The short story “Who‘s Passing for Who” by Langston Hughes was influenced by Hughes’ background in his society. This racial influenced story exemplifies how people thought of and interacted with those of a different race and those of a similar color. Hughes proves his credibility in writing the piece through his experiences that he endured in his lifetime during the Harlem Renaissance. The life he led was filled with daily racism and discrimination; he experienced much of his subject matter regarding racial and social tension first hand. Langston Hughes’ “Who‘s Passing for Who” clues the reader into the issues that were present during Hughes’ lifetime.
Hughes’ short story opens with the narrator explaining how white people feel that they are doing good if they interact with black people. If this theory was switched around then Caleb Johnson, a black social worker that is known by his colored friends to often have white friends around him and exposing them to Harlem, would be doing a “great deal of good”. The narrator then says that he and his colored friends are too “literary” and open minded to concern themselves with the issue of race. They explained that they simply like those individuals who had common interests or attributes and put down others that did not; to them, it had nothing to do with the color of the individual’s skin. After, the narrator gets into the story, saying that he and his friends reluctantly joined Caleb and his white friends for drinks at a restaurant. Caleb’s white friends were fascinated with the
men because two of them were colored writers and the third one was a painter. The men responded to the white people’s enthusiasm in a bored and arrogant manner. After the conversation, a black man knocked down a woman in the restaurant. One of the white people at the narrator’s table mistook the woman to be white and angrily confronted the black man about knocking down a white woman. Once he found out that...
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