The African American Dilemma

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Richard Wright’s Response in Four Selected Texts Black Boy, Uncle Tom’s Children, Native Son and The Outsider

“Our Humanity is Our Burden”James Baldwin.

“We Black Folks is Just lost in one Big White Fog” (Wright, R.1938:125).Question by 8 year old Richard: What am I?Answer by Ella Wright [the mother].

They’ll call you a colored man when you grow up (Williams, A.

J., 1970: 23).Answer from Ellison: “You are nobody son –you don’t exist” (Invisible Man, 38).Questions of identity, freedom, existence, recognition, acknowledgement and race survival has haunted the black race, particularly in America over the years.

So much has been said and written in defense and justification of the assumed inferiority of the “people of color”.

The Ptolemic worldview, with its emphasis on the earth as a fixed centre of the universe has seen parallel translations where the white man is seen as the centre of humanity.

Consequently the closer you are to white the closer you are to humanity, purity, and virtue.

This Manichaean way of perception inevitably sees white as the normative and blackness as deviation.

It sounds like God created the white man and the devil, spitefully; created the black man or the black man was created to service the white man.

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