Throughout the clip the ways in which ethnicity is represented is shown in a number of various ways using camerawork, editing, sound and Mise-en-scene.
At the beginning of this clip, we are presented with a claustrophobic elevator scene where an African American man and a Caucasian woman are standing in. Immediately, the stereotype that African American men are aggressive is matched when he begins to shout at the woman for not listening to her. This aggression is emphasized further by the fast cut editing that occurs.
A stereotype of white people involves them feeling that they have the most power and knowledge. This is countered in the first scene when the black man says ‘you just didn’t take me seriously’. From this we can understand that the man has given advice to the lady which she went against this was clearly the wrong choice and a close up of her portrays her failure. This scene also shows the woman from a slight high angle shot – stereotypically showing her in an inferior position to the black man who clearly has control of this interaction. This is clear as he is shown from a low angle shot – to portray his dominant position. Additionally, in this scene the black man states that the woman ‘never wanted a black voice’. It is clear by the way he says this that he becomes fairly emotional – which is a characteristic that is not usually portrayed in black characters.
In the second scene a coalition of African American is stood outside of a community church talking to press in unity. This could suggest the correlation between the stereotypical view that many black people are a close community. This is additionally supported by the group of African American’s stood together at the top of the staircase pathway in. This represents a countertype of the original idea that black people do not usually gain much authority or power in society, however in this case they are seen as the centre of attention across the nation. The power that this coalition has at this present time is clear due to the positioning of them compared to the media outlets. Below, are all the Caucasian news reporters and press workers whereas the coalition is firmly stood above them. This is translated in a number of shots using a high angle to show their dominance compared to their viewers in this situation.
As this scene progresses we are introduced to the Shapiro couple that are watching this new broadcast live. Immediately it is clear that this couple is extremely wealthy due to the mise-en-scene that is shown from this pan shot from the TV screen to the intrigued couple. The upper class home is filled with expensive furniture and decorations such as leather seats, a gold desk clock as well as chandelier in the next room. The fact that a couple of white ethnicity are portrayed in this way supports the stereotype that it is typically Caucasian people that live in such luxury.
In the next scene we are introduced to the trial’s judge Lance Ito. The position of a judge is one of great power and the person with this job must be fairly wise. A few seconds into the scene were are shown a close up of Judge Ito who is of Asian ethnicity. Stereotypically, Asian people are known to be highly educated and scholar, supporting the judges position in this job as he would be believed to be wise. This educated background that can be stereotypically portrayed through this close-up shot through mise-en-scene. The close-up shot shows the judge wearing a pair of glasses. This item is typically used to represent somebody that is smart which again supports the stereotypical idea that people of an Asian background are typically represented as smart. The Judge is seen as the man to convince in the next scene in the court room. After each statement is made by representatives, the camera cuts to a reaction shot of the judge to take in is wise perspective of what is being said.
Overall, this clip shows a varied amount of ways in which different ethnicities are represented through the use of mise-en-scene, camerawork, editing and sound in The People vs. OJ Simpson. Many stereotypical views are supported throughout about certain ethnicities – such as Asians being academical, as well as a number of countertypes, which go against stereotypical beliefs – such as the fact that black people are not usually portrayed in a dominant and powerful way, however in this clip this is clearly argued against.