Essay 4

Submitted By sa87467
Words: 600
Pages: 3

Notes of a Native Son
James Baldwin speaks of the racial tension going on in American during a time when men were supposed to be free, but racial inequality was still prevalent. The difference in James Baldwin’s father’s generation and his own is clearly noted in “Notes of a Native Son”. James Baldwin speaks of the generation of his father as being one of shame. Racial discrimination and lack of opportunity in the world for African Americans to be on equal standing as Caucasians was still being fought for. The generation that his father came from was one of African American pride mixed with shame of their race. His father’s parents were slaves and raised his father with that mindset and way of thinking. He spoke of his father warning him about the racist white people in the world. When he left home and started out in the world, all of his father’s fears were there and he explained it as, “I had discovered the weight of white people in the world”-James Baldwin. As his father was dying of dementia and tuberculosis, he described his father having a hate of even his children, for trying to make it in a world of white people that had been awful to him because of his color. The way he describes this is that his father saw the world as having two sides to it. The African American side and the Caucasian side, in which African Americans were not equal as humans and were held down by the Caucasian side. His father raised his children in poverty, all nine of them, but managed to keep them away from the violence and partying that went on around them. James Baldwin tries to understand the stress that his father must have been under to raise his children in an unfair world for them. His father was against his children going to school with white children and made sure to drive the idea home that the Caucasian kids would be friends in school, but that in the real world, they would keep James down any way they could. There was also a teacher that took an interest in James, and his father did not like this either, even though is mother thought of this women in a kind way.