The Wire Restaurant Scene
Tags: race/ethnicity, class, inequality, cultural capital, privilege, 00 to 05 mins
Summary: Ex-cop turned public school teacher Howard "Bunny" Colvin has taken it on himself to help reach the badly underprivileged children who have been deemed essentially unteachable by their West Baltimore junior high school. After his students do well on a project, Colvin decides to take them out to dinner at an upscale restaurant. Initially the students are excited and pleased--but over the course of the meal they become increasingly uncomfortable and discouraged. This is a good way to open a discussion of cultural capital in the context of class inequality, especially with an eye toward intersections of race and gender. Useful questions to ask: Why are Bunny's students so uncomfortable? What assumptions do they bring to their situation about what is expected of them? What if the situation were reversed and the people dining at the restaurant were on the streets of West Baltimore? The differences in the characters’ behavior at the beginning and the end of the clip are especially striking—why the change, and what does it say about what has happened in the scene?
Submitted By: Sarah Wanenchak
10/30/2012 11:06:27 am
here is a video you should also add to this discussion. I think it illustrates the importance of cultural capital and stratification just as clearly as the Bunny Colvin clip above. There are elements of Marx in here too, as Donette discusses what the power of money can do.
11/23/2012 01:42:11 pm
Thank you so much for posting this! I have been using this scene in my cultural anthro class to talk about cultural capital, but cuing it up from the DVD. Such a good illustration.
11/23/2012 04:30:19 pm
Sure thing! I am obsessed with this show. ;) I can't lie about that. And, I'm also a huge Bourdieu fan.
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