Birth of a Nation (1915)

DW Griffith’s Birth of a Nation played a central role in the criminalization of African Americans in the United States. Birth of a Nation portrayed African Americans as savage brutes who were extremely sexually aggressive towards white women. They were seen as animals who would go to any extent to satisfy their lascivious desires. On the other side, the Ku Klux Klan or KKK was portrayed as a heroic force who delivered to the African Americans the punishment they rightfully deserved. These “punishments” were just glorified murders in the name of patriotism. Many innocent citizens were lynched and beaten to death by angry mobs looking for revenge. As a result of this indoctrinating propaganda, the KKK memberships soared and many believed they were on the “right side of history.” Although white supremacist achieved the goal they set out to make, they did not expect the long term outcome. Over the years, the widely accepted racist stereotype was passed down from generation to generation causing the African American race was deemed to be one of criminalistic nature. This stigma is still dangerously widespread and remains a part of society; even to this day.

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