The Ethics of Living Jim Crow

Powerful Essays
Racism and Southern Identification The Ethics of Living Jim Crow1 ! Upon reading the Ethics of Jim Crow a number of things came to mind. First and

foremost, the difficulty of being a black person in this era. Throughout the article it seems that negroes are continually targeted without any basis. The response to any giving situation is never appropriate, the respectability for the self and other negroes is completely obliterated and most importantly there is a system of fear that is instituted not only from white sources but from black sources as well which have been indoctrinated into the system. ! Relevant to Richard Wright is the concept of black masculinity and the way in

which this masculinity is abused, refused and made confused by whites everywhere. We notice int his small narrative the allusion to the way in which black men were called boys but had to call white men sir. This is the first way in which masculinity is refused. Second, the inability of black men to protect black women from abused and having to participate in the verbal degradation of their own females leads to a sense of impotence and shame in black men. This shame is only deepened by female understanding of the inability of black men to to protect them, as we can notice from the girls reply to Wrights inaction and even verbal consent when the girlʼs buttocks is touched by a white men. ! We also notice in Wrightʼs narratives the fears of amalgamation which I think are

deeply rooted in the long standing tradition of fear of black menʼs sexual prowess. The allusion to the killing of a black men because of his intimacy with a white women signal

1

Richard Wright, “The Ethics of Living Jim Crow,” from Uncle Tomʼs Children (New York: HarperCollins, 1993 [first published 1940] Elizabeth Chang, “Why Obama Should Not Have Checked Black,” Washington Post, April 29, 2010. Accessed January 24 , http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/28/ AR2010042804156.html

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