In “Politically Incorrect: Gran Torino and Racial Facades,” Laurel Burk shows readers that in the movie Gran Torino, the character Walt is a good example of a person who on the exterior, seems blatantly racist, though through his actions, he seems to be the complete opposite. This sparks a discussion on politically correct language in today’s culture. Burk says that watering down our language when discussing race simply seems to have an inverse effect upon the situation, only making the person seem like they’re trying to cover up their racism instead of trying to be less offensive. This seeming racism on the inside yet not on the outside has been dubbed de cardio racism, or “racism of the heart.”
Burk then continues with a discussion on the plot of Gran Torino and how Walt’s racial slurs, though shocking to an audience today, are not actually representative of how he is, and in fact, inside, he is not a racist. Burk uses the movie Gran Torino to structure her paper, first discusses politically correct language today, then following the plot of Gran Torino to show how though at the beginning of the movie, the audience may write off Walt as a complete racist, since we are so unaccustomed to hearing racial slurs, but as we look closer at Walt’s actions, it becomes clear that he is in fact, not what he appears to be. His neighbors, who are asian, may hear him use a lot of offensive slurs and stereotypes against them, but in the end, he actually takes the teenage boy in the asian family, Tao, under his wing, and in the end, makes the ultimate sacrifice for the family’s well-being and safety. This shows the audience that Walt is really a “de cardio nonracist.” Burk not only engages with the movie Gran Torino, but also with other papers on racism and uses these to back up and help articulate her position on racism and being potilically correct in an interesting way. Burk would present an idea from a paper or the movie, and then interpret it and bring in her own ideas to make it relevant to her paper and tie together her thesis. It was very well-done and put together. This piece is well-situated in Deliberations because, like Burk said herself in the little paragraph under her picture, it was tough to strike that balance between what was acceptable to include in a paper such as this, but not being to PC in a paper discussing just that. Despite this challenge, I think she strikes the perfect balance. The thing that struck me most about this piece was the way that the author was able to discuss being PC and de cardio racism by simply following along with the plot line of a movie and letting that foster discussion points. I thought the way she wove that together was masterfully done.
Though my literature review and Burk’s piece were obviously on vastly different topics, there are some very basic similarities. We both have a thesis, which we develop throughout the piece, and also begin with a sort of introduction at first on the topic to segway into the greater point. In my case, I gave some background information and examples of damage done by purple loosestrife; in her case, she gave a little background information on the evolution and creation of PC before the segway into Gran Torino. There are also many differences though, especially since my literature review asks for introduction and research on beetles, whereas her review asks us to consider an aspect of how our culture has evolved. I don’t quite think my literature review would fit into Deliberations because I wrote it with the intention of it being read by an audience from Frontiers, so I wrote on their level of background knowledge and more towards their interests, whereas the casual reader of Deliberations would be completely overwhelmed by some of the scientific jargon and concepts that I present.