The marginalization of a specific group of people within society is often discussed in terms of how one group actively marginalizes the other. This is likely the best place to start. Richard Wright describes the many ways that he was barred from pursuing his own interests by white men in the south. Some of these instances were directed specifically at him, such as when he was told that he would be able to learn the optical trade by the manager, Mr. Crane, and was then prohibited by the workers who were supposed to teach him because such work, in their opinion, was perceived to be only for white men (Wright, 187-8). Unfortunately, not all African Americans’ experiences with whites were so relatively benign. One example of such a situation in Wright’s life may be observed when he and hi...
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...oint to a multitude of instances wherein Wright’s discontent is obvious. It is equally easy to point to the various instances when Wright and other African Americans expressed their own agency by benignly resisting their own oppression. However, it is more difficult, but more important, to understand how the social discourses helped to shape the world that Richard Wright lived in and that those social discourses, constantly in motion, produced an environment did not allow for the happiness of African Americans. Thus, the same scholarly conclusion concerning African Americans’ ability to be happy in the Jim Crow south is reached. African Americans may not have been singing the Blues in the fields or on the street corners, but that did not mean that they were happy. No, their perceived contentedness was simply their way of trying to stay alive from one day to the next.
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