Friday, February 11, 2011

District 9

The film District 9 is centered around a containment area in Africa for aliens in Johannesburg. There were many times when I didn’t know whether I should laugh or take the film seriously, like when the older black woman is being interviewed about the “prawns” while there is an alien behind her viciously dumpster diving… a bit ironic since she is talking about wanting them to leave earth. I thought it was interesting how the people named the aliens “prawns” like bottom feeders. This term is derogatory and demeaning to the alien race. Regarding the movie being racist towards the black people in the film—I think that they film definitely plays on the negative stereotypes of black people and the ghetto. For instance, one scene shows a bunch of black men and aliens gambling on an “alien fight” that resembles cock fighting which is obviously illegal. It also showed kids talking about guns which reminded me of films about ghettos in the US. I also think that the film mocks traditional African culture with the with doctor woman. She tells others that eating the alien body parts makes you gain their power- reminiscent of ancient tribal rituals with animals. The weapons salesman even tries to cut off the “changed” arm of the reporter to become like an alien showing that this idea is prevalent among the African people and making them seem absurd and superstitious.

1 comment:

  1. I also felt the film could be interpreted as often racist and furthering racist stereotypes. From the alien's exclusive dealings with African natives to the stereotypical African witch doctor, unjustified racial undertones permeated this film. It's not that the alien's made deals with the Nigerians that bothered me; it's that the aliens were considered "bottom feeders" and they seemed to make exclusive dealings with Africans, which could lead the viewer to unfairly associate Africans as bottom feeders. Africa has a rich and diverse culture, and I believe it's terribly unfair the filmmakers drew on stereotypical African caricatures, from Nigerian gangs to African witch doctors, to easily add "entertainment" while furthering the stereotypes that have plagued Africa and the west's perception of what it means to be black and/or African.