Boyz N the Hood is a classic African American film that can be critically analyzed through the lens of race and gender issues in the media. The first thing I noticed when viewing the movie through that lens was the use of common posters throughout the movie that were found on the street and in the neighborhood. These signs served as a visual reinforcement to the paths these young people were on in the neighborhoods where they grew up.
For example, immediately after a title card displaying a depressing statistic that directly correlated to the Boyz N the Hood theme, an initial shot of a red “Stop” sign on the street followed as to indicate the rest. of the world is still unconcerned in a world about the problems faced by the children of this neighborhood.
There was also a “One-Way” street sign in the background of two shots when children were walking to or from school. There was also a dazzling red “Wrong Way” sign just before the corpse, serving as a message that the crime committed is not the right way to do things, and also a subtle visual clue that these kids are falling for one. way path that can lead you down the wrong path in life. To top it off, the screenwriter and director made sure to add yellow police warning tape to indicate to the audience that these kinds of scenarios in this movie and in real life deserve our careful attention; However, in the movie, the children ignored the warning tape that leads to the following scenes of Trae losing his temper and being sent to live with his father, who teaches him to be cautious and ultimately sets him on a path where may. to rise above all the warning signs that are displayed and reiterated throughout this film indicating that there was only one way, the wrong way, to live and survive in this neighborhood. Near the end of the movie, there was one more sign that was highlighted by the corpses of the guys who killed Ricky that highlighted the word exit. However, I was happy to see a title card at the end of the movie with uplifting information indicating that Trae went to college at Morehouse University in Atlanta, GA. The use of street signs, statistics, and written information was always in this movie. I had never paid much attention to them before, it was possible that they served to record this powerful message about these Boys that although they grew up in this neighborhood in my psyche when I was a little girl watching this movie at different stages of my life. .
Now that I saw it this week, I was saddened to see the drawing of the elementary school age students depicting a colored man in a white t-shirt with his hands up in front of what appears to be a black and white police car . This film was produced in 1991 and more than 25 years later, in 2015, black men continue to be profiled, brutally harassed and killed by police officers, even when they have their hands in the air with no weapons on or near. their bodies. That hurts.
Addressable stereotypes in this film include the use of the term Indian as a slip by a white American teacher who quickly corrected her mishap by recasting her terminology to Native Americans during her reference to the early settlers of America.
Another stereotype perpetuated in this movie is that of the self-hating black man portrayed as the African American cop in this movie who hates “niggas” like Trae in his own words.
Another theme that is brought to light in this film focuses on humans with physical disabilities like little Chris, who was trapped in a wheelchair for his entire adult life. Just a one-word dialogue, “Mannn …”, with a sincere expression of disappointment, highlights how people with physical limitations are often excluded during a mission by those who are mobile and without limitation, as in the scene in the that Little Chris sees. the rest of his friends leave in search of the guys who killed Ricky.
I think Native Americans are still stereotypically referred to as Indians in the media. However, I believe that the stereotype of the black man who hates himself is less perpetuated now than in the past. However, the stereotype of the black man hating himself has been replaced by other stereotypes about the stereotypical characteristics of black men that could make black men hate or devalue themselves if not addressed.
Finally, I think bullies in movies are often still portrayed as violent African Americans and / or minority men who attack people recklessly, similar to the stereotypical roles found in Boyz N the Hood played by African American characters. Minors like the young teens in the gang that stole Ricky’s football as a kid.