Effects of Southern Racism in “A Gathering of Old Men”

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The life of African Americans is not pleasant. Southern African Americans established a hard lifestyle due to the denial of equal rights because of racism. Most problems are centered in the South, which is not surprising for their racist devotion for decades. African Americans encounter with racism started a Southern rebellion against the issue. Ernest J. Gaines’s novel A Gathering of Old Men connects how racism affects the Southern United States.

One of the effects of racism in the novel and the Southern United States is white superiority. According to Gaines, “What the hell did you say?” she asked Clatoo. “You know where you’re at? You know who you’re talking to? Get the hell off my place” (173). The white men brotherhood proves that discriminating African-American people evolved due to their inhuman fellowship ( Akins 70). Charlie implies the only safe route away from discrimination is the swamp indicating the terror of white superiority (Wardi 43). In Gaines words “ I ain’t raising my hand against no white folks for no niggers” Griffin answered him” (195). Northern and Southern white men call black men yard dogs, confirming the novels white superiority (Akins 69-70). Beau’s brutal superiority towards the African American in the plantation illustrates his assassination by Charlie (Wardi 39). To summarize, white supremacy is a significant cause of racism in the novel and the Southern United States.

Furthermore, racism also effects friendship in the novel and connection to the Southern United States. Gaines says, “I held on to one of his arms, and Cal was patting him on the back to console him. Then suddenly he just turned against Cal. Out of the blue, he looked at Cal like he suddenly hated him” (113). The father of the murderer lost his trust for the local newspaper editor supporting racisms effect on friendship ( Roosevelt 7). In “A Failure of Love,” the Catholic church shows how the white lady and man have no friendship towards African-Americans (Akins 68). Gaines adds, “She laid her hand on Mathu’s shoulder, soft like touching a flower. Mathu’s face never changed much, but he smiled when Candy touched him” (110). A father and store owner give the black community hope, but money establishes a risk in their intercultural friendship (Roosevelt 7-9). Lower class whites executed the rich folks’ work which argues the sense of a white that killed a child affecting their friendship (“The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman” 21). In short, the effect racism has on friendship deteriorates everyone in the novel and the Southern United States.

Moreover, Racism affects language in the novel and the Southern United States. According to Gaines, “And let those niggers stand there with guns, and we don’t accommodate them?” (145). The lost of war indicates the vague language white men used against African-Americans (“The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman” 20). In 1964 King was statemented hate for the whites for his toll against property rights arguing the racist language (Theoharis 46). Gaines shows, “I have no niggers, he said. Never had any niggers. Never wanted any niggers. Never will have any niggers. They belong to her” (159). Black students were shocked by the language a woman said when she indicated they would be poisoned ( “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman” 25 ). Whenever a white mother lower her voice implies the language is toward African Americans (Akins 68). In brief, the language has evolved in society engaging violent racism towards minor races.

Another effect of racism in A Gathering of Old Men is Southern power. Gaines states, “Black people get lynched, get drowned, get shot, guts all hanging out-and here he comes up with ain’t no proof who did it” (108). African-American traditions were greatly deterred by white men demonstrating the excessive power Southern Government gave white men ( Wardi 36). African Americans were denied their rights by any white master even a family burial implying overpower (Wardi 38). Gaines adds, “You send that nigger out here, and I’ll go home,”Luke will call back”(195). African American were victims of greater hazardous events after the loss against the union (“The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman” 20). African American were whipped to death for improper works illustrating the Southern overpower (“A Gathering of Old Men” 130). All in all, the South’s excessive increased racism throughout the united states.

Finally, racism affects people in the book and the South based on appearance. According to Gaines, “Sure, he said. I suffer from dizzy spells, too, every time I shoot somebody. He looked over his shoulder toward the road” ( 110). The white American disgust towards the African-American appearance cause destruction in race, resulting in an increased racial society (Akins 65-66). An African-American teacher was murdered for his appearance and methods of teaching ( “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman” 24). Gaines States, “He’s Mathu, Mapes said. But I represent the law. And I did find a dead man in his yard. That gives me the right to question even Mathu” (83). In the book Blues for Mister Charlie, a black man was murder for his appearance by white men after he whistled at a white lady (Roosevelt 1). White men spoke corruptly to the white women of the black man as original murderers (Roosevelt 16 ). Overall, appearance is affected by racism in the book and the South's’ regime.

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Effects of Southern Racism in "A Gathering of Old Men". (2019, Feb 05). Retrieved June 14, 2024 , from

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