Past? Essay, Research Paper
Short stories like ?Desiree?s Baby? and “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven” portray the racial prejudice of ?olden days.? In ?Desiree?s Baby,? the racial prejudice shown to Desiree is by her own husband, who is supposedly madly in love with her and their baby. At the faintest chance that his wife is of mixed race, Armand sends her and the baby away never to be seen by him again, only to find out that he himself is of mixed race. In ?The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven,? the prejudice within the community and society itself is prevalent. The narrator, who is of Indian background, is aware of the racial distrust of everyone, including a 7-11 clerk, who the narrator says thinks that the ?dark skin and long, black hair of [his] was dangerous?, and even the local police, who tell him that he should be careful because he does not fit the profile of a neighborhood he randomly ends up driving through late at night (24). Is this blatant racial prejudice still around today? Do people still shun their own family members for something as minor as interracial dating or having children of mixed races? Or have people realized that the color of a person?s skin really does not matter?
Some people truly believe that the days of racial prejudice are over. These people say that because we, as people of all different races and colors, can live together in the same neighborhoods, dorms, apartment buildings, etc, prejudice must not be prevailing. Because couples of mixed race are seen walking down the street, in the grocery store, at the mall and in our favorite restaurants, racial discrimination must not be such a big deal in today?s society. However, this inference is not necessarily true. Especially since moving to the South, I have witnessed an abundance of racial prejudice. My friends, their families, my coworkers and peers all have something to say about interracial dating. ?Oh, there is nothing wrong with them, but I would just never date a black guy? is such a common remark out of Southern girls? mouths. ?My daddy would kill me!? is another familiar comment. If dating someone of another race or nationality is such an acceptable thing to do, why do so many people have to make up excuses as to why they would not date, or even worse, marry a person of a different race?
What about the all too familiar ?bad side of town?? We all do it: even as I drive over those ?tracks? that mark which side is the good side of town and which side is the bad side, sometimes known as the ghetto, I catch myself clicking the automatic door lock switch. Just because an area is predominantly black or Mexican, we tend to think lesser of that area. Granted, a lot of the time, those neighborhoods do have a higher crime rate, but could this reality possibly be due to people in these neighborhoods living up to the low standards which society has set for them? Just as the main character in ?The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven? finds out, there is a stereotype for any person who is not of the Caucasian background. The 7-11 clerk ?look[s] [him] over so he could describe [him] to the police later,? like he thinks that, just because he has brown skin and is in 7-11 late at night, he is going to rob him (24). If people only focused on the bad in me or my community, and I heard every day that I was bad, I would feel as though there were no point in caring about the actions I take; people are still going to see me as they do, whether I do something to redeem myself or not. Maybe people and society should think about how they judge people before they really know the whole story.
I thoroughly believe that prejudice today is still alive and rampant. People may not be as openly prejudiced as they once were, but deliberate racial prejudice is still alive and very evident. I see examples of it every day, wherever I go. Maybe people today would not leave their spouse and child just because they were of mixed race, but I think that people today are more open about their race, and it is very rare for a person to be put in the situation of not knowing the race of his or her girlfriend, boyfriend, or spouse. And the examples of racial prejudice in “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven” are not that far off from those of today. The story was set in almost completely modern times. That observation, in itself, shows how this prejudice is still alive in society today.
Alexie, Sherman. ?The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven.? The Story and Its Writer. Fifth Edition. Ed. By Jerome Beaty and J. Paul Hunter. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin?s, 1999. 23-28.
Chopin, Kate. ?Desiree?s Baby.? The Story and Its Writer. Fifth Edition. Ed. By Jerome Beaty and J. Paul Hunter. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin?s, 1999. 329-33.