After You My Dear Alphonse

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Racism is being prejudiced towards another group of people who are distinguished differently to you. The most common way to spot different races is skin colour. The short story After You My Dear Alphonse written by Shirley Jackson in 1943 America shows how that in the 1940’s racist attitudes were (and still are) influenced by children’s parents, and how stereotypical the view was regarding African-American’s. Mrs Wilson asks about Boyd’s family with hesitation. She is uneasy about asking because she feels it will embarrass Boyd to say that his family’s poor, and that his dad has a demeaning job, if he has one at all. When Johnny points announces that Boyd’s father works in a factory, Mrs Wilson immediately assumes that he’s a manual labourer, and she feels quite disappointed that her stereotypical views were wrong, and that Boyd’s father is in fact the foreman. This suggests that even if African-American’s did have a job in the 1940’s, they were still expected to have very basic, low-paying jobs, where no special expertise was required. This demonstrates just how narrow Mrs Wilson’s view of the world around her was. Johnny does not share the narrow-minded views that his mother has towards the African-American’s. Johnny is to young and innocent to recognise the ulterior motives behind Mrs Wilson’s actions towards Boyd. When Boyd turns down the clothes offer from Mrs Wilson and is told, “I’m not angry, I’m just disappointed”, he is confused and doesn’t understand what he did to upset her. This suggests that at such a young age, Boyd and Johnny had not yet conformed to society’s stereotypical negative way of life; they are merely interested in being good friends, and having fun. This demonstrates that racism is not something you are born with, it’s an idea passed down by your parents and influenced by society. When Johnny and Boyd entered the house and Boyd was carrying wood, Mrs Wilson was upset that Johnny had made him carry the wood. Unaware that Johnny did not...
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