Screen Gender Racial Stereotypes Essay


Their problem with the U.S. As a whole is more complex and it deals with fighting a concept of a dominant white culture. While they find it perfectly normal to be interested in "owning land, one of more homes, several cars, expensive jewelry and clothing" (Benshoff & Griffin p. 158) (they consider themselves no different from an ordinary American in this situation), their main focus lies in having everyone around them accept them as equals, as from their perspective, "the American Dream can simply be freedom of want" (Benshoff & Griffin p. 158). Alongside of Harold and Kumar, viewers realize that society is no longer a place where people are judged on account of their wealth, intelligence, and background. Individuals in this film are mainly interested in race and social status is apparently determined by one's ethnicity. It is almost as if the central characters need to negotiate in order for people that they interact with to consider them worthy of being assimilated in an all-American community. While they would normally be categorized as middle class individuals, their race appears to take them below that level as white Americans persecute them and as they experience frustrations as a result of the fact that they struggle to act as "American" as possible.

The scene when Harold and Kumar face a group of hillbillies emphasizes the way that the American society in the film feels in regard to the two characters. While the white group obviously discriminate the non-English speaking cashier, they express no discrimination in regard to the main characters. However, the fact that Kumar speaks Hindu with the cashier...


In addition to that, his tendency to intervene when matters get out of hand further contributes to the belief that Kumar is also being persecuted, as a dominant white society seems unwilling to accept him. Although Kumar seems to be very different from the cashier (especially considering that the latter appears to be unable to integrate in an American community) the fact that he yields to the hillbilly's insistency and his overall acceptance of this situation puts across the concept that he acknowledges his position and tries to make the best out of it without struggling to go further.
Harold initially seems to accept the fact that it is normal for someone to intervene and help the cashier but is reluctant to do so when Kumar steps in. While someone might be inclined to believe that Harold accepts discrimination through his position, it is even more probable that his "nerd"-like attitude is responsible for the fact that he does not want to intervene. Kumar is actually the one who thinks of himself as being discriminated and wants to do something in order to remedy things, even if this means that he risks his life by facing a group of individuals who appear to consider that crime is not necessarily something bad.

Harold and Kumar go to White Castle is, to a certain degree, a typical stoner comedy meant to lighten spirits when it is viewed. However, at a closer look, the film puts across a series of stereotypes related to race and discrimination. The seemingly all-American South-East Asians are actually differentiated on account of their ethnicity and their ability to integrate by using their open-minded thinking is apparently not enough to influence other people in seeing them as equals.

Sources Used in Documents:


Benshoff, H.M., Griffin, S., America on film: representing race, class, gender and sexuality at the movies, John Wiley and Sons, 2011

Boyd, S.C., Hooked: Drug War Films in Britain, Canada, and the United States, University of Toronto Press, 2009

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"Screen Gender Racial Stereotypes", 13 December 2011, Accessed.24 June. 2024,

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