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Victimization and racial boundaries (English Literature) - Essay Example

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One of the strange characteristics to have grown into the American culture from its predominantly European past was an emphasis on the purity of skin color as an almost exclusive measurement of beauty. European women who worked in the fields naturally gained some coloring from…
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Victimization and racial boundaries (English Literature)
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"Victimization and racial boundaries (English Literature)"

Download file to see previous pages h other races and darker skin tones, this concept of ivory white skin remained the hallmark of beauty even before the ugly side of race relations reared its head in America. However, with the long span of history between the whites and the blacks, this connotation grew ever stronger, creeping even into the culture of blacks as they struggled against the restrictions their own skin color brought upon them. Lightness of skin tone became more than just a badge of beauty, but also represented a certain power and freedom that had long been denied black people. For black women, lighter skin meant better husbands, more comfortable lives and perhaps even a greater opportunity to experience what it was like to be white. For black men, having the power to seduce a white woman meant he had a power all his own, a means of defeating his oppressors and bringing the white devils down a peg or two. This concept of whiteness as a standard of beauty, power and control is found throughout Chester Himes’ novel “If He Hollers, Let Him Go” and Toni Morrison’s novel “The Bluest Eye” as they each relate how issues of skin color have served to victimize the entire community.
The concept that white is right is laced throughout Himes’ novel as Robert (Bob) Jones struggles to maintain balance and still get the job done in a work environment that unofficially discriminates against the black workers in numerous ways. The story opens with an introduction to Bob as a black man living with a black family in a barely adequate home and terrified of the race issues that he sees erupting around him in World War II Los Angeles. As the story unfolds, it is revealed that Bob is one of many Southern blacks who have moved to L.A. in the hope of finding his fortune in the wartime boom of production needs coupled with the shortage of white men available to work the necessary jobs. On the job, he has had some success, being the only black man to have been appointed to the position of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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