Blog 5 (French Prince)

16 Oct


In the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, the issue of race is a major factor in terms of interactions between those of different races. The Smith family, an upper class black family living in Bel-Air, Los Angeles, comprises the main characters of the show. The shows primary main character is Will Smith, who hails from Philadelphia and does not generally fit with the high class, rich lifestyle of his relatives. The issue of race becomes apparent because Will’s relatives, who took him in from an unsafe living situation in Philadelphia, tend to portray themselves as stereotypically white Americans, while suppressing their underlying black culture. However, Will Smith does not abide by the same principles as his relatives. Will makes it a point to express his black culture and his own individuality as much as possible. This is in great contrast to his extremely wealthy relatives who hold a very respectable standing in the eyes of the community, for example Will’s uncle is an elected judge. The white characters in the show mostly appear at Will and his cousin Carlton’s extremely preppy and rich private school. Will and Carlton are two of the only black students who attend this prestige academy and their classmates tend to interact with them differently from the white student norm population. The white students often have trouble understanding a lot of Will’s black, and unfamiliar, dialect which leads his more sophisticated cousin Carlton to be the middle man when conflict arises. This conflict generally is no more than simple misunderstanding but if a few cases it has led to Will being made to be an outcast and feel as though he does not belong and may not be worthy to attend this rich private school. However, with Carlton by his side to keep him in check and to help him acclimate to his new environment, Will ultimately has great success at this private school and although he never fully loses his sense of black individuality, he is able to better acclimate and avoid conflict.


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