Through his own experience of slavery from a child to adult, he exposed the brutal nature of slavery and revealed underside of how slave owners maintain such terrible regime. In the institution of slavery, whites gain their power over slavery by the practice of violent and cruel treatment, deliberately keep slaves ignorant of basic facts about slave themselves and the intention of enslaving them. Slaveholders in the south separated slave’s family, slaves will become vulnerable and lost consciousness or hope in the absence of family love. Slaveholder could keep them without facing any lawful punishments. Basis on these, whites can make black slaves lost their individuality and qualities as human, they will have not have consciousness aware their place in the society.
In that time, there were many heavy social standards and one of those standards was accepting Jim Crow. One example of one person not being able to combat Jim Crow due to the social pressure was in the book To Kill A Mockingbird. One of the characters, Dolphus Raymond, liked hanging out with black people and was friends with them. He knew that there was pressure against it, so he took the cowardly way out by pretending to be drunk as an excuse to hang out with them. The fictional character of Mr. Raymond is a great embodiment of the mental state of the silent few in America that knew that Jim Crow was wrong, but didn’t have the means or willpower to end it.
A single story can be dangerous for the simple fact that we miss the whole story. The one-sided view on life can lead to stereotypes and judgement of others. Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is an example of this single story. This Polish-British writer is claimed to be a great author, with Heart of Darkness being his most popular work. In this novel he speaks through his main character Marlow about white settlers colonizing Africa, harming, exploiting and, portraying the natives in many inhumane ways.
“Just Walk on By” Alex Haley, an American writer in the late 1900s, once said “racism is taught in our society, it is not automatic. It is learned behavior toward persons with dissimilar physical characteristics” Although he was famous for his literature, Haley still faced racism for being black. In his quote, he briefly explains why racism is still around, and why people discourage minorities. Similar to another black writer, Brent Staples, a journalist, wrote several essays trailing his life growing up black. One of the essays Staples wrote, “Just Walk on By”, was a reflection of how his mere presence on the street was enough to frighten a woman.
In the novel, All Our Names, Dinaw Mengestu explains the prejudice and stereotypes that African people were subjected to when they arrived to America in the 1960 's. Before Helen even met Isaac she assumed that he would be short, malnourished, and that his English would be poor. Upon meeting him, she realized that her assumptions about him were completely wrong. Towards the middle of the novel Helen stated," It 's also equally possible …. that, regardless of what we do, we are tied to all the prejudices in our country and the crimes that come with them" (Mengestu 113).
Equality; what does it mean to Atticus Finch and to Dr. King? In Atticus’s closing remarks defending Tom Robinson he says, “She was white, and she tempted a Negro. She did something that in our society is unspeakable: she kissed a black man. Not an old Uncle, but a strong young Negro man. ” In the time period that Harper Lee wrote To Kill A Mockingbird blacks were oppressed, looked down upon, and treated as they are in her book displayed with Tom Robinson.
Charles Chesnutt’s The Marrow of Tradition, is one of the first novels to discuss racial tension in the Post-Civil War South. Even after the abolition of slavery, white citizens like Major Carteret, General Belmont, and Captain McBane will stop at nothing to maintain the superiority of the white race. Through the novel, Chesnutt closely juxtaposes certain characters, especially of the white and black race to express that the two peoples may not be as different as one would think. For the white’s perspective, they are horrified with threat that the black race is rising in social and economic power. Characters like Janet and Olivia, McBane and Josh Green, and Polly Ochiltree and Julia are all paired together by Chesnutt to express that when one
This enabled him to realize following the ideologies of the white contained major limitation. For instance, his grandfather suffered humiliation as well as slavery, which proved vulnerable to racial prejudice. The dramatic speech which conveyed by the narrator was perceived by the white as a joke since they were not prepared to accept the ideas of the upstanding black citizens. In reality, the embarrassment the narrator received motivated him to emphasize on industrial education which is the key to overcome racism as well as discrimination towards the black community. The men’s reaction towards Ralph Ellison’s slip of the tongue by saying “social equality” for “social responsibility underlines clearly the point he was conveying.
Another good author to mention is Flannery O’Connor in Everything That Rises Must Converge. From the title, it creates in idea of social change in my mind, especially from the picture on the book cover. Flannery O’Connor place a social conflict of racism even after transformed the South. She creates Julian’s character and his racist mother that wish to make things back to the slavery edge. She intimidates every black person get into the bus and I assume if she has the power to make them not ride the bus, she will do.
King speaks of the attacks, “...unspeakable horrors of police brutality” the black community encountered for having a different skin tone. Since the white community did not see the Blacks as equals they did not think they were hurting a worthy human being. King addresses the “... negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one” as something the black community as a whole had to face on a regular basis. The black community was forced to receive social restraint on their lives. This is a real life illustration of the extreme segregation of the time.