I am writing an essay that is analyzing the movie The Blind Side and relating it to the essay “Seeking and Making Culture: Representing the Poor” by bell hooks. The issue that is motivating me to write is to show that there is collateral learning in this movie and to show that there are contradictory and stereotypical images of poverty. A writer that has addressed the issue about poverty and the poor class is bell hooks, using her personal experiences to influence her writing in the essay. My working thesis is that there is chances in life that a person may come along that would change our life perspectives. How we approach that change and be courageous enough to do something about it may have a lifelong impact on another person and might make a huge difference. My audience is teenagers, young adults and adults to help them get rid of the stereotypical image of poor people in the world. I think my use of specific details from the movie is working best. The parts of my essay that I am least satisfied with are tying the article from hooks back to the movie. The kinds of feedback that I would like are to make sure I answered all of the questions of WAR and that I was specific enough in my essay.
The Blind Side describes the struggle of a Black man to become part of the White society. Michael Oher, the main character in the story shows the audience how a black man experiences mistreatment and discrimination from his white community that is the common trend of American mainstream. However, the film also wants to deconstruct the traditional perceptions towards White Americans through the Tuohy family. In this movie, the director shows how White Americans like the Tuohy family accepts Michael for who he is and what he wants to be. The Tuohys become Michael’s enduring power, armor, and salvation as he faces his new path of transformation, social acceptance, and immersion. From this sense, it can be perceived that Hancock’s film depicts the notion of popular culture as it emphasizes the different issues of the society such as race, racism, cultural differences, cultural interaction, and other ideas about culture and society. Having an extreme difference in terms of race, lifestyle, social background, and social status, the two races are combined together under one roof to describe the possible repulsion that might occur as well as the attraction that can happen between them.
However, it is not only this internal repulsion or attraction that is presented as a conflict of the film, but also the people within the Tuohys social surroundings. Since Leigh Anne and Sean are influential individuals because of their profession, people around them think that adopting Michael taints their good reputation. This is one of the major struggles of the Tuohy family along with Michael, but they stand up against their foes and prove to these people that Michael is more civilized than those who continue to criticize him. In article “Seeing and Making Culture: Representing the Poor”, bell hooks brings to the surface issues involving people of higher classes compared to those in poverty. In addressing issues like assumptions made about the poor, how the poor are viewed in popular culture and how the poor are represented on television or in movies. One of hooks main arguments is brought into focus throughout the movie. The concept of popular culture emerges in this film in three distinct themes: racism within the football team, the lifestyle of the socialites, and when an upcoming superstar is “made,” people keep an eye on this individual. Logically, racism occurs in television, radio, movies, and other types of media.
Most of the time, these industries use racism as a form of stereotyping. That is why common people utilize these ideals; they think that it is accepted in the society. This is what happened to Michael. He faces discrimination inside his own classroom. Even his teacher demonstrates the differences of how a White teacher interacts with a Black student like him. It is a form of stereotype that the media continues to express towards its audience. Another example of popular culture in this film is when Michael begins his football career. When the football coach, Burt Cotton sees Michael’s potential, he accepts the main character as a student of Wingate Christian School. This is also the beginning of Michael’s popularity. People, even the coaches and owners of different universities, want Michael to become part of their school. That is why despite Michael’s academic records and race, they are interested in him.
People begin to keep their eyes on Michael’s actions and achievements because he becomes popular and he soon becomes part of their lifestyle. In hooks article, one of her main arguments is about false assumptions made about the poor from her life experiences. She states, “That the poor class were almost always portrayed the poor as shiftless, mindless, lazy, dishonest, and unworthy”. This relates to the movie because the Tuohys community has specific sets of moral values. They believe that Black Americans are unacceptable within their community or surroundings because they are the roots of negativities. This is also an example of high culture being looked at as a superior culture.
The Tuohys do not change this norm, but they create their own values by accepting Michael and believe in him and his capabilities as a person. The Blindside and hooks article helps us learn that there is more to a story then just what is put on the screen. The story line is a lot deeper and has a lot of other meanings then we think. The Tuohys’ ideology is different from the standard culture of the society, but because they are part of their community, they have to express their ideology. It is hard in the beginning to show their different point of view, but they win the battle against their foes because Michael shows that he is different from the stereotypic character of a Black American.
Greene, Stuart, and April Lidinsky. From Inquiry to Academic Writing: A Text and Reader. 2nd ed. Boston: Bedford/St.Martins, 2008. 344-49, 358-71. Print.