Examples Of Consciousness In Richard Wright's Black Boy

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Having a “Consciousness” in the South Segregation was a problem for blacks in the south during the 1900s. Generations of blacks before had to go through being slaves, even though blacks could not be owned by another person, they still did not gain any respect. Richard Wright has to cope with not being equal to the whites throughout his life and has trouble with this. In Black Boy, Richard Wright tries to convey how the white people think they are better in every way and how the black people must learn how to follow along with what the whites approve of, because if they don’t they will either be killed or severely injured. There is nothing Richard can do when he is put down by the whites except continue to push through all the pain. One example …show more content…
An example is after the fight with other black boy Richard tells the reader, “Each of us felt the same shame, felt how foolish and weak we were in the face of domination of the whites” (239). The domination that the whites have over blacks like Richard is so hard to bear and it causes blacks to feel powerless and empty. The blacks feel foolish and weak, they will do anything the whites tell them to do because if they do what the whites ask of they will be liked more. Griggs in talking to Richard and says, “When you're in front of white people, think before you act, think before you speak” (184). When a black with a “consciousness” acts as they would normally around a white person unspeakable things can happen to them. Most blacks without a “consciousness” can act in front of a white without any thought of what they are doing, but blacks like Richard need to “think” because they never know what can set a white man off. Richard may not feel like it, but having a “consciousness” is a good thing because it allows him to realize what is wrong with what is happening around him in the south. Richard Wright wants the reader to realize that just because people aren’t the same color doesn’t mean they are not smart or do not have feelings. This is important because