Black Boy by Richard Wright Book Report

Essay by bigwilly2006High School, 10th gradeA-, September 2004

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Richard Wright's list of "topics that southern white men did not like to discuss with Negroes" (231) was forbidden because of the relationship that the Negroes would acquire with the southern white men in the Jim Crow south. If Negroes could relate to white men or if Negroes could discriminate then they would no longer be perceived as the lowest class.

Wright knew the reason why these topics could not be discussed. As a child he took a job as "an agent for pro- Ku Klux Klan literature" (132) while not being aware of what was on the literature he was delivering. When he finally found out that he had been delivering Ku Klux Klan literature, Granny was extremely upset as well as he was with himself. The Ku Klux Klan was one of the topics that was forbidden, so if Wright was to discuss this with white men, then he would most likely have the same attitude as he did when he found out about the literature he was delivering.

"The only dream of a nigger is to be president and to sleep with white women! Americans, we want this in our fair land? Organize and save white womanhood!" (131) If southern white men discussed this topic, which was the headline of one of the cartoons that Wright delivered, the Negroes would object and possibly initiate a fight. White men looked to avoid these situations. The topic in the cartoon also discussed American white women, and it contained a portrait of Abraham Lincoln. These topics were also forbidden. American white women were of a class with white men. The white men would not talk with Negroes about topics that would put them in the same class, even if just in dialogue. Abraham Lincoln would also force an awkward...