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Gunsmoke, The Gambler, Part 3
At the climax of the story, we come to the confrontation between Ascombe and Cass. We find out about a situation in the past that Cass had dismissed from his mind. He considered it unimportant and of no consequence. It had to do with how he had treated an Indian. He didn’t think that anything would ever come of it, that nothing would happen as a result of this situation. It was a situation he thought he could simply forget about because “Indian’s don’t matter”. His flippant attitude shows how racial discrimination can go unchecked when most people share and accept racist thinking. But Ascombe didn’t see it that way. He saw Indians as people. He had hunted Cass down to get revenge for his Indian friend. Listen to their argument and try to understand both sides before you decide who’s right and who’s wrong.
Understandably, emotions were running high that day so the situation didn’t end in a peaceful negotiation. But fortunately, Matt Dillon was still there to stop Ascombe from killing Cass — and Cass from killing Ascombe.
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Review time: Listen to the whole play again, from beginning to end, Length: [24:47].
When bad situations arise between two people who belong to differing cultural groups, language and cultural values can keep them from understanding each other. Because the negative situation is associated with these cultural differences, the bad feelings often get generalized to the whole cultural group. These generalizations about the other culture are not the whole picture, and are usually only half-truths, but they spread and become the shared view of the other group. Even those who have no personal experience with the other culture pick up on these popular views. This is the nature of racism. Jim Cass had deeply personal reasons for hating Indians, but the bigger problem was that he had generalized his feelings to all Indians — not just to the one’s who had killed his family, and not even just to the Kiowa tribe, but to all Indians. Through this confrontation with Ascombe, he finally saw how racist he had become. But change doesn’t come easy. How much do you think this experience has changed Jim Cass? For instance, what do you think Jim will do the next time he sees an Indian in town? Please post in the comments below.
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