This study will examine racism in the United States in 1989. The 1980s are inaccurately seen as a decade which has seen the diminishment of racism in the United States, but in fact racism has simply changed its disguise some twenty years after the so-called "civil rights era" of the 1960s.
Nicolaus Mills in his review of two books on civil rights in The Nation writes that the memory of the civil rights years has grown dim in the United States. It has also focused inaccurately on the struggle within the black rights movement which prevailed in the 1960s, which prevents us from forming a clear and complete picture of racism in 1989.
As Mills writes, "The civil war within the (black rights) movement that surfaced during the (Summer Project) and came to a head . . . with the expulsion of whites from SNCC has come to dominate the public perception of black-white relations during those years" (Mills 202).
Mills writes that the film "Mississippi Burning" in 1989 has altered the previous misperception and as a result, "The Summer Project - in particular the events surrounding the murders of (three civil rights workers) Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney - is news again. It is a shame so much time
had to pass for this to happen" (Mills 202).
Again, the film is important because it focuses the nation's attention on racism, but it is dangerous to assume that Americans will see the movie as anything more than a nostalgic look at a distant event in American history. The film will do more harm
than good if it limits racism in the public mind to the kind of blatant forms so evident in the 1960s. In 1989, in fact, racism is far more subtle than it was in the 1960s.
Shelby Steele in Harper's writes that racism is increasing on the very college campuses where twenty years ago it was fought against so vehemently.
Steele writes that "In the past few years, we have witnessed what the National Institute Ag...