desmond Nakano tells the story of an alternate reality wherein the African-American men are the predominant members of upper class society and the Caucasian population is in the social minority, a complete reversal of the current social racial dichotomy of the real world. Such a circumstance is not likely in the world as we know it. Even though members of the African-American race have been able to obtain position of power in the world, including the office of the President of the United States, there is still a great difference between the positions of power that the two races play in American society. Most high-paying jobs and political offices are held by Caucasian people. The dichotomy of racial inequality can be discussed in terms of two different types of social psychological phenomena: discrimination and confirmation bias.

In the movie, the plot concerns a white factory worker named Louis Pinnock who is played by John Travolta. Pinnock hopes to transcend his low social place and climb the ladder to become a successful person. He is portrayed as an honest, hardworking man who has two children and strives to put a good day's work in at the chocolate factory and to make his life better for himself and his family. In this version of America, white people are forced to live in inner city ghettos, have inadequate schooling, and are almost entirely disenfranchised; all attributes which in the real world are the proclivity of lower class black men and women. Another man, CEO Thaddeus Thomas, receives a package delivered by Pinnock and in the transaction, Pinnock accidentally sees Thomas's wife in the nude and is fired for voyeurism. After this incident he is also beaten by police officers who are all African-American and is also evicted from his home as those in the positions of authority in that department are also African-American. The message is clear: to commit an act against one member of this society's elite to violate all of them, which was also the case for anyone who was African-American in the United States up to the 1960s especially in the American south where young men were murdered for walking on the same side of the road as a white woman. Out of desperation, Pinnock resorts to violence and takes Thomas hostage in the hope that this can somehow right the injustices which have been done to him and then the movie descends into an action film where black man and white have to fight against the social oppression that surrounds them and thus become equals through action.

Despite the movie's failing in its climax, it makes intriguing points about the social psychological phenomena that occurs in the real world. Discrimination is a common one of these phenomena and can be seen in society based on many different aspects. People have been discriminated against because of their gender, their age, their religion, their physical abilities, their sexual preference, their height, and perhaps most frequently their ethnicity. The discrimination based on race is what is used as…

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Works Cited:

White Man's Burden. Dir. Desmond Nakano. Prod. Lawrence Bender. Perf. John Travolta and Harry Belafonte. UGC, 1995. DVD.

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