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Racism in Amistad, To Kill a Mocking Bird, and Telephone Conversation Essay

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The texts To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee, Amistad directed by Steven Spielberg and Telephone Conversation by Wole Soyinka explore the issue of racism. These three texts focus on prejudice, discrimination, bias, behaviour and attitude revolving around the issue of discrimination because of the coulour of ones skin and the cultural and social attitudes past on from one generation to another. Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel set in the southern states of the USA in the 1930’s, a time that is “Post Abolitionist”, however a time where the culture and social structure is still entrenched with racist attitudes and laws. Lee explores these issues in this setting when Ton Robinson, an African American is accused of raping a young white girl in a small town of Maycomb, Alabama. Racial attitudes are exposed when a lawyer by the name of Atticus Finch is asked to defend to the alleged rapist. Telephone conversation by Wole Soyinka is a poem which uses dialogue between two people, one in a public telephone box and the other in a public telephone box and the other in a home in London, England to reinforce racial tensions, attitudes and class values. An intelligent, articulate and well educated black man seeking rental accommodation responds to a woman’s advertisement and is challenged by her about the colour of his skin. The poet explores this racial tension with the use of satire and perceptive dialogue. Steven Spielberg directs the film Amistad, and chronicles an incredible journey of a group of enslaved Africans who mutiny an attempt of their capture in order to return to their homeland. Their ship is seized and the slaves are brought to the United States to be charged with murder. Spielberg ensures that the responder is confronte...


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...rom the love of his life. This is captured through the music by changing the music from a sorrowful sound to loud powerful music. These techniques used by Spielberg represent how the Negroes are just as human as any other person even though they are black in skin colour.

Racism can simply be a mans fear of anything different, a fear of something he doesn’t understand. This fear is embedded or can be embedded in the attitudes reaching from one generation to another. It can be reinforced by ones culture, community and personal experience. These texts have explored all of the above areas and the responder can also appreciate that behaviour is a response to attitudes and the suffering, humiliation and destructive treatment of other human beings can at times be lessened or illuminated by the courage of one man and his or her determination to do what they think is right.


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