Prejudice In The Long Walk Home

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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 depicts the interactions between a Black housemaid, Odessa Cotter, and her White employers, Miriam and Norman Thompson. In the wake of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Odessa begins walking to and from work. As Odessa’s exhaustion and tardiness increase, the patience of Miriam’s husband, who is already angered by the boycott, decreases. Miriam, however, when reflecting on how her daughter has been lovingly cared for by Odessa for years, feels a sense of solidarity with Odessa regardless of the color of her skin. Despite increasing arguments with her husband and hostility from the White community, Miriam begins driving Odessa to work, and later participates in a carpool service that provides rides for Blacks throughout the day. As she stands
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