The main idea in the novel is the domination of blacks by the existing American standards of beauty – blue eyes, blonde hair and white skin. It deals honestly and sensitively with the damaging influence of white standards and values on the lives of black people. It demonstrates how the systems of oppression are spawned and sustained by the white supremacist and exploitative culture. The analysis of the novel brings out the implications of the imposition of white dominant culture on black sensibility. It portrays in poignant terms the tragic conditions of blacks in racist America.
Racism is the belief or idea of superiority of one race over another, often resulting in discrimination and/or prejudice towards people of the race. The ideology underlying racist practices often includes the idea that humans can be divided into distinct groups that are different due to their social behavior and their innate capacities as well as the idea that they can be ranked as inferior or superior. Since the late 20th century the notion of biological race has been recognized as a cultural invention, entirely without scientific basis. Structural Racism in the U.S. is the normalization of an array of dynamics – historical, cultural, institutional and interpersonal – that routinely advantage whites while producing cumulative and chronic adverse outcomes for people of color. It is a system of hierarchy and inequity, primarily characterized by white supremacy – the preferential treatment, privilege and power for white people at the expense of Black, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, Arab and other racially oppressed people.
Dubois along with Ellison tries to demolish the negative image and arise a positive one in this novel. The notion of double consciousness emphasizes the pain of black people in a racist society. And Ellison’s invisibility is talking about race, the black race in America that has been rendered invisible because of the predominant “Euro-centric” notion of superiority. He feels that the Americans cannot see anything beyond the black skin and the only mark of distinction is the White and Black Skin. They fail to understand the fact that even the blacks are individuals and have an
To people who are not white, it is pervasive and blatant. People see whiteness because they experience its effects. A useful comparison can be drawn between the unrecognised privileges of males, and those of white people (McIntosh, 1988). It is not unusual for men to acknowledge that women are disadvantaged. With that said, McIntosh (1988) argues that white privilege
This essay critically discusses the social alienation and isolation felt by the various characters in Gordimer's novel. The novel speaks of events that already occurred in South Africa in the 1950's. During the 1950's South Africa was under the laws of Apartheid, which had been governed by white people. These people were classified as superior and the white people benefitted the most from this unequal system, while non-whites were disadvantaged because of their skin color. The word Apartheid means "separate".
According to this approach the racist individual not only prefers his own race but aims to oppress and assert his superiority on individuals belonging to a different race other than his own. Cognitive Approach This definition of racism stems from historical predilection. “Unequal consideration out of a belief in the inferiority of another race.” (Nzimande, 2000) suggests that the problem of racism in South Africa can be associated with the problem of a class-based society. Dating back from the early days of colonialism to the present day, the evolution of institutionalised racism (apartheid) strongly impacts our cognitive psychology on perceptions about other races. Types of racism • Racial discrimination Discrimination based on race for the purposes of differential treatment.
This use of power by white people over black individuals has caused numerous black individuals to view themselves as trapped in their own skin, which is a concept Fanon defines as “blackness”. In Frantz Fanon’s article, The Fact of Blackness, he speaks about how black people do not feel the weight of their “blackness” until they are under the scrutiny of white counterparts and viewed as objects. Fanon states, “A feeling of inferiority? No, a feeling of nonexistence. Sin is Negro as virtue is white.
Apartheid can be defined by the New Oxford English Dictionary (1998) as “a policy or system of segregation or discrimination on the grounds of race” (Guelke, 2005:61). Throughout the period Guelke (2005) discussed the fact that the minority white communities within South Africa ruled over the black majority and lived “a lifestyle with a standard of living matching the very richest countries in the world” (Guelke, 2001:1-2), whilst the black communities lived in extreme poverty. Here we can link back to the system of monopolistic social closure. The white population viewed themselves as the elite members of society, and via
Yet, the concept of race and racism is a modern invention which becomes an integral part of the dominant ideology of society in the context of African slave trade and the dawn of capitalism in 1500s and 1600s” (Selfa) Racism does not lead to the progress of society, rather it leads to its ruin. Resistance is the solution. Throughout applying the above mentioned concept of racism to some African countries, like South Africa and Nigeria, it becomes totally apparent that imperialists use this instrument in a very brilliant manner to separate between the individuals of the same country. They make their ideas, the ruling ones, they make the oppressed citizens study what they, the white people, want. Those white imperialists do their best to terminate the fundamental identities of those black peoples.
The black male has a broader range of experiences on oppression than the white male because of the segregation of race in South Africa in 1948. The blacks suffered discrimination and treated as though they did not deserve to live. The whites lived lavishly and were respected in the community. “Don’t you think that more schooling simply means cleverer criminals?” (p. 69) This quote suggests that if a black male is given the same opportunity as a white male, the black male would turn out to be a man who will use his ability for the worse. As seen through this quote the whites have an inherent belief that the blacks are lower-ranking people and therefore will generalize and assume that all black South Africans are the inferior group of people.