Richard Wright’s Black Boy as a Catalyst to End Racism Essay

Black Boy as a Catalyst to End RacismAround 2000 B.C., Egyptians enslaved Jews in bondage like caged animals because they were targeted as a lesser race and thus chosen for labor. Just 1500 years later, the Jews themselves were the culprits of racism labeling the very association with Samaritans as a deep sin. In 1861_1865, the United States divided brother against brother in one of its bloodiest battles of all time over black slavery.

Racism survives not simply as an intangible historic fable but as a real modern problem, also. In current civilization Arab Palestinians war with Israelis to find a homeland; the Ku Klux Klan draws its biggest membership influx in over 20 years;

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and in the U.S. where freedom reigns, Americans have never to date voted a person into the president’s office who was not a white male. Denny’s restaurants, Texaco gas stations, and Avis car rental are a few of the number of national companies accused of extolling racism in this “apartheid America.” Although less subtle in the lives of Americans then, racism also thrived in the souls of people living during the 1920’s. Even though the war on

slavery was over in the battle fields, white racists were blood thirsty lions at heart, as was demonstrated in the book Black Boy.

The setting of Black Boy is in the deep south of Jackson, Mississippi where whites attempted to tame into submission blacks by hard discipline. Such was the case for Richard in Black Boy, his autobiography. It seemed that the more Richard gained success, the more he was hurt. In Black Boy, Richard is abused by whites because he reminds the whites of their lack of identity and failure to meet society’s expectations. Their lives became bland…

…elf_imposed humility, the person gets a sense of gratification in his life. He now knows that he has a good reason to keep going. Eventually the person will also receive that same love from others. Therefore, a new source for positive gratification and love is created, making racism obsolete.

These principles have not been fully successful as people are naturally more willing to be lethargic than active, more likely to be followers than leaders, usually submit rather than stand up for themselves. They need courage. The courage must come from the love within, it must be true courage. For some, it doesn’t come naturally, but with one strong foot forward, and a heart for others, racism can be defeated and the world can live in peace and equality.

Works Cited:

Wright, Richard. Black Boy (American Hunger): A Record of Childhood and Youth. 1998 ed.


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