Race & Ethnicity
Introduction to Literature
Professor Sarah MacDonald
As a black woman I can relate to the stories and struggles that were depicted in both read material. African American literature started in the early eighteenth century. The writings of the African American literature have focused on racism, ethnicity, and struggles of life for the African American people and the chase of freedom along with the search of equality in the society. Nadine Gordimer and Patricia Smith are famous contributors in the field of African American literature. This pair compares and contrasts the short story of Nadine Gordimer, “Country Lovers” and “What it’s Like to Be a Black Girl,” by Patricia Smith. Both the literature works has a clear-cut view on the racial background and ethnicities. The main character in both the pieces of literature is a black woman. The women in both the poem and the story face harsh discrimination because of their race and their color. Racism and ethnicity is an issue which has inhabited the societies and only the African American black skinned people, predominantly females have been facing the consequences of racism. The black skinned females have been tortured by discrimination and racism. (Clugston, 2010). Racism is something that most of us will not speak about but it is has gored deep in our society. The short story “country lovers” portrays a love story of a black girl named Thebedi and a white boy named Paulus. Both of the main characters of the story were brought together since their childhood. They used to play together in their childhood and used to spend a lot of time with each other. Upon growing up, they both came closer to each other and fell in love (Clugston, 2010). Paulus Eysendyck was the son of Mr. Eysendyck who owned a farm and Thebedi’s father was the one who worked on the farm of Mr. Eysendyck. The melodramatic effects of the story begin when Paulus starts to go to school. The connection between Paulus and Thebedi began to coalesce away after that. They both knew that they cannot be one publically. Paulus used to bring gifts for Thebedi. The parents of both knew that their siblings are spending a lot of time with each other but they overlooked this fact. They both started to love each other. The racism occurs in the end of the story when Paulus comes home for holidays from the veterinary college and knows about the child which Thebedi gave birth to. He goes to Thebedi and asks about. When he understands and finds out that the baby is his’, he becomes afraid thinking about the society and the culpabilities that he will face. He stays to visit the hut where Thebedi and her child lived (Clugston, 2010). Ultimately, Paulus eventually kills the baby so that no one can speculate about their secret relationship. If the baby was white, he would have never killed him. All because Thebedi was an African American and was the daughter of the servant of Paulus’s father, he demonstrates no respect to the girl he used to love and does not even respect about their relationship and kills the baby and also threatens Thebedi that he will kill her if she tells anyone about this, the police was finally informed about the incident by Thebedi and Paulus was arrested and was charged for murder. On the other hand, the poem “What It’s Like to Be a Black Girl” depicts a similar sort of story. The author has used the serious and sharp wordings for showing the seriousness of her subject matter. The poem was written by Patricia Smith in 1991 (Clugston, 2010). This poem illustrates the transition of a black girl from childhood to adulthood in a humanity where African American black skinned people were not respected by the white Americans. The poem shows the feelings of a black girl in a society full of discrimination and racism. The girl while growing was curios of the puberty and wanted to look like the girls who were accepted in the society. There are several tones in the poem including pain,...
References: Clugston, R. W. (2010). Country Lovers, Nadine Gordimer. In Journey into literature (chapter 3): Retrieved fromhttps://content.ashford.edu/books/AUENG125.10.2/sections/h3.2
Clugston, R. W. (2010). Poems for Reflection in Journey into literature (chapter 12 section 2): Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu/books/AUENG125.10.2/sections/sec12.2
Pierce, C. M. (1995). Stress analogs of racism and sexism: Terrorism, torture, and disaster. In C. V. Willie, P. P. Rieker, B. M. Kramer, & B. S. Brown (Eds.), Mental health, racism, and sexism. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press. pp. 277–293.
Frable, D. E. S. (1997). Gender, Racial, Ethnic, Sexual, and Class identities. Annual Review Psychology, vol. 48 pp. 139–162.
Dovidio, J. F., & Gaertner, S. L. (1996). Affirmative action, unintentional racial Biases and inter group relations. Journal of Social Issues, vol. 52, pp. 51–75.
Fluehr-Lobban, C. (2010). Race and Racism: An Introduction, Rowman Altamira: pp. 111-116.
Please join StudyMode to read the full document