Racial Segregation In Richard Wright's Black Boy

515 Words3 Pages

Racial segregation affected many lives in a negative way during the 1900s. Black children had it especially hard because growing up was difficult to adapting to whites and the way they want them to act. In Black Boy, Richard Wright shows his struggles with his own identity because discrimination strips him of being the man he wants to be. Richard undergoes many changes as an individual because of the experience he has growing up in the south and learning how to act around whites. “I had a series of petty jobs for short periods, quitting some to work elsewhere, being driven off others because of my attitude, my speech, the look in my eyes” (Wright 182). Richard is at first confused why he is being fired, but as it happens more and more he learns the smallest actions can infuriate white people. Richard struggles to accept these features that are deemed unacceptable and adjusts his behavior in the presence of whites. “What I had heard …show more content…

“I was learning rapidly how to watch white people, to observe their every move, every fleeting expression, how to interpret what we said and what we left unsaid” (Wright 181). Richard uses his observation of whites to guide himself on how to act and react around white people. For example he must agree with the whites even if he truly disagrees. For example he must agree with the whites even if he truly disagrees. “I answered with false heartiness, falling quickly into that nigger-being-a-good-natured-boy-in-the- presence-of-a-white-man pattern, a pattern into which I could now slide easily” (Wright 234). This pattern helped Richard learn how to behave in front of whites even if it meant he had to be someone he is not. Even though Richard hates being someone he is not, he must to maintain his job and get by in the south. Richard is getting better and better at being around whites but in order to do that he has to do thing he

Show More
Open Document