Ethical Issues In The Scream Image

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Wilmer Counts’s “The Scream Image” portrays opposing views on desegregation of education South during the era immediately following the Brown V. Board of Education decision. The actions captured by the photo demonstrate the opposing views on the ethical issue: Elizabeth Eckleford, the black woman in the foreground of the photo, is captured pursuing her recently gained right to unbiased education; the contrary position is shown by Hazel Bryan, the screaming white woman, who fights against Eckleford’s right because of a perceived threat to her white superiority. Hazel Bryan violates the ethical principle of this situation as the color of a person’s skin should not undermine a person’s intrinsic dignity, nor their opportunity to receive an education. …show more content…

For example, Eckleford draws a blank expression on her face as she clutches her books to her chest wading through the crowd in front of the school building (Count). Her physical expressions demonstrate her commitment to her education as she powers through the intimidating force in order to achieve that which she desires the most: education regardless of racial prejudice (Count). Furthermore, on the subject of racial discrimination, Bryan screams at Eckleford in front of the school. Bryan embodies the racist Southern culture as she despises Eckleford for no other reason other than the color of her skin. Finally, Karen Anderson, a historical author, relates the words of the crowd as: “one woman urged her to ‘go back where you came from,’ while others cried ‘lynch her! lynch her!’” (Anderson 2). The hateful speech echoing around the crowd demonstrates their racist ideals that lack progression from the South’s Reconstruction era, when lynching commonly occurred against dissenting African Americans. The backlash against Eckleford’s brave decision to help end the segregation of the education system in America demonstrates the South’s white supremacy …show more content…

For instance, Eckleford keeps her head down with her back towards Bryan’s taunts (Counts). While she does not take this opportunity to defend her dignity as would be common in modern times, if she had done so, she could have jeopardized her safety. Moreover, the white bystanders in the photo form a crowd around Eckleford and distance themselves from Bryan (Counts). The bystanders claim innocence by disregarding Bryan’s hateful jeers, later able to atone for their actions. Finally, on the subject of Hazel Bryan’s consequences, the two women were photographed later in life and “[Eckleford] thought the title – “Reconciliation” — overstated; there was a big difference between that and forgiveness” (Margolick par. 34). Although Bryan did not face severe consequences, later in life she suffered as she failed to achieve reconciliation for her earlier hateful actions. “The Scream Image” captures the complexity of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and the consequences involved for people on both sides of the

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