Stereotypes and Excuses in Literature and Media Paper
The human mind contains one’s true identity; usually, however, one’s mind can also overlook this. Oftentimes people are swayed by popular images of people and act using those opinions. Society floods humankind with these perspectives so excessively through media that it has become an issue. After reading Night, watching Primetime’s What Would You Do? and The Lunch Date, an important message to be grasped throughout this unit is that stereotypes do not define a person because it diminishes individuality, which gives the oppressor an excuse to treat the oppressed with disrespect.
Night, a memoir by Elie Wiesel demonstrates the prejudice against Jews and the immoral actions that are thoughtlessly produced. When Elie arrives at Birkenau, a SS officer “[looks them] over as if [they] were a pack of leprous dogs hanging onto [their] lives” (Wiesel 47). He then threatens them to “work or [to] the crematory” (Wiesel 47). The officer disregards that Elie and the other prisoners are men. Knowing the effect of the words he produces, he holds fear over the prisoners heads, oppressing them because of unjust verifications. The stereotyping also displays its ways through Elie’s father when he politely asks a gypsy where the lavatories are. Rather than responding “the gypsy [looks] him up and down slowly… as if he wanted to convince himself that this man addressing him was really a creature of flesh and bone” (Wiesel 48). After examining Elie’s father, the gypsy knocks him off of his feet with a punch. The gypsy simply ignores the harmless nature of Elie’s father’s question and convinces himself that Elie’s father is a creature like the Germans emphasize. The man uses this as a justification to subject Elie’s father to violence. The series of acts put on the prisoners present the immoral outcome of stereotypes that corrode a person’s identity.
The ABC Primetime series, What Would You Do?, epitomizes how people can be…