"MR.Z" by M. Carl Holman

Essay by startanewlife September 2007

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M. Carl Holman was an African-American author, poet and, a civil rights leader. His writings showed his concerns on racial issues. The poem, Mr. Z is an example on racial discrimination.

The poet told the reader directly what his poem was about by stating clearly in the first line "Taught early that his mother's skin was the sign of error". Mr. Z was told that his mother was colored at his early age and bore the racial concern ever since. This determined his life-long tragedy. He tried every means to shrink from his own race throughout life. He was eager to be accepted as a member of the overwhelming white society.

As described in the first half of the poem, Mr. Z endeavored to approach the mainstream by changing his behavior, education, points of view and even his cuisine. He behaved in a decent manner. He won scholarships and got educated in the best schools.

Mr. Z distilled any race-related views from his own thoughts. If such dispute were unavoidable, he would adopt the most orthodox Anglo-Saxon way.

He would also like to show his highness through his cuisine. He never ate pork. The word itself, historically speaking, was used by the grass roots. He savored the vintage wines, sauces and salads. And like all the other men of position, he kept his dining table away from the breads made of corn, yams and collards.

Mr. Z was also prudent in love. He hided his wife's Jewish origin, while, her blue eyes could deceive none. On their wedding ceremony, the Protestant Bishop sarcastically called them chameleon due to their skin color. In his social life, Mr. and Mrs. Z deliberately avoided going to places where they could be rejected because of their accent and foreign skin. The...