Welcome to all of you this afternoon.
Today I would like to discuss the concepts of justice which are explored in the novel “Coonardoo” by Katherine Susannah Prichard and in the movie “Remember the Titans” directed by Boaz Yakin. The theme of social acceptance and rejection that is caused by cultural gap is explored in the literature and film. The composer mentions many Aboriginal practices and uses Aboriginal words and songs intermingles with English to highlight racial separation. As a result to their racial difference, Hugh rejects his affection for Coonardoo whereas Mrs.Bessie is able accept and develop a relationship as a “Mumae” or father to the Aboriginals. Likewise, the film uses a long shot of Alan and Petey facing each other like opponents to establish the relationship between the characters. The path dividing them represents racial separation that is present in 1971. Although the teams eventually overcome their differences and accept one another, the Africans are still rejected by the conservative society as seen in the way the pub owner denies their entrance.
The over the shoulder shot shows a perspective from a black member in the team with the pub owner focused in the middle of the frame. This gives him a dominant position in the action and highlights his racist treatment against African Americans. The rejection and acceptance implies that there is a division in the views of society regarding anti-discriminatory ideals. Furthermore, Injustice in a form of prejudice is conveyed in the texts. Mollie holds a prejudice of how the gins should be slaved when she sees Hugh ordering them around.
In the beginning of the film, the white teams refuse to play with the “black animals” under a “coon’s” supervision as they assume that they have “nothing in common”. The prejudices of the characters suggest that there is inequity in the ways people view the minorities as some hold negative preconceived ideas. Hugh and Garry hold similar characteristic as they recognize kinship between the different races. When Mollie condemns them to slavery, Hugh defends the Indigenous community by stating that “These people are not slaves” as he has “grown up with most of them”.Similarly, Garry realizes equality as he defends Julius when he is told to dismiss from the white area and tells the nurse that Julius is his “brother”. The characters show mercy and equality as they protect the rights and freedom of the minority group.
The texts demonstrate societies who are conservative against justice. Mollie insists to be called “ma’am” by the gins to continue her normal customs and sees Hugh’s defense over the right equal treatment of the gins as a threat to her domestic power.Riots against busing and the school integration emerge in the film as local community disapproves the changing relationship of the integrated football team. The conservatives may refuse equality as they fear that it may challenge their long-held beliefs and threaten their place in the social hierarchy. The denials show how the minorities are discriminated because of their race. Although Hugh admits equity between the races, he still denies his own feeling for Coonardoo and constantly reminds “himself of her race and colour” and promises himself that he will never “marry a gin”.
In the film, Coach Yeast is recognized instead of Coach Boone for the titans’ successful season because the society doesn’t want to admit a black person’s deed. The Indigenous or black people’s worth is devaluated by some characters which emphasize the racism that is present. In Coonardoo, Sam Geary exploits Aboriginal women sexually and objectifies Coonardoo as he intends to buy Coonardoo with “rugs”. Similarly, Garry devaluates and calls a Black member of the team a “monkey” and the whole team is seen as “black animals”.The plot of the movie implies that justice will prevail.
The songs and chanting in the film as the football team enters the field is a visual and sound metaphor which reflects unity. The song “Ain’t no mountain high” that is sang repeatedly expresses how the teams have set aside their racial difference and how racism can be overcome. On the other and, the novel explores a life that is full of injustice as Coonardoo dies while Hugh looses everything to Geary who is despicable and has caused him to deny his passion for Coonardoo.The texts are based on factual historical context where most Caucasians where brought up with the strong prejudice that the Indigenous or the black people were different to them. The novel articulates the view of miscegenation between the White and Indigenous Australians at the time it was written which was in 1929. Similarly, the film “Remember the Titans” is based on true story to advocate the injustice reality and explore society’s precedent view of integration and justice in the real world.
Imagine a world where there is a boundary for the relationship between two different races.A world where people would show contempt towards those who try to treat the black people or the Indigenous with any respect. A world where, up until recently, it was disrespectful for two different races to have a friendship or even get married. These composers have delivered this injustice using various techniques in the film “Remember the Titans” and the novel titled “Coonardoo” to show these ideas. In addition to entertainment, both texts challenge and inspire us to continue the path towards justice and pursue equality.