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Racial segregation in the US is an evil that has haunted the nation for far too long that it’s beginning to irritate. The Issue of racial segregation was just a few years ago considered to be a thing of the past but events in the recent past have proved us wrong. Racial discrimination today especially sparks out from police discrimination and brutality that African Americans face under white police officers.
The Film “To Kill a Mockingbird” is based on a novel that is set in the 1930’s in fictional small town in Alabama. (Harper, 68) The author of the novel from a first person’s point of view takes the readers to a town in Alabama where an innocent African American man is falsely accused of raping a white woman. A white lawyer who is also the narrator’s father defends him but all in vain. The all-white jury sentenced the poor man to prison; the man was then shortly gun down later by a white police officer. (Mark, 34) The scene of gunning down by a police officer stepped out of the movie just two years ago in Ferguson, St. Louis County, in an ugly police, shooting incident. The incident involved an African American, Michael Brown Jr. and a white police officer Wilson Darren. The incident reflects the police brutality that African Americans continue to face to date in a nation where racial segregation has continually be perceived to be dead or a thing of the past. The issue of racial segregation was further amplified by the similar events involving police and African Americans in other cities like Missouri, Baltimore, South Carolina.
It is almost hard to believe it that the country that was only a few years ago considered the epitome of racial tolerance has turned out to become something completely different. These turn out to events can be compared to those recorded in “Go set a Watchman” novel where the one racially upright lawyer Atticus turns out to be a very racially intolerant oriented individual at old age. The lawyer now reads racial pamphlets and believes that African Americans are not equal to whites something that Jean opposes strongly. Jean who just arrived from New York City and is in her twenties thinks that Atticus has completely lost his mind and this is what might be happening in the country today. The people who once did everything to fight for racial equality over the years have changed and so has institutions like the police force. The institutionalized racial segregation, especially in the US, has become so deeply rooted. This is the brutality that surfaced in the recent events like that in Ferguson are the only result of this long process.
The government has been active in defending the police force and so has the courts. Police indeed deal with criminals and often times they make mistakes and deserve such protection some of the officers are however taking advantage of this. Many members of the public have been complaining about the development of a police state and that vice has even deepened other vices like murder and racism in the force. The government has continuously failed to address the issue but the recent events finally forced even president Obama talk about the issue when he has for long timed sought a neutral stand. The debate and riots that sparked after the Micheal Junior case has turned Ferguson from a small silent town to landmark that are known the world over. This is just the same as the small town of Maycomb, Alabama where racism had developed deep roots in unlike in other parts of the country where this evil has almost literally disappeared. A culture that develops in a small town where there is a little flow of new immigrants or outflow of emigrants becomes a culture that is so deep and strong that people from the outside might find it completely strange. (Sarah, 14) The same case applies to Jean in “Go set a Watchman” when she comes back home to Maycomb to find a completely new racist culture that has also infected her father, Atticus. The cases of police brutality in such small towns as Ferguson has developed undisturbed for many years and when it finally burst out it surprised the world.
The recent events in the Ferguson, Missouri, Baltimore, South Carolina are very similar to the events recorded in both To Kill a Mockingbird film and Go Set a Watchman novel. Police brutality towards people of color depicted by the killing of an innocent black man in the To Kill a Mockingbird film is similar to police shootings today. Government failure to properly address the issue can also be compared to white tyranny in the novels that led to the unjust sentencing of Tom Robinson. It is clear that what was happening at that time in 1930 is actually happening even today though not in large scale but the trend is dangerously picking up. We need to wake up from the assumption that racism is fading away since it is actually gripping back in.
Lee, Harper. “To kill a mockingbird.” Litigation (1990): 68-58.
Holcomb, Mark. “To Kill a Mockingbird.” FILM QUART 55.4 (2002): 34-40.
Hatoum, Sarah. “Go Set a Watchman by the Numbers Harper Lee’s new novel proves popular, divisive.” (2015): 14
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