darktown essay.docx - Although it is a mystery novel which follows a police investigation into the murder of a woman \u201cDarktown,\u201d underlines racism

darktown essay.docx - Although it is a mystery novel which...

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Although it is a mystery novel which follows a police investigation into the murder of a woman, “Darktown,” underlines racism in America. The novel reminds one that not too long ago racial divisions in the U.S. were significantly worse off than they are today. In 1948, which is the year the novel takes place, Jim Crow was alive and well in the south. That year Atlanta hired its first black police officers, and these officers faced several restrictions in doing their jobs due to segregation laws. The restrictions and adversity these officers had to deal with exemplifies the negative relationship black people in the U.S. have with the police. This relationship is accentuated in the novel because even as police officers, whom are seen as authority figures, these men had to deal with their racist white colleagues who often belittled them. Therefore, even with the power of the badge, the black officers could not escape racist treatment from white officers. This paradox shows that the fears many in the black community still have today of the police in light of recent events such as Ferguson and Baltimore are not unwarranted when one considers the events of the past, and the novel highlights this theme. The origins of this theme can be found in the aggressive policing of blacks in America, which can be traced all the way back to slavery. In the southern states, policing had its origins in slave patrols. These slave patrols were made up of white volunteers who could employ any methods they saw fit to enforce slave laws, stop slave revolts, and punish slaves (Hassett- Walker). As you might expect, slaves were terrified of these slave patrols, as well as abolitionists
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