Racism In Richard Wright's Native Son

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African American author Richard Wright published Native Son, in 1940 to highlight the contrast between racial and economic classes for both whites and blacks to notice. With this in mind, this book paints how disadvantageous, hopeless, and downright hard being African American was during this time. This was by evoking sympathy for the struggles of Bigger Thomas – a 20-year-old living in poverty with his mother, sister, and brother in a single bedroom apartment within the Chicago black belt all while trying to evoke political change so that action could be taken against this. At the same time, Wright uses Bigger Thomas to bring cognizance into the results of racism and white oppression by showing how his life was affected from the start and…show more content…
According to Drake and Caytons’ Black Metropolis published in 1945, Bigger Thomas lived in the black belt of Chicago [4] – an area that the black population concentrated itself in as other groups migrated at their leisure. This was not a coincidence, as this occurred for several reasons. Primarily, the local hostility prevented them from expanding into better housing due to the restricted covenant [4]. This was the unfortunate reality of blacks as homeowners and realtors came together and refused to sell to African Americans [4]. For example, page 50 of Native Son hinted that Mr. Dalton owned the South Side Real Estate Company – a company that owned the slums where his family resided. Page 303 and 304 shows this as well when Dalton confirmed that he refused to rent apartments to African Americans, calling it “an old custom,” and “a code of ethics.” On top of that, page 54 connects with the aforementioned pages to imply the discrimination blacks faced because Dalton not only charges them a substantial amount of rent, but gives it back to the community, saying how he was “a supporter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.” This created a cycle of helplessness, as African Americans were unable to migrate to different areas within Chicago due to an inability to accumulate wealth. In addition, black bombings and other acts of violence were used to achieve this purpose [4]. As…show more content…
Racism was rampant, and oppression of the African American community was widespread. No matter the city or state, south to north – African Americans faced these hindrances every day. In return, Richard Wright took it upon himself to write about these experiences by evoking change and sympathy so that every American would be aware and ignore the plight of this racial group. Historian Amy Carreiro exemplifies this as well by acknowledging his contribution against inequality between blacks and whites stating, “Wright daftly exposed the problem of racial prejudice…” As a result, his book withstood the test of time, remaining a popular book in American high schools and universities today that stands tall in the fight for African American
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