The predatory situation Einstein observes is one of extreme alienation among all classes; “All human beings, whatever their position in society, are suffering from this process of deterioration. Unknowingly prisoners of their own egotism, they feel insecure, lonely, and deprived of the naïve, simple, and unsophisticated enjoyment of life. Man can find meaning in life, short and perilous as it is, only through devoting himself to society.” Einstein believed that devotion should take the form of a socialist economy that promotes both the physical wellbeing and the political rights of everyone. But he did not presume to know exactly what such an economic future would look like, nor how it might come into being. Read his full essay, "Why Socialism?" here .
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Director and actor Spike Lee presents his "truth" about race relations in his movie Do the Right Thing. The film exhibits the spectacle of black discrimination and racial altercations. Through serious, angry, and loud sounds, Lee stays true to the ethnicity of his characters, all of which reflect their own individualism. Lee uses insulting diction and intense scenes to show how severe racism can lead to violence. The biases reflected through Do the Right Thing model those of today which has kept society in a constant feud for so long. In Oprah Winfrey's dynamic episode, "The Color of Fear", Mr. Mun Wah projects his strong opinion when he states, " . . that racism is still going on today, that we've got to stop to hear the anguish and the pain that goes with that and then we'll survive." (3) People do not realize the severity of their own words. In the scenes of the movie that emphasize the shocking reality of failed interracial communication, racial stereotyping, trust or lack of trust, and acrimonious violence mirror the current concerns about race in America as reflected in "The Color Of Fear."
The disturbing scene where different nationalities badger their opinions on each other shows poor communication and horrible stereotyping. Pino's Italian slang, Mookies black talk, and Korean obscenities are all mixed together to show how communication grows impossible among different ethnic groups. Spike Lee is trying to show how nonsense language results in a snowball effect which worsens any situation. Lorene Cary states her view on this situation when she comments, "We need more of them, not less; more words . . What I do want is language: fighting words, love poems, elegance, dissonance, dissing, signifying, alarms, whistles, scholarly texts, political oratory, the works. Without it, we're dead."("As plain as Black and White") Maybe these "fighting words" unlock the truth about the communication plague, spreading throughout history. Leonard P. Zakin once said, " . . it's all about conversation, not dialogue."("Scaling the Walls of Hatred") Like the characters in Do the Right Thing, present day people can scream at each other all they want and will not get anywhere because outcry is not conversation. Conversation is talking, explaining, discussing, informing, and most definitely listening.
Many people do not think twice when a racial slur ...
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... trust, and wrongful violence that reflects the existing concerns about racism in America. The intense language and strong gestures enhance the film creating a realistic view for the audience. The actors in "The Color of Fear" and Spike Lee's characters both realize a problem exist, although do not know where to start to fix it. Peter Jennings pinpoints: " . . There are many valid points of view, many belief systems, . . bias and prejudice and truth and reality and myth are all mixed together . . we're all biased in some way . . You know, I used to think there was something called 'truth'. But after I spent seven years in the Middle East, I learned that there are truths about everything in life."(ABC Classroom Connection, Fall, 1993)
Racism did not start with just one person nor one truth. Neither will racism end with one person or truth. I believe it takes a contribution of people, the American nation, to commit willingly. We need to listen and learn, talk and share, and understand the truths that each individual owns. Spike Lee's movie comes across as a brilliant and powerful illustration of how America's condescending behavior impairs our racial society.
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