Essay on A Man And Black, Brown And White

Essay on A Man And Black, Brown And White

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As human beings, we have a certain expectation of how we should be addressed and respected. A lack of respect can draw from different sources age, race, religion, and other factors. In history, this condescension can be seen as racism, prejudice, discrimination, exploitation, or segregation. A significant point in time was set in America during the first half of the twentieth century when segregation of whites and blacks was prominent. During this time period, blues music made an appearance and its popularity grew immensely. The songs I Wonder When I’ll Get to be Called a Man and Black, Brown and White, composed by William “Big Bill” Broonzy, illustrate the impertinence felt by African Americans from the rest of America. Ultimately the genre, the lyrics and instrumentation illustrate prejudice, racism, oppression, and white supremacy throughout the songs.
Written in 1928, I Wonder When I’ll Get to be Called a Man reflects the prejudice felt by African Americans, specifically in the South where Broonzy grew up. The Oxford Dictionary describes prejudice as a “dislike, hostility, or unjust behaviour deriving from preconceived and unfounded opinions.” Broonzy uses his lyrics to express the personal feelings created by prejudice. “[He] was never called a man… [He] was uneducated” as described by his white peers in his young adulthood. During this time period, African Americans were not allowed to attend white schools, so most of the black population was taught by their mothers. Due to the lack of education they received, what the mothers could pass down was very little. Examples of his lack of education reveal themselves in Broonzy’s lyrical writing – “I’d knowed I’d be called a Real McCoy” is a strong example of this. His writing ...


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...famous within his community and eventually to the rest of America. Although many white people did not listen or appreciate his music, his blues communicated the prejudice, oppression, racism and discrimination he felt in his life. The timing of his lyrics in I Wonder When I’ll Get to be Called a Man at times are rushed, and others, make use of space. The space helps amplify and add meaning to what he is saying. His strong lyrics do not hide his emotions; the lyrics provide historical evidence of black racism in the early twentieth century. Broonzy and his guitar provide an excellent example of how blues is felt from an artists’ emotions. “When a genre is named, we identify a moment possessing a particular power” and the power Broonzy felt when writing Black, Brown and White as well as I Wonder When I’ll Get to be Called a Man was strong enough to challenge society.

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