Audrey Smedley's Essay 'Race And The Construction Of Human Identity'

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Siyavash Kazemi Reflection on District 9 December 17, 2015 One of the major themes that the movie District 9 (2009) attempts to evaluate is the notion of race, social segregation, and racism. The name of the movie refers to a governmental site outside the city that homes a population of undernourished aliens, who cannot leave the earth. As a result, the aliens become isolated, segregated and eventually discriminated against due to the xenophobic attitude of the humans. Similarly, in her essay, Race and the Construction of Human Identity, Audrey Smedley tackles the idea of race and its relation to identity throughout the lens of history. After watching the film, I could not help but to see much coloration between the behaviors of humans and…show more content…
I think since we have brought up with the idea of noticing physical and facial differences among others, and in fact categorizing people into small and perceived boxes, we see the concept of race as a normal tool to classify others. We may condemn racism, but we do not often question the concept of race itself. "Are these superficial distinctions really necessary?" I wondered while watching the film. This seems even more surprising when we consider the fact that race and racism is relatively a new concept in history. According to Smedley, "the biological variations among human groups were not given significant social meaning" (693), until the last centuries. District 9 is one of those rare artworks that help us step back and see the bigger picture. What the protagonist alien in the film shared with Copley, the human whom was infected with the black liquid, was much more than their differences. Other than physical features, there was not much disparity between them. However, the fear of unknown/unlike creatures other than ours has caused this long time apartheid between aliens and human in film, and between whites and blacks in South Africa. Accordingly, District 9 shows how unnecessary distinctions that we voluntarily chose to

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