Racism in Literature

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Through all of the works of art we have seen throughout this semester there has been a common theme throughout. This theme was the attention racism wasn’t getting in that time period. This has been a problem since the beginning of time. Time has really been ruthless to all races on this planet and will most likely never end. The endless amount of time that has been used to bring down people of other color has gone on to long. Throughout history we have faced the same problem over and over again. This has only been resolved with the freedom that America provides for many. America still has faced growing pains over the years trying to end segregation. In America these growing pains have introduced traditionalist, stereotypes, and division. The world in general has experience to much grief that we are still battling out the war against racism.

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America from the beginning have faced the issues of racial discrimination. It has always been present in everything that the country has accomplished. The misunderstanding that we face today is that it was just one ethic group that was discriminated “While it is common to associate racial and/or ethnic discrimination with blacks in the United States, it must be pointed out that there are other groups which have experienced legislated segregated education” (Payne). The amount of wrong doing to all races is really concerning sense these are our ancestors. The past is something that needs to be forgotten because no certain group is perfect and we are all in the wrong. Multicultural class that teach from all points of views is the one true way to teach the children from making the same mistakes. Classrooms have not always introduced the entire truth as said “The foregoing historical review of the influence and legacy of racism on American educational policy and practices should make the need for multicultural education apparent. Although the events of the past are important and must be overcome, multicultural education should not be allowed to focus primarily on past events: it must be a force which propels us into the future as well. In short, multicultural education should entail good teaching and good education” (Payne). From teens to young adults, these classes of people are our future and I believe its our duty to prepare them for the ideas they will face in the future that we have already faced. Every idea in history mutate into more advanced ideas, which is something that will never end. The log lasting problem of segregation is finally starting to fade out of this country. The philosophy many should try to live by is everyone is equal in every way.

Firstly, the traditionalist that we are faced with each day is something that is rarely avoided by anybody. As a society we have had a hard time overcoming the traits that have been around forever now. We see in the first novel of the semester Things Fall Apart that racism was very much prominent throughout the novel in maybe a different way than America. In this novel we see that white European men make their way into Africa to influence the cultures to what they think is right. This is obviously extremely wrong to do since we see that each culture has their own traditions and beliefs. The idea that one race thinks they are above everyone is absurd. The European race was making its mark in the world by colonizing their “great” culture as mentioned “This was due to the colonization that occurred in this period of time called The Scramble for Africa. In the span of about 40 years European countries had control of 90% of Africa. These European countries invaded these countries with intentions of benefiting from their plentiful sum of raw materials. It ended with many of the men and women being sent into the slave trade” (Rubert). The culture wanted to invaded and implement every aspect of there own culture into Africa. They ultimately thought that the African culture was doing it wrong which I think is disrespectful. This was only the beginning of the idea of one race thinks they are better in every way. We see that Europeans also did this because of religion. They were taught they must be missionaries to spread Christianity through the world. This was the only thing they knew so they assumed it was the right thing to do. We see that tradition was being destroyed throughout Africa “This was also a period in time in which Christians were taught to be missionaries and spread their religion to the masses of Africa. While done with good intentions, due to the Europeans negative view of the African culture, this movement led to the destruction of native African culture” (Rubert). The destruction of the African tribes was discouraging to say the least. It’s hard to imagine have your own culture basically thrown away. These African people were only facing the beginning of it all because now they were being shipped off to America to be slaves. This is something that cannot be forgivable on any account. The fact that we live in a world that this happened in history is extremely alarming.

The European colonization was only the beginning of the dominant culture idea. To be dominant culture is completely absurd to the max. We see people practically blame crimes on the African Americans simply because the way the race looks. In the movie To Kill a Mockingbird it discusses the many social problems if you see it or not. The movie is perfectly produced on many levels. It discusses some of the most important issues we see in society still today. I feel that the novel and movie are both inspirational and began to open the eyes of many. We see it opened up about the mistreatment of African Americans such as “Further, the rate at which African Americans are killed (whether by police or gangs, in Chicago or any other city, and much in the same way that Tom is killed in the novel) is staggering. These instances certainly have traces of old racism that cannot be denied” (Macaluso). The idea that people with power are killing because of there skin color is outright crazy. The need for power is only a dark hole for many. In the film we saw the killing of Tom just for being black. Tom had a family to raise and nurture just like many of the people trying to sentence him to death. It’s insane to imagine that people have disregard for the human race and feel the need to do what they please. Personally, this really hurts that equality is not existent at all. A great quote from the novel To Kill a Mockingbird mentions “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it” (Lee). This is so powerful because people will never know what people are truly facing until they face it themselves. This novel will forever change the way people interact with each other. It amazes me that this country was filled with this much division throughout all these years.

Through all of the racism that seemed to be almost a traditional idea that was passed down from each generation is a scary thought. Many of these white people were forced to hear that African Americans were below the white race. It was generally based off normal everyday task. The way I like to see it is that we are all Gods people in the end so there are no differences between people. We all have similar goals to accomplish in life. We must fear God and follow His commandments throughout life. That right there is the basic meaning of life. The meaning of life is the same for everyone in this amazing world we live on. This relates to why any culture is above others if we all have a similar goal in life. The similar lives we live translate into raising children. In one of the essays we read this semester we see that “this African American housekeeper is the novel’s female parental figure for Scout. It is Calpurnina who teaches Scout to write, it is she who admonishes Scout to treat little Walter with respect at dinner, and it is she who along with Atticus provides love and affection to Scout” (Seidel). This shows we can live together even though our skin color may be different. The innocence of children proves if we are raised properly, we will see a great amount of change in generations to come. Racism can be a delicate topic to talk about, but if we properly raise children, we will see racism fade away for the future, which may improve the way the world is able to live.

Secondly, we see the stereotypes that are displayed about Native Americans are extremely unethical. The entire existence of the United States completely overthrew all Native American tribes. This is very similar to what Europeans did to Africa with colonization. We charged into there land and decided it was ours to keep. The force we put onto the Native Americans was ultimately not called for. This honestly could have been resolved peacefully in many different instances. In the film Dances with Wolves we see what seems to be the Civil War being portrayed in the beginning of the film. This particular war was the only one the United States has ever battled on its own turf. The Civil War was basically a war to free blacks from slaver, which it partially did in the South. Another war that is definitely not as apparent to a first glance is the Native Americans. We are still forcing many of them to move west from there homes. This is exactly what Dunbar experienced when being stationed in the west. The group Sioux Native Americans fearing for there lives on ever account with white men. We see that Dunbar is extremely patient with them and is open to learning about their culture. The idea that we should become friends and learn their ways of think was unheard of. This came as a shock to the Sioux because they were always just killing any white men they came across. Dunbar is a great example of how people should live their lives especially when being introduced to new cultures. This movie is very eye opening on how Native Americans truly perceived white people. It also portrays another side of them which is definitely the caring and kind side of them.

History of the Native Americans is very limited in some aspects of their lifetime. The things we do know aren’t exactly positive things because of the harm we put upon them. There are many instances throughout history where we abused them and killed them for no good reason other than land. The biggest event in history I believe is the Trail of Tears. This was definitely one of the saddest things to learn and read about. The pain they went though is unforgivable “Long time we travel on way to new land. People feel bad when they leave Old Nation. Women cry and made sad wails. Children cry and many men cry, and all look sad like when friends die, but they say nothing and just put heads down and keep on go towards West. Many days pass and people die very much” (Blackburn). The first hand account of this awful event is definitely an eye opener. The United States as a whole put these people through hell on earth. It makes it worse to think that politics was basically the cause of this monstrosity “In the summer of 1838, about 13,000 Cherokee walked this path from their homes in the Appalachian Mountains to a new, government-mandated homeland in Oklahoma” (Blackburn). To do most of the path being walked is absolutely brutal and a form of torture. Its easy to lose site on why we were putting this amount of brutal pain on these people who have basically done nothing to deserve this unfair treatment. In school growing up we were never truly given the whole truth about what actually happened in the wake of the Native Americans. We lightly covered it in class like it never even happened. The future generations of this country need to be educated on the truths of what actually happened to the Native Americans.

Native Americans are still pushed aside in todays present day. We still feel the need to do nothing about the issue that continues to plague our culture with awful ideas. We still celebrate Columbus Day, which is extremely offensive to their culture. It marks the day that Europeans march their way into America and basically kicked them out. The Natives are appalled by this has mentioned “the participation of some Native people will be its own best evidence of the effectiveness of 500 years of colonization, and should surprise no one. But at the same time, neither should anyone be surprised by the Native people who mark the occasion by splashing blood-red paint on a Columbus statue here or there. Columbus will be hanged in effigy as a symbol of the European invasion, and tried in planned tribunals” (Harjo). Columbus Day has slowly worked its way out from the light into the shadows. It’s honestly a forgotten holiday that no one in todays generation celebrates anymore. The number of Natives over the years have certainly dwindled down to the point that they don’t really have a say in anything that happens to their culture. In the same article it says it perfectly, “We would like to turn our attention to making the attention to making the next 500 years different from the past ones; to enter into a time of grace and healing” (Harjo). The healing and grace are something that must come eventually because of the harm and destruction we caused this culture.

Lastly, the division within the country is outrageous. I understand how people might feel comfortable with the people that they spend the most time with. The idea of getting out of your comfort zone is something that you should regularly due. As country we have certainly divided into different groups with different ideas. We have also forced people into land to divide them from others. In the novel Homebase, we see the struggle with identity crisis. The idea of trying to find who you are truly are can be hard if you live in America because it’s just on big melting pot. The history or even the background of your ancestors is something that should be taken seriously when it comes to your family traditions. This is your heritage and who you truly are. The only aspect of this people struggles to grasp is the change within the traditions. This ultimately leads to division within the family, which is horrible to face.

The idea of division in our society is something that is never covered in school or in just life. Its hard to imagine a life with diversity because for a society to thrive we must have that diverse aspect of it. We see that people struggle with accepting other factors of people lives. Through the movie Crazy Rich Asians, it shows how there is division within the cultures. Throughout the movie Rachel is separated from Nick’s family because she was raised differently. This division was specifically between what class they were in. This idea of classes is permanently apart of culture today. Nick’s mother never realizes how wrong throughout the movie she is when trying to separate her son from his girlfriend. The division we see with classes is something that is usually inherited. The upper class is nearly impossible to reach because the demographic for that is so small. The necessity of have classes is real from buying products or even investing into companies. The classes or even divisions create a separation for everyone to go at their own pace of how they truly what to live. The whole disadvantage of it all is shown in the movie. People are rich become greedy extremely fast. They feel that everyone they come in contact with is out to get their money. Money does insane things to certain people such as “Social dominance orientation (SDO) and stereotypes about out-groups can influence social distance significantly. We tested the effects of these 2 factors on social distance and a probable mediation effect of upper-class stereotype with participants from lower class groups of Chinese people in 3 studies (N = 105 in Study 1; N = 102 in Study 2; N = 112 in Study 3). The results in Studies 1 and 2 demonstrated that higher SDO and a more positive stereotype elicited less social distance between lower class and upper-class members. In Study 3, the mediation effect of stereotype was also significant. These results provide insight into the mechanism of the perceived social distance between social classes, which is meaningful for social harmony in China” (Wang). As we see the lower classes struggle with wanting to be those people on top. The people on top struggle with accepting there is nothing more in life for them to reach money wise. It is a never-ending cycle that people will repeatedly fall into. The levels of classes will also be contributed by the ethnicity people are apart of. People with money and power may look down on the people of the same culture, but that will only make it worse for the people who are of different ethnicity. The hate and the selfishness are real in society. The power struggle is also real. With all of these factors contributing on one another we see the division take place. The division between classes and race is something that will take a ton of forgiving and understanding of one another. The idea of all of this is quite literally impossible and will not happen.

My experience with the idea of racism is actually not big at all. I will be honest in saying that I grew up in a predominantly white community. That is extremely rare in California because its definitely one of the most diverse states in the country. The division I mainly saw was through the social structure. That was fairly apparent as a child growing up. I always felt bad for the kids who were less fortunate. I never treated them any differently because they were my friends. I feel as a young kid I could see past what people had in value and instead just being around them to hang out. The first time I really faced racism wasn’t until High School. It was definitely a culture shock to see someone else be called names that were awful to hear coming out of someone’s mouth. This was a huge I opener that this type of stuff is still present in todays society. I remember learning about slavery and segregation in history class. This led me to believe that it was history and was no longer around today. This is exactly where public schools are failing to teach there students current events that are consuming this world in hate. We are taught that everything is fine and there is absolutely nothing to worry about. Then we reach a certain age and realize there is a huge amount of subject to worry about. I hope in the future we are able to help the students succeed in history, but also current event that are happening that they may not see in their bubble.

History of other generations have taught us an extreme amount of ideas that keeps our civilization moving forward in the right direction. I do firmly believe all the things in the past have happened for a reason. This reason may be that it will eventually stop the future from making the same mistakes. The horror we see in this world is unavoidable. We see in society today that people are experiencing the ideas of traditionalist, the ideas of certain stereotypes and the ideas of division through society. I feel its our generation that needs to start setting the tone for this country to stop living in hatred to one another. We need to stop living in the past and live for the future. I hope society has a whole will all read the texts and movies and see the change that takes place in their lives. The world can be a much better place if we would put our best foot forward.

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Racism in Literature. (2020, May 12). Retrieved August 13, 2022 , from

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