Effects Of Racism On Black Characters Role

Of Thunder, Hear My Cry Essay, Research Paper

`In the early 1930s there seemed

to be a severe problem with racism in the south of the USA. The novel

concentrates on the state of Mississippi. The novel is about a black family who

owns a large amount of land. In the Southern states of the USA, the worst

effect of racism in my opinion was how the law turns a blind eye to the doings

of the Whites against Blacks. Another serious flaw in the community was the

difference between the standard of education between Blacks and Whites. I will

endeavour to explain each of these and more in order of importance. I will

approach this essay by saying that the worst effect of racism is the judicial

system in those days, and its bias towards White folk.When

one thinks of the USA, one imagines a country where different cultures and

ethnic backgrounds can mix, however, in the 1930, down south, it was a much

different story. The law contradicted itself by turning a blind eye to the

crimes committed against blacks. One such example, and possibly the most

serious is what happened to TJ. However, in this case TJ is partially to blame.

It is as a result of him being so gullible and the fact that he constantly

seeks attention causes him to fall into the wrong crowd, namely, the Simmses

brothers. He thinks that they are his friends but they are just using him to

get out of trouble. When the Simmses commit a robbery that went slightly wrong

and in the process they hurt the Barnets, eventually killing Mr Barnet, TJ is

blamed. Due to the fact that TJ is the biggest suspect and because he is black,

the lynch mob try to kill him, taking the law into their own hands. Luckily,

Cassies? father and Mr Jamison stop them by starting a fire to act as a decoy.

He is saved, however it is only momentarily, he is accused of the killing of Mr

Barnet without even being tried. Just because of the fact that he is black, the

law does not entitle him to the motto, innocent till proven guilty but on the

other hand, guilty before proven. This shows that despite the judicial system

stating that all men are equal, that this does not apply to the Black folk in

the south. Due to the unfairness of the judicial system, TJ will eventually be

executed. Even though TJ did bring this upon himself, it still does not make it

right for the law and the sheriff to do what was done.Those of us who aspire to become

teachers imagine that when they become teachers they will have the freedom to

teach what they feel appropriate and necessary. However, in the early thirties,

in the south, the teachers were told to teach out of a book, which was written by

white people. This is not the only flaw in the education and how it was

administered in those days. We imagine a school to be a secure and safe place

and when we first begin school we like to have new books, this was all a dream

for the black children in those days. All the children in the novel are

affected by racism in education, perhaps some more than others. In the novel by

Mildred Taylor, the black children attend a school far less equipped than that

of the Whites? Jefferson Davis. The black school is called Great Faith, and to

be honest that is what all the people their have in god to believe that things

are going to change and that they may become successful. The school is run-down

and greatly deprived of essential resources and maintenance. This reflects on

the lives and out come of the pupil, as the school can only teach to a certain

level, the black dropout rate (which really can?t be called drop out because

they don?t have much choice) is very high compared to that of the Whites. In my

opinion I feel that the decline in the educational standards of Blacks has to

be the worst that has ever occur due to racism. Due to the fact that they had a

less then lustrous education, I feel that they may grow up hating whites and

this would result in a deadlock between the Black and White Community. We all

know that it is the faults of the whites and if anyone was to blame it should

entirely be put on the white people, however as time progressed the Blacks also

did not want to become closer to the whites. You may say that two wrongs don?t

make a right but for things to work the blacks would need something to work

with, a basis to start co-operation. Another example of racism in education is

when one sees the condition of the books that the state gives to the Great

Faith School. This is where Little Man, being his first day, is extremely

excited, as shown by what Cassie narrates to us, ?face lit in eager

excitement.? As excited, as he may seem, it is very short lived when he

realises the condition of books that he is given and what is written on the

front cover. The cover of the books shoes that the book is ten years old, and

further more it was the belongings of a white pupil when it was new and only

when it was in a bad condition was it given to a black pupil. There has to be a

limit to the amount of racism a child can take, first to be singled out due the

pigment of his skin, then to be given a book which is ten years old, to add to

this being called a Nigra is taking it too far. (The term is a taunt, which was

used by the whites in early 30s in the South). The fact that all this has

happened causes a lot of frustration n the mind of Little Man and he becomes

increasingly angry, he says, ?That one is dirty?, to Miss Crocker when she

hands hi the book. Another example of racism in education is when Mrs Logan, a

teacher at the Black school, starts to cover the labels of the book and to

teach the pupils things other then she is supposed to. She demonstrates to me

that she is completely against the idea of used books and wants to maintain her

integrity. When Miss Crocker quizzes her as to why she is doing the covers, she

says that the pupils don?t have to ?accept them?. Due to all of this, when

Harlem Granger comes to the school, he sacks Mrs Logan. (He is tipped off by TJ

because she failed TJ). This is another example, which has a very big impact

and effect on the education of the blacks because they lose the will to study,

because a good teacher has been sacked for teaching what is right and what she

believes in.The

next cause of racism is the fact that the white folk hate the black people who

own their land. The fundamental building blocks of the novel lies on the black

ownership of land. The novel tells us that the Logan family owns two hundred

acres of land and has another one hundred acres of land on mortgage. The land,

for the black family, is the only security they have. That and the fact that

her family died fighting for it is why Big Ma is so adamant on keeping it. She

says that ?they bled in this land?. In the south, the shear thought of Blacks

owning land was provocative, it provides an increase in Racist Hatred and also

increases the motivation that some of the white folk have for physical

violence. A very good example of this is when the Wallaces attack Papa and Mr

Morrison on their return from Vicksburg. I fell that a lot of the hatred by the

whites against the Logans derives form them being very prominent figures in the

Black Community. As I have stated below, Big Ma I adamant to keep the land,

when Harlem Granger threatens her, she puts the land in the name of her two

sons. It is because Harlem Granger is white that he feels that it is his God

given right to own the Logan?s land. In a nutshell, due to racism the black

people are not allowed to own their land in peace.The

last effect, which I feel is very important, is the way the back children have

to act towards the white children, as if they are inferior. The most prominent

effect of this in my mind is between Cassie and Lillian Jean. It starts of by

Cassie accidentally bumping into Lillian Jean, she becomes furious and begins

to taunt Cassie by comparing Cassie?s ?nasty little self? with ?decent white folk?. Big Ma and Lillian?s father

force Cassie to apologise and she is also told to call her Miz Lillian Jean.

For one child to call another, of the same age ?Miz? is utterly unfair. This

again shows how unequal the behaviour has to be between the black and whites.

This thought of calling an equal ?Miz? hits Cassie badly, she then plans her

revenge on Lillian Jean and does so by beating her up and blackmailing her.

Another example to show how the black children are told to keep distance with

whites is when Jeremy Simms gives Cassie a present, she is not sure whether to

take it, she does eventually but her fathers warns her to keep her distance

from Jeremy.To

conclude form my essay, I can see that racism effect the black people and their

children in a major way. Every part of their life is affected. I feel that the

worst effect is the law turning a blind eye to the crimes committed against

them. Secondly, I feel that the education system is another aspect which, not

only causes the blacks hardship but also causes them to under perform. It is

due t this that most black children grow up hating the whites more than their

parents and pursue revenge on them, thus causing major outbreaks and riots. I

feel that when it comes to education, Mrs Logan and Little Man are the worst

effected, in the law, obviously TJ is the worst effected and in behavioural

terms Cassie is worst effected.


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