Black and White Essay

666 Words Sep 7th, 2012 3 Pages
Black and White The 1962 integration of the University of Mississippi by James Meredith represented a challenge of the social constructs that had defined the racial identity of many white southerners. This identity had been exclusively synonymous with a higher quality of employment, housing, and education. The movement embodied in Meredith’s efforts to obtain one of those privileges was well documented by the national media as one commentator in the described “the last gasp of the civil war.” However, underneath the apparent unified resistance of Mississippians and neighboring southerners, there were a variety of viewpoints , fears, and erroneous stereotypes that easily were overshadowed by the generalized sentiment of “We don’t want …show more content…
Their hardcore views of maintaining a mythical “southern way of life” were the popular sentiment among the state’s residents. These views were validated by the public rejection of black equality by political figures such as the governor of Mississippi. By the use of political jargon and a false concern for the well being of blacks, their messages of racism and prejudice were diluted as a national attack on the Mississippi way of life, reminiscent of the nineteenth centuries’ conflict over the abolition of slavery. However, according to letters written to James Meredith during the integration, there was a mix of absurd racial views and silent dissention by passive bystanders. The letter written from E.M Harris represented beliefs that whites dare not speak of publicly. Although popular, his comments were considered lowbrow and not acceptable for the pro-segregation campaign adopted by many. His words, if had been made public , would have casted a darker shadow on the actions of the university and the students by exposing the core beliefs that were unfounded and simply ignorant. The letter from Susan admitted that blacks deserved equality but quickly reverted to the argument of upholding the state’s way of life. Then, there were those letters that recognized the simple humanity in obtaining equality, regardless of color. These complex views were rarely presented in the media because they challenged the dominant narrative of absolute

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