Friday, September 4, 2009

Essay: "The Ethics of Living Jim Crow."

Richard Wright. 1937.

10-second review: Learning to live in a white man's world, a world of unspeakable cruelty. No wonder Richard Wright and other blacks who endured this cruelty were bitter. This essay is raw with vivid stories and inspires hatred for the Southern whites.

Quote: “Negroes who have lived South know the dread of being caught alone upon the streets in white neighborhoods after the sun has set. In such a simple situation as this, the plight of the Negro in America is graphically symbolized. While white strangers may be in these neighborhoods trying to get home, they can pass unmolested. But the color of a Negro’s skin makes him easily recognizable, makes him suspect, converts him into a defenseless target.” p. 166.

Comment: The brutality of the black experience told by those who lived it needs to be repeated or read if ever we are able to fulfill Martin Luther King’s dream of the table of brotherhood. Whites have to understand what African-Americans lived with. I chose not to use some of the more graphic stories in my quote. RayS.

Best American Essays of the Century. Editors: Oates and Atwan. Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin Company. 2000.

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