Saturday, August 04, 2007

This is England

Last night I saw the film This is England. It's British. (Just in case the title didn't give it away.) Very British. In fact, it's about some English nationalist extremists--otherwise known as Skinheads.

The film is set in the summer of 1983, while the country was experiencing an influx of immigration in the aftermath of the Falklands War. A young boy who loses his father in battle finds himself befriended by the most extreme of Skinhead groups.

This is England offers a face and a voice to help understand the motives behind this highly racist movement. While it certainly doesn't justify Skinhead beliefs, it does make you think about how you would respond given similar turbulent circumstances.

I find myself thinking about racial and cultural issues a lot these days. The other day a man misunderstood a conversation I was having with some friends on the subway. He rather quickly became threatening, despite others on the train assuring him nothing offensive was spoken. Luckily, the situation passed without anyone getting hurt, but it opened my eyes to how present cultural tension is even a quarter century after This is England times.

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