Racism In Gifted Hands

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The biography Gifted Hands by Ben Carson is the real life story of a black kid growing up in a culture filled with racism and a dislike for blacks, as whites were seen as the superior race. As Carson grows up and ventures out into the real world, he faces challenges, successes and everything in between. One of the main themes in Gifted Hands is racism. Carson has numerous stories in the biography of where he was seen as lesser because of his race. This essay will discuss the theme of racism, how this impacted Carson, changed his mindset and the relevance of this theme today.
Racism is defined as, “the idea that human races have different traits which brings on the belief that one’s own races is superior to another.”(Macquarie Dictionary, Second
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Carson was a black kid living in a very racist time period. When he went to Wilson Junior High he was subject to lots of racism from teachers and students alike. Black kids were stereotypically seen as dumb and unable to succeed, while white kids were seen as superior. “Then, to my embarrassment, she bawled out the White kids because they had allowed me to be number one [in my class]. “You’re not trying hard enough,” she told them. While she never quite said it in words, she let them know that a Black person shouldn’t be number one…” (pp. 42-43). Even the teachers expected less of Carson, and got the other kids into trouble for allowing him to be top of the class. Even though this isn’t direct racism it is still an example of how Carson was put down purely because of his race. Carson says, “I’m just dumb…I think my poor record reinforced my general impression that Black kids just were not as smart as White ones. I shrugged, accepting the reality—that’s the way things were supposed to be (p. 30).” The mindset of people back then was that black people were inferior, less smart and less likely to succeed as opposed to white people. This relates to Carson because he has a poor record and people blame this on his skin

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