Tuesday, March 8, 2011

'Mississippi Burning' - Separatism in America

I chose to look at a film called Mississippi Burning to illustrate African American separatism in America. The film was made in 1988 but set back in 1964 when the Civil Rights movement was in full swing, or, as the film states "when America was at war - with itself". At the start of the movie, three civil rights workers are killed, (two white and one black) and two FBI agents go to Mississippi to try and solve the case of the missing persons. In the town it's set in, segregation is still operated, and the movie focuses on the corruption of the local police, especially the sheriff of the town, and also features attacks from the Ku Klux Klan.

Several quotes stood out from this trailer in particular for me - "We do not accept Jews, because they reject Christ! We do not accept Tapists, because they bow to a Roman dictator! We do not accept Turk, Mongrels, Tartars, Orientals nor Negroes because we are here to protect Anglo-Saxon Democracy, and the American way" This reminded me of Malcolm X's speech from the seminar, where he talks about the Blacks, Jews etc uniting against a common enemy, and the character in this film is the common white enemy Malcolm X is talking about.

The idea of 'Southern Pride' is strong in this movie, with the sheriff stating "The rest of America don't mean a damn thing - you in Mississippi now". Mississippi resembled a kind of separatism here, with the rest of America. They thought they had the right racial values and the rest of America, which had progressed more through the Civil Rights Movement, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, was wrong. The whites in the film are taught that segregation is in the Bible, and so is right, and the Mayor says quite literally, "We got two cultures down here; a white culture, and a coloured culture. Now that's the way it always has been, and that's the way it always will be".

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