In the contemporary era, the issue of race remains a prevalent topic in public discussion. Thus, Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad is meaningful as it explores the legacy of racial injustice in the United States and its consequences in today’s society. In his development of the underground railroad as a literal and physical vehicle to freedom, Whitehead is able to candidly detail the ubiquitous nature of racial prejudice and the horrors associated with it. Over the course of his novel, the author utilizes a variety of rhetorical devices in order to further explore the many hardships that ‘freedom’ inevitably entails. In particular, Whitehead’s use of imagery, character interactions and Aristotelian appeals brings to attention aspects of race relations that were and are still often misunderstood or disregarded by society.
The black man only becomes aware of his blackness when in contact with the white world. In this essay, I will attempt to bring forward this issue of race and becoming aware of it. Drawing from my personal experience, I will discuss the ways in which that experience relates to Fanon’s representation of race. The writer, more often than not, makes reference to critics and other influential figures to support his views and his arguments. I will present this essay in the same manner in which Fanon presents his book, linking my personal experience to Fanon’s and some other important historical and cultural figures’ views.
Race, ethnicity and gender have always been crucial issues of humanity. In her novel Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie unleashes her creativity to reveal the ugly truth of the American society as a brutal and hypocrite racist, and as the exporter of racism and injustice to the whole world. Racism is presented in the novel as the root of many other issues such as the loss of identity. When a person suffers from solidarity because he or she lives in a society that denies and deprives them of their simplest human rights only because they are colored or because they follow a minority ethnicity, that person loses his identity. When a person travels to a foreign country for any purpose, he might be rejected by the society for the sole reason of being a foreigner, this also deprives him of security and he loses his identity.
But this seems to be a fallacious interpretation. Seeing Jadine as a tar baby implies that Son is the victim or the wronged one, but that cannot be upheld by the novel. In the novel, Son is as much an instrument of violence as he is a target or victim of. He forces himself on Jadine, and elsewhere expresses a desire ‘to insert his dreams into her’ (119). For the black woman, black men like Son are figures as oppressive as white men.
W. E. B. Du Bois was an American sociologist, historian and civil rights activists who lived during the period of ‘reconstruction’ following the end of slavery in the US. He was an important figure in the fight for racial justice and a theorist of race and racism as a social formation. He was particularly interested in the devastating effects that living in segregation has on the souls and consciousness of black people. In his work ‘The Souls of Black Folk’ (1903), Du Bois coined the term ‘double consciousness’ (1903).
Baraka, an advocate of Black culture and political power gives expression to violence, misogyny, homophobia and racism in his writings. His play Dutchman is in part responsible for the growth of a genre called Black Literature known as Black Arts Movement. In Dutchman, Baraka uses theatricality and dynamic characters as a metaphor to portray an honest representation of racist stereotypes in America through both physical and psychological acts of discrimination. An enigma of themes and racial conflicts are blatantly exemplified within the short duration of the play. My paper attempts to analyse how Baraka uses character traits, symbolism and metaphor to exhibit the legacy of racial tension in America.
Morrison is among the pioneer of those contemporary black writers who have redefined African- American writings in more ways than one. This assignment will focus on the aspects of gender bias and double consciousness in The Bluest Eye. The Bluest Eye works at different layers of the lives of black people. At one level it accounts for the racial discrimination faced by Afro-Americans throughout their life time. At another level, it is a clear narration of how internalized concepts of beauty works in the minds of blacks and they themselves become their oppressors.
This is when Colonel Sartoris remitted her taxes so when the Board of Alderman shows up to her rundown house she refuses to pay taxes. The story then jumps to another time frame, describing to the reader of a time where a terrible odor was emitting from her house. At this point in time her father has died, and her lover has left her. The townspeople did not want to upset her so they sneak to her house and sprinkle lime to try to help the smell. The narrator also reflects on Emily’s aunt going insane, and compares the insanity to the time Emily refused to believe her father was dead.
Richard has already suffered for years from the debilitating anxiety caused by trying to predict the behavior of white people, and he has often felt the impact of their displeasure, repeatedly losing jobs when they resent his manner or ambition. Wright asserts that his personality bears permanent scars as a southern black man, scars that explain his emotional and philosophical alienation as well as his unresolved anger. However, they also serve as the creative wellspring of his powerful artistry. Wright leaves no doubt about his resentment of the white racist social order that defined his youth; what is more difficult to resolve is the ambivalence toward black people that permeates Black Boy. By the time he reaches adulthood, Wright finds himself estranged from the black community by his dismissal of religion, his resistance to strategies for manipulating white people behind the mask of stereotype, and his contempt for passive acquiescence in response to white terrorism.
James Baldwin is very explicit in his novel about the conditions of racism in the United States, and where he believes they stem from. Baldwin seems to think it is an internal, and individualized mindset that causes African Americans to fall into their ‘expected’ roles. He tells his nephew, “You can only be destroyed by believing you really are what the white world calls a nigger” (Baldwin 4). Through this quote, Baldwin is appealing to the readers pathos and making them think more deeply about how one finds their own self identity. Is much of modern racism influenced by others opinions on ourselves and on each other?