Essay on Race and Rights

Submitted By berniefan
Words: 989
Pages: 4

Different Races, Same Rights Race is defined as "each of the major divisions of humankind, having distinct physical characteristic and a group of people sharing the same culture, history, language, etc. and a group descended from a common ancestor" (Mulcahy). Racism was the biggest issue in America when "Theme for English B" was published in 1949.
The black people were subjected to a constant and huge amount of discrimination. Also, Jim Crow laws make the segregation legal. However, Hughes used his poem to speak out the heartfelt wish of the black people: different races make identities different, but they should have equal rights in the society. First of all, Hughes firmly believes that white people and black people are part of each other. For example, Hughes said, "Sometimes perhaps you don't want to be a part of me / Nor do I often want to be a part of you / But we are, that's true!" (Hughes 410). Since he is the only black student in his class, the instructor may not want to be part of him, nor does he want to be part of the instructor. However, they are in the same class. He learned from the instructor, while the instructor read his assignments, got his thoughts. Referring to the poem, "As I learn from you / I guess you learn from me—" (Hughes 410), the instructor and he have been mutually influenced. They might even be happier never influencing each other at all. But they are part of each other, no matter what. This is a significant metaphor for the situation of the entire America at that time. When the poem was published, white people and black people were hostile to each other. They are in the same country just as Hughes and his instructor in the same class. Black people are segregated just as Hughes is alienated in his class. Similarly, African-Americans and native Americans are affected by each other. They speak the same language, share the same culture but the same rights. This is the society that they exist in. They are part of each other, however they are not equal. In the second place, Hughes are concerned about the social inequality of black people. For instance, "although you're older—and white— / and somewhat more free" (Hughes 410). "You" is not only referring to the white instructor, but also implying all the local Americans. In the 1940s and 1950s, life was harder and more limited for a black person. Black people had no freedom on employment, housing, schools and public transit. This is because they were segregated from white people by Jim Crow laws. That is typically a sarcasm for a country that considers itself a model of freedom for the world. In this poem, Hughes is a twenty-two-year-old guy living in Harlem, New York, who takes his education seriously. In this town, African-Americans are heavily gathered. Hughes is trying be the connection between black and white. He wants people to "hear" him. He does his utmost to have a normal life. However, it is useless. The word "somewhat" is an understatement. Hughes is frustrated to having "somewhat" less freedom. He is struggling in the society that he exists. Undoubtedly, this "somewhat" less freedom frustrates all the black people. They have no choice about where to sit on the bus, where to apply for jobs, or where to buy a house. This is not what a model of freedom should be. The society is stuck in such a monstrous environment, which fully shows the black people's eagerness of having the social equality. Lastly, Hughes emphasizes what the truth is. "This is my page for English B" (Hughes 410). Seemingly, this is the ending of the page for English B. Hughes is just a student, writing his page for English B. Actually, he is telling what comes out of his heart, what comes out