Texts That Show the Injustice of Race in American History
In the texts, of To kill a mockingbird, The Hurricane and Hairspray, the themes of race, injustice/justice and friendship are shown. Tales of conviction of blacks or any race of that kind are seen throughout life. With strong friendship embraced when supporting convicted innocent people. It makes you wonder, if all these characters have been found innocent, how many other people have been charged for a crime that they didn’t commit? Starting off with race, this theme is thoroughly seen as the backbone of these stories. Race can be defined as ‘a human population considered distinct based on physical characteristics. It is known to often go hand in hand with Racism. Drawing to the near end of the nine-tenth century, American society was built on the conflict and racial tension between all races, particularly between whites and blacks. Examples of this are present in these three texts. Whether it, be in Harper Lee’s novel “To kill a Mockingbird”, In Adam Shankman’s version of Hairspray or Norman Jewison’s film of The Hurricane, race is a major issue. Where blacks and whites are divided and are usually discriminated by the colour of their skin.
Racism follows the lives of many characters, distinctively in “To kill a Mockingbird”; the lives of Calpurnia, Tom Robinson, members of the black community and even members of the white are affected by Racism. Calpurnia (a black member of the community) is often regarded as a nigger whereas Atticus is said to be a nigger lover. But just as it goes in the book “no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash”. In The Hurricane, this point is further addressed, when a murder occurs and the suspected are two Negroes.
When police come across Rubin Carter and John Artis they immediately suspect them, as Rubin Hurricane Carter later questions with “Any two will do”. These two men are found guilty because of their background. In Hairspray a similar situation evolves when a popular dancing show is segregated into an everyday white show then a once a month “Negro day”. Velma Von Tussle confirms the audience, that racism is in motion when she is quoted saying “They’re just kids, that’s why we have to steer them in the white direction”.
She as well as others see Negroes as dangerous criminals when in fact the only thing it is, is prejudice towards the African-Americans. Coming to the theme of injustice/justice, Justice is “the moral principle determining just conduct. ” whereas injustice is not. In “To kill a Mockingbird”, Injustice is one of the biggest scenes that are caused by Tom Robinson’s case. Tom Robinson whose felony is said to have raped Mayella Ewells, was wrongly judged, when in fact, her father was the actual person to have beaten and raped her. When it comes to The Hurricane, Injustice was what was served.
Wrongfully accused of a triple homicide, causing nearly over 20 years locked up in gaol, Rubin comments “Hate put me in prison, Love’s gonna bust me out”. And when it came down to it, Love sure did and Justice, Justice was finally served when his named was cleared by Judge Sarokin. The Judge informed us that it was certain that his case was built on a foundation of lies and racism. Although In Hairspray it didn’t occur in a courtroom, Justice still took place. The show named ‘The Corny Collins show’ took notice of the change and instead of two segregated races, the show finally integrated.
Finally Friendship is present. Friendship consists of two or more people in a relationship based on commitment, trust, moral support and basically someone who likes you for who you are. The Friendship between Dill, Jem and Scout which is seen in the book to kill a Mockingbird, is a strong bond they share with each other. At first when they are acquainted, Scout dislikes Dill yet Dill and Jem are the best of friends. With their fear of the unknown and the trial of Tom Robinson, it’s obvious that their bond is strengthened. At the end Scout and Dill soon share feelings for each other.
In The Hurricane, there’s Rubin and Lesra. Lesra is a young boy, who is taken under the wing of three Canadian companions. Lesra’s main ambition is to set him free as it’s certain that he believes that Rubin is innocent. They first meet when Lesra is taken by his book. You know sometimes it’s not us who choose the book, books choose us. With Hairspray, the bond that Penny and Tracy share is unbreakable. When Tracy is on the run, Penny puts her life on the line to help protect her best friend. “Penny, the cops are looking for me everywhere… ou could go to jail for helping me! “- Tracy Turnblad. In Conclusion, these three themes tie together all these texts, they show us the American society that was built on lies, discrimination and Racism. It wasn’t until the late 1960s that white domination over blacks was thrown down and Blacks were finally starting to get their rights. As said in the American Constitution “All men are created equal”. The texts show the friendship that is seen all the time everyday, seen just as many times as innocent people have been thrown in jail.