Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Social inequality in films and literature

We are living in a world with huge social inequalities. While some people live in luxury with four cars, private pools and money enough for three lives, others may live in poverty, in sheds, or on the streets only a few neighbourhoods away.

This week I saw the movie "The Blind Side". It is about the homeless boy Michael Oher. He has got little education, his mother is a drug addict, he has lived in several foster homes and he doesn't seem to have a very bright future. However, he meets Leigh Anne Tuohy, who takes him into her home. She makes sure he gets into a school, gives him clothes, food and love. Michael ends up as a successful football player, all thanks to Leigh Anne's care.

The film really makes you reflect on topic of social inequality. Especially in the end, where Leigh Anne shows a couple of news notices. They are all about young, black, men who have been killed. They have all had little education, but are described as great in sports. She says that that could have been Michael, if she had not taken him into her home. This movie shows really well how big the differences are, but also how small they can be. If Michael had not met Leigh Anne he would not have ended up as a professional football player. One person believed in him, and that made the whole difference. Movies like “The Blind Side” can be open your eyes on how much social inequality there actually is. They can help us see the realities we may have never thought of, or been told about.

Social inequalities is not something new, it has probably always existed. The book "The Secret Life of Bees" takes place in the 1960s in USA, and tells about differences between the living conditions for the black and the white people. This book has got a lot of the same message as “The Blind Side”, except that it is from 50 years earlier. Reading books like this one can give you a perspective on how social inequality has changed over the years. You can actually learn a bit of history by reading books like this!

Books are almost always good storytellers, and can give you a view on a topic from a completely different point of view. I think it is very helpful to zoom in on the life and thoughts of one or two persons, and getting to know them, instead of just learning about the whole situation generally. You feel like you get to know the main character, and understand their opinions and experiences. It is so much easier to connect with one person, and you can feel empathy and sympathy for them. That is probably why reading books or watching films makes it easier to understand really is. You get to experience it through another person, instead of just reading the definition in a boring text book.

There is a lot of social inequality in the world, and it is often difficult to see it. The great thing about books and movies is that they show stories the viewer/reader can relate to. I think that is the reason why books/movies have so much influence on people.  


  1. Hi, just wanted to say that I really liked the way you connected a modern film back to a book set in the 60s. It could also be really interesting to connect viewpoints from other places in the world, where the differences between classes might be even more extreme. Books and films like this help everyday people to see things from a different perspective than they might not normally have. It's good for us to watch or read pieces like these, because sometimes they can force us to see things we don't want to or even how we can help others in bad situations. Anyways, liked your post!

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