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In Philadelphia, are there any similarities between "segregation" that African-...

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readeal3 | Student, Grade 11 | Valedictorian

Posted October 6, 2013 at 9:36 PM via web

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In Philadelphia, are there any similarities between "segregation" that African- Americans experienced and "social segregation" experienced by Andrew Beckett as a gay person?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 6, 2013 at 9:57 PM (Answer #1)

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I think that the intent of the drama is to show that there are similarities between the segregation that African- Americans experienced and the marginalization that Andrew Beckett experiences.  Both forms of social rejection are rooted in prejudice and discrimination. When Andrew is in the library researching, awakening the discomfort of the other people in the library, it is a reminder of how social intolerance towards people who are gay is similar to the social prejudice that African- Americans experienced. There is a noticeable hostility that is shown to Andrew, and one in which he feels alone in a world that seeks to silence him.

This experience is similar to the condition that African- Americans and other groups have experienced in American History.  While there might be differences between both experiences, the film demonstrates that when people are viewed as "outsiders" and excluded from rightful participation in activities that should be able to enhance their narratives, discrimination, prejudice, and exclusion can transcend time periods.  A Philadelphia corporate law firm in the early 1990s shares much with the racial inolerance of segregation. It is in this element where one can see Andrew Beckett as someone who is gay shares some common links with African- Americans who experienced discrimination as a result of segregation.

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