Black and White: A Visual Interpretation of Racism during the Vietnam War

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In Michael Nelson’s The Presidency, a photograph of President Lyndon B. Johnson giving members of the 101st Airborne their service medals for fighting in the Vietnam War is used to describe how he served his term as president (see Appendix 1 for photograph). The photograph was taken during July in 1966 at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and it is a black and white picture showing President Lyndon B. Johnson moving down a line of soldiers, stopping at each one to shake their hands while they were awarded their medals. Behind the soldiers, many American flags are hoisted by another row of soldiers. The photograph effectively describes Johnson’s presidential term because Johnson actively supported sending hundreds of thousands of troops to aid the …show more content…
Similarly, the idea that white people are more superior to black people was common during segregation when discriminatory acts forced black people to sit at the back of buses so the white people didn’t have to be behind black people. The continuation of racial prejudice towards black people by white people is apparent because the belief that white people are superior to black people still exists.
Another way racial prejudices continued after segregation showed in the photograph through the expression of the black soldier shaking the hand of Lyndon B. Johnson. The soldier’s eyes are widened and mouth is slightly open which makes him appear to be shocked or surprised. His surprised expression stands out from all the other soldiers’ serious visage. The feeling of shock for the soldier may come from the respect given by President Johnson that he may not be accustom to or expect from such an influential person. In the photograph, Johnson stares directly into the soldier’s eyes and shakes the soldier’s hand which are both common forms of showing respect. The black soldier likely didn’t expect a white man like President Lyndon B. Johnson to express respect towards him because other less influential white people wouldn’t do the same which shows the continuation of racial prejudice.
Also, at the point in the line where race changes, there is clearly a larger gap between the last white soldier and the first black soldier which shows racial prejudice. This

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