guidelines (Ediger 614), a more effective version of the meeting would
have done wonders to push the film forward and open up the potential
for collaboration between teacher and parent. The scene’s tumultuous
start with skin color instantly becoming a focus perpetuates the
stereotype of the separation by race and social class. Had the mom and
teacher done a better job of respecting one another, the film could have
presented a blueprint for better relations in real life. While it may be
true that the teacher has not had to face the same struggles the mother
and son have encountered, there is no path forward without bridging
the gap.
Adding to the frustration is the negative stereotyping this scene
perpetuates: the angry black woman and the broken home. Immature
viewers may fail to possess a deeper understanding of the troubles the
mother may face or to understand that she is a stereotype rather than a
fully developed character and label her as a roadblock, little more than
an impediment to the heroic teacher’s success. Since Johnson is painted
in such a heroic light, pitting this mother against her almost makes the
mother a one-dimensional villain when another option would be to
showcase her hard work with her sons. In addition to depicting her as
the harmful stereotype of the “angry black woman,” viewers may
question her ability to parent because there is no depiction of the
sacrifices she has probably made for her sons. Had the film given more
positive interactions between the mother and teacher, it would have
been able to break stereotypes and promote the idea that despite
income and race, moms are awe-inspiring and do so much for their
children. Personally, I am sick of Hollywood showing low-income
mothers as failures and wish this film had taken the opportunity to
expose the fact that, although bad mothers exist, good mothers can
exist as well, even against all odds.
Teachers
One of the more original movies I observed is Teachers. This
movie portrays Alex Jurel (Nick Nolte) as an exasperated teacher trying
to educate his students, despite a failing school staff more concerned
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