Living Jim Crow

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In “The Ethics of Living Jim Crow: An Autobiographical Sketch” is about the life lessons learned by a young black boy growing up in the segregated South in the 1910s and 1920s. Richard Wright, author’s life growing up in the segregated south. Right recalls many of the ways he was taught that black folk had a certain place in this world, and if one drifted from that place either by choice or accident, there would be a heavy price to pay. Time and time again Wright demonstrates how no matter what he did or what he said, he was always black and he better not ever forget it. These lessons were hard for Wright to learn because he always felt that he had to right to defend himself, educated himself, and be respected.

The first lesson he learned about being black was taught to him by his mother. Wright was got into a turf war with some white boys on who lived on the other side of the railroad tracks. The black boys were fighting with cinder blocks. But the white This author was Richard Wright and he recalls what his mother tells him about the differences between whites and blacks. His mother teaches her son not to fight the white man and beat her son when a broken milk bottle, thrown by a white kid, hit him. She taught him that blacks belonged in their place and whites had their own, informing him that he did not mix with the whites. From here on out Richard Wright lived in fear of the whites and he would soon learn why his mother wished him to feel this way.

When Richard went to get a job he remembered his mother’s word and talked to his white boss with the utmost respect using “yessirs” and “nosirs”. Despite his respectfulness to the white man, his boss chastised him for wanting to learn and asked him if he thought he was white. Richard witnesses countless “Jim Crow” racism throughout his life all so the white man could feel superior to him and his race. At one point he witnesses his boss and twelve year old son beat a black woman and when she ran to a...
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