Pleasantville Racism Paper

959 Words Nov 27th, 2015 4 Pages
Thomas Lovsey
Mrs. Barker
ENGL 1100
Nov. 12, 2015
Not as Simple as Black-and-White “Discrimination is behavior, intentional or not, which negatively treats a person or a group of people based on their racial origins” (Randall). It is unclear what the exact cause is for people to be prejudiced towards another group of individuals. Racism could perhaps be triggered by having a fear of people who are different, needing to fit in with others who are of a racist mindset, and/or being ignorant of other people’s cultures. In the 1998 movie Pleasantville, it is shown that racism and discrimination towards different people occurs because of sudden changes to an established system and society. In reality, racism is a result of generations of
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The appearance of color in Pleasantville showed that the town and citizens were undergoing change, and that this change was making the inhabitants feel free and similar to people from the ‘90s. When objects and people around town quickly turned from black-and-white to color, many of the older, more traditional citizens of the town resisted the change. Pleasantville mayor Big Bob speaks of the changes, “up until now, everything around here has been, well, pleasant. Recently certain things have become unpleasant. Now, it seems to me that the first thing we have to do is to separate out the things that are pleasant from the things that are unpleasant” (Pleasantville). Big Bob and a large group of citizens, mostly consisting of the older men of the town, form a group of people trying to keep the town “pleasant,” or not colored. This group begins putting up signs around town banning colored people, similar to situations that African Americans dealt with before the civil rights movement. They also harass all the colored people on the streets, and even vandalize and destroy Bill Johnson’s shop for having colorful art on the windows. Finally, the group has meetings featuring all the influential non-colored people in town, and this new assembly draws similarities to Nazism with their symbols and beliefs.
Pleasantville shows a