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Gran Torino and Race Relations and Ethics - Essay Example

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Gran Torino and Race Relations and Ethics

The movie has things to teach about ethics to people in the world. Racism is still very much an issue in today’s world(Bonilla, 2010), and Walt was as racism as anybody could be. He called the next door neighbors “gooks,” even after he came to love them and protect them. He called his barber a “Dago” and “Italian Prick.” It was obvious that he was a man who had a lot of bad feelings in his heart about people who are of different races. He was, perhaps, representative of many people who see people of different races as being somehow “other.” These people from Laos, who live next door, were people that Walt evidently felt were beneath him from the beginning of the film.
However, Walt changed throughout the course of the film, and, soon, he was taking Thao and Sue under his wing. Walt went out of his way to bond with young Thao, showing him the ropes of carpentry, once he figured out that Thao had an interest in carpentry and tools, and making sure that Thao got to meet the barber and know how to converse with other men in a way that would be acceptable in America. When Sue was raped by some men who were relatives of Thao and Sue, Walt became protective of her and went to confront the men. In fact, all through the film, Walt comes to the aid and protection of these neighbors. It was feasible that Walt could have lived his life in an insular way, and stayed out of the way of the gang members who were harassing his next door neighbors....
What happens to our brother or our sister is what happens to us, and we have to make sure that we do everything that we can to help those who are oppressed. Walt learned this lesson, even though he personally had feelings for the Hmong that were not so flattering. There was some possible indication that Walt was also redeeming himself for things that happened during the Korean War – he implied that he killed some Korean men even though he wasn’t under orders to do so. So, this might have also given him his sense of ethics as well. My own personal feelings about what happened during the movie was somewhat mixed. While I understood the need for Walt to do what he did in the movie, it was also difficult to see. Yes, the gang members were harassing the family of Sue and Thao, and, yes, the black men were harassing Sue and there was the distinct possibility that they were going to rape her. So, in a sense, what Walt ended up doing at the end of the movie was extremely justified. In fact, he didn’t really do anything at all, except stand outside the house of the gang members and pretend that he had some kind of weapon on him. Considering that he had shown the gang members earlier that he had access to these types of weapons, it was reasonable for the gang members to assume that this was still the case, and that he, in fact, was packing heat when he went to visit the boys. Another point is probably the most important point to make about the movie – the movie portrays a society that is color blind, in the end. The surface of the people in the movie was that everybody is segregated and that Walt was somebody who didn’t want anything to do with ...Show more
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Summary

In the movie Gran Torino, there are complicated issues that implicate both social justice and racial tensions and relations. The evolution of the main character in the movie, Walt Kowalski, shows an evolution of his own sense of race and social justice, while giving him a measure of redemption about the past and the things that he did when he served in Korea…
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