Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Minority of Cool

The film Shaft was an excellent example of Cool Minority. John Shaft played a hero of sorts. He was not the full-fledged hero that is generally depicted in movies that contain a hero, but he was a real hero. Shaft was the kind of person that stood up for what he knew was right. He was not afraid to bring justice, and he wasn’t going to tolerate injustice. Shaft was a man you could respect and would like to see as a hero because even though his values and morality aren’t exactly up to the highest standard, they still exist on a very real emotional level that the viewer can relate to. Hollywood has duplicated this kind of hero many times and in many ways.

The first film that brings the same Cool Minority quality with it is The Pursuit of Happyness. The film represents the same sort of aspect as Shaft just with a completely different plot. In this story we meet Chris Gardner. Chris is a salesman that has unwisely put all his eggs in one basket by investing all his family’s savings money in a more expensive version of the x-ray machine. Consequently it is selling poorly and causing problems and distress in Chris’ household. His wife eventually leaves, leaving only Chris and his young son, Christopher. I know you’re probably wondering “when does this get cool like Shaft?” Well, it really doesn’t. Chris goes through heartache after heartache, loss after loss. He does, after much suffering get a coveted intern position a at a stock broker company, but he still has to deal with tons of shit in order to reach that position. Chris is Cool Minority because even though he was knocked down time after time, even going a stint of time being homeless, he still finds the will to fight, to do something better, to pursue his happyness. He remains a wonderful father throughout making sure he does everything he can for his son, Christopher. His values always remain intact. His always the same man despite the obstacles he must overcome.

Another film that demonstrates Cool Minority is Stand and Deliver. This movie is significant to me because Jaime Escalante, a high school mathematics teacher takes a nearly impossible task and completes it very successfully. He overcomes all odds in order to teach the children of the inner city mathematics. The students that he teaches also represent cool minority because in order to complete the rigorous math program, summer classes and serious dedication were necessary. Many other students from the inner city spend their summers either working or becoming pregnant. These, students, however are exemplary in that they are willing to make the sacrifices necessary in order to be the best students and people in general that they can be.


  1. Will Smith's character in The Pursuit of Happiness is cool because of his devotion and determination. I think that these are characteristics that would be cool in any man. Would Chris Gardner be cool if he was white?

  2. I've always liked Stand and Deliver. The students in the movie eventually become less and less defined by their inner-city minority culture and more and more defined by their resilience and tough determination.

  3. Would the story of The Pursuit of Happyness be as effect if he were not African American? Do we have certain thoughts about what makes a story sound even more successful, such as race, religion, or gender?