O – the issues of race

 I thought O was a great modern recreation of Othello. By putting the play in a high school setting, with more contemporary language, it really allowed the viewer to understand the complexity of Iago’s plan and focus on the issues of race and gender. I thought this movie highlighted the issue of race and focused less on the issue of gender which  Otello really emphasized, in my opinion. One conversation that really stood out to me that focused on the issue of race and a very current topic was when Desi and Odin discussed the use of the n-word. Odin makes the argument he can say it because he is Black and Desi can’t because she is white. Desi argues back saying she should be able to say it because white people invented the word. I think this dialog is very interesting and a current discussion people are still having today. The n-word is deeply routed in African American history and holds a lot of power. Including this discussion between Desi and Odin in the beginning of the movie really shows the complexity of the issues of race at hand throughout the movie. 

5 comments

  1. I agree that this adaptation definitely made it easier to understand Iago’s plan and how he executes it. This is because the audience gets a clearer sense of why Hugo hates Odin so much, and that Hugo’s motivation stems primarily from jealousy (which is the “traditional” fatal flaw of Othello).

  2. I think that the scene you mention is very complex. Like you said the conversation is still relevant today, however, it has a different impact because this film came out in the early 2000s. I wonder if that was a choice by the director or writer to normalize conversations about race? Similar to how today films and TV shows are normalizing all sexualities. This was not represented in this film, for example in the scene when Michael calls Rodger a “fag”.

  3. Yeah, what an interesting conversation! Also, the comment about the “big buck” in the house?! It seemed as if O was starting many of these conversations. I wonder if he was interested in engaging these conversations with others or really just dominating them and having “control” some place in life.

  4. I think Katherine’s point is very spot on. As we as a society become more socially aware and open, we are more careful about how things are portrayed. In the early 2000s it was not as big of a deal to use the word “gay” and even worse slurs to be insulting. I think it shows progress seen because it shows that we are able to have important conversations and hopefully learn from them.

  5. I agree that O was successful in developing Iago’s backstory and showing us is thought process behind the scheming, albeit horrendous. That point and the one example you highlight as being a great way to translate issues of race to a modern audience are about the only positive things I have to say about this film though.

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