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Easy Rider: Counterculture and Subculture-Sukhpal Dhillon

Easy Rider though all the main characters are white clearly have racial undertones throughout the movie. Just like minorities back in the 1960’s and earlier, Wyatt, Billy, and George all are persecuted by the townspeople. There is a lot of symbolism that is shown throughout the entire movie. The townspeople represent the conservative America who are not willing to change. George in the beginning tells Wyatt and Billy that the subculture is scared of the men’s freedom and that fear is what leads the subculture to frown and hate the “hippies?; Wyatt, Billy, and George. In one scene the men go to a restaurant where the girls find them attractive but the men are all trying to get them into trouble. One table with a sheriff and a local truck driver, try to think of all the ways that they could arrest them. Another table with a group of four men try to make them angry by talking loudly and making obscene remarks towards them. Wyatt, Billy, and George all leave after not getting any service and being treated terribly because of how they looked; specifically their hair and their messy appearance. Another instance of discrimination against them was when they were beat with a bunch of baseball bats and even a machete resulting in George’s death. The last example of the townspeople being prejudice against Wyatt and Billy is at the end when they try to scare them but actually end up shooting and killing both of them. The obvious racial undertone is that the men are treated as second class citizens for the lifestyle that they chose to live. Though they are white it is clear that only was conservative America in the 1960’s were not only a turbulent time for minorities but also for hippies, females, homosexuals etc. If George had been cast as a black character I don’t believe it would have made a significant change to the film, though I believe the townspeople may have been a little ruder and harsher. Overall it is evident that though the main characters were not white there was a correlation of their treatment and that of minorities.