Was Margaret Mitchell Racist?
I am reading Gone with the Wind. It's beautifully written and engaging, but as an African American it's been quite a task getting through the parts of the novel that are thick with racism. And it's not racism in the sense of perspective, writing neutrally but staying faithful to an accurate retelling, but instead the narrative it's self seems to be subjective and written in such a way that the racism is apparent in the author's voice. Is this true? Was she racist? I've read a lot of opinion pieces regarding Margaret but nothing that explicitly describes her as a racist.
- 7 years agoFavorite Answer
Due to the era in which Gone With The Wind was written, it wouldn't be surprising to get a taste of racism in the perspective of the author. Unfortunately, at that time, whether it be a writer or a farmer, racism was more the rule than the exception. Though, this question has been posed in the past, a close friend of Margaret Mitchell once said that her writing was nothing more than a retelling of the events and attitudes that were prevalent in that day and time, especially in the deep south. While it did seem a little over the top at times, we have to consider we're dealing with Hollywood and if anyone has a flair for the dramatics, it's them. Due to the fact that the source is no longer available for comment, we can only speculate on her true feelings as well as her intent. I do agree Gone With The Wind is a beautiful story and personally feel that MM was only giving her audience a view into what she deemed as factual for her time.
- 6 years ago
Who knows for sure. However, the "American Masters" special --- you'd think they could do a show on someone who wrote more than one book.... although I think Harper Lee's contribution lives on in a way that Mitchell's does not--- reveals that she refused to attend a class at university because a black woman would also be in attendance. It's hard to look at a film or read a book these days that gives such a romanticized view of the old south (including its attitude towards slavery). It's interesting that GTTW and many other films and books were so embraced by Northerners, and, by extension, Hollywood, while Jim Crow laws undid Lincoln's attempts at equalization for exactly a century. And, such representations were popular in the first half century following the Civil War. It's doubtful that books and films treating the Nazi era with such gloss would find favor even today with any but the most extreme white supremacist audiences.
- 4 years ago
Suuuuper late on this question.
Mitchell was definitely alive during very racist times. I believe she wrote the novel during the 1930's, right in the middle between slavery and segregation, so she was raised to look down on nonwhites.
Now, even though slaves weren't educated, she showed a lot of her racist upbringing by the way she portrayed most of the black people was stupid, superstitious, and cowardly (especially Prissy) The few intelligent ones were blindly devoted to their masters and still held a lot of stereotypes. It was hard reading through the passages sometimes, not just because of the was they spoke but also how ridiculously stupid they sounded. just because they weren't educated didn't mean they were fools!
- 5 years ago
Hang on a second - the black people in the book are the most loyal, the most honest, the most admirable people. they make the white people look like jerks. Just because Mitchell was showing things the way they were does not mean she was racist. Gone With the Wind does not celebrate slavery, and it does not present black people as less than people. It presents them as people worthy of love and trust and respect.
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- 4 years ago
She HAS to be racist, because there is no "out" in the portrayal of racism. The "darkies" are considered good only when they are loyal servants who don't want freedom. . They are considered smarter, only if they have a little Native American blood or something. Even though in the movie they don't show this, but in the book, Rhett is in jail for killing a free Af. Am. and we are supposed to be proud of this. Ashley is in the Ku Klux Klan as well as the rest of our heroes and even "good" Melanie is supposed to be proud of "our gentleman" When I say there is no "out" , look at Scarlett, Scarlett is silly but she learns to rise above it, same with all our other white people.
- mikah_smilesLv 77 years ago
Mitchell was a product of her time. Those times were what we would call racist in modern times. That was just how it was back then. Remember that Mitchell was an adult before women were allowed to vote.
- 6 years ago
I haven t read much of the book, but i have seen some racist things in the book.
- Anonymous4 years ago
It is possible definitely