Paternalism

Giant further explored racism through the paternal attitudes exhibited by several of its characters toward Mexicans, such as Luz's "handling" of the ranch's Mexican workers. Throughout the history of Hollywood film, Mexicans have rarely been portrayed as being able to think for or defend themselves. The Anglo hero, whether male or female, typically stepped in to solve their problems. Giant zealously explored paternalism's role in the relationship between Anglo and Mexican Texans. Indeed, one of the film's most dramatic moments involves Bick's defense of his Mexican daughter-in-law and grandson.

Late in the film, when Bick and his family stop off for dinner, Bick is forced to defend Juana and her son after the diner's owner denies them service;

at the same time, he tries to defend the right of a Mexican family to eat at the diner. The paternalistic defense depicted by this scene demonstrates "the opinion that Mexicans are inherently servile, humble, ignorant and powerless" (Trevino 14-16). The more important lesson gained from the scene, however, is that Bick Benedict, the previously stubborn, racist Texan, has become aware of the nature of prejudice and has changed because he understands its influence in a direct and personal way.

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