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Multi-Culturalism. An American Case . Todd Holden. Professor Mediated Sociology Department of Multi-Cultural Societies Graduate School of International Cultural Studies . For Further Review. Find this presentation on my web site :

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An American Case

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Todd Holden


Mediated Sociology

Department of Multi-Cultural Societies

Graduate School of International Cultural Studies

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For Further Review

  • Find this presentation on my web site:

  • Also check out various sites related to this presentation:

    • About Multiculturalism

    • About the U.S. Constitution

      • Especially the 14th Amendment

    • About Race Relations (particularly in the United States)

    • About the Movie we will see

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Racial Struggle and Harmony

  • In these two lectures we will look at the issue of multi-culturalism in one country (America).

  • We will see the issue in its original form – ethnicity

    • In particular the struggle between ethnic groups over their perceived difference

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About Multi-culturalism

  • A wide, deep topic

  • In part, emerged in reaction to the idea that societies like America were “melting pots” that tended to merge groups

    • Thus denying their difference(s)

  • Also, assisted by “Post-Colonial” Theory and the greater emphasis on “Identity”

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Rooted in American History

  • African Americans (once called “Negroes” then called “Blacks”)

  • Brought forcefully from Africa as slaves

  • To work on plantations as forced labor

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Rooted in American History

  • A “civil war” was fought in which the southern states tried to break away from the United States “union” of states

    • Aim: to preserve their slave-based agricultural way of life which the North was seeking to abolish

    • Until Viet Nam, it was the bloodiest of all American wars.

    • Ultimately the North “won” but the divisions between the 2 regions and their ways of life remained for over 100 years.

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Understanding Racial Division through Cinema

  • In this movie, Remember the Titans, a (semi-) true story is told about a high school in America in 1971.

  • The school was in Virginia, a state on the border between North and South.

  • The time was during “desegregation”

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Understanding Desegregation

  • In the U.S. Constitution, the 14th Amendment (after the Civil War) specifies that there will be “equal protection of the laws”

    • This means, for instance, that if one (white) student goes to a school with particular resources, then another (black) student should be able to have the same resources.

    • One problem: in a public school (which receives its money from local taxes), schools in black areas may have less money

      • Due to less taxes

      • This, in turn, is based on residents who make less money…

      • Because of past racial discrimination that led to less highly paying jobs

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Understanding Desegregation

  • Issue: how to redress this balance?

  • Solution: U.S. Federal (i.e. national) Courts insisted that local school districts create equality of resources and opportunities for students by busing students from one part of a city to another school in the city.

    • In this way the school became “integrated” with white and black (and later Hispanic and Asian) children from all over the city.

    • This solution, however, created much resistance and anger – especially among White families.

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American Football:A National “Religion”

  • The basic rules of American Football can be found here

  • There are those who view football as a religion, in terms of its place in society

  • It certainly has many martial (military) elements, as is clear from the movie we will see

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Remember the Titans:Key Questions

  • What is the situation that the coaches – Yoest and Boone – face?

    • What reasons lie behind this situation?

  • How do they resolve this situation?

  • Do the coaches manage to get along in the movie?

    • Think of examples in which they distrust one another or show evidence of conflict.

    • Think of examples in which they support one another or show evidence of harmony

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Remember the Titans:Further Key Questions

  • How do the players get along with one another?

    • Think of concrete examples of conflict

    • Think of examples in which conflict is avoided or else defused

  • What are situations that lead to players bonding?

  • How do the players show evidence of bonding?

  • Do you think that the coaches and players are selfless? Or are they acting for themselves?

    • Think of some examples for your opinion

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Remember the Titans:Key Words

  • Black Animals

  • Little Friends

  • “Coach Coon”

  • Soul power

  • “Your people”

  • Your Momma

  • Monkey, Jungle Bunny

  • Trust in the Lord

  • Knock the chocolate out of folks

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Remember the Titans:Key Symbols

  • “Who’s Your Daddy?”

  • Gettysberg

  • Brick

  • Banana

  • Seventies Music

  • “Soul” shake

  • Team Dance

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Music in the Movie

Generally: The music of the 60s and 70s used words and music to explain the changes occurring in the society

Question: In what ways is the music used to explain the situations in the film?

  • If you access the lyrics on line, can you find connections between the situations in the movies and the music

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Music in the Movie

  • I Heard it Through the Grapevine

  • Express Yourself

  • Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

  • Spirit in the Sky

  • It’s a Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall

  • Spill the Wine

  • Fire and Rain

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Music in the Movie

  • (Na, Na, Na, Na, Hey, Hey) Goodbye

  • Time

  • The Way You Do the Things You Do

  • (Want to Take you) Higher

  • I’m Your Venus

  • Peace Train

  • Long, Cool Woman in a Black Dress

  • Up Around the Bend

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Key Sentences

  • “All the head coaches in this city are white, we had to give them something…”

  • “I’m not Jesus Christ or Martin Luther King, I’m a football coach.”

  • “This is no democracy, this is a dictatorship. I am the law.”

  • “Attitude reflect(s) leadership, captain.”

  • “50,000 men died on this field… fighting the same fight we are fighting today.”

  • “Hatred destroyed my family… listen and take a lesson from the dead.”

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Key Sentences

  • “Camp over now… we’re back to the real world.”

  • “Nothing comes between us… nothing tears us apart.”

  • “You ain’t doing these boys a favor by patronizing them… you’re crippling them. Crippling them for life.”

  • “Sooner or later a man has to pick sides.”

  • “I’m sorry for what happened to your daughter, but maybe you got a taste of what my girls go through.”

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Key Sentences

  • “I was afraid of you, Julius… I only saw what I was afraid of. But you are my brother.”

  • “Everything is not just about winning and losing…”

  • “I am a winner. I am not going to lose.”

  • “Now is not the time to be proud.”

  • “You’ve taught the city how to trust a man for his soul not for how he looks.”

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Viewing the Movie, Seeking to Understand Multi-culturalism

  • Is it possible to have a multi-cultural (ethnic) society?

  • Is it better to strive for a unitary society where everyone shares one space, one way of doing?

  • Is cultural understanding the road to community?

  • What are the biggest obstacles to mutual understanding?

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Viewing the Movie, Seeking to Understand Multi-culturalism

  • Is this a story of:

    • multi-cultural society?

    • America?

    • Or just a team?

  • In other words is the ritual bonding just about what happens in a team sport or was it specific to this situation?

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Applied to Japan

  • Are these sorts of questions relevant to your country?

  • Are there any of the multi-cultural issues from this movie that we can see in contemporary Japan?

    • Or are these all an individualized part of American society?

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Understanding Society through Media

  • This is what I do in this kouza.

  • Look at the values and ideas that are presented in the text of media

    • Movies, for example

  • Also try to pull back from the media and look at the social context that creates the media content

    • What values can we see in that world that creates that way of communicating

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Understanding Societythrough Media

  • So, for example, we can look at the role of cell phones in a society – and what their use in the society tells us about that society

  • Also, we can study weblogs or photoblogs and think about their content; and what the values in that content reveals to us

  • So, too, TV food shows, advertisements and sporting events.

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Concluding about this Work

  • It is among the most challenging and exciting ways to study society (what we call “sociology”) and culture (what we call “anthropology”).

  • I hope you will think about pursuing this kind of work in the future;

  • And if you do, I hope you will consider coming to study with us in the Department of Multi-cultural Societies