"Mississippi Burning" by Allan Parker - Analytical Essay: (Racism and Prejudice)

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Mississippi Burning – Analytical Essay

"Mississippi Burning", directed by Allan Parker, is set in the state of Mississippi, 1964. In this film, Parker shows that he feels sorry for black people, by strongly portraying the levels of racism and injustice towards negroes, which was implemented by white people (the Ku Klux Klan in particular) within the state. The Ku Klux Klan was a group of white people who believed that negroes were filth, and that they didn’t deserve to live equally among white people: “We want beautiful babies, not ones with brown faces”. They conveyed their message through strong acts of violence, to instil fear in the hearts of all negroes, and the majority of the state’s population were forced into racism, in fear of being targeted by the KKK.

Parker clearly conveys his sympathy for the negro population in the opening image, as it shows how black people were being excluded and treated unfairly. In this scene, there are two drinking taps in a small room, one for black people and one for white people which is clearly much better. This highlights one of the main themes in the film, racism. The sign for negroes was slightly lower than that of the white people. This may seem like an insignificant detail, but Parker cleverly included this to indicate the white supremacy in Mississippi. The water pipes for the taps separate the room into two halves, which represents the segregation which white people are forced to suffer. Parker uses cinematography to make these signs of separation clear, by having the camera face front on to the wall. The black people’s tap is also broken and unmaintained, which highlights the fact that no one in the town looks after them.

The audience can feel Parker’s sympathy for all the dead negroes who fell victim to the racism and hatred in Mississippi, in the second half of the opening sequence. The camera pans across gravestones which symbolize death, and then focuses on a still frame which dwells on a...
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