Racial Tension in American Literature

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Racial tension in American literature 1930’s-1960’s

‘You know if I was a negro i’d probably think the same way they do’
‘If you were a negro nobody would give a dam what you thought’
Ward- Mississippi Burning (1988)

During the 1930s-1960s America was a place of racial tension. The blacks and white were

not equal. It was a time of black oppression an injustice. These themes are shown 
 through the texts, ‘The Help‘ by Kathryn Stockett, ‘Mississippi Burning‘ directed by Allan 

Parker, ‘To Kill a Mocking Bird‘ by Harper Lee and ‘Caged Bird‘ by Maya Angelon. These 
 texts depict a society of white supremacy, injustice, opression and fear of the other.

White supremacy is depicted throughout the texts with whites having
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We cannot quite comprehend the situation.

Racism is birthed out of fear of the other. The authors/directors convey that blacks fear whites because they want to stay alive and keep their families. They are afraid of their houses being burnt down (Mississippi Burning), getting hung (To Kill A Mocking Bird), and being acused of crimes that were not committed (The Help). There is a powerful scene in Mississippi Burning when a black man is questioned by an FBI agent about the murder of some young boys committed by the Ku Klux Klan. Fear is shown through his body language as he does not make direct eye contact and appears to sound quite nervous. In the dialogue he repeats ‘please sir i have nothing to say.‘ This captures that he is afraid of speaking against the white men incase his house is burnt and his children witness his murder. Within the texts, the white man fears the black because he is scared of losing control and superiority. They justify they are right by saying the blacks have diseases and are a sub specie. In The Help Miss Hilly truly buys into the lie. ‘Its plain dangerous they carry different diseases, i’ll do whatever it takes to protect our children.‘ Similarly in Mississippi Burning a married couple when interviewed state thats ‘niggars‘ do not have the same genetic makeup as a white man. They imply that black people are not human and are to be feared. Racist comments and judgements are still made today because we
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