Racism in Art

September 22, 2008
By K M, Park City, UT

You might find this hard to believe but racism can be shown in art. Have you ever looked at an African American kids drawing, seen a movie with African Americans in it, or heard a racist song? You just have to look closely and listen to see and hear racism in these things. It’s surprising at first but once you know what you’re looking for you see racism almost every were.
Have you ever seen how African Americans draw themselves and trees versus how Caucasians do? You might not think there’s a difference but there is. African Americans draw themselves without hands and arms or without a face. The reason for this is because they feel unwanted, unimportant, different, and hated. It’s sad to think that kids at such a young age feel racism, even though they don’t know what the word means. The same thing goes for how they draw trees. Caucasians draw their trees tall with outstretched branches and lots of leaves; African Americans draw their trees short, with dead branches and no leaves at all. Caucasian kids do not feel racism because they are not treated differently; they are not looked at funny. That’s why Caucasian kid’s drawings are not like an African American kids drawing

Racism in movies makes us see African Americans differently then we would normally see them. Some of these are older movies but because of these examples we have treated African Americans differently. Older Movies show African Americans with poor grammar, afraid in the face of danger, slurring their words, and doing whatever they are told. If you wanted to act and you were an African American your role would have been a servant of some sort. Some examples of racist movies are Gone With the Wind, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and Traffic. In the past and today African Americans have not been given enough credit for their acting work. In the past 73 years the Grammies have been running, only 6 African Americans have won an Oscar. The movie business is changing and African Americans are getting better roles. But we can only be sure things have changed at the next Grammy awards.

You would think that drawings and movies are the only place you see racism, But you can also her racism in songs. The song Dixie is an example of a racist song to some people, but to others its not. To African Americans it reminds them of slavery in the South. Some songs are not racist; it’s just how you interpret it. However, there are some racist songs. The songs are not only by Caucasians but from African Americans as well. There are some very violent songs written by African Americans, some songs talk about Killing white people, spilling blood or being different. Some examples of songs like theses are “Why I Sing the Blues” performed by B.B King, “Black and Blue” performed by Fats Waller, and “Colored People” performed by Dctalk. Songs like these make you realize just how much damage we have do to each other.

Racism, it’s a world wide problem that needs to be stopped. We think it has gotten better but it has not! Just look at an African American kids drawing, don’t you see the effects of racism all over the paper! How about movies. They have gotten better but look at the way we have treated them because of what we have seen. We treat them like they don’t know how to speak proper English or they are just plain stupid. Listen to the music. It just screams racism, the way we treat people has an effect on them. If we could all be nicer to one another and got to know people before making a judgment about them, the world would be a better place.

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