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Free Example of Racial Discrimination Essay

Nobody can deny the fact that racial discrimination has been an acute problem for years. People were prejudiced against Afro-Americans and did not respect them. Though all these problems remained in the past, one should know that racial problem had existed, and it is necessary to be aware of its consequences in order to prevent it in the future.

Racism in the USA existed since the foundation of the state. The society of white people, differing by national and religious signs, had a strongly differed relation to other groups of people. The essential progress in the struggle with racism in the USA was outlined in the 1960s, when due to successful fight’s movement for the civil rights, the essential political, social and economic measures were taken providing equality and overcoming of a century abyss, separating the Afro-Americans, the American Indians and other minority from a mainstream of the American life. At the same time, racism still remains one of the hottest issues of American social life.

The racist problem has often been observed in the works of American writers. In this work, Nadine Gordimer and Patricia Smith are under discussion. It should be noted that these two writers uncover a racist problem very precisely. The writers think violence, and attacks against another person because of the color, race or religion are wrong. They understand the pain and sufferings of Afro-Americans and try to help them in the struggle for their rights. Nadine Gordimer and Patricia Smith urge people to change their mind and take the Afro-Americans as ordinary people despite the color of their skin. The difference of Afro-Americans does not mean it is an abnormality.

Compare and Contrast

In fact, the mutual respect, the tolerant relation to each other and understanding of difference are not given automatically at the birth; they become a part of human relationship under the influence of various internal and external circumstances. The problem of “the dividing color line” had always been a delicate and painful question in the relations between white and black people in America. Social phobias turned it into the hard knot of contradictions, spiritual wounds and taboo.

Racial manifestations were pernicious in private life of people with different skin color because they involved a set of humanitarian aspects and led to the most serious consequences. The drama of the interpersonal relations between white and black people, poisoned with racism manifestations from society, began to rise openly in Afro-American literature only in the early sixties when the racial problem became the key for all nations. Original equality between white and black people, men and women, people of the different social status and sexual orientation became a paramount question of the agenda. Movement for the civil rights bared tragic element of people’s position with the different skin color who dared to throw down a challenge to the settled views. The white was considered as standard and values of the white man were perceived as the values of all society. The love between people of different skin color was shown as a source of spiritual wounds and sufferings which inevitably led to tragic consequences.

The Psychological Themes Caused by Racism in “Country Lovers”

Analyzing the short story “Country Lovers” by Nadine Gordimer and the poem “What’s It’s Like to Be a Black Girl (For Those of You Who Aren’t)” by Patricia Smith it is necessary to admit that the psychological themes caused by racism continue to remain very deep. They become relevant at subconscious and unconscious level and are consequently eradicated hardly threatening the possibility of human happiness. Nevertheless, love can possess the force that allows overcoming distinction between individual and collective which are connected together in a hard knot. The system of racial oppression was always directed on crushing the person and avoiding the black person reach maturity. Therefore, the burden of interracial love appeared too heavy, and not everyone could take out this burden in conditions when both communities: both white and black turned away from those who dared to break settled “norms” of races’ relations.

It is essential to point out that Nadine Gordimer and Patricia Smith reveal the problem of racism in their works. It is necessary to find out what is racism. Actually, racism is a set of views based on a physical and intellectual not equivalence of human races and on solving influence of racial distinctions on history and culture.

There is also a wider determination of racism. Therefore, in the encyclopedia Britannica it is specified that the belief that racial signs have a solving influence on abilities, intelligence, moral, behavioral features and traits of character of the certain human person, instead of society or social group is supposed to be a racist. Surely, racism includes ideas about primary division of people into the highest and lowest races according to which the first are founders of civilization and are urged to dominate over the second. Implementation of racist theories finds its expression in policy of racial discrimination.

Reflection of racial laws and social prohibitions in Gordimer's novels

The Gordimer won early international recognition for her novels and short stories which frequently reflect the extraordinary racial laws and social prohibitions.

Her “Country Lovers” is a subtle and a furious story about the love intrigue between the young fellow and the Afro-American girl who grows up with him on his father’s farm. The story is written in the manner where the innocence is almost destroyed by the Immorality Act which Miss Gordimer depicts with her usual accuracy as “that injustice and shocking piece of legislation”.

The “Country Lovers” (1975) is a story of forbidden love between a black woman- Thebedi and Paulus, the son of her white masters.

An Afro-American girl is being prejudiced because of her skin color since her childhood. Though a friendship arises between a white boy and an Afro-American girl, they hide this affair thoroughly. They met secretly and tell nothing to anybody because they could not be seen together in public. Otherwise, people would chase and condemn them. Of course, it is abnormal when small children are afraid to play with Afro-Americans because of their skin. Relations should not be based on the skin color because it is prejudice and contradicts our common sense.

Nadine Gordimer points out those children do not accept these racial prejudices and continue to communicate. Their feelings are sincere while they are remaining children. Unfortunately, having become grown-ups their childish affection turned out into dangerous flirtation leading to sexual curiosity. Eventually, Thebedi got pregnant, and her beloved Paulus, being afraid of publicity, decided to get rid of the child. Public opinion has become more important for Paulus than his child.

The majority of people think that their life, their happiness depends on public opinion. Therefore, there is another prejudice, namely “fear of being rejected”. It is very difficult to go against the majority. Paulus was not able to do it. Someone could accuse him and nobody else in Thebedi’s tragedy. Nevertheless, society pushed him to act in such way. The most terrible thing is that Thebedi felt powerless to stop Paulus from killing her child. Besides, the society refuses to support her. Thebedi demands justice and applies to the court where they justify the killer of her baby. Therefore, there exists a gradual development of the relations between a white man and an Afro-American girl which passes to the climax of the events, namely, the murder of the baby and the injustice to the killer.

There is a question: what should be done? How can the society prevent such an attitude to Afro-Americans?  If only Thebedi had a sense of dignity and self worth, she could have stand firm and hold her ground, if only to save her baby. Paulus is an embodiment of the American society in the 1980s and 1990s which revealed racial conflicts and discrimination. Racial discrimination is a distinction based on such signs, as race, color, language, religion or the country of origin which has no objective and reasonable justification. An unequal relation has no objective or rational justification if it does not pursue the lawful aim, or if there is no reasonable relation of proportionality between the used means and the pursued purpose.

The problem of racism in Patricia Smith's poem “What’s It’s Like to Be a Black Girl” 

Patricia Smith expresses all her contempt and indignation to the problem of racism in the poem “What’s It’s Like to Be a Black Girl (For Those of You Who Aren’t)” and wants to support Afro-Americans. She has been called “a testament to the power of words to change lives”.

She sincerely sympathizes with Afro-Americans in the poem. Patricia Smith describes the life of Afro-Americans whose rights are being constantly restrained. These people are tired of attacks, prejudices and sneers. In fact, they begin to feel themselves “not finished”, i.e. defective.

The society has begun to develop an inferior complex in Afro-Americans since their childhood “it’s being 9 years old and feeling like your edges are wild, like there’s something, everything, wrong”. Inferiority complex is a set of psychological and emotional feelings of a person expressing in feeling of lameness and irrational belief in the superiority of other people. The inferiority complex arises owing to the various reasons, such as, discrimination, spiritual wounds, own mistakes and failures, etc. The inferiority complex essentially influences health and behavior of the person.

Demonstration of Afro-Americans' Life in the Short Story “Country Lovers” by Nadine Gordimer

People with different color of skin endure a real tragedy. They are being always persecuted which makes them feel depressed. Depression is a mental disorder characterized by mood decrease and loss of ability to endure the pleasure, mental violations (negative judgments, a pessimistic view on the events etc.). A self-image is reduced; a loss of interest to life and habitual activity is observed during the depression. In certain cases, the person suffering from it can start to abuse alcohol or other psychotropic substances. Patricia Smith wants to stop such injustice. Her poem demonstrates the whole life of Afro-Americans, certain grades of their life, and that is why, has common features with the short story “Country Lovers” by Nadine Gordimer. The same theme unites these two literary works.

Speaking about the differences one cannot but mention that “Country Lovers” is a short story while “What’s It’s Like to Be a Black Girl (For Those of You Who Aren’t)” is a poem. In fact, they have different forms. Besides, the author describes the events having occurred in the past and occurs at the moment in a short story. The author of poetic work possesses bigger freedom in its representation. Thus, Patricia Smith describes not only what has been and is at the moment, but also that could be. She is free to give almost unlimited space for the flight of imagination.

Another difference lays in the manner of the author’s description of a subject. If Nadine Gordimer provides rather accurate concept about a represented subject, Patricia Smith depicts a certain picture, a live image, the bright image through which one can receive idea of the represented before the reader.

The difference of the short story from poetry is covered in the language, as well. The language is figurative in the poem “What’s It’s Like to Be a Black Girl (For Those of You Who Aren’t)” though it is abstract in the “Country Lovers”. The poetic word is more saturated and bears a big emotional coloring power in the poem “What’s It’s Like to Be a Black Girl (For Those of You Who Aren’t)”. The prosaic word is more reserved. A strong moralistic pathos and pathetic lyricism are not peculiar for the “Country Lovers”.

Besides, the poem under analysis, namely “What’s It’s Like to Be a Black Girl (For Those of You Who Aren’t)” possesses a rhythm which is one of the strongest levers of influence on the reader. Nevertheless, it is inaccessible to the “Country Lovers”. Rhythmic organization is the integral property of poetry. It is possible to make a conclusion that the poetic word is more removed and lofty from ordinary speech, rather than the prosaic language.

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Though, Nadine Gordimer and Patricia Smith have certain differences in the form, language and content of their works their views according racial discrimination contain common features. They both are sure that people should be tolerant to each other and avoid racist prejudices that destroy the country and the society. Due to such writers as Nadine Gordimer and Patricia Smith descendants are aware of the racist problem and can make efforts to avoid it.

The writers apply to racial discrimination in their works in order to help people to struggle for their rights, for their freedom. Afro-Americans were not able to receive education, to visit cinemas, cafes; they were supposed to be derelicts. Fortunately, people understood that it was unnatural to judge Afro-Americans only because of their skin and began to get rid of racist prejudices.

Nowadays there still exists the problem of racism in the USA. The Congressman from Democratic Party and the known fighter for the civil rights Eleanor Holmes Norton declared that racism disappears behind political correctness. Many defenders of the civil rights say that it is necessary to make a lot for overcoming deep and increasing economic gap between various ethnic groups in the USA.   

Probably, the psychology of the slave or the slaveholder still sits in the consciousness of each representative of this or that race. Progressive and sane people pay no attention to these prejudices. Nevertheless, there are people who think narrowly, and they are quite capable to provoke these prejudices.

Code: writers15

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