This essay will focus on the film Racism: a History. I picked the film over the other films offered because it taught me many things about the history of the Black Americans. It illustrates how race continues to justify economic misuse and injustices. It shows how people moved from their maternal land, bound in slavery, and killed. This happens when people view others as though they are not human beings.
This film helps reveal the deception behind acquiring high culture and wealth in the powerful countries of the United States and Western Europe. The artwork and palaces of the Flemish masters in Belgium were built upon the cut off hands of African citizens, often kids, and old people. If we look in horror at the dreadful events in most places of current Africa today, we must keep in mind that the world has a debt in blood. Europe and the United States can never repay such debt.
The central problem in this film is racism. The film explores racism on a worldwide scale. It considers how racist thoughts and practices appeared in the main religious world institutions and how European philosophers wrote them. If we review the scientific racism, inaugurated during the 19th century, we will understand how dishonored practices, such as phrenology gave an ideological explanation for slavery and racism.
Another theme depicted in the film is torture and slavery faced by the Africans during the colonial period. The third episode of this film shows the effects of torture in the 20th century. By 1900, western colonies had reached many parts of Africa. The Belgian Congo turned into a rubber plantation during the rule of King Leopold II. The limbs of the people who did not collect their latex quotas were dismembered. The country was then the sight of one of the greatest racial genocides in the century. Nearly 10 million Africans died under the colonial rule.
The film is effective in a history class. It should be part of the History course in each learning institution. It is imperative that a student should perceive all the worries that their fathers underwent during the colonial period. Knowledge and education bring change and not violence. If students get to comprehend the reason of the current circumstances lived by the blacks, then change would be constant and immediate. Maybe a courageous and brilliant black man could inspire the change.
I think the film requires the audience to understand what was happening during the time of colonialism. The social message passed is that each race played a role in all the trepidation. No race should blame the other, but they should now change the situation. For instance, the Arabs enslaved 17 million blacks and 4 million whites during those times. The Japanese imperialists killed 25 million of Chinese. In revenge, the Chinese Communists killed 60 million of their own people. The Islamic Moguls killed more than 80 million Hindus over a remarkably short time. In addition, the blacks in Africa currently commit many of the worst human rights abuses. This includes genocide and slavery. Therefore, no race can say that a certain race is worse or better than the other. Each group has members who have engaged in useless things.
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The documentary left me with some unanswered questions. I think it is not complete. It does not tackle or mention anything to do with the racist movements that were against southern Europeans. This includes the Portuguese and Italian population in the early 1900s.
The film changed many of the misconceptions I had concerning racism slavery during the colonial period. I had a notion that there is a difference in the minds of white people. I have understood that all races have equal minds. I also had a stereotype that Africans were a weak race during the colonial period. In the film, it is clear that it was not the weakness of Africans, but their strength that attracted the western nations to their land.
According to the film, the Africans were mostly farmers, strong, tough, and hard working. They were also immune to new and old world diseases. The political condition in Western Africa during that time was chaotic. I also had a misconception that slavery ended a long time ago. After the film, I noted that slavery has been there until recently. In fact, until the 1900s, it was a normal thing.
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The film was clear and comprehensible. It did not leave me with any open questions. I learned from the movie about entertaining and valuable things. The film taught me much. It is a representation of the integrity and courage of individuals willing to present an aspect of the history of Europeans.
This includes the role of Christianity in dehumanizing individuals of a different race. It also depicts the corrupt understanding of Darwin’s origin of species through the science of eugenics and its attempt to destroy white people, whose heredity did not have genes for blue eyes and blonde hair.
The film is significant in helping to understand the contemporary African American history. This is because it is an outstanding documentary with analysis to appreciate how racism originated, and why and how slavery was practiced.