Literature Essay on Big Black Good Man

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“Big Black Good Man”
Racism has existed for as long as humans have walked the earth. “Big Black Good Man,” by author Richard Wright takes place in 1957 in Copenhagen, Denmark at a cheap hotel on the docks. Olaf Jensen is a 60 year old white night porter who sees all kinds of people come there for a room. When Jim, a 6 1/2 foot tall black sailor who works for American Continental Line, arrives, the dilemma begins. Olaf is frozen by the sight of Jim and wonders whether he should give him a room. But we must read more deeply into the text to know what Olaf is actually feeling. Despite appearances, Olaf is not a racist because he has a multi-cultural background, he is afraid of Jim's size and power, not his skin color, and he feels insecure in Jim's presence.

First, Olaf is not a racist because he has a multi-cultural background. In his youth Olaf was a in the services he was a sailor. While in the services over the world traveled all over the world. During his world travels, Olaf has been exposed to a diversity of people from different background, races and cultures. While in navy, Olaf lived side by side with people of color “In his days, he’d worked and eaten and slept and fought with all kinds of men.” Olaf had been exposed to so much with so many culture. Olaf even lived in the melting pot on the world. “He lived in New York city for ten years.” For him to live so long in a city with such diversity suggests a open-mindedness to tolerance for different. During his travels, he even had learned 8 languages: “English, French, German, Danish, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian and Spanish.” He took the time to learn these languages so he could better understand the people he was associating with. This makes it hard to believe that he was a racist. 1950’s segregation was still going on at this time, but it didn’t make any difference to Olaf. He actually states “It was not the hotel did not admit men of color…. He took all comers, blacks, yellows, whites, and browns.”...
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