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Essay Example on the Race and Minority Relations in the Mulan Movie

4 pages
883 words
Wesleyan University
Type of paper: 
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Race and minority issues are some of the subjects that continue to dominate in discussions concerning the construction, composition and functioning of human society. In recent times, race does not only manifest itself regarding the color of the skin but in the habits, policies, and institutions that are not designed to discriminate. The media has an impact on racial behavior and attitudes through its application of concepts on minority and race. As such, the paper is going to analyze issues of race and minority relations in the movie, Mulan that is an American animated musical and action film produced in 1998.

The issue of race is depicted in the film. The movie presents the various form of racial discrimination and the depiction of the minority through different stereotypes. Instead of the film challenging racial discrimination, it seems to reinforce racial discrimination about how some characters are presented. Some of the main characters in the movie include Fa Mulan, Shen Yi, Captain Li Shang, the emperor and Chi Fu, the head of the council. All these characters are non-white characters considering that the film opens with an invasion that takes place in China. As such, the movie evidences a lot of violence, which carries on in the whole film. Shan Yu and his Hun troops are the ones that bring destruction as the Emperor`s forces are non-violent (Schroeder et al. 1998).

When Mulan visits the matchmaker, she is given a cricket by the name Cri-Kee as a sign of luck. However, such depiction violates the Chinese culture since the crickets in China do not stand for success. Such a stereotype shows cultural racism where the ideals of a particular culture are suppressed to indicate inferiority. The illustration of some characters with darker skin shows an element of racism. The villain in the film is a non-white character known as Shen Yi, he is presented as a mysterious individual, and his features are exaggerated. In fact, he is shown to be animalistic. Hence, the movie itself displays an element of a race by creating the conclusion that evil people have exaggerated features and have darker complexion. Notably, the black race has dark skin and therefore depicting a villain with dark, and extended features demonstrate racial segregation. The stereotype in the movie brings forth the perception of blacks in society (Schroeder et al. 1998).

Similar to what is pictured in the film, in history race has been somewhat explicit but in recent times, it has been concealed in the fabric of the society discriminating against individuals using passive methods. As such, cultural racism is evident in the film. Cultural racism views people from their cultural background as opposed to the typical biological inferiority that is used commonly. In the film, Captain Shang the male protagonist is depicted as focused and a devoted man who has no interest in love affairs. Unto the very conclusion of the film, he shows no interest in Fa Mulan or any other woman. In the case, the western imagination of the Asians is that they are asexual and hence less romantic. Moreover, the fact that Captain Shang knows some fighting skills depicts that the Chinese know martial arts (Schroeder et al. 1998).

Fa Mulan, a non-white in the film, violates the norms of the society. Her form of norm-breaking becomes a source of humiliation. First, Fa Mulan breaks the rules when she acts clumsy during her visit to the matchmaker. She also steals her father`s armor to go and represent him in the fight to prevent the invasion of China. In the army when it is discovered that she is female, she is humiliated. Nobody dares to listen to her in the military. However, after she decides to return home, Fa Mulan is happy about her actions as she hands her father the gifts she receives from the emperor for saving China (Schroeder et al. 1998).

Chi Fu, a non white character in the movie with the role of a council member, is also stereotyped concerning race. The actor has a heavy accent, and his voice is annoying. Such a depiction demonstrates how the white race is different from other kinds. When Chi Fu is handing over the emperor`s message, he proves his regard for women by telling Fa Mulan`s father to teach her daughter manners after Fa Mulan interjects Chi Fu. Moreover, Chi Fu who is used to bring an effect of humor demonstrates an issue concerning the minority after Mulan is discovered that she was not male. Chi Fu says that he knew that there was something long with Mulan. Hence, such an expression depicts how the capabilities of women are challenged. Chi Fu continually sexually identifies Mulan by frequently referring that she is only a woman. In fact, after he hears that Fa Mulan will become a member of the council he claims there are no vacancies left since she merely is a woman (Schroeder et al. 1998).

In summation, the film Mulan is stereotypical about race. The manner in which the non-white actors are depicted demonstrates a frame into racism. In the film, racism presents itself in different ways considering the violence, the attributes of the characters, roles, and norm breaking that is evident.


Work Cited

Schroeder, Russell K., and Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld. Disney's Mulan. Disney Pr, 1998.


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