Racism And Violence In Richard Wright's Black Boy

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The novel Black Boy by Richard Wright exhibits the theme of race and violence. Wright goes beyond his life and digs deep in the existence of his very human being. Over the course of the vast drama of hatred, fear, and oppression, he experiences great fear of hunger and poverty. He reveals how he felt and acted in his eyes of a Negro in a white society. Throughout the work, Richard observes the deleterious effects of racism not only as it affects relations between whites and blacks, but also relations among blacks themselves. Black Boy, however, explores racism not only as an odious belief held by odious people, but also as an insidious problem knit into the very fabric of society as a whole. Growing up, Richard tried to leave behind his violent lifestyle—even when his new friends wanted him to fight. “I knew that my life was revolving about a world that I had to encounter and fight when I grew up” (Wright 125). It’s…show more content…
The story represents the culmination of Wright’s passionate desire to observe and reflect upon the racist world around him. Racism is so insidious that it prevents Richard from interacting normally, even with the whites who do treat him with a semblance of respect or with fellow blacks. For Richard, the true problem of racism is not simply that it exists, but that its roots in American culture are so deep it is doubtful whether these roots can be destroyed without destroying the culture itself. “It might have been that my tardiness in learning to sense white people as "white" people came from the fact that many of my relatives were "white"-looking people. My grandmother, who was white as any "white" person, had never looked "white" to me” (Wright 23). Wright’s critique of racism in America includes a critique of the black community itself—specifically the black folk community that is unable or unwilling to educate him properly or accept his individual personality and
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