Free Paper Sample: Racism in The Time to Kill Movie

Published: 2022-06-08
Free Paper Sample: Racism in The Time to Kill Movie
Type of paper:  Case study
Categories:  Racism Movie
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1206 words
11 min read

The Time to Kill movie illustrates how the four frames of colorblind racism are executed in the society through a drama-filled film. The movie highlights the fight for justice for a black young who had been raped by two white men, in a white chauvinistic society. It represents the cries and oppression that people go through even as they seek the intervention of the court of law to administer justice for the pain caused by other parties. The absence of a fair hearing in courts is most likely to provoke people to take the law in their own hands, as demonstrated by the young girl's father, Carl Lee Hailey, who reacts after the courthouse fails to punish the rapists. The colorblind notion is assumed to be the racial profiling and classifications that take place in a society that considers itself inclusive and ideal for all people. In a colorblind society, the skin color of a person does not limit him or her from accessing quality services and opportunities in any part of the community. Equality among all races is encouraged and recognized as the driving force for mutual respect and understanding amongst people living in the society (Bonilla-Silva, 2013). The four frames of colorblind are the abstract liberalism, cultural racism, minimization of racism, and naturalization of racism.

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The abstract liberalism is one of the frames in colorblind racism which assumes that all people living in America must have equal opportunities and rights that allow them to enjoy living in the country (Neville et al., 2013). However, this notion exists on paper but is not actualized. Abstract liberalism assumes that democracy, equality, and freedom should be exercised as a way of emphasizing that every American accesses them, irrespective of their race. The government should develop policies that are inclusive and caters for the interests of all persons, with an aim of creating an enabling environment for all Americans to live a meaningful life, free of oppression (Bonilla-Silva, 2013). Abstract liberalism is demonstrated in the movie, Time to Kill, by the peaceful coexistence of people living in Clanton. People go about their daily activities and both blacks and white secure employment in different places where they can earn an income and live decent lives. However, the government, through the judiciary does not embrace equality. There are excuses and justifications that the jury at the courthouse has in refusing to administer justice even after Tonya Hailey had been raped and the suspects arrested and aligned in the court. Despite the incriminating evidence against the rapists, they are released and not prosecuted. This means that Lee, Tonya's father is denied justice, despite living in a community that supported equality.

Cultural racism is the second frame of colorblind that assumes that the whites perceive the blacks as biologically right (Neville et al., 2013). The main argument that most whites have is that blacks have a problem with their culture and beliefs as well as their way of doing things (Grisham, 2010). Some of the assumptions that support cultural racism is that black people come from malfunction families that do not instill the right values to their offspring and that they are to hold the blame. It means that the unstable families fail to play a part in bringing up the children in the right way which contributes to their subsequent failure in their lives. This justifies the fact that black victims are to blame for the misfortunes that befall them, irrespective of whether it was beyond their control or not. In the Time to Kill movie, cultural racism is evident when Tonya is to blame for the rape, abduction, and beating she had received from the white men. Her family had failed to raise her up appropriately which led to her being raped. This is despite Tonya being ten years old only and being a child, she was defenseless in the hands of two male adults who had taken advantage of her vulnerability.

The third frame of colorblind racism is the minimization of racism. This frame assumes that the profiling and discrimination that blacks face in the modern day is not as severe as it existed in the past, like in the last century (Williams, 2011). Hence, blacks should not use the mild discrimination they face when living among whites and should actually blame their culture. The black culture encourages its people to feel demotivated and seclude and consider themselves as unequal to the whites. The Time to Kill movie illustrates the minimization of racism concept when Carl Lee fails to be prosecuted in a court by a jury that contained individuals from different ethnic backgrounds. Instead, he was presented to a jury that had all whites, meaning that their interests were not in finding justice, but to cause more suffering and pain to Carl Lee. Carl Lee was most likely to face discrimination and unfair ruling due to his reaction at the court where he had killed the two men who had raped his daughter. The jury would not understand that his actions had been fueled by the lack of justice in the system, meaning that he had acted like any other parent would have done if faced with the same situation.

Lastly, the fourth frame of colorblind racism is the naturalization of racism. This is built on the perception that people have towards the discrimination and segregation that exists in the society (Grisham, 2010). This means that the pain and oppression the blacks face is considered normal, and only when one of the whites goes through the same, is when it can be assumed to be abnormal. There is nothing that should be changed since it is the natural law which allows segregation in learning institutions and low interaction between the blacks and the whites (Williams, 2011). The Time to Kill movie illustrates the naturalization racism when Brigance, Carl Lee's lawyer, engages the all-white jury that prosecutes Tonya's father. He narrates the situation where a girl had been raped and wants the jury to imagine that if she had been white, whether they would have changed the approach and perception they had towards the case. The jury felt no compassion towards Carl Lee and his daughter since they were black, and since their culture was to blame for what had happened, then it was only normal for them. However, with the interjection from the lawyer provoking the jury to perceive the whole issue differently, Carl Lee had won the case. The idea presented in the case reveals that if a white girl had been raped and the rapists arrested, then the courthouse would have acted fast and ensured that they were jailed, as the evidence would be provided in court. In conclusion, the movie is a success in illustrating how the blacks face oppression in different ways in a society that encourages whites to look down on others.


Bonilla-Silva, E. (2013). "New racism," color-blind racism, and the future of Whiteness in America. In White Out (pp. 268-281). Routledge.

Grisham, J. (2010). A Time to Kill: A Novel. Dell.

Neville, H. A., Awad, G. H., Brooks, J. E., Flores, M. P., & Bluemel, J. (2013). Color-blind racial ideology: Theory, training, and measurement implications in psychology. American Psychologist, 68(6), 455.

Williams, M. T. (2011). Colorblind ideology is a form of racism. Psychology Today, 27.

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