Page 1

J "

David King Mr. Cottle Enc 1102 January 18, 2013 Race and Class in the Blind Side John Lee Hancock's The Blind Side is an excellent movie that tells the story of a young man who gets an opportunity to change his life forever. The movie not only tells the story of Michael Oher (the main character), but it also shows how race and class still play a big role in our society today.

3ooo\ ~s\.S

There are many racial differences illustrated in The Blind Side. To begin, Michael Oher comes from a rough neighborhood; his childhood was less than ideal. He grew up in an all black neighborhood on the dirtier side of town. The area is more commonly known as the ghetto and most white people do not venture over there too often. Michael's own mother was addicted to drugs, which caused Michael to end up homeless for a while. Eventually Michael was taken in and allowed to stay with the Tuohy family. The Tuohy family comes from an entirely different socioeconomic background. The Tuohy's are a wealthy white family that livef on the other side of town. Their lives are in direct opposition to Michael's. When Michael first moves in with the Tuohy's he feels very uncomfortable and out of place due to his background. An example of this would be at the Thanksgiving dinner. Michael ends up taking more than one roll and hiding the extra in his pocket. He does this because he feels that he is not allowed to take more than one probably because he is not used to such an abundance of food. The way Michael

. was brought up is a good explanation for some of his behavior. He was almost always on his own; Michael did not always have enough to eat. In taking only one roll and hiding the other he ends up getting what he wanted without seeming greedy in front of the Tuohy's. The movie also illustrates a lot of class differences. Michael and the Tuohy's come from two completely opposite social classes. Michael is from a poor, drugfilled area. He has grown up with other blacks and is on the lower level of the social class. Meanwhile the Tuohy's are from the higher social class because they are wealthy whites that have lived a secure peaceful life in a white neighborhood. Th_g_

CV't>.Yicu. ttus 9-evt-1 e(\.u +o So0ra s )'\.\...OO~j-? movie portrays many times the differences between the social classes. For example,


when Mrs. Tuohy takes Michael to his home to pick up a few belongings, she is told by Michael to stay in the car despite her plan to help him. At first Mrs. Tuohy resists Michael's warning to stay in the car, but eventually she trusts Michael and stays in her car. While she is waiting for him, the people of the community give Mrs. Tuohy many strange looks. This is because she is a white person driving a very expensive car in a poor and generally unsafe area. From her appearance in the scene, it is obvious that Mrs. Tuohy does not belong in this type of environment. When Mrs. Tuohy takes Michael shopping for new clothes the viewers can see again how she does not seem to fit in with Michael's neighborhood. When Michael and Mrs. Tuohy cross the street to go to the Big and Tall store she grabs on to Michael's arm and asks "You're going to take care of me, right?" (The Blind Side). Mrs. Tuohy asks Michael this because she probably realizes how much of an

. outsider she is in the area. This scene is a good example that shows how different the backgrounds and social classes are between Michael and the Tuohy's. Another racial and class difference shown in the movie would be the education differences between Michael and the Tuohy's own children. To illustrate, Michael has always been in public school with poor teachers that do not always give enough attention for all students to succeed. Michael was one of those children because he failed almost all of his classes in school. The teachers continued to pass him along to the next grade because they did not want to deal with him anymore. The Tuohy's children on the other hand had attended a private school that was predominately white. Their education was far greater than Michaels. Most private schools have a specific curriculum that they want their teachers to follow, which reinforces the teacher's need and want for students to succeed. Another reason besides private verses public education could be that Michael attended a high-poverty school. Many public schools do not have enough funds for the amount

(q..t ret#JJ' w1) c\tt,oo ~ o{ ttl.

of students they have attending, which causes the education to slac'tf. It c~ because the school cannot afford enough teachers for all the students causing classes to have too many students. With too many students the teachers have a much harder time trying to give enough time and attention for all students to



succeed. T.o..Bhmv, the NAACP gives statistics stating that in 2006-2007, 33 percent of African Americans attended high-poverty schools while only 4 percent of whites attended high-poverty schools in America (NAACP). With these statistics it shows that Michael was probably one of the students in the 33 percent attending a highpoverty school. This example ~show the majority of blacks in the area attended


u....J v


. high-poverty schools while there were more whites attending a private school, which gave them a better education. This demonstrates the class difference between blacks with lower incomes and whites with higher incomes in the type of education their children receive. Another illustration of the differences in education between the races would be the graduation rate between blacks and whites. According to an article in the New York Times the graduation rate for students that were freshman in 2004 was 61.5 percent for African Americans and 81 percent for whites (New York Times). Michael most likely would not have graduated from high school due to his grades. 'fo ( e..x:a. \'V\ f>\ e. Tjl-ShOw, when he first transferred to the private high school that the Tuohy's children attended he almost was not admitted due to his grades. Michael was so far behind everyone else his age that the Tuohy's had to hire a private tutor to work ~.e.+

with him to get him caught up with everyone else. This just shows GRe ef the class difference! between whites and blacks. Most black parents would like to help their children succeed and do better in school, but many do not pay attention to grades or cannot afford a tutor.



~ l I(' v





! â&#x20AC;˘



( 'r,, c




I t'l If I' F., I~


o.rc rn

'"" .(>( ( \o



\ I