Rod Steiger

100 Days of Trump Day 87: In the Heat of the Night

Welcome Back to 100 Days of Trump, where I try to explain WTF happened in 2016 in 100 Recommendations, and lets talk about Racism.  Now I am kinda presume that most of you have see In the Heat of the Night, but if you haven’t seen it….go watch In the Heat of the Night its amazing.   But what I want to focus specifically is the racism….ok the whole movie is about racism, but specifically the way the racists think.  I am of course not talking the terrible tv show.  btw.  

   See the Heat of the Night is a town which has had a set way things are done for over a century, everybody has a certain place, and nobody who grew up here challenges the towns roles.  This applies to race of course, but also class, certain people don’t mix with other people, and it has been done for so long nobody who lives here questions it. The local black population has grown up with this and so they take it for granted, they don’t focus on trying to fix the inequality so much as try to avoid being harmed from it.  The poor whites don’t like their place but take solice in the fact that they are in a better place than the black population, who they look down upon with contempt.  Yet again we have a situation where if poor whites could team up with blacks they could unite against a common foe, the rich whites, but instead they live in abject poverty rather than admit equality with black people.  But my point is, nobody in this Mississippi town questions any of this, this is how things are run and to the locals, its how things have always been run.

Enter an urban educated black police officer from Chicago, on his way to visit his mother, who is higher class than most of the whites but still black, and a policeman at that.  His presence in the town totally disrupts the entire foundation of the towns world view, even when he isn’t doing anything.  Just existing calls into question the entire foundation of the town, after all if a black man can be as educated and well spoken as the white upper class (by this town’s standards) then…isn’t the whole system totally bullshit?  And everybody in town gets really tense and scared because his presence here signals change, and they fear change.  After all this town has always been this way…why end it now? 

So looking at this scene

Now sadly this scene cuts away before the most important part but right after they leave, that old man starts crying, he starts weeping because a black man hit him back.  The fact that this is rank hypocrisy doesn’t matter, the fact that this this man considers this to be the most upsetting moment of his life.  You almost feel sorry for him. 

   Its always important to understand with Rural America, change is viewed as scary, and when outsider come who signal to them how much the world has moved on, they usually react with extreme conservatism.  Especially in the south, and this sort of conservative fear of change can lead to a radical conservative movement which

Oh….right    

Seriously though regardless of anything Obama did, beliefs he had, or poilcies he enacted, to a lot of the country just having a black guy, particularly one named Barrack Hussein Obama, just signaled to them that the country is changing and that got a lot of them to just fucking panic and act as if their entire fucking world is falling apart…even though it isn’t.Because to go back to the movie for a second…that town in Mississippi?  In 2016, that town isn’t that different, the racism has lessened somewhat and they likely aren’t quite as poor, and there are some new shops but the town isn’t actually that fundamentally changed.  And if you got ride of the racism, the town would still be the same, the changes are not as radical as the conservatives imagine.