Race In Zora Neale Hurston's In Their Eyes Were Watching God

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The Limits of Race
When asked to define oneself, powerful adjectives, or meaningful characteristics, are often described. The foundational identity that has been created in an individual, is explained through a deeply rooted word choice. Should ones race significantly assist in defining the essential make up of a person? Racial identity and its meaning is an on-going and crucial debate in modern American society. As the theory of race and its significance in the development of social equity continues to divide opinions, the racial prejudice that’s created from this damages individual and communal identities. In Zora Neale Hurston’s “How It Feels To Be Colored Me” she dives into her own personal racial identity issues. Similar themes of racial …show more content…

From tough relationships, to difficult decisions, and significant lessons, Janie has a fair share of difficult experiences throughout the novel. In the novel Janie’s hair serves as an illusive metaphor. Hair is an important symbol in black identity and culture. For generations it has been used to express pride and resistance against racial beauty stereotypes formed against black women. Black women were told to straighten or chemically “tame” their hair to fit in with Euro-centric ideologies. With Janie being of mixed race she shares white features that aren’t commonly noticed in the black community. The novel …show more content…

(Hurston 45)
Janie’s being deemed attractive solely by her hair. With no regards of skin or personality, Janie is saved from judgement that many black women were subjected to. The black community also suffers from an inevidable diverge; skin tone. As slavery progressed, the promiscuity of white men became progressively notable. When the number of individuals with mixed-race became inescapable, there became yet another social divide:
By virtue of generally having lighter skin colour, the progeny of these sexual unions were visibly distinguishable from enslaved persons who were solely of African descent. The extent to which enslaved individuals of mixed ancestry received preferential treatment is debatable—though mulattoes benefited conspicuously from manumission, as enslavers sometimes granted freedom to their own children. (Wallenfeldt 1)
Although the impact of mixed skin continued to change over time, in the early 20th century it couldn’t be looked upon as anything less than a gift. The theory of colorism can not go unnoticed in the novel. Janie has a conversation with Mrs. Turner who shows readers a different sense of acceptance when it pertains to Janie:
But Mrs. Turner’s shape and features were

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