Crash & Burn: Racism Transcends Time
Once a ruling class establishes itself, those who are different, usually by race or wealth, are cast to the lower edge of society, where they must fight to overcome their predisposition. In America, white males have long been at the top of the social ladder, where many have fought to preserve their status. Although times have changed, racism continues to persist in American society, but it has largely shifted from overt racism to covert racism. Examples of the shift in racism can be seen the movies Mississippi Burning, The Color of Fear, and Crash. Additionally, author Peggy McIntosh’s article “White Privilege,” illustrates how white privilege preserves covert racism. The movie Mississippi Burning was inspired by the actual murders of civil rights workers J. E. Chaney, Mickey Schwerner, and Andrew Goodman in 1964. It may be hard for people today to realize that acts of violence, such as the beatings, lynchings, and murders seen the movie, were not only practiced 42 years ago but were also accepted in many places. The type of racism exhibited in the film is almost entirely overt, malicious acts against an oppressed people. Violence against the segregated caste was socially acceptable and preserved through the idea of white superiority, which was instilled into children at a young age. Black children were taught about white superiority through violence and oppression, while white children received the message disguised as formal education. Character Mrs. Pell explains how racism is preserved when she says, “Hatred isn’t something you’re born with. It gets taught. At school, they said segregation is what’s said in the Bible—Genesis 9, Verse 27. At seven years of age, you get told it enough times, you believe it. You believe the hatred. You live it; you breathe it. You marry it.” In addition to education preserving hatred, white political leaders, who often were members of racist organizations, also stirred emotions within the...
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