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What does gender or race have to do with it Freedom Writers and the American Education System - Essay Example

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What does gender or race have to do with it Freedom Writers and the American Education System

More often not, these films feature an inspiring teacher, which may or may not be relevant to reality depending on which school you attended. Films that illustrate education also often combat issues of race and gender, which come into play in many schoolyards across the world, with problems of language and communication at the forefront of this fight. The film Freedom Writers, released in 2007, illustrates the American school system by being based on a true story, whilst employing a number of stereotypes and Hollywood norms to make the film appeal to the intended audience. Freedom Writers is a tale of a young teacher who comes to work at a school which has just recently brought in a integration plan on the back of the Los Angeles Riots in 1992. This teacher, Erin Gruwell, struggles initially to cope with the racial segregation at the school, as well as the violence between the groups. One day, Gruwell finds a racist drawing by one of the students and uses this to illustrate the problems of the Holocaust, which opens the eyes of the students and allows them to see that racism and other discrimination can lead to destructive acts. Gruwell continues on in this path, by inviting Holocaust survivors to the class, as well as encouraging her class to raise the funds to bring the woman that sheltered Anne Frank in the war to their school. Gruwell encourages the class to write their own diaries, like Anne Frank, and complies them into book form, eventually having the success that she desired by preparing a number of her students for attending college. Although some of the information here may be fictional or using Hollywood hyperbole, some interesting points about the American education system were raised. The purpose of this essay is to explore the stereotyping and struggles of the racial groups portrayed in Freedom Writers, and how the film highlights racial discrimination issues and how these affect schools across the United States. The American education system is portrayed as place that should inspire students in their learning, encouraging them to make the right decisions and go to college, despite the initial fears and anxieties of the classroom. The inspiration may not be accurate for many, but the difficulties are, which are what makes Freedom Writers such a useful learning tool for exploring both discrimination and American educational philosophies. Intended Audience It is difficult to identify a specific intended audience for this film, although it is useful for any analysis to do so. Using mainstream actors such as Hilary Swank and Patrick Dempsey, as well as the large Hollywood budget, show that the film was intended for mainstream audiences who may have been unfamiliar with Erin Gruwell and her work as a teacher. The idea came from a documentary about Gruwell (The Freedom Writers & Gruwell, 2006), which did not hit mainstream audiences and therefore the film aimed to illustrate her story but with a number of Hollywood-style attributes to further bolster the decision to release the story to mainstream audiences as a release. Freedom Writers promotional poster (LaGravenese, 2007) As with any education-based transformation Bildungsroman film, part of the intended audience includes young adults from the demographic of the film. This is particularly evident in Freedom Writers, as there are a number of slang terms used throughout the film that are used for comedic effect in one particularly memorable scene. Swank apologises for her “badness” (LaGravenese, 2007), which the students find hilarious because it has a completely different meaning in their language. Obviously, this scene (and other ...Show more
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Summary

There are a number of conclusions that can be drawn about Freedom Fighters and the depiction of the American education system. Firstly, the story highlights a number of problems with the system. Bureaucracy is an issue, with teachers having to conform to strict curricula…
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