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Gran Torino

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Paul Souza

on 22 October 2013

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Transcript of Gran Torino

Walt Kowalski
Walt’s Worldview

Here comes the culture shock…

White privilege saves the day!

Understanding Hmong Culture
"Multi-Generational Living"
Traditionally the Hmong people have large families with multiple generations often living in a single household

“Man of the House”
Hmong men traditionally do not perform household chores or gardening
Males are typically placed in higher esteem than females because they carry on the family name and will later take care of their elder parents

"Eye Contact"
The Hmong people considering looking someone in the eye very rude and disrespectful
Eye contact is not a cultural “norm” for the Hmong people

"Hmong Smiling"
The Hmong people tend to smile or grin when they are being yelled out

"Touching on the Head"
This is a huge taboo to the Hmong people because they believe the soul resides in the head

How do these words make you feel or think when you hear them out loud?
Have you experienced 14 of these terms or at least 7 of these terms?
If you could eliminate one of these words, which word would you choose and why?

Herman Grid
Gran Torino
Here’s the story…

Interesting facts about Gran Torino

“That’s kind of what this story’s about, an old dog learning new tricks. And that’s why you have to have him on one polar opposite to take him on the journey.”- Clint Eastwood

Paul Souza
Angelica Esparza
Sherry Barnett
Ingram Tate

Amanda Guzman
Yer Vue
Daniel Dye

Counseling & Interventions:
Walt Kowalski
Counseling Interventions:
Son, Mitch & his wife, Karen

Counseling & Interventions:
Hmong/Mexican Gang Members

Counseling Interventions:
Thao & Sue Vang Lor + Family

BORN INTO a group, a dominant culture has social status and history.
TAUGHT interpretations of history, explanations for injustice (misinformation)
SIGNIFICANT TEACHERS: parents, teachers, community, role, models, religious, authorities, political, leaders, media
REINFORCED & SANCTIONED BY culture, traditions, social institutions like media, legal systems, banks, government, education, health care, economy, language, religious intuitions.
PEOPLE “ACT OUT” PRESCRIBED ROLES of internalized oppression and externalized oppression (see page 104)


Fill in the following chart by listing as many privileges as you can think of that you either have or do not have based on each of the dimensions of your personal and cultural identity.
Dimensions of Personal and Cultural Identity
Ethnicity and Race
Language and nationality

Prejudice & Discrimination
Cycles of Oppression
Understanding Hmong Culture
"Hmong Pride"
Hmong people are very traditional and believe acts of wrong doing bring dishonor to family and require an act of penance to be done

"Hmong Gang Practices"
The beating and rape of Sue was an act of retaliation by the cousin’s gang for what they perceived as being “shunned” by Tao—one of their “own kind

"Hmong Gifts of Praise and Appreciation"
The Hmong culture show their appreciation and praise by offerings of food and gifts.

"Family Shaman"
Shamans’ are responsible for restoring health and balance to body and soul and the relations between the spirits of all things
Shamans’ believe that each person’s spirit has an aura that extend to others
Conclusion of Gran Torino
Racial Identity: Walt
Completely isolates himself from people of other races.
He only associates himself with White people.

Never achieves true “autonomy,” but moves in that direction.
Walt continues to make racial slurs
Identifies with the Hmong family more than his own family and takes a liking to them.

Racial Identity: Thao
“White Identification”
Wants to be more like Walt.
He attempts to adopt Walt’s conversational style using racial slurs.
Wants to be a handyman like Walt
Wants to be tough like Walt
Didn’t participate in family rituals
Racial Identity: Sue
Sue is very Americanized, yet retains her cultural identity.
She is the liaison between Walt and her family.
She spars words with Walt while acknowledging Asian stereotypes and doesn’t take offense to Walt’s racial slurs.
Sue dresses as a typical American, but wears her cultural dress for Walt’s funeral.
Sue Vang Lor
She has a streetwise, witty personality and a strong, independent spirit; she easily gets along with Walt despite his grumpiness.
She teaches Walt about the Hmong people's history and struggles in American culture, and the two of them realize that they share something in common of being "betrayed"; Walt by his own family and the Hmong people by the United States despite fighting alongside them in the Vietnam War.
She is very caring about her brother and often tries to do what is best for him.

Thao Vang Lor
He is a sixteen year old Hmong man. He tried to get initiated into a Hmong gang but fails to complete his initiation test: steal Walt’s Gran Torino.
He starts out very bland as an individual but is able to develop as an individual throughout the movie.
He adopts various pieces of Walt’s personality and looks up to him as a mentor.
At the end of the movie he will look Walt in the eyes. He is a lot more confident and works to become a fixer like Walt.
Full transcript