The Long Walk Home Analysis

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Eighty percent of people pulled over in traffic by police in New York City are Black or Latino. Women in the United States are paid on average twenty percent less than men. An unarmed Black individual is twice as likely to be killed by a law enforcement official than a White person. The underlying factor in these statistics is prejudice: preconceived opinions of groups of people not based on actual fact. Where do these biases come from, and are they permanent? Our prejudices are created and changed by the people and events around us as we develop our views of the world. The movie, The Long Walk Home, is an example of how prejudice that may seem set in stone can be changed by people around us. Taking place in Montgomery in the 1950s, the story…show more content…
Growing up in a small Southern town in the 1930s, Scout Finch and her brother Jem absorb a variety of racial viewpoints throughout their childhood. In their community, Blacks live on the outskirts of town, and are seen by most as inferior, suspicious, and unworthy. Yet the Finches’ cook, Calpurnia, doesn’t fit this description for Jem and Scout; she’s like a mother to them. Even more, their father, Atticus, sees it as the only right thing to do to take on a court case in which he is the defense lawyer for a Black man wrongly accused of raping a White woman. So what should the children believe? Ever since they were born they’ve been told by the others in their town that Black men are trash; now they are hearing from their father that anyone who cheats a Black man is trash. When their father’s trial finds the Black man guilty, despite the fact that the only evidence against him was the color of his skin, the children are devastated by the injustice they are witnessing in their own hometown. Jem in particular struggles to come to terms with the prejudice he has just observed. Although these children were raised in a community full of racial bias, the important people in their lives, Atticus and Calpurnia, combined with their experience at the trial, transfigured their opinions. Two White children in a Southern town, crying…show more content…
A kind housemaid or unfair trial can break down biases and easily as a racist relative or hometown community can build them up. Schools in Sweden using this to their advantage to discourage gender-based prejudice provide a beacon of hope: prejudice can be changed. Whether it’s avoiding a majority Black neighborhood at night or degradingly uttering the word “women” as an insult, subtle prejudices still exist in our daily lives, yet are just the tip of the iceberg when considering the underlying problems of racism and sexism in our society. Understanding that prejudices can be changed by the events and people in our lives provides hope for a day when such issues are a thing of the
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