BABEL Movie 2006Introduction Babel is a film about communication. There are four main storylines, which involved fourcountries and five languages. However, the director used a rifle to link up the four stories together aptly,which makes it a coherent movie. The first storyline was about the married American couple, Richardand Susan. They travelled to Morocco, but Susan was shot during the journey. Another storyline wasabout the two brothers lived in Morocco, and one of them unintentionally shot Susan. The third storylinewas about the Mexican woman, Amelia. She was the baby-sitter of the Richard family. And finally, thelast one is about a deaf Japanese girl, Chieko. Chieko desperately want to be loved and to be cared.However, she seriously misinterpreted the way to do so. This paper will discusses subject that I study inclass which is very closer to the reality we live in. The film highlights places such as United States,Mexico, Morocco and Japan. The four countries represent different cultural styles, three forms ofembodiment of man that is via witnessing the crash, the isolation, and isolation to the difference ofculture along with fictional technological proximity. The Premise of movie which the moviemaker triedto convey was that although we live together, yet we are isolated from each other. The movie highlights, interpersonal relationship and the awareness of communication problems,such as stereotyping, prejudices and enthnicentrism arising from technological development.Answer-3 Stereotypes are said to be as old as the human culture. Stereotypes are said to be generalizationsor can be termed as assumptions that an individual tends to make about the characteristics of a certaincaste, creed or religion and due to the Halo effect they tend to perceive all individuals the same way. It is
in this instance that stereotype was first visible in terms of how important an American life is in relationto other lives belonging to different religion and countries. Upon being shot by the boy, the Moroccan aswell as the American media immediately covers it. The press of American highlights and discusses theatrocity or the outrageous behavior of the Moroccans and indirectly pointing out the Arabs and Muslims.It highlights the extent to which the barbarous attitudes of Arabs are when it comes to American Life. Ina way they communicated that Muslims are barbarous by nature and for them taking away a life is anorm. The media did not highlight the Moroccan assailant that was travelling along and who also lost hislife in the incident. The death of the assailant who was a child was ignored and not once highlighted.The only reason the death of the child was not highlighted because of the fact that he was fromMoroccan Muslim and was not an American. The Muslim family underwent severe crisis after that butthat was ignored as well. Again, stereotype was very apparent and the focus of attention was howAmericans are treated as compared to the rest of the world and the violence that Moroccans areassociated with. They also depicted in the movie that Moroccan or Muslims to be more precise have anorm of possessing guns and handing over the guns to children is also a norm. This in turn conveys thatMoroccans or Arabs mentally condition their children from the start to possess guns and take livesAnswer-4 An instance of prejudice was also very apparent in the movie. When the Americans decided tovisit Morocco they believed that they should be equipped with security and that they should be armed.Since it is an Arab country there is bound to be violence and threat to life. Contradictory to theirperception they still hired security that belonged to the same region that is the Moroccan region andwere Muslims. However they do not highlight the fact that the security people were willing to providesecurity and that they were more concerned about the safety and security of the Americans rather thantheir own countrymen. Their devotion was also ignored in terms of the security sacrificing the life of
locals and helps provide security to people who are completely unknown to them. The characters thatwere involved in stereotyping were not involved in verbal or non verbal behavior with respect to thestereotypical instance that has been highlighted. They boy in specific accidentally shot the Americanlady on the bus. This was highlighted in the news and simultaneously a barbarous image of Moroccans/Muslims was shown. Another instance which showed prejudice was when it was shown in the movie that when theAmerican female was shot by the child the other travelers of the bus who were obviously Moroccanswere indifferent to the women’s injury and acted as if nothing had happened. It was in turncommunicated that Moroccans are highly insensitive and there is no value of human life. Witnessing ahuman being killed is an alarming state and knowing that the Morrocans did not respond to suchalarming state shows the kind of mental and cultural conditioning that is apparent in the population. Beit the adults or the children. They are concerned about their own safety and living and would only helpor support someone when there is vested interest. However in the beginning of the movie whomever theAmerican couple came across that is the Moroccans; they exhibited warmth and compassion for thecouple ( Bhatia, p. 3). Yes in both the instances the attitude can be termed as a racist or a source ofdiscrimination since the American couple was operating on the pre conceived notions that they hadwhich was set by the media or the news reports. It was without knowing them completely that theyoperated in terms of getting security and when the media stereotyped morocco as being a terroristcountry.Answer-5 An instance where enthnicentrism was depicted was when the couple came to know thatEnglish is not being spoken locally when the couples reached ther then there was a certain sense ofnegative aura depicted which communicated that English is a language is the universal language and
they not knowing the language makes the morrocons inferior. Knwoing English and belonging to asuperpower which is United States of America makes the superior.Secondly, many aspects of social injustices were also shown. Social injustice against a country occurswhen the country or the country people are seen as being inferior. The interesting aspect that was shownin the movie was the way the American life which is termed as being superior was shown to beimportant in contrast to the life of the Moroccans or any other religion for that matter. When theAmerican women was attacked in the bus by the boys, the press instantly highlights the viciousness ofthe Moroccans that they killed an American. The press then talks about Moroccans in a derogatory way.The press only highlights Morocco when there is a negative instance and that to in a negative manner.The press did not highlight the assailant that also expired which shows that the injury of the Americanwas more important then the death of the Morrocan. The only reason that the assailant wasn’thighlighted because according to the standards of ethnocentrism Moroccan life was termed as beinginferior and American injury was termed as being superior.This clearly depicts that the Americans are said to be egocentric and it is not only thought that waythemselves but the world around also think of Americans that way. This not only happens on oneincident ror scenario it takes place on a regular basis.Conclusion To conclude, Babel as a film tries to reinforce numerous instances of regional stereotyping,prejudices and enthnicentrism, that are very visible in the movie throughout. The entire story of theMoroccan based family takes place in a very small town which is a part of Morocco which exhibits the
miserable life that the Moroccan locals live in terms of striving for needs let alone the wants. Althoughthe film is exhibiting the reality of the lives of people who are living in rural areas but the westernviewers of the movie might miss or might not be enlightened about the fact that that small part ofMorocco does not represent the whole of Morocco and that the urban life that is prevalent in Morocco isdifferent and is flourishing. The ambivalent attitudes of the two Moroccan boys who were showncommitting disgraceful act does not communicate in any way communicate about the moral values, thenorms, the beliefs and perception of the Moroccan population, be it the people belonging to rural areasor the people who belong to the urban area. It was the irresponsibility or the illiteracy of the father tohand over such young boys with a rifle which they have never used and not the roots of the Moroccanpeople and Moroccan culture. This can be termed as another source or an instance that can be termed asa stereotypical aspect that was highlighted against the country and its people regardless of the area theyreside in (www.imdb.com).
Works CitedAllen, Chris and Jorgen Nielsen .2002. Summary Report on Islamophobia in the EU After 11 September 2001. Vienna, Austria: European Union Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia, pp. 3.Bhatia, Amir 2003. The Fight Against Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia: Bringing Communities Together. Brussels, Belgium: EU Directorate-General for Employment and Social Affairsp. 3-6.Reviews & Ratings for Babel, Data retrieved from: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0449467/reviews? start=0, Data retrieved on March 21, 2012Steele, Claude M. “A Threat in the Air: How Stereotypes Shape Intellectual Identity and Performance.” American Psychologist vol. 52 1997. pp. 613–629. firstname.lastname@example.org