Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Watched The Murder of Emmett Till last night on PBS. I almost didn't but I had it on pretty good authority that it was worth watching. I tend to initially balk at watching these programs because I always end up feeling so angry and depressed after, but after the whole dismal weekend of affirmative action debate I really needed to see something relevant.

It was worth seeing, although somewhat lacking. I don't think an hour is enough time to get into everything that the case embodied. For one, the antipathy that African Americans have towards the south continues today and has it's roots in the ideology of Mississippi. And the sexual politics of race is worth a documentary in itself. They also didn't get into the question of the whistle which surprised me. One story has it that Till would whistle to counteract his stutter. They mentioned the stutter briefly but not the whistle. My feeling is that whether the whistle was intentional or not isn't important. The point is that he was killed for it. Still that they didn't at least mention it was odd.

One of things that struck me was how large a part the northern press played in bringing the story out. How depressing is it the press in an era of segregation was in some ways more progressive than our press now?

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