A single story can be a basis for forming judgments in a person or a group of people about others. This situation is dangerous since the insufficient amount of information does not allow a person to form a complete picture and give an objective assessment. Thus, it is important to learn as much as possible before forming an evaluative opinion not only about people but also about events.
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Most often, people are judged by their appearance, which becomes the reason for various types of discrimination. I recently watched the acclaimed Oscar-nominated film The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020), and it provides many examples of how a person was judged based on limited information. Bobby Seale, one of the defendants, was African American and founder of the Black Panther Party. He was one of the initial defendants in the trial and was accused of inciting people to riot and conspiracy. The film highlighted the fact that insufficient evidence was presented against Seale, indicating that he was not involved in the illegal activity. Moreover, Seale left Chicago before the events that triggered the riots occurred. However, he was the only African American to appear in court, which could have made him a target of discrimination. Moreover, the judge and jury could base their judgments on the activities of the Black Panther Party, which consisted of African Americans.
The film cannot claim to be a true portrayal of historical events, so this essay focuses precisely on the plot presented in it. Bobby Seale might have been acquitted, but neither the judge nor the jury paid due attention to the evidence in his case. This attitude could be shaped by the perception of his appearance as African American and associated with discrimination. This circumstance is his single story on the basis of which he was biasedly assessed. He could be really guilty, but what is important is the fact that his statements were not heard by the judge and jury, and the testimony of his supporters was not taken into account. Thus, a single-story judgment can completely reverse a person’s fate by sending him or her to prison, which makes it extremely dangerous.
Sorkin, A. (2020). The trial of the Chicago 7 [Film]. Paramount Pictures.