Today, cinematography is an extremely popular industry and
simultaneously it is a progressive form of art oriented on
the mass audience. In such a context, it is hardly possible
to underestimate the artistic and social values of films.
In this regard, “Everyday People” is a particularly
noteworthy film, which attempts to depict ordinary people
in a difficult true to the real life situation. As a result,
the film raises a number of important social and cultural
issues, such as ethnocentrism, discrimination, social inequality
and others. Such a diversity of socially significant issues
makes the film very interesting to watch not only for the
mass audience but also for specialists, including sociologists,
film critics, etc.
On analyzing the film, it is possible to clearly distinguish
two major parties. On the one hand there are employers who
decided to sell the diner out, while, on the other hand, there
are employees for whom their job in the diner is of the paramount
importance since their life and the life of their families
heavily relies on their job. In such a context, it is possible
to speak about apparent antagonism of employers and employees
that makes them absolutely different. However, both employees
and employers still feel closely linked to the diner and by
the end of the film the owner of the diner is uncertain whether
to shut it down or not that makes him closer and similar to
employees. What does unite them is the diner itself and the
fact of working in there which made them feel being a part
of a team.
Nevertheless, it does not prevent the owner and employees
from numerous conflicts which often involve discriminatory
issues. In this regard, it is possible to speak about racial
discrimination when non-white employees, such as Ali, Benita,
are oppressed by the white owner and they have to do the hardest
work and often they do not receive equal payment for their
job compared to other employees. Also, there is a class discrimination
since there is an enormous class gap between the owner, belonging
to the middle class and using his position to take vitally
important decisions such as shutting the diner down, and ignore
the position of employees, representing lower-class.
At the same time, such an attitude of employer to his employees
perfectly illustrates his prejudice in relation to representatives
of lower classes. To put it more precisely, the owner does
not think his employees can take reasonable and correct decisions.
This is why he takes the decision concerning the future of
the diner on his own, neglecting the opposition of employees.
These examples of prejudice and discrimination can be explained
from the functionalist point of view by the existence of socially
significant institutions, such as diner which the life of
employees and employer is bound to. The roles and functions
they perform within the diner defines their relationships
and their social positions. On the other hand, the conflict
theory would explain the prejudices and discrimination discussed
above by the class antagonism of the owner of the diner and
employees. Hence, the antagonism can result in an open conflict
and rebel of employees against the employer.
The cases of pluralism can hardly be identified in the film,
but it is possible to speak about ethnocentrism of the owner
who believes that he is superior to his non-white employees,
such as Ali.