This Is England, directed by Shane Meadows, was an interesting movie that triggered a lot of different emotions for me. Throughout the entire movie I was really concerned about Shaun’s mother’s parenting style. She gave me some hope when she went to the cafe to confront the gang for cutting Shaun’s hair…but then she left him with them! I was pretty shocked by that. I’m not a parent, so I can’t judge; however, I feel like you wouldn’t want your young son (I think they said he was twelve?) being influenced by and hanging around much older kids. So that was surprising. I was also really sad for Shaun the whole time. He obviously didn’t have a full grasp on what was going on with the Skinhead gang. I thought is was a really low blow for Combo to convince Shaun that in order to make his father proud he had to be an extreme nationalist and hurt innocent people. It was truly a tragic movie.
Furthermore, I would like to draw everyone’s attention to a quote from one of the boys (I’m sorry I don’t remember his name–I think they jokingly called him Tubby?) at the Skinhead meeting. After the meeting was over, one of the boys asked if the other believed everything the men were saying about nationalism and sending immigrants back to where they came from. The other boy replied (this might not be exactly the words he used, but it is pretty close) “if it wasn’t right, all these people wouldn’t be here.” He was referring to the Skinheads and defending that they were right because there were lots of people who believed it. Of course, we could brush this off and say it was just a child misunderstanding and following authority figures. However, let’s say it’s more than that. I think right now, specifically what has been going on in our own country, it is an important time to look at this mindset and identify how problematic it is. I would like to give a brief anecdote of something that happened over the past weekend:
For this anecdote, I will not name any names in order to respect the anonymity of the people involved. Over the past weekend, an African-American employee at a company that will also remain anonymous, was racially discriminated against by a customer. The employee offered assistance to the customer that had just walked in and the customer denied his assistance saying that he would wait for “the white guy” to help him. Without arguing, the employee accepted and told his coworker that the customer was waiting for his help. Meanwhile, the employee went into the backroom and came out a few minutes later. When he came out, the same customer called him “the N word” and continued to do so. The employee rightfully became offended and asked him to leave. The customer did not leave and proceeded to call the police and tell them that he would “shoot [the employee] myself if they didn’t get here fast.” Luckily, the police arrived quickly and arrested the customer.
This is unfortunately a very true story. Perhaps it is a coincidence that this happened soon after the election. However, it seems too me a little too coincidental considering all the hate that has erupted this past week.
I do not want to get into a political battle, nor do I want to offend anyone. I will say that there has been much hate and negativity from both sides of the spectrum and violence is never the answer to problems. Unfortunately, I think the mindset that the kid in the movie brings up–the “everyone else is doing it, so it must be right” attitude–is terrifying and very applicable to what is happening in our country. Just because one thinks a behavior is acceptable does not mean that it is. I know that everyone in our class understands that, my intention is not to talk down to anyone. However, I think this it is unacceptable that so many members of our country are giving in to this idea.
It should never be okay to treat another human being the way this employee was treated in the anecdote. The hate rhetoric that has come from this election is unacceptable. I am by no means saying that everyone who voted for Trump is a bad person–I don’t believe that at all. However, I do believe that it is ignorant to disregard the behavior and hate rhetoric that has been going on among our fellow Americans.
Another quick anecdote: Last week, the day after the election, I was talking to someone who told me about an experience her friend had earlier that morning. She said her friend was at a gym and two men next to her winked at her and one of them said to the other, “now that Trump is President, we can grab that anytime we want.” They said this within hearing range of the woman.
This is also unacceptable. It makes me sick to think human being can see other human beings as objects. Though this is nothing new, it is still upsetting. It concerns me that so many people have found an excuse to be shitty people in the name of Trump’s Presidency. I will stop there because, like I said, I have no interest in arguing.
Anyway, the point I am trying to make is that hate is NEVER okay. I think the movie This Is England, depicted a realistic and sad example of the hate that can exist in humanity. I think it also represented how meaningful words and actions are. Far too often, I think people forget that words and actions matter. Not only do your words and actions effect how the world sees you, but how you see yourself. This is America and we need to change our words and actions so we do not lose what we have fought long and hard to protect.