The theme that I have selected is racism and discrimination. The texts I have selected are the poem Still I Rise written by Maya Angelou, the poem Nothing’s Changed written by Tatamkhulu Afrika, the film The Hurricane directed by Norman Jewison, and the film Mississippi Burning directed by Alan Parker. The connections between the texts I will discuss are how black people are not treated equally, how the texts are based on real life, the texts are set in the 1960’s, and the positive outcomes of the texts.
Racism in the four texts:
In the poem Still I Rise written by Maya Angelou, Maya is an African American who endured racism in the past. Maya has written the poem about her past experiences of racism and discrimination and how she overcame it. Maya’s message from the poem is that no matter what people do to her, she will ‘rise’ above and not allow herself to be ‘beaten’ or ‘broken’. The word ‘trod’ in the section “you may trod me in the very dirt” suggests that Maya was beaten down on by the white people of society and literally treated like ‘dirt’, as if she was nothing. This shows the racism that Maya had faced but she still stood tall and rose above. In the poem, when Maya says ‘you’, she is referring to the white people. In the poem Nothing’s Changed written by Tatamkhulu Afrika, Tatamkhulu returns to District 6 which was once his home and again experiences the anger he felt when District Six was first destroyed. Tatamkhulu endures racism when the government declared District 6 as a ‘white only’ zone and being African, he had to leave. When District 6 was destroyed, and there had been a change in politics, Tatamkhulu returned, expecting the racism to be over but, discovered that ‘nothing had changed’. From the section “No sign says it is, but we know where we belong” we see how Tatamkhulu and the others still feel as if the racism is still lurking around and that the white people and black people are separated. This shows that even though District 6 has been destroyed, the attitudes of the people had not. In the film The Hurricane directed by Norman Jewison, Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter, a contender for the middle weight boxing championship, spent twenty years in prison for murders that he did not commit. One night in a bar, three people were gunned down and two black men were seen fleeing the scene in a white car. Not long after, Rubin Carter and John Artis were pulled over and questioned by the police. “We’re looking for two negroes in a white car,” the police officer says to them, “any two will do?” questions Rubin. This shows how the police are just trying to find someone to pin the murders on. While question Rubin and John, a high angle shows the police looking down on them, showing how the police have all of the authority. The case against Rubin and John was false from the beginning as there were no witnesses who could identify them as the murderers. The only evidence that they had against Rubin and John was two burglars who claimed that they had seen John and Rubin at the scene of the crime. The burglars later admitted that the cops had pressured them to lie. At Rubin and John’s trial, they stood before an all-white jury which shows racism from the start as there was no proper case against Rubin and John, but they still made the choice of sentencing them to a life time imprisonment. When Rubin was eleven and was caught by the police, Sergeant Della Pasco immediately showed racial hatred towards him. “It’s a nigger…” Della Pasco says to the police officer, referring to Rubin. Della Pasco is showing racial hatred towards Rubin by calling him a ‘nigger’ and by also calling him an ‘it’ as this makes it seem like Della Pasco is above Rubin and does not see him as a human being because he is black. In film Mississippi Burning directed by Alan Parker three activists, two white men and one black, are murdered by members of the Ku Klux Klan. FBI agents Rupurt Anderson and Alan Ward and...
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