Active Bigot Discrimination

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Spike Lee’s prophetic 1989 film Do The Right Thing chronicles the daily events of a Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. Race plays an immense role in the film, influencing the opinions and behaviors of various characters. Merton’s theory states that there are active bigots, timid bigots, fair-weather liberals, and all-weather liberals when it comes to prejudice and discrimination. Prejudice is an unsupported generalization about a group of people, while discrimination is the denial of equal treatment based on group membership. Specific characters in the film embody these roles with their opinion and behaviors. An active bigot has prejudices against groups of people and openly discriminate against them. Pino can be seen as an active bigot. He displays his active bigotry with his overuse of the word “nigger.” He is extremely open in sharing his opinion about black people, even when they are around. He thinks so lowly of black people that he does not even consider the “good” black people to actually be black. At one point, he acts on his disdainful feelings and threatens Buggin’ Out with a bat. Regardless of the events that occur, Pino’s feelings towards black people remain. After watching the chaos that ensued following Radio…show more content…
A fair weather liberal has no prejudice but discriminates due to societal pressure. An example of this is Smiley. He is a mentally disabled man with good intentions and no prejudices. He walks around trying to sell pictures of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. Pino yells at him when he comes by the pizzeria and he goes away. Then, towards the end of the film, Smiley witnesses Raheem’s murder and laments his death. Amidst the chaos and destruction of the pizzeria, Smiley lights the place aflame. He only had good intentions but due to the influence of others destroying the pizzeria, he joins in. He ends up causing most of the damage. After doing so, he gently places a picture of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X on the
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