May, 3, 2011
“Until justice is blind to color, until education is unaware of race, until opportunity is concerned with the color of men’s skins, emancipation will be a proclamation but not a fact”
-Lyndon B. Johnson
Richard Wright made part of the Harlem Renaissance, period in which African Americans and white Americans brought to light the vivacity and thedistinctiveness of black art, music, and literature particularly. Also being a period known for the publishing of an exceptional amount of novels, plays, short stories, articles, and poems by and about blacks. As well as Richard Wright, E.M Forster witnessed an essential and significant time in history by manifesting the British Raj, a period of British colonial rule in South Asia, and the IndianIndependence movement. Mark Halstead’s elements of pre and post reflective racism create the main characters in A Passage to India, and Black Boy into dynamic characters by highlighting how acts of aggression or discrimination can have a negative effect on characters. Richard might respond with physical violence while Aziz did not respond with an act of violence, he valued behaving politely to theBritish over his own sense of self-respect. Differences being that one acted out of violence physically and cruelly, while the other did it silently and vindictively.
Pre-reflective racism implies racial hatred being more emotional than rational while post reflective racism is the type of racism that defends or justifies racial privilege or racial superiority.
“I was lashed so hard and long thatI lost consciousness”, (Wright 7). The opening of the first chapter of the Black Boy initiates a psychological reaction to his mother’s beating. Since Richard is a small child when these events occur, he is unaware of their effect on his later adulthood. He is not surprised by his mother’s punishment, but by it’s degree. As a result of his mother going to the limits of brutality in which she didat such a young age, she has unleashed in him the power to survive beyond the normal bounds of human endurance. Consequently Black Boy becomes a book of driving and burning desire.
Furthermore Pre-reflective Racism plays a part in Wright’s life during his adulthood, in which he was psychologically affected by his mother’s physical abuse.
A blow landed on the back of my head. I turned and sawa brick rolling away and I felt blood oozing down my back. I looked around and saw several brickbats scattered about. I scooped up and handful. The two boys backed away. I took aim as they circled me; I made a motion as if to throw and one of the boys turned and ran. I let go with the brick and caught him in the middle of his back. He screamed.
Consequently Wright develops, andmatures into a violent and rebellious character, being evident by burning the family house down, cruelly killing a kitten, and involving himself in multiple physical fights.
Richard’s father’s actions also have a permanent, continual and endless effect on his son, his impatience and temper is driven by his personal frustrations, and Richard reacts to him in the same manner. If his father cannot bedecent, Richard then will be worse than him, and prove his own powers of aggression. This becomes the exemplar for Richard's relationships with other men throughout the book. He will have no patience with their cowardliness and will not fear shaming them with his own masculinity. He is ashamed, aggravated and irritated by males who allow them to be castrated by white society.
Pre-reflectiveracism denotes racial hatred clearly expressed by Wright’s attitude towards white people. Even though not presented in the novel it is obvious that he was subdued to oppression, and as a mirror he reflects all the violence that had been done to him. Contrasting to A Passage to India where the main character is oppressed in Black Boy the main character is the oppressor. It begins early on as he...