Author, Alice Walker’s, Elethia, is a story of young Elethia who struggles to overcome a legacy of passivity, marginalization, inferiority, and misrepresentation of the Negro. To define her own identity she must break free and simultaneously hold on to the central figure that causes her to doubt her identity. Uncle Albert is a symbol of racism and the blindness that oftentimes presents itself within the Negro culture. There is a quote given by the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “there are many Negros who will never fight for freedom, but will gladly accept it when it comes!” Dr. King’s remarks are favored by me in the fight against racism and I understand it to mean this. That while segregation, impartiality, brutality and blatant disrespect are present, there will always be a certain percentage of people, belonging to an oppressed culture, who will idly sit by and accept the countless improprieties set before them while others continuously fight to break down the walls of bigotry. In the town in which Elethia made her home, Uncle Albert had been a fixture in the window of the Old Uncle Albert’s restaurant for good length of time. So long that some of the old-timers, who had known Uncle Albert before his murder, were victims of fading memories, “perhaps both memory and eyesight were wrong (Brown p.307).” As a humanist, I am annoyed that the story is absent, perhaps accidentally or possibly on purpose, that not one member of the African American community protested or took any actions to give Uncle Albert’s likeness a release. I understand fear. The fear of retribution and death at the hands of white supremacists, however years, an entire generation in fact, had passed and Uncle Albert’s remains still stood smiling in the white-only eatery. Since slavery religious instruction was aimed "to inculcate meekness and docility (Aptheker 122)." What about after the doors of the church were closed? Throughout the short story, there is no mention of a revolutionary plot or rebellion by any one person or persons of the community. Elethia, young and still not sure of who she was, made the horrific discovery that Uncle Albert was stuffed as if he were and animal. At that moment, she along with her friends made the conscious decision that smiling Uncle Albert had to be excluded as a fixture in a plated glass window in order to give dignity to the Negro culture. I am a firm believer in non-violence but only when you are dealing with people who share the same view of non-violence. The story does not give the reader any hint that there was a rumble from the community of Negro people at a time when a loud noise should have sounded off. At a time when the Civil Rights Movement was in its infancy, the passiveness of the entire African American community of the small southern town gave credence to the myth of the docile Negro. -------------------------------------------------
Throughout American history, any person or persons of the American society, whom skin is deemed to be colored has been marginalized since he has placed his foot on American soil. The Negros place in society has been viewed as less important than those of his white brethrens. In Elethia, a young black boy’s privates were left nailed to a post for the town’s people, which included blacks and whites to see. I will take this crude act and look at in two ways to support my theory of marginalization: the first angle will be taken from a white societal viewpoint in that a young Negro boy is not looked upon as a human being. He is simply a person of color who is absent of pathos, and intellect. His status in the general public is placed the lowest echelon on the societal chain, therefore he does not warrant the right to be buried properly in a grave. The act of inhumanity can secondly be viewed by the African American community as an act of intimidation by the oppressor to further...