Overcoming Oppression and Exploitation - Langston Hughes' Poems and James Cameron's 'Avatar'

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Oppression and exploitation has been present in our world as far back as one can remember. The dictionary definition states that ‘Oppression is the exercise of authority or power in a burdensome, cruel, or unjust manner. It can also be defined as an act or instance of oppressing, the state of being oppressed, and the feeling of being heavily burdened, mentally or physically, by troubles, adverse conditions, and anxiety.’ People who feel oppressed can react in very diverse and opposing ways. Some grow from their experiences, gaining compassion and a stronger self-identity. Some others become bitter and reclusive and turn on those around them in hopes of feeling better about themselves. And many feel they are victims, rightly so. These are all completely normal reactions, but where do they lead us? Through two of Langston Hughes’s poems and James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’ I will discuss how oppressed people react to colonial conquest and exploitation, and how they become better people because of it. The painful ordeal of oppression and colonization turned the black people of Africa into a country of exiles and outcasts. For centuries the majority of African Americans had been kept in slavery in the Southern part of America. After the end of their enslavement the freed African Americans began to work towards political and social equality. However, the whites began to pass laws and legislations that were discriminatory. They established white supremacist regimes of segregation in the South and one-party block voting behind southern Democrats. African Americans were exploited as share croppers and labourers. Life in the South became increasingly difficult, and many turned to literature to voice their innermost thoughts and feelings. A literary interaction between black writers from different parts of the world was formed from their mutual suffering and hardship. The Harlem Renaissance, known at the time as the "New Negro Movement", was a cultural movement that happened...
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