It is better for blacks to fit in a white society, rather than fight for equality
Black Americans have been discriminated since the days of slavery. They faced unfair treatment in schools, no voting rights, poor healthy amenities and discriminatory judicial system. Racial segregation was the norm in the mid 20th century in the USA. They cried loud to be hard. They united as the black Americans to fight for their rights. Together in unison they sang for equality. A fight, many lost their lives. Was this a battle worth fighting? Each individual could succumb to the top by accessing education and live in harmony among the whites. “We were the only admittedly black family in an all-white community and we stood out;” (Petry 60). Ann Petry in her short story The New Mirror explains how Samuel family coexisted with the whites without involving the rowdy blacks.
Civilization is what black Americans lacked. After the abolishment of slavery, the whites were afraid the black Americans would take up their place in the job market. But the poor Africans could not fit in the white collar jobs due to their illiteracy. Very few had an access to education. Even those who had it were basic education. Hence could not compete with the whites who where highly educated. When the voting rights were introduced in the constitution, very high standards were required by an African to acquire such rights. Only the few educated could meet such high standards. Therefore the blacks could have fought the injustice and discrimination by adapting to the modes of the whites. “Like my father, she was a pharmacist” (Petry 65). They could live a civilised life. Eat and drink like whites. Though they were not much rich they lived a comfortable life. They were of service to the neighbours both the white and blacks. He was a respected man by his choir members.
Informed Africans could be employers. This never crossed the minds of the children of former slaves in USA. They believed they were to secure jobs in the fields of the whites. Many of the Africans were interested in living like the whites yet very few had the ability. In the Second World War, only two officers were in the American army and none in the navy while most where serving in the support units. This shows the blacks had the ability only if it was nurtured. In the case of the Samuel he was a man of principles. Being a black among the whites, Samuel had an enterprise with two employees. “One other person worked in the drugstore -Pedro, a twelve-year-old Portuguese boy” (Petry 65). The black employee though a family member by the name Aunt Sophronia, shows the ability to assist fellow blacks. This is an indication that the blacks had an ability to climb at the top and assist the rest. This could have created a chain network of the blacks fitting among the whites.
Life was difficult for African-American. Just after slavery where they were owned by the whites and no payments on their hard work, life changed. They were to be paid though meagre wages. With the little earnings life was hard. They could not secure good jobs due to their illiteracy level. The living conditions were poor. African-Americans were racially segregated wherever they went. They could not afford a good education to compete with the whites. The few who got a chance for education could not use the same social facilities as the whites. Their constitutional rights were violated. The only option was to demand for rights like the rest of the Americans. To abolish the cruelty of the Ku Klux Klan who lynched them, they united as the blacks. Ann could have supported that whenever the rights of an individual was violated information was spread to all the blacks ready to revenge. In unison they joined to fight for equality. Even police were not concerned on the welfare of the blacks as they were concerned to the safety of the whites. This promoted brotherhood amongst them.
In the fight for equality life was lost. Many others suffered in the struggle. Though peacefully they could have achieved their rights and equality by doing what the whites could do. They could achieve their rights in an amicable way. The blacks could fit in the society of the whites. Like the Samuel family, they could have chosen to go it alone without joining fellow blacks to fight for equality.