Menace II Society
Since the early 1980s, their has always been incredible interest in the “gangster lifestyle.” The “gangster lifestyle” consists of money, drugs, guns, women, power, and respect. Many films and music groups try to inform people about this lifestyle, however end up glamorizing the dangerous and negative way of life. This lifestyle usually is most appealing to low income African American youth in struggling neighborhoods. Historically, African American cinema has been used to illuminate the scourge of racism in American society. From Oscar Micheaux to Spike Lee, the struggle against racism has been a prominent theme in movies by and about African Americans.” (Sheridan, 177) One of the most popular films that relates to these low income African Americans is the 1993 hood film “Menace II Society.” “Menace II Society” romanticizes the lifestyle and and sends highly racist messages about African Americans. The film takes place in South Central Los Angeles. The opening scene consists of “Caine” and “O-Dog” entering a liquor store to buy malt liquor. As they shop around, “Caine” opens up the bottle, that he intends to pay for, and begins to drink. As “Caine” and “O-Dog” make their way to the cashier, he tells “O-Dog” that he feels bad for his mother. After hearing the remark, “Caine” and “O-Dog” get into a heated argument with the cashier, and result in shooting him, his wife, and steal the monitoring tape. They then take money from the cash register and head home. The opening scene of this film sets the mood for the rest of it. It is basically telling us that low income African American youth in struggling areas have little or no tolerance for disrespect, use profane language, use and abuse women, and have affiliation with drugs and alcohol.
Low income African American males have always been a main target of racism and fear in the United States. They have always been looked down on by society, and expected to be the cause of most crime.