Racism In The Modernist Era

992 Words4 Pages
According to the wise words of James Baldwin, “the nature of society is to create, among its citizens, an illusion of safety; but it is also absolutely true that the safety is always necessarily an illusion.” He also claims that “artists are here to disturb the peace,” and the writers of the modernist era truly embody Baldwin’s expectations. (cite quote) The primary goal of the modernist movement was to invalidate the conventions that governed society because the writers believed such conventions were simply “arbitrary and fragile human constructions” (Loeffelholz 14). They did not avoid topics deemed deviant by society, for they perceived the concept of deviance itself to be subjective and simply a method used for stigmatization and control. Many modernists also sought to rectify the injustices in society through their writings. For instance, many African American writers during the modernist era wished to…show more content…
Though the African American writers of the modernist era all sought to draw attention to the impact of racial inequality on black lives, they each had a unique way of illustrating the African American experience in a nation plagued with racism. Works such as Claude McKay’s poem “America,” Zora Neale Hurston’s short story “Sweat,” and Langston Hughes’s poems “I, Too” and “Theme for English B” shared a common goal, but the writers’ underlying agendas and portrayals of black lives varied. One of the noticeable qualities that distinguish the different authors’ works is whether they focus on the “vitality of black culture” or on the “burdens of racism” (Loeffelholz 18). Though these works were written decades ago, their relevance remains, for race relations and disagreement regarding the “right” way to portray the black experience while navigating a racist society continue to be issues in the
Open Document