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A Bronx Tale - Essay Example

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The racially-charged setting of NewYork City in the 1960s is the backdrop for the movie, “A Bronx Tale.” “A Bronx Tale” portrays a young Sicilian male named Calogero from boyhood through his teenage years. …
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Download file to see previous pages As the young man enters high school he is attracted to an African American girl, Jane, who causes conflict both internally and externally for him as he deals with peer pressure, personal angst, and family expectations. The 1960’s was a time of change for racial issues in America. Their where appeals by African American leaders protesting segregation in the United States and the role and status of the black community was transforming. This film is set in the thickest era of the racial segregation issue within the country. In the city of New Jersey there was a heavy population of Italian/Americans that lived alongside African Americans and the constant threat of violent encounters kept tensions high within both communities. African Americans were fighting for their right to vote and to end segregation and in the midst of it all a common paranoia was that anyone who seemed to be of white decent was a threat. This would explain why in the movie there were times where upon immediate contact there were unavoidable confrontations. African Americans were often subjected to lower positions when they were employed. This would explain the next scene described. The first African American shown in the film is a black bartender at the neighborhood pub which the gangsters frequent. This depiction of an African American in a service position is accurate and represents the lower societal classification of African Americans in the United States in the1960s. The film’s next portrayal of African Americans is a segregated school bus driving through the Italian neighborhood. One Italian boy says, “They don’t live here.” Another Italian boy says, “That’s how it starts.” The neighborhood boys taunt and yell at the bus passengers, inciting one African American boy on the bus to make an obscene gesture at the neighborhood boys. This portrayal reveals the territorial nature of segregation as well as the lack of respect and understanding among different ethnicities. It also shows that the prejudices were mutually held, however the African American prejudice against Caucasians was probably in response to the Caucasians’ initial prejudice which was rooted in slavery. This theme of divisiveness is reinforced in a later scene when the teenage Calogero walks the African American girl home but stops before crossing into the African American neighborhood, a block from her actual house. The reason that Calogero stopped was another example of the lines in the sand that were drawn to keep the two communities separate. Some African American males yell at the Sicilian boy and one African American young man throws a rock at his back as he walks away. When several African American boys peacefully ride their bicycles through the Italian neighborhood the group of Italian boys attacks them. While Calogero abstains from participating, he suffers though guilt by association and is accused of wrong doing by Jane, whose brother was one of the boys who was attacked. Later the group of Italian boy’s fire shots and hurl fire bombs at an African American drugstore where several African Americans are gathered. One fire bomb is hurled back at them and ignites the car into an explosion, killing all of them. The film’s violent portrayal of racism during this era is accurate. The unease and distrust between different races of people was heightened by the general malice and mistrust of the American government and the leaders’ decision-making abilities. The need to belong and be accepted by one’s peers was greater during this time of uncertainty and change. Inter-racial relationships were uncommon and disapproved of. This again showed the power that racism had over the people of the United States at the time. There is ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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