As citizens of this country, we are told we are innocent until proven guilty. John Coffee was not treated with this same fairness during the film. Coffee was convicted and executed for a crime he never even committed. It was evident that racism was a part of his execution when Paul Edgecomb asked Coffee if there was anything he could do to help change the outcome of his inevitable death. Coffee responded by saying “I’m tired of feeling all the pain in the world. It’s like pieces of glass in my head all the time. Can’t you understand?”. I believe that this quote is referring to the way Coffee feels about being discriminated against on a constant basis.
Another example of how racism contributed to John Coffee’s death was the conviction itself. The movie shows how big of a heart Coffee possesses. John Coffee later found the two girls that were killed in the woods. He was so shocked by what had happened that he held them in his hands and began crying because he couldn’t believe it. He was immediately convicted with no questioning. This is clearly an example of racism. Just because the black man is sitting with the two girls doesn’t mean that he committed the crime. The legal system should never make assumptions based on race, but only off of scientific facts.
Lastly, upon Coffee’s arrival to the jail, he can already sense that people don’t like him because of his race. Before entering the execution room he tells the guards, “There’s a lot of folks in there that hate me”. As he enters the execution room many viewers of the execution shouted, “Kill him twice! Kill that baby raper twice”. Not one of the cellmates attempted to hear his story. The only one that did was Paul Edgecomb. Had more people taken the time to hear his story and take a stand, than Coffee would have made it out alive. It is sad to see that people immediately assume association because of your color or race but that is the world we live in.
The death of John Coffee was clearly interrelated to racial issues. Racism seems like it just won’t go away. Malcom X, Rosa Parks and even the great Martin Luther King Jr. couldn’t do away with it completely. As a country we just have to face the facts. Racism is always going to be around. However it is our responsibility as moral citizens to not give in and to take a stand for what is right.