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Jana Evans Braziel, Assistant Professor
229B Mc Micken Hall
Department of English and Comparative Literature
University of Cincinnati
ML 210069
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0069
Office # (513) 556-0834
Fax # (513) 556-5960

Questions and Notes for the Film La Haine

La Haine (screenplay & direction by Matthieu Kassovitz)

Issues of citizenship, immigration, migration and ‘foreigness’ are often imbued with the socio-cultural constructions of ‘good’ and ‘evil’ by a particular society.  Societies often scapegoat immigrants for a number of societal ills unrelated to the migrant populations in a specific geographical areas, issues such as unemployment and economic recession.  Also, differences (of language, race, religion) between the migrant populations and the mainstream citizens exacerbate cultural misunderstanding.

Thomas Holt argues that racism is created and circulated in ‘everyday’ social activities and that through these micro-political interactions, “racist ideas and practices are naturalized, made self-evident, and thus seemingly beyond audible challenge.  It is at this level that race is reproduced long after its original historical stimulus . . . has faded” [T.C. Holt, “Marking: Race, Race-making and the Writing of History,” American Historical Review 100, 1 (February 1995) 1-20; qtd. by McMaster].

McMaster explains that “this ‘common sense’ racism attributes specific negative qualities to different racialized categories (‘Arabs’, ‘Blacks’, ‘Chinese’)” (210); for the Arab, as perceived by the French, McMaster asserts that the stereotype defines him/her as dangerous, sexually promiscuous and dirty.

Discussion Questions:

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