Black Boy 2 Essay, Research Paper
Black Boy Essay
In the book Black Boy Richard had a bad upbringing. He had to deal with many negativities with his father abandoning him, his mother abusing him, the anxiety moving from place to place and the racial prejudice of his time. Richard grew up in the 1900 s in the most racially separated part of America, the South. The problems from his family only added to the problems he faced. Whites would abuse Richard in so many ways, physically abusive, verbally and the worst of all politically abusive whites. This prejudice affected Richard so much, that it changed his life when he lived in the South.
The types of prejudice often lead to violence. This violence only happen to black skin people. Richard tells of this violence when the whites offer him a ride, All set they asked, Yes sir Richard said, but before he new it he was hit with a bottle in the head. Dazed, I pulled to my feet. My elbows and legs were bleeding. When he stood up the one who threw the bottle told Richard that he should talk more respectfully to other whites, he said that Richard was lucky that he was not killed. In his early life Richard had only heard of this violence but now he felt it. As Richard lived in Memphis another physical abuse happen when his fellow white workers forced him to fight another black. This shows that whites turned two friends into the worst of friends for their personal entertainment. Richard vowed he would never do it again.
Some more of this prejudice also lead to fear of psychological stress. In the early part of the century blacks feared for their life. Richard while living in the South has a lot of free time in which he spends most of it reading books. As he began to read, magazines were not satisfying to him anymore. Richard had a hunger for more literature; this leads him to find some by H.L Menken. The only problem was that there was no way for him to feed his hunger living in the South. He feared that if he approached the librarian she would not allow him to check out the books. Richard thinks, Now, how could I find out about Menken? There was a library near the river but Negroes were not allowed And if he could get these books he thought And how could I read them without causing a problem with the white men who he worked. Richard desire to gain knowledge about racial views of other people was a concern to the white community. There were other times that racial prejudice made Richard fear for his life. When he worked for the optics store. One of the employees asked Richard if he called him Pease instead of Mr. Pease this causes a problem. If he says no the he will be beaten for lying and if he says yes then he will be beaten. This episode put so much fear in Richard that he quit his job.
Lastly Richard finds out that racial prejudice can lead to someone going against his or her morals and beliefs. Many things that Richard did to escape these situations were desperate measures. Richard shows some morals throughout the book. He was strong for these morals that he became stubborn. Richard thought through a situation and often led to cheating or stealing. Desperate to leave the South, Richard decides he must leave as soon as possible, Late one night I resolved to make that week the last. He knew that he could get all the money he needed by stealing. According to him this would be the last time he would steal. I understood the pain that accompanied the crime I never did feel it again. All through the book, Richard had trouble keeping a steady job. Most of his jobs, he was treated poorly and was paid very little. Richard knew that to leave the South he needed money, so one day a boy asked him if he would like to make some money. Richard said yes and found that he was selling bootlegged bottles of liquor. They sold the bottles of liquor but he found that the money that they made, none of it was given to him. The whole incidence could make him lose his job but he risked it for the money. In the South no black person could find a well paying job and this mainly lead to crime. Richard was forced into some desperate times that he did anything for money, only to escape the racial South.
Richard is put through tough times with his father, mother, and white superiority. He needed a way out of this, which was through books and his hunger for knowledge, but this came at a cost. Blacks in the South were treated poorly, and unfairly by whites which made it very hard for any black to live a normal and nice life.