The Culture Of The South In Richard Wright's Black Boy

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Richard Wright states in his autobiography, Black Boy, “I knew that I could never really leave the South, for my feelings had already been formed by the South, for there had been slowly instilled into my personality and consciousness, black though I was, the culture of the South.” Mr. Wright’s statement means that racism, the culture of the South, has formed his personality and mind. This is shown during his childhood and while he grows up in the South, facing the concept of “whites and blacks”.

Even from his childhood, Mr. Wright has faced the idea of racism and skin color.”Though I had long known that there were people called ‘white’ people, it had never meant anything to me emotionally. I had seen white men and women upon the streets a thousand times, but they had never looked particularly ‘white’” (23). At first, Mr. Wright isn’t affected by the
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Wright when he is a child affects him in a way that it shows when he is an adult. “I was living in a culture and not a civilization and I could learn how that culture worked only be living in it. Misreading the reactions of whites around me made me say and do the wrong things” (196). This passage mentions the culture of the South that forms Mr. Wright into who he is now and how his childhood experiences influenced him. By the time he is an adult, Mr. Wright completely lives in racism and in fear of the white people. “Each of us hated and feared the whites, yet had a white man put in a sudden appearance we would have assumed silent, obedient smiles. To our minds the white folks formed a kind of superworld…” (229). There are more people like Mr. Wright who experiences the notion of race and stereotypical roles, fearing the white people. The discrimination and racism that the blacks face from childhood create the thoughts and feelings they have in the future, affecting their entire lives. Mr. Wright’s consciousness and personality is formed by the South and the “culture” of the South
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