Thursday, January 24, 2008

Racism: When do we realize it?

So in IB History of the Americas class today, we watched a video that informed us about the rise and fall of "Jim Crow" laws, which are now recognized as greatly immoral and racist. In the video, there were many video clips of early 20th century movies such as The Birth of a Nation that depicted African-Americans are ignorant, stupid, and cowardly. However, those types of movies were recognized as racist and immoral in the 1960s, around the Civil Rights Movement.

So my question for you is, at what point in time, socially and politically, do we recognize racism in an aspect of our society that was once widely accepted as moral? Why did it take so long for the American public to realize that those types of movies were racist and immoral?


JuliaC. said...

Well I don't think its that people didn't realize they were racist, its that racism was accepted. It wasn't until the civil rights movement became popular that people's opinions about racism changed, before it had been accepted as a social norm.

katrina337 said...

We recognize it when there's a social and political shift, yes?
I don't remember what was happening politically when that shift happened, but I know preceeding the Civil War there was more in dispute than just racism, and it's things build, certain aspects get amplified. Racism was big during the civil war, but afterwards there wasn't much protection for them. In the '60s there was major social and political change, and people started being more vocal about their disagreements. There were many things being disputed during the '60s, though mainly the war, racism and sexism. I think racism was one of those because there were people on either extreme, there were the people that supported it and the people who thought it was immoral and unethical. Those who believed it was unethical provided a stronger front for it so it got amplified and was turned into a moral debate rather than just an issue people disagreed on. When it was amplified, even those movies that were ignored as racist and just accepted as entertainment became more widely disputed and people started recognizing them as racist.