Compare and Contrast Essay #1
30 March 2015
Escaping Racism in America
Racism has been around for a very long time throughout history but not all African-Americans succumbed to racism. Ever since the first black man to come to United States as a slave there has always been racism. Through history racism simply has taken new forms. Somehow this discrimination has made it into the minds of numerous writers which some have then spoken about it in their literary works. Two writers whose works were created to discuss racism in America are Langston Hughes and Assata Shakur. Assata (Shakur) An Autobiograpy and The Ways of the White Folks were the two works that were created talk about racism in America.
The protagonist in “The Ways of the White Folks”, Jack goes through racism indirectly however the protagonist in “Assata Autobiography”, Assata experiences racism directly. Jack who is passing as a white man in the “The Ways of the White Folks”, only experiences racism indirectly because the White Americans who are being racist do not know that he is African-American. Langston Hughes points out that Jack’s Boss would never hire a smart man to be a clerk in the office if they’re colored. “That’s why I sometimes get a kick out putting something over on the boss, who never dreams he’s got a colored secretary” (Hughes, 52). This quote indicates that Jack has to go through racism indirectly because whites are doing racist things to the people around him that are African-American also. White people go out of their way to be racist or express their thoughts and racist views on colored people. White people do not act racist or indifferent towards him because they do not know he is African-American. Assata does not succeed in escaping racism because she was born as a dark skinned African-American. Assata Shakur writes that “… we shopped at Carolina Beach. It had an amusement park, but of course Black people were not permitted to go in”(Shakur,27).This quote exhibits that no matter where she goes she will always be subjected to racism since it is clearer than light and day that she is an African-American.
Another, significant factor in racism is gender. The main character in “The Ways Of The White Folks”, Jack has a sister named Gladys and she had to put up with racism that was dreadful because of her gender. However the main character in “Assata Autobiograph” isn’t experiencing because of her gender, she is going through it because she was born as an African-American. Gladys, the protagonist’s sister had to tolerate racism because of her gender and also her dark skin color. “It’s really tough for girls to get any kind of job during this depression, especially, for colored girls” (Hughes, 55). This quote shows that Gladys has to go through much more hardships than any other African-American that were born as a man. Jack being her brother is worried about her wasting her knowledge because she can’t find a job