Black Boy



Analytical Text-Based Essay on the End of Racism through "Black
Boy" by Richard Wright

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 world to the white
racists then and now are mountains of pain that the racists can
not scale. Like a motherless child, they feel lost and not cared
for by a world with all of those conditions. They lose their
individuality and then their self_esteem. Those whites took the
hate and despair that they received, and punished blacks, a
weaker race, with harsh discipline. When Reynolds and Pease
ganged up on Richard, Richard did, "feel no hate for the men who
had driven [him] from the job. They were not individual men, but
part of a huge implacable, elemental design." (229) By teaming up
on blacks like Pease and Reynolds did to Richard, whites are able
to unite and find power in numbers, and in turn satisfy their
human need for pride. Richard was commanded to distinguish the
separation Hand does lead to the separation of the races, and
coupled with the ego that the white man at the optical company
demonstrated about one\'s race results in racism. The cycle of
racism ends in the action of transferring that pain against those
who had identities. This was true for Richard\'s Uncle Hoskins as
he, "had been killed by whites who had long coveted his
flourishing liquor business."(63) The whites began to hate the
blacks, thus delivering the same hate to the blacks that they
themselves felt they received from society. This end hate
regenerates the system by leaving the blacks with no identities,
and so they started, "transferring their hatred of themselves to
others with a black skin and fighting." (298) Identity plays
a part in racism, but the deterioration of identity has its roots
in external strain including that of society. Richard saw the
breakdown of character by pressures in Don, a worker at the
optical company whose, "position was not much better than
offhand, bantering way." (289) Therefore the whites\' identity
crisis as a result of the perceived great expectations and the
individual\'s weakness combine to further ware away the individual
to racism.
At early childhood, Richard remained blocked from the
molding of society, and so did not elicit a distinction between
blacks and whites. Richard described them as, "merely people like
other people." (27) At childhood, Richard found the truth_all
peoples seemed somewhat equal. Whites were humbled by the
revelation that they were just normal, not the heroes