Mrs. Sixty Nine
December 27, 2013
Character Not Color
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”-Martin Luther King Jr. In The Secret Life of Bees Sue Monk Kidd tries to tell the reader that as individuals we can display complex body of characteristics and personality traits regardless of race or ethnicity. She illustrates this by: showing Lily’s perspective on black women change after meeting August Boatwright, with Lily’s account on Zach during her stay in Tiburon, and Lily’s views on racism after the influence of the community of Tiburon. Initially, Lily knows black women not to be considerable smart, until she meets August Boatwright. Furthermore, in the beginning of the novel Rosaleen is the only black women Lily knows, and since Rosaleen is not educated it causes Lily to believe that all black women are uneducated. “`Keep walking, ` I whispered. `Don`t pay any attention. ` But Rosaleen,... had less sense than I dreamed”(Kidd 31). In this scene Rosaleen’s actions are seen as very childish and since Rosaleen is the only black women Lily knows, Lily generalizes all black women to have the same competency as Rosaleen. This shows that it is not ethical to generalize races capability’s based of one person. Similarly, Lily thinks black women can be smart but their Haniff 2
intelligence dose not measure to that of a white women’s, until she meets August. Lily thinks to herself: “T.Ray did not think colored women were smart. Since I want to tell the whole truth, which means the worst parts, I thought they could be smart, not as smart as me, me being white. All I could think was August is so intelligent, so cultured, and I was surprised by this. That’s what let me know I had some prejudice buried inside me” (Kidd 78). Subsequently, this implies that although August is black, she is erudite...
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