Michelle Diaz's Reviews > Black Boy

Black Boy by Richard Wright
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Dec 23, 11

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Michelle Carolina Diaz
English 1201

Critical Lens Essay: Racial Lens

Our society is build up of diversified people, that come from different backgrounds. This diversification among us has caused the problem of racism and discrimination towards each other. In the novel Black Boy, the author Richard Wright demonstrates to its readers how racism was so clearly followed by everyone in the early 1900’s. Black Boy not only is an autobiography of Richard Wright, but also a great example of how racism affected people in the society and that it continues to be a problem today in our society.
While Richard White was growing up, he didn’t understand why people of different color were treated differently to others. “I had begun to notice that my mother became irritated when I questioned her about whites and blacks, I could not quite understand it” Even though he lived in a world of racism, he wasn’t able to understand the reason why it existed. “I was being shut out of the secret, the thing, the reality. I felt somewhere beneath all the words and silences” Richard asked his mother so many times to explain to him about the true reality that they were living in but his mother never told him due to his young age. Analyzing his society and seeing the separation between the whites and the blacks on the train, he knew something was being hidden from him.”When I boarded the train I was aware that we Negroes were in one part of the train and that the whiter were in another” His lack of knowledge, due to the fact of not being informed, made him clueless of the world that surrounded him and become a follower of the way society was created back then.
In that period of time, society which all the power and dominance was reflected in white people, clearly showed the control that they had over black people. “I wanted to understand theses two sets of people who lived side by side and never touched, it seemed, except in violence.” The cruel and harsh violence had fallen upon the black people where Richard saw as the only interaction and connection that they ever had. “ I would stand for hour on the doorsteps of neighbors’ houses listening to their talk, learning how a white woman had slapped a black woman, how a white man had killed a black man.” All this violence used towards black people, clearly demonstrates the dominance and power that white people portrayed over them. Even though some of these cruel actions and punishments lead to death, it was not taken in consideration or notice at all by the society. The only thing that this caused was fear, anger and submissiveness towards white people.
By society creating this racism towards black people, it was seen as roles that young children had to take when they grew up. “The white boys and the black boys, began to play our traditional racial roles as though we had been born to them, as instinct.” Society was established in this discriminatory way that it seemed normal for everyone. While growing up, Richard and other black children were told about the cruel punishments and actions that white people did to them, which is why they showed anger and dispitness towards white people. “All the frightful descriptions we had heard about each other, all the violent expressions of hate and hostility that had guided our actions.” The actions that people made by going towards violence lead them to a separation among themselves and that is why it made their society so influential towards the growth of the following generation. The racism that existed among black and white people turned into hatred as a consequence the children knew that they had to fit into the position that was already being assigned by the adults, their society.
The way that Black Boy portrays racism against black people and how hard their lives were is what allows one to reflect upon our society in modern times. Racism has been and will continue to be present not matter how hard we try to stop it. This power and dominance that people feel over others is what creates this division among us. As one society, we must become to understand that we are all human beings with the right to live in a respected society. Does the color of the skin makes you different from the white? And if so I would like to know the answer...!
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