Sexism And Racism In “The Color Purple”

1628 words - 7 pages

I feel every person should care about sexism and racism, because these two issues affect everyone. “The Color Purple” is a great film that focuses on the problems African American women faced during the early 1900s. "The Color Purple" provides a disturbing and realistic account into the life of Celie, a poor southern black woman with a sad and abusive past and Sophia, another poor southern black woman with a sad and abusive past.
Sexism is a form of discrimination based on a person's sex, with such attitudes being based on beliefs in traditional stereotypes of different roles of the sexes. Sexism is not just a matter of individual attitudes; it is built into the institutions of society. In the film, Walker shows the difficult life of sexism for black women. For example, Celie was being raped by her stepfather at the age of fourteen. He takes her children away from her and then gives her away to a man to be married that she did not love or care for that she can only refer to him as mister. While living with him, she had to endure his beatings and take care of his children from another woman. During that time in the South, abuse from spouse was common, tolerated, and thought to be right. Men were the ones that worried about whether their actions or their behaviors are masculine enough. Take Harpo for an example, who found it hard to discipline his wife, Sofia. He asked, his father how he can get Sofia to listen to him. His father replies, “You ever hit her?” When Harpo says no, his father says, “Well how you expect to make her mind? Wives are like
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children. You have to let them know who got the upper hand. Nothing can do better than a good sound beating” (Spielberg, 1985). Men need firm boundaries that define their sex role in order to keep them within the well respected category of masculinity. Women in the South knew their place in life were to cook and clean and to mind the men. They were denied masculine power in being forced into the domestic service, serving others. Black women were also forced to mind white women. After the Civil War, slavery might have been done with, but racism was not.
Racism is the belief that some races are essentially, superior to others and therefore have a right to dominate them. In the United States, racism, particularly by whites against blacks, has created profound racial tension and conflict in virtually all aspects of American society. Until the breakthroughs achieved by the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s, white domination over blacks was institutionalized and supported in all branches and levels of government, by denying blacks their civil rights and opportunities to participate in political, economic, and social communities. So, blacks had a general sense of fear when it came to whites...

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