– Ethical business practices that take into account the needs of the major stakeholders.
– Cultural differences and racial tensions.
– Peaceful coexistence and doing the right thing’.
– The right thing to everyone
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The film reviewed, Do the Right Thing. The film is the 1889 creation of Spike Lee. The film revolves around one day in the life of the people of Brooklyn with a focus on the underlying social and racial strains in the neighborhood.
Thesis: In a society, “ doing the right thing” is not only relative but also premised on a number of varying factors that may be ethical or not depending on a people. The right things should be done within-person to personal relationships, communal affairs, law maintenance and conduct of business in an ethical manner. When ethically recognized absolute goodness and moral standards in a cultural environment are not observed, tensions emerge. The tensions lead to hatred, difference and violence that can be triggered by the slightest provocation. Discussion
The concept of ethics is based on the notion of good/moral and/or bad behavior. The burning of the Famous Pizza shows unethical behavior among the people in the neighborhood. The causes of the store’s burning are the physically manifest divisions and racial tensions that pit the natives against the Koreans. The effect of the action is the tensions that resulted into the arson. Ethically, it is wrong and deviant behavior to discriminate a person on racial grounds and execute a malicious damage to property in the attempt to settle differences. The film depicts ethically and morally upright ways to deal with social conflicts. In the film, action of the neighboring Korean shopkeepers to restrain their colleagues from revenging demonstrates ethical attitudes. Vito is also portrayed as a conciliatory character whose actions and ethical beliefs contrast those of his brother. The action was caused by the need to ensure peace and morality in the society. The effect of the action is ability of the people to be accommodative and exhibit ethical tenets characterized by the ability resolve the disputes of moral diversity amicably.
The film demonstrates the power of advice from an unlikely source. Da Mayor is always depicted as a drunkard with the neighbors always dismissing his views. However, the director chose him as the bearer of the important message. The lead character, Da Mayor, would tell Mookie to “ always does the right thing”. Evidently, despite being viewed as useless, Mayor comes out as a reasonable and wise person. The effect of this is self-evaluation undertaken by Mookie with regards to his social relationships.
The film depicts the concept of cultural and ethical relativity that breed tensions in the society. Ethical standards can vary in the society. The title of the film, “ Doing the right thing”, is not only subjective but also attempts to expose the audience to this fact. An absolute goodness and moral vary and depend on the cultural environment. While the action of Mayor is good and makes Mookie to always think of his actions, the effects of the actions have universal variation. That is, that ‘ right thing’ in the film is vague and less clear. Consequently, the cause and effect nature of the characters’ actions vary. To Mookie, doing the right thing would imply throwing the garbage bin through the window of Famous Pizza. The action had the effect of igniting the racial based conflict. On the other hand, to Mookie, money should be the guiding factor in relationship even if being disrespectful to Sal. “ The right thing” is not only subjective but also varies in societies and among different people.
The director attempted to advocate for ethical business practices that take into account the needs of the major stakeholders. Sal, the storekeeper fits the bill in this scenario. While the business is booming, the two sons, the heirs apparent, present contrasting images. Pino presents a racist image that causes racial tension and violence. However, Vito is humble and respectful. The film attempts to make Sal succeed in the business by ‘ doing the right thing’ through ethical practices and respect to the customers. However, the attitude of Pino and unethical business practices by the father such as low and late wages to the ‘ Negroes’, fueled the hatred leading to violence. Evidently, the director aimed at demonstrating to the audience that ethical business practices require stakeholder accountability and an obligation to all. The major stakeholders who warrant ethical treatment are the employees, customers and the surrounding community. Conclusion
The film shows how cultural differences lead to ethical relativity and eventual racial tensions. The characters attempt to show their cultural superiority, with the whites, Koreans and black Americans being the culprits. Eventually, the characters place their cultural upbringing above the ethical behaviors. While some people in the society attempt to display and practice tolerance, the majority are racial bigots who believe that their ways are ‘ the right things to do’. The situation leads to tensions, conflicts and eventual physical violence and deaths. However, there is need to encourage the people who encourage peaceful coexistence while openly telling off the racists, without fear, to ‘ always do the right thing’. The right thing should be done to everyone at personal, social and business level.
Do the Right Thing, Dir. Spike Lee. Sony, 1889. DVD.