Around 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; 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 and their world became, "bleak and undeniable." (193)
The largeness, the coldness, and squalor of the...