Study Guide

Driving Miss Daisy Prejudice

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Daisy Werthan isn't prejudiced. Never has been, never will be. She never lets us forget how broadminded and liberal she is.

Wait. Doesn't she always eat in a separate room from "the help"? Doesn't she describe her servants as children who'll steal anything if you let them? Isn't she reluctant to be seen socially in public with her black friend?

Driving Miss Daisy depicts prejudice in many forms—not only racism, but anti-Semitism and prejudice against the elderly. None of the main characters are evil or violent. They're horrified at the temple bombing; they admire Martin Luther King. But the message is clear: prejudice an be so ingrained and subtle that you don't realize how damaging your attitudes can be. As Dr. King said, the biggest tragedy is when good people are silent.

Questions About Prejudice

  1. Miss Daisy says she isn't prejudiced, but is she? What does she do that can be considered prejudiced behavior?
  2. What forms of prejudice does Hoke encounter? Does Miss Daisy encounter prejudice in the film?
  3. How does Driving Miss Daisy's depiction of prejudice differ from other films of this era?
  4. What assumptions do people make about the elderly in this film?

Chew on This

The film's prejudice comes in both racial and class-based flavors, however in the decades depicted in the film, race and class are inseparable. Because of segregationist policies, blacks didn't have the same educational and employment opportunities as whites.

Talk about pride and prejudice: Miss Daisy is too prideful to even notice her own prejudiced attitudes.

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