If you watch my channel you know that I like to pay attention to what Hollywood is whispering into the public’s ear. Especially the propaganda that was produced before the internet and before there was any really competition because this was the golden age of propaganda when propaganda was concentrated into the sights and sounds of films. Propaganda that took months and sometimes years to plan and produce.
Propaganda so well crafted and compelling that it was profitable. The target audience paid for luxury of being programmed and left the theaters wanting more,
And it was during this golden age of propaganda that the propagandists produced the best results. With complete control of the national narrative and both the large and small screens in america the subtle whispers coming from Hollywood got louder and more extreme, desensitizing its audience.
Lately we’ve seen a wave of anti white hate. While it may be reaching a fever pitch now this is something that has been cultivated slowly and carefully for longer than many of us have been alive. I was curious as to when exactly this message really began to be mainstream. The first real overt attack on the white christian majority. I began by going back and looking at films that had been nominated or that had won Oscars as this would demonstrate that the film wasn’t some fringe creation that did not represent the mainstream messaging being put out by Hollywood. And while I found several examples going back much further than I had expected, including the film 1952 film “High Noon” that John Wayne called out as being the product of anti american communist writers. And there are certainly whispers belittling white christian males and depicting them as weak and cowardly. But these whispers, 27 years later as the baby boomers begin to come of age and start having families, these whispers have evolved into shouts in the 1979 film Norma Rae.
I think it’s important to get to know the kind of messaging that the baby boomers were subjected to that led to some of the problems and discrimination we face today. While there certainly other movies that have the same anti-white anti-american themes that Norma Rae does, I feel as if none quite encapsulate the absolute contempt the filmmakers had for European Americans, their culture, and even their system of government. In fact it’s so on the nose it seems ridiculous in its transparency when watching it today – which by the way I recommend you do.
Norma Rae was written by the Jewish writers Irving Ravetch and Harriet Frank, and I mention that they are Jewish because in many ways this film is about Jewish identity coming into contact with white identity and then attempting to change it because it is seen as inferior, so it’s important to understand that this movie was written by Jewish writers and directed by a Jewish director and starring a Jewish actor and this is the lens that they looked at white america through. This is so important because if you understand that aspect and you understand this film was awarded 2 Oscars and nominated for 2 others including best picture and it was even nominated the highest prize at the Cannes international film festival so this view given the demographics in Hollywood arguably represents the Jewish view of white america in 1979 which I think is important to understand.
Now this movie begins at a textile factory somewhere in south, we are introduced to the film’s namesake Norma Rae who is hard working single mother but who, along with quite frankly most of the other white people in the movie, uneducated, ignorant, and racist.
In fact they make this clear right off the bat when in many ways the film’s hero Ruben Warshawsky, a left wing Jewish labor organizer has come uninvited from New York, to try to unionize the textile mill where the majority of the town’s people work saving them all from the evil white factory owners but moreover their ignorant hillbilly selves selves. And wouldn’t you know it, that ignorance rears its face the moment he rolls into to town and asks to rent a room and Norma’s father finds out he’s Jewish.
Ruben tells Norma’s father he’s stupid for letting the factory rip him off and calls him a schlemiel. And Norma’s father chases him off where he goes and rents a room at the local hotel
The same hotel where we find out hard working single mom Norma is having an affair with some other ignorant white trash person who in keeping with his white trash persona decides to beat her. She leaves and encounters Ruben on her way out. He gives her some ice for her face and the two start to get to know each other.
The first thing the writers do is draw a contrast between Norma, the simple white woman with limited vocabulary who seems stunned that Ruben has books, the implication of course is that Norma doesn’t read much if she even knows how to read at all, and between Ruben’s Jewish girlfriend back home in New York Dorothy Finkelstein who he describes as a Harvard graduate lawyer then back to Norma’s ignorance and bigotry when she says after asking Ruben if he’s a Jew she said she thought Jews had horns. This scene is first scene with the two main characters meeting and establishing a relationship and setting the tone for the rest of the film. It’s through this lens the writers and the directors view white america and to make extra sure the audience understand that white people are viewed as different, when Norma says that now after meeting a jew for the first time that he doesn’t seem so different than she is he says this.
An affirmation that his Jewish identity makes him different that Norma, a difference he will bring up again later in the film and a difference that writers and the director had in mind when they made this film.
As the movie progresses and Ruben tries to get the Mill workers to unionize and he’s treated as an outsider.
He later sees Norma at a baseball game and we get more symbolism reinforcing Ruben as high class and a fish out of water in this backwards town where he is unable to stomach the hot dogs served at the baseball game but all the same offers to pay for Norma’s food out of charity. Ruben’s superiority over Norma is expounded upon when she begins to talk about her baby daddys and the dynamic of master and teacher that will go on throughout the rest of the movie begins.
Norma runs into Ruben once again while on a date with a local and equally ignorant and simple white guy. She invites him to sit down with them and Ruben once again takes on the roll of the mentor. Not only is this displayed through the camera with the shots framed with Ruben much larger than Norma and her date like a father talking speaking to his children but he again rejects the local food and drink because he is dissatisfied with the quality and then drives the two home because they are too drunk, and again as he looks down at her as she vomits at the side of the road.
A short time later Norma gets married, rather abruptly with the man she went on the date with who is also a single parent. The wedding is small and the marriage seems to be lacking romance but is rather the result of 2 impoverished single parents coming to an arrangement of convenience. Norma’s new husband is always viewed as a simple average man lacking inspiration and we get the idea she is settling to get out of her parent’s house.
The story moves on to the first meeting of the mill employees that would like to unionize. The meeting is held in a black church and nearly all the attendees other than Norma are black. After telling them they must unionize Ruben goes to the mill to enforce a federal regulation that allows him to post his union literature as is met by once again a caricature of the intolerant white man, but he threatens to sue unless he’s allowed to post his notices. Norma, inspired by his feistiness decides to finally volunteer and work for the union.
Now the first repercussions she receives from volunteering with the union, the first new enemy if you will that she makes is oddly enough from her christian church. She goes to her church and and makes a speech that implies that if the preacher does not support the union and let them meet in his church that he is not really a man of god and that there is something fundamentally wrong with his church. Isn’t this an important detail considering the context of this film? Not just the faith of the writers and the director but just the relationship the left has always had with Christianity. That somehow by not supporting their agenda that Christianity is illegitimate. So in this moment, Norma ray the ignorant country christian bumpkin who is now formally being mentored by the benevolent leftist Jewish labor organizer from New York, discards her religion in favor of this new ideology.
The next enemy she makes is her bigoted racist white neighbors who don’t like that she’s bringing black people into her home for union meetings. Even her husband is appalled by the idea that she has invited black people over to their home. But Norma Ray, thanks to Ruben, is now totally woke. She’s breaking free from the racism that affects every other white person in the entire movie and together they begin to overcome the backward ways of the whites.
No scene in any well made film is unintentional and its with this knowledge I find peculiar that with the constant putting down of the white Christians in the film and the not exactly subtle idolization of Ruben that it wasn’t enough for the filmmakers to have Norma always inferior to Ruben, for the dynamic throughout the film to be that of patient teacher mentoring a slow student, but they decided to take it a step further in this scene where Ruben gets his shirt dirty and decides to wash his clothes go skinny dipping. You see, its not enough for Norma to idolize Ruben and hang on his every word, she also has to want him sexually. But Ruben, ever the patient custodian of wisdom and morality does not take advantage of Norma’s burning desire for him.
Honestly this film is so much more condescending to whites than the handful of movies Hollywood would make 10 years later about white women going to schools in the ghetto and teaching black people how to graduate, or dance, or whatever else those ridiculous movies had in them because at least in those movies there was always the moment where the white lady who came to the inner city would have a learning moment where the disadvantaged kids would teach her something about their culture or maybe something about herself, in Norma Rae that never ever happens. Ruben is the perfect man, the savior come to rescue the poor stupid white people from themselves. And this scene really highlights that as clearly as anything can.
I’m not going to go over in detail the rest of the film because it’s really just this continued theme of Norma being woke and fighting for the union. Ignoring her husband and her family. Fighting the evil white racists and trying to impress Ruben. Towards the end she is reminded once again that just like the food in her down Norma doesn’t measure up to Ruben’s standards. Just as her husband, despite providing for the family even after she gets herself arrested and fired and takes care of the children while she’s out being woke he will never measure up to hers. He knows this and accepts this and supports her anyway because after all she’s a strong independent woman now, he should be so lucky.
And independent woman that after finally helping to unionize the mill, having done everything she could to help Ruben impose his values on the community is left standing in the middle of the road staring longingly after him as he drives away.
And that is the story of Norma Rae. Hollywood’s view of white america presented to the world in 1979. A view that won sally fields an Oscar for best actress for representing white people as ignorant racist hillbillies with that need to be fixed. People who can’t determine their own destiny until someone like Ruben comes to town to show them how they are doing it all wrong. Then after remaking the town in his image, moves onto the next town, then the next, and then the next.