African-American History Since 1877 Film Analysis

Film Analysis Gregory Hamlin HIST 222. African-American History Since 1877 Professor Alli Chambers American Military University October 14, 2012 Documentary Film Analysis Worksheet History 222 – African American History Since 1877 Instructions: • You will find the list of films you can choose from in the assignment section of the course. • Go to the list and pick your film. You must view the entire film. If you can’t access films because of deployment, geographic location, or other reasons, please let your instructor know so they can give you an alternate assignment. Please type you answers into this sheet. You must submit the worksheet two ways: 1) upload the worksheet as a Word document 2) cut and paste your answers into the student response box for the assignment. • You must answer in complete sentences, using a short answer/paragraph format. 1. What is the title of the film you picked? The title of the film I picked was “A Class Divided”. 2. Why did you pick this film over the others offered? The reason I picked this film was because of the message it offered. The message was brought about at a time where most people who agreed with the message were a minority.

This message changed the individual’s lives that were part of the documentary. 3. What is/are the central message(s) of this documentary/fictional film? Be specific. Use examples from the film to support your choice. The central message of this documentary was to never discriminate. “Discrimination is the treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit” (Discrimination).

Discrimination can come in a variety of ways, such as racial or sexual discrimination. The discrimination that was most talked about in this film was racial discrimination. In 1968 a teacher by the name of Jane Elliot asked her students what they thought of other racial groups such as African Americans and Native Americans. They stated that they were dumb and explained the different obscenities that were thrown at them. In response, the teacher from the film set up a scenario where she divided her class into two groups according to eye color.

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At the end of this scenario she asked both groups how it felt when they were the less superior group. They stated that they did not like it and they hated being separated from their peers. Then she asked them should they treat people with a different color differently and they stated no. Then she asked should they treat people of a different skin color different, they gave the same response (Peters). This taught the children not to discriminate against anyone and they learned not to discriminate by playing those scenarios.

This message was incredibly strong. 4. Consider the effectiveness of the film for this history class. What are its strengths and weaknesses of this film in documenting history? The effectiveness of this film is very strong because of the fact it shows that we all deserve to be treated equally. This is important to this history class because in the lessons we learn during this class deal with Civil or Equal rights of all Americans. The film was a documentary about the lessons a classroom of children and adults learned from a teacher about discrimination.

No one should be discriminated against. The only weakness I saw in this film was that the studies that were done transpired in a prominently white community where they do not deal with other minorities on a day to day basis. Due to this fact, the study is not as realistic as it could have been if it were to transpire in a community where there is more diversity. 5. How do you think the filmmakers want the audience to respond? Is there a social justice message? If so, what is it? I think the filmmakers wanted the audience to respond to this film positively.

The documentary had to be a breath of fresh air during the time frame it was produced. It was created during a time were discrimination and prejudice was very common among whites and minorities. The social justice message is to treat everyone equally and do not discriminate based on the color of one’s skin. 6. Did the documentary leave you with any unanswered questions? If so, what were they? An unanswered question I had about this documentary was whether or not the teacher experienced seeing minorities treated a certain way that made her want to teach others to never discriminate against one another?

Did her parents raise her to treat everyone equally or is this something she wanted to do on her own? 7. How did this film change any misconceptions or stereotypes you had about the subject matter? If so, what were they? This film did not change any misconceptions or stereotypes I had about the subject of discrimination. I was raised in the south where I have faced discrimination from white people. I have also become friends with white people who do not discriminate at all and were raised with the same values instilled in them as some of the individuals from this film. 8.

What is the most important thing you learned from watching the film? The most important thing I learned from this film is that there are people out there who genuinely care for others and how they feel. This teacher from Idaho did not have to teach those children that discrimination was incorrect. She just genuinely cared for these children to grow with good moral values. 9. Why is this film important to understanding contemporary African American History? This film is important to understanding contemporary African American History because discrimination was huge issue during the Civil Rights Movement.

It took men like Martin Luther King to stand up for minorities and speak out against discrimination and other various issues. As a result the Civil Rights Act of 1964 came about that put an end to lawful discrimination. Bibliography Discrimination. Dictionary. com. © Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc.. Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc.. http://dictionary. reference. com/browse/discrimination (accessed: October 14, 2012). Peters, William. “A Class Divided. ” Recorded March 26 1985. Web, http://www. youtube. com/watch? v=GouGUeB3fYs.

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