Racism and Classism in the film Sorry to Bother You.
Racism and classism is a major challenge in society today despite the advancement the world has made in recent decades. Even though such problems have decreased over time, issues of race, white supremacy, and classism are still prevalent in modern day. The film Sorry to Bother You heavily addresses these concepts and is an excellent representation of today’s society. Sorry to Bother You is a comedy social thriller that depicts the deceptive idea at the root of the American society. Importantly, the film is an allegory for slavery and with wit and craziness it grazes around how the society willingly ignores the obvious injustices happening all the times (Sorry To Bother You, 2018).The film depicts the concept of systemic racism, oppression, discrimination, the theft and seizure of Black bodies by Whites in America, the shocking reality of labor in a capitalist regime and how these horrific injustices are disguised.
Symbolism in the film and how it is used to portray the intersection of Racism and Classism
The films highlights the struggles of Black people in a system plagued with structural racism, capitalism and class discrimination. It alludes to slavery and systemic suppression of African American’s identity .Notably, the film depicts systemic oppression of Black Women and Men. Mainly, the Black identity is suppressed by the capitalism system where African Americans are forced to give up their freedom and identity to survive; for food, money, and shelter. Corporate owners and executives who are mainly white are shown as corrupt, hollow, and absolute wicked who scheme to create workers who are cheaper, submissive and more profitable (Sorry To Bother You, 2018). This is a devastating breakdown of capitalism where the system is unfair to low class people, the poor workers, who are manipulated by the high class, management and owners of companies. Remarkably, the black people make up the lower class in the film. Just like in the slavery era where rich White landowners exploited Black people, racial discrimination continues to be prevalent in the American culture in modern day. In the labor market Blacks with White sounding name are likely to secure employment faster compared to Blacks with Black sounding names (Bertand & Mullainathan, n.d). This concepts shows White Supremacy is still alive and the system favors white over black people. Therefore, measures are necessary to address concepts of slavery; white supremacy, classism, and racism.
Aspects of racism/classism in America in the film and the struggles of the Black Community
Black people are forced to adopt the white identity to advance at the workplace and economically. This concept is highlighted by one of the character, Cassius Green, a Black low- level telemarketer who discovers that in order to succeed he needs to suppress his Black voice. “Cash” lives with his girlfriend, Detroit, an artist in their uncle’s garage and they are both struggling to make ends meet.Since Cash is struggling with attracting customers because of his Black identity, an older co-worker teaches him how to use his “White Voice” (Sorry to Bother You, 2018). For instance, he learns that he needs to put into his voice the ease that white privilege brings. Such as, sounding that you are entitled to the good life, feeling clam, and unafraid that people will call the police on you or about bills (Sorry to Bother You, 2018). Similarly, his girlfriend Detroit also adopts the British accent in her concerts. Outstandingly, sounding “White” makes Cash career skyrocket. Such scenes in the motion picture detail the drastic differences between the white upper class and struggling Black low class. Additionally, it highlights how Black people are dominated and discriminated by the system that favors white supremacy, capitalism and the upper class.
Differences and similarities between historical events and contemporary times shown in the film
Sorry To Bother You shows that everything and nothing has changed in the American society. Historically, the lower class who consisted of Black people suffered horrific injustices under white people through slavery, minimum wage and hard labor to benefit capitalist individuals. Today, times have changed but things still remain the same. White Americans still enjoy certain privileges over African Americans and research shows that the nation has not made enough effort to address racial inequality (Horowitz, Brown%& Cox, 2019). Recent news on police brutality on Black men in the US is proof of similarities between the slavery era and contemporary time. Whites make up the upper class, are economically stable, and occupy the top positions in the corporate world. On the other hand, black people continue to lag economically, make up the low class, are suppressed by white supremacy and capitalism. The state needs to establish policies to address historical injustices on Black people, particularly because the White people’s wealth was built on exploitation and mistreatment of Black slaves.
Sorry To Bother You(2018). Directed by Boots Riley, performances by Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Jermaine Fowler, Omari Hardwick, Terry Crews ,Patton Oswalt, David Cross, Danny Glover, Steven Yeun, Armie Hammer; Annapurna Pictures.
A dark comedy thriller that explores the realities and struggle of the Black community in the United States in a system that favors capitalism, racism, and class.
Bertrand, M& Mullainathan, S.(n.d). Discrimination in the job market in the United States. J-PAL. Retrieved from https://www.povertyactionlab.org/evaluation/discri…
This is a research that targeted firms and urban population in Chicago and Boston, United States.It was an intervention to examine the racial factor in recruitment and hiring. The findings show racial discrimination is prevalent in American corporate sectors and whites are still more likely to be considered for jobs and promotions over Black people.
Horowitz, M,J,.Brown A & Cox, K.(2019). Race In America. Pew Research Center; Social and Demographic Trends. Retrived from https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2019/04/09/race-in-america-2019/
This study reports that despite abolishment of slavery more than 150 years ago racism is still prevalent in the United States. From the study, more than four-in ten say the nation has not made enough progress towards racial equality. Mostly, more Black people have negative views about the country’s racial progress. Additionally, disparities between Black and Whites exist even in modern day.
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