“Shadow of Hate” film analysis

Question 1: Intolerance in the documentary film “Shadow of Hate” has been expressed through the portrayal of discrimation of various ethnic, racial, class, and religious groups in America, from the early days of settler activities to present times. Many religious denominations developed in the colonies, and this resulted in the discrimination of some of them by established Protestant followers who were overtly supported by state governments (Esbeck, 2004, p.1390).

For instance, the authorities viciously discriminated against the Quakers with members of this denomination being subjected to violence including having their ears cut, imprisonment, and being banished from the colonies, all in a concerted effort to stop the spread of the Quakers’ teachings. Members of the Baptist Church of Virginia were also subjected to whippings and had their tongues branded with hot iron in vain efforts of stopping the spread of the Baptist Church teachings.

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Irish Catholics were also the subject of hate propaganda and were viewed as agents of the Vatican and the Pope; hysterical American Protestants used all means to stop the spread of Catholicism in America, and most Irish Catholics were relegated to the lower social classes in America due to their professed faith. Racial discrimination is another form of intolerance depicted in the film.

The early settlers drove the Native American tribes out of their homelands to dry and infertile zones. Additionally, the onset of the slave trade and the arrival of African American slaves from Africa marked the beginning of centuries of exploitation and subjugation of African Americans in America (Wolfe, 2001, p.870). Later, Chinese immigrants to America were forced to work under harsh summer and winter weather conditions with little pay as they slaved for the Central Pacific Railroad Company.

Question 2: The desire to maintain the status quo comes out as the major cause of intolerance in the film. Many leaders in the settler communities were fearful of what the different religions would portend for their authority and thus resisted these religions.

Lack of understanding and ignorance of the ideas and values represented by a specific ethnic or religious group also present another cause of intolerance. This argument is especially true in instances of religious and cultural intolerance; for instance, many Quakers were branded blasphemous simply for refusing to take oaths.

Question 3: Economic, political, and social development issues bring about hatred. For Instance, African-Americans seeking to vote after the emancipation proclamation were subjected to lynchings because the dominant white race wanted to maintain social, political, and economic dominance in the country.

Question 4: Involuntary segregation mainly comes about when a specific ethnic or racial group experiences discrimination, and thus the group coalesces for seeming communal support and assurance. In the film, the Chinese populate Chinatowns in America, and African-Americans in instances of involuntary segregation, populate the ghettos.

Question 5: The first amendment guarantees freedom of religion (including irreligion), association, and assembly. Therefore, separatist groups, to an extent, operate within the constitution by seeking separation especially in instances where such groups are discriminated against by virtue of being minority groups, or for professing certain faiths, or belonging to specific racial or ethnic groups.

Question 6: The First Amendment restricts and prohibits government from enacting laws that tend to favor one religion or any religion at all. Moreover, the amendment proscribes government encroachment on civil liberties like the right to assemble peaceably and the freedom of association.

Therefore the government, under the provisions of this amendment, should neither attempt to control nor sponsor separatist movements. Separatist movements may occur due to weaknesses in government policy in guaranteeing equity and fair treatment for all, as shown in the film.

References

Esbeck, C. H. (2004). Dissent and Disestablishment: The Church-State Settlement in the Early American Republic. Brigham Young University Law Review, 2004(4), 1385-1592.

Wolfe, P. (2001). Land, Labor, and Difference: Elementary Structures of Race. American Historical Review, 106(3), 866-905.