It can be noted that patterns of racial and class segregation in the cities in America had continued and hardened. As evident from the movie, racial conflict, and tension as a tenacious refrain in the people living in the urban areas. Discrimination by race and color was a key fact of life in the urban areas of America in the 1950s and 60s. However, the significance, dimensions and very meaning of race varied depending on it's economic, cultural and political context. Notably, the relationship across racial lines adopted countless forms and had differing results.
Racism in ‘ Selma’ is portrayed as a pathological condition, which is an unchanging part of the white culture. But then again the word ‘ racism’ oversimplified what was a multifaceted and complicated reality in ‘ Selma’ . As evident from the movie, race relations were the product of a variety of racial practices and beliefs. Racial ideology served as the backdrop to the relationships between whites and blacks in America. Discriminatory actions and attitudes were built and justified in part by the different images of African Americans to which the white city-dwellers were exhibited too.
As evident from the movie, racial identity rested on extensively held assumptions around the mediocre intelligence of the African Americans2. It was also held to the notion that the African Americans were better well-matched for certain types of jobs, and stereotypes about African Americans’ sexual promiscuity, dependency, licentiousness, and laziness. The physical state of white neighborhoods and African American neighborhoods in ‘ Selma’ reinforced perceptions of race. The extensiveness of racial segregation in American urban areas made ghettoization appear as unavoidable, the natural consequence of deep racial differences.
The blockades that kept the African Americans curbed to racially isolation worsening, inner-city neighborhoods were widely invisible to the white people. Overcrowding, deteriorating houses, and visible poverty were signs of moral deviancies and not a demonstration of structural inequalities.
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