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The 'Other' and Race in Film and in Discussing Film Theory - Essay Example

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The 'Other' and Race in Film and in Discussing Film Theory

The concept of 'otherness' is often seen as a representation of racial differences, the physical manifestations of different ethnic orientations becoming central to the concept of that outside of the accepted experience of human existence of a xenophobic culture. Representations of 'otherness' can be seen in literature and art, including that Colonization was predicated on the idea of 'otherness', the existence of cultures that were defined through means that were not relative to Euro-Caucasian understandings of the world were deemed not valid and could therefore be subverted to the wants and desires of an oppressive force that gleaned profit from that which could be mined for its resources. In assigning the idea of 'other', cultures were dehumanized and used without regard to the affects of that use on the cultural existence. In examining the nature of 'otherness' and the development of the character presence as it is defined by what is alien to the culture of origin, the nature of the perceptions about the exotic can be revealed. As art reflects stereotypes that define how one culture or race perceives the experience of being human in relationship to other cultures, it can be seen that in many cases differences are translated through a process of dehumanization. 'Otherness' is a state of existence through which the development of the exotic creates a sense of mystery that is part of the concept of supernatural, suggesting that otherworldliness of human existence is on a plane that is outside of what is known, and therefore unfathomable. The development of the notion of 'otherness' is a way of coping with what is not easily understood about differences between cultures, exploring sexuality and fear through the development of concepts rather than individuated characterisation. 2. Stereotypes Stereotypes are ways of categorizing people into groupings that are designated for cultural differences that can be superficially recognized to create a profile of a people. Gilman (1985, p. 15) begins the discussion of stereotypes by stating that "We all create images of things we fear or glorify". In creating these images, it sets them apart and supports a perception about 'otherness' as it is defined by what is percieved to be true in relationship to differences that are not readily understood. Stereotyping categories of groupings is a coping mechanism. Gilman (1985, p. 16) writes that "they buffer us against our most urgent fears by extending them, making it possible for us to act as though their source were beyond our control". Gillman (1985) goes on to say that stereotypes are a way of coping with the external world as the internalized concept of the self is threatened. It is a way to define perceptions of the world, but also a way to make sense of those things that seem out of the control of the individual. When using stereotypes to express something about the human condition, it is a way of organizing perceptions about 'otherness' so that it fits into how the world is understood. Bhabha (1994) discusses how this is a way of stabilizing what seems to threaten what is understood about the world. Stereotypes are often insulting, their categorisation of human experiences manifesting into the dehumanization of cultures through grouping them in what are often negative interpretations of their traditions and beliefs. Bhabha (1994) discusses how these interpretations represent the derisive element and desires, the ...Show more
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Summary

The ‘Other’ and Race in Film and in Discussing Film Theory Contents 1. Introduction 3 2. Stereotypes 4 3. Colonialism and the 'Other' 5 4. Interpretation and Representation through 'Otherness' 6 5. Race, Otherness and Film 7 6. Theory 9 7. Conclusion 10 Bibliography 12 The ‘Other’ and Race in Film and in Discussing Film Theory 1…
The Other and Race in Film and in Discussing Film Theory
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