Free example essay on Racism:
The texts Mississippi Burning directed by Alan Parker, A Time To Kill by Joel Schumacher and Ghosts Of Mississippi by Rob Reiner explore the mistreatment of Negroes living in America`s South with a non-racist view. The three tests all explore the theme of racism and Negroes trying to reach the equilibrium with the white communities of Mississippi.
Parker`s Mississippi Burning is based on the Ku Klux Klan`s murders of three civil rights workers in 1964. A Time To Kill by Joel Schumacher is about a Negro Father who takes the law into his own hands after the legal system fails to condemn the two white men who raped and beat his daughter. Rob Reiner`s Ghost Of Mississippi is a true story about a white supremacist accused of the murder of NAACP officer Medgar Evers, 30 years after he was shot down in his driveway. Racism, Negroes gaining power and cinematic symbolism are all evident in the three texts, which made the films entertaining and also made the viewer feel quite empathetic towards the Negro`s.
The three films contain racism that is enough to make the stomach turn. Ghosts Of Mississippi by Rob Reiner shows racism were you least expect it, it is shown in the Counties Police Department. After Medgar Ever`s assassination, a police report was written by the Sheriff, he wrote ” To the Jackson Police Department, when you catch whoever killed the Nigger, you be sure to pin a medal on him cause he just did the state of Mississippi one hell of a favour”. This statement made by the Sheriff in the film shows just how racist America`s South was in the 1960`s. Parker`s Mississippi Burning also portrays racism in the South. Parker expressed racism against Negroes in everyday life, he showed that the South was a very racist and prejudice place, when the main characters Anderson and Ward walked into the local restaurant. The restaurant was full with both blacks and whites, the blacks had their own section of the restaurant, it was situated in the corner, and the whites situated near the large viewing window with a nice view and easy access to the door. Director Joel Schumacher`s A Time To Kill also portrays racism; it is shown when the Ku Klux Klan becomes active again after 15 years of being in hibernation. The Klan become active again because Jake Brigance a white lawyer defends Carl Lee Hailey a black man for the murder of two white men, who brutally raped and beat his daughter. Because Brigance defends Hailey the Klan burns down his house, and Brigance is forever getting phone calls calling him a “Nigger Lover”, all because of the Klan`s hate towards the blacks. Even though all three films depict racism, parkers Mississippi Burning portrays it the best. Mississippi Burning portrays racism the best because it is set in the early 1960`s when racism was at its prime in the South.
A significant similarity between the three texts is that of the Negro struggle against racism is starting to pay off. When the trial for Medgar Evers murder was open in 1965, the jury consisted of 12 whites and no blacks; this jury resulted in Byron De La Beckwith who was witnessed shooting Medgar Evers being “Not Guilty.” But 30 years later after Medgar was murdered the case went back to the courtroom and the jury consisted of 8 blacks and just 4 whites, this showing the viewers that the blacks do have an opinion that counts in America`s South today. Parker`s Mississippi Burning also portrays that racism is fading. Mrs Pell a white woman who actually feels sorry for the way the whites of Mississippi treat the blacks actually holds a black baby in public knowing the risks of showing any emotion towards the Negroes. This shows that the struggle for equilibrium with the whites is starting to pay off. Carl Lee Hailey`s struggle for freedom in A time To Kill also portrays racism is fading, at Carl Lee`s final hearing to see whether he is “Guilty or Not Guilty”, a large crowd including both blacks and whites chant vigorously outside the courtroom “Free Carl Lee” over and over again. Then a young boy runs outside the courtroom and shouts “Not Guilty” and the crowd erupts with both blacks and whites hugging each other and celebrating together over a black man not being condemned for taking the law into his own hands. A Time To Kill shows that racism is fading the best because it is set in the mid-90`s when racism was starting to become to a halt.
All three films express racism using cinematic symbolism. Mississippi Burning uses cinematic symbolism to express racism by showing at the start of the film a water pipe that branches off into two, one end has a plain water fountain connected to it, with a sign reading “coloured” and the other end of the pipe has a refrigerated water fountain with a sign reading “whites”. This cinematic symbolism portrays to the viewer that whites and blacks are not equal and even though we come from the same place (water pipe coming down) we then split up into two because of prejudice and discrimination. Reiner`s Ghost Of Mississippi uses cinematic symbolism when the main character Bobby DeLaughter walks into a group of toilets and on the door it read “White Men”, but the “White Men” print was painted over. Reiner`s use of cinematic symbolism symbolises that racism is fading but it has still left a scar in each Negroes heart. Cinematic symbolism is also evident in Schumacher`s A Time To Kill; it is depicted when Ozzie Walls a black Police officer is voted to become Sheriff. This symbolism shows that now the blacks are starting to gain “Authority” over the whites. Mississippi Burning expresses cinematic symbolism better than the other two films because of the use of water pipes at the start of the film, the pipes are easier to find and also speak for themselves.
The three texts Mississippi Burning, A Time To Kill and Ghosts Of Mississippi are three brilliant texts. They are all example of the white`s mistreatment towards the blacks of Mississippi. The texts are aimed towards adults and anyone who has an open mind, so that the mistreatment of the blacks can actually sink into their hearts. By viewing the three texts, they have really opened my mind towards a non-racist view and have really made me aware that there is no need to discriminate against people who look different. Overall, all three films are brilliant, but the film that stands out is Ghost Of Mississippi directed by Rob Reiner. It shows the whites hatred towards the blacks and also shows the blacks views toward the whites. Rob Reiner portrays the views of the blacks and whites clearer in Ghosts Of Mississippi than the other two texts that were viewed, this resulted in a better story line and overall a better film.