The Unsung Significance of ‘White Man’s Burden’

Movies serve an array of purposes for the journalists in the media who critique them, the stars that portray the movie’s characters, the experts who make the movies, and the fans who enjoy them in theaters or at home.

Rookie director Desmond Nakano’s 1995 film ‘White Man’s Burden‘ served the purposes of not only the aforementioned stakeholders. This film served a sobering purpose for society at-large as well. Veteran actors John Travolta and Harry Belafonte play the film’s main protagonist and antagonist. This movie centers around an issue that is unmatched in its sense of ubiquity within American society: Racism.

In ‘White Man’s Burden,’ Travolta plays a white factory worker who gets fired by the factory’s black owner, which is the character played by Belafonte. The factory owner took the factory worker’s job away from him due to feeling as though the worker had slyly disrespected him. In a nutshell, this film shows exactly how America’s social class system is set up based on race with the dominant and subdominant roles reversed.

Lawrence Bender (founder of Lawrence Bender Productions) was the producer of ‘White Man’s Burden’. By 1995, the Lawrence Bender movie production brand had already been globally established with films such as 1992’s ‘Reservoir Dogs’ and 1994’s ‘Pulp Fiction.’ However, by the time 1995 came around, Bender wanted to switch his film-making focus to a more weightier issue than blissful entertainment.

“The movie’s really about what it means to put the shoe on the other foot. Now that I was gaining some power in the film industry, it gave me an opportunity to somehow try to make a difference,” Bender said, according to a 1995 article published by the New York Times. Though ‘White Man’s Burden’ was not a big commercial hit, it reflected a inverted look at society’s most poignant narrative.

Additionally, Bender’s social activism and advocacy on a wide array of valiant causes is well-documented. This is why he relished at the opportunity to produce ‘White Man’s Burden’ and evoke much-needed discussion about race relations in America. Nowadays, Bender runs the day-to-day operations of his company, Lawrence Bender Productions. He also remains active in the world of activism for social justice

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