In Audre Lorde’s bildungsroman essay “The Fourth of July” (1997), she recalls her family’s trip to the nation’s capital that represented the end of her childhood ignorance by being exposed to the harsh reality of racialization in the mid 1900s. Lorde explains that her parents are to blame for shaping her skewed perception of America by shamefully dismissing frequent acts of racism. Utilizing copious examples of her family being negatively affected by racism, Lorde expresses her anger towards her parents’ refusal to address the blatant, humiliating acts of discrimination in order to emphasize her confusion as to why objecting to racism is a taboo. Lorde’s use of a transformational tone of excitement to anger, and dramatic irony allows those …show more content…
The reality of the matter, only known to the mother and father, is that the status quo of racist policies prohibited the Lordes from dining in the car. Lorde appeals to the reader’s pathos by subconsciously creating empathy for Lorde as she struggles with her parents not being truthful about foundational aspect of mid 1900’s American society – racism. Moreover, the use of situational irony is shrewdly expressed in Lorde’s interpretation of her family’s D.C. trip: “…the waitress was white, and the counter was white, and the ice cream I never ate in Washington DC was white and the white heat and the white pavement and the white stone monuments of my first Washington summer made me sick to my stomach…” (para. 24). Employing vivid imagery of how Lorde perceives her recently awoken sense of actual reality, she is able to express her understanding of the displeasing disparity between superior Whites and inferior Blacks. Unlike her jaded parents, Lorde expected the United States’ capital to uphold the same virtues it was founded upon – freedom, equality, liberty. Ironically, she finds Washington D.C. to be filled with inherent discrimination. Consequently the reasoning for Lorde’s blatant irony in her essay’s title: “The Fourth of July”. July 4th is supposed to represent the day the American founders broke away from an oppressive British rule to mark the birth of a free land. Paradoxically, they created a regime that was was more oppressive than the British. The racist foundation of the new nation is not exposed until the understanding of Thomas Jefferson’s implication of the phrase “all men are created equal” in the Constitution. These “men” strictly refer to the elite men that have conquered this new land of America – property-owning white men. Thus, women and those of color were not recognized as entities that possessed inalienable rights. Founding a
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The world today can sometimes be a hard place to live, or at least live in comfort. Whether it be through the fault of bullies, or an even more wide spread problem such as racism, it is nearly impossible to live a day in the world today and feel like it was only full of happiness and good times. Due to this widespread problem of racism, often times we tend to see authors go with the grain and ignore it, continuously writing as if nothing bad happens in the world. Fortunately, Claudia Rankine, is not one of these authors. Rankine manages to paint a vivid picture of a life of hardships in her lyric Citizen: An American Lyric. In this lyric Claudia Rankine shows that she truly has a very interesting and not commonly used approach to some literary
In “Citizens: An American Lyric” by Claudia Rankine the audience is placed in a world where racism strongly affects the daily American cultural and social life. In this world we are put as the eyewitnesses and victims, the bystanders and the participants of racial encounters that happen in our daily lives and in the media, yet we have managed to ignore them for the mere fact that we are accustomed to them. Some of these encounters may be accidental slips, things that we didn’t intend to say and that we didn’t mean yet they’ve managed to make it to the surface. On the other hand we have the encounters that are intentionally offensive, things said that are
I am going to focus on the narratives of Frederick Douglass and Linda Brent as examples of a refusal of racial ideologies and Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin as an example of replicating (although attempting to refute) racial ideologies of the day. Douglass’s Narrative and Brent’s Incidents follow them from ignorance to knowledge; knowledge and freedom gained through their own doing. I think that Stowe is in a way both trying to write an anti-slavery novel, however, I can’t see her as anti-racist because Romantic Racialism is what grounds her arguments. In all three, I am going to prove that the relationship between and the representations of the body and the mind are what either refuse or support racial ideologies of the nineteenth century.
As King stood before the massive crowd of Americans, he urged the citizens of the United States to turn their hatred of colored people into a hatred of the true evil: racism. King continually states that the black people are being held back by the “chains of discrimination.” King uses this to make the audience feel that the black people are in great misfortune. King describes the white people as swimming in an “ocean of material prosperity” while the black people are stranded on a “lonely island of poverty.” Here, King magnificently uses the Declaration of Independence and implores the audiences’ emotions on all levels, wielding pathos as his Rhetorical weapon. Prejudices surrounded the nation and caused fear, anger, panic, rage, and many more intense emotions. All people who lived in this time period experienced these prejudices in one form or another. King takes the idea of these prejudices and describes a world without all of the hate and fear. He imagines an ideal world that all races, not just black people, would find more pleasant and peaceful. Moreover, King references how the United States has broken their promise to the men of color by refusing them the basic human rights granted in the foundational documents of the country: the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.
“Uncle Tom: an African-American who is overeager to win the approval of whites as by obsequious behavior or uncritical acceptance of white values and goals (Merriam Webster).” This a term that is of utmost offensiveness, a characterization that is normally used as an exaggeration, yet is shockingly relevant to this book. This book presents a strong motif of powerful African-American people supporting the white institution of racism, preserving its power and appearance for their own personal gain. This shows up early in the novel with Bledsoe, yet the strongest examples of it show up in the Liberty Paints chapter, where the support of the institution of racism by influential black people is shown to be pivotal to the status quo’s unfortunate survival.
One of the greatest things about being an American is the ability to voice my opinion and viewpoint regardless of race, gender, or class. This was not always the case. Many have had to struggle to make their voice heard, and the mindset of American’s furthered the oppression of minority voices. Revolution invigorated the American spirit with a new sense of self-worth and validation of artistic expression by all people. Voices that were once silenced found listeners through literature. Rather than one genre or narrative making way for the next through hostile takeover, many voices rise and refuse to be muzzled. Before independence there seems to be a pattern that suggests that there was no room for more than
In “Queens, 1963”, the speaker narrates to her audience her observations that she has collected from living in her neighborhood located in Queens, New York in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement. The narrator is a thirteen-year-old female immigrant who moved from the Dominican Republic to America with her family. As she reflects on her past year of living in America, she reveals a superb understanding of the reasons why the people in her neighborhood act the way they do towards other neighbors. In “Queens, 1963” by Julia Alvarez, the poet utilizes diction, figurative language, and irony to effectively display to the readers that segregation is a strong part of the American melting pot.
The past sixty years have been full of monumentally huge changes for society in the United States. From the civil rights movement and the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, to the election of the first black President and the legalization of same-sex marriage, equality has been the subject on hand. While it may be a big pill to swallow for some, those that have been discriminated against for quite some time finally have the freedom to be themselves, knowing that they are protected under the law. Those minorities that celebrate this equality have a lot to teach the bigots of the country in such a wonderful day and age – pride. Zora Neale Hurston shows how important it is to have pride in yourself, your differences, and where you come from, in her four-sectioned essay, “How It Feels to Be Colored Me.”
Ingrained in every aspect of the western world is the systematic oppression of those with lesser power. Racism is to white people as the cycle of poverty is to the wealthy. Racism stems from the ignorant and repressive beliefs of those in power: white people. From the day, the western Europeans began to colonize the lands of others, the system of racial oppression was formed. Much like a snowfall on a winter's night, a heavy wall of racial segregation builds up as time progresses. Octavia Butler’s Kindred delves into the topic of the power struggle between the exploiters and the exploited. She illustrates a story about an African-American woman - Dana - who time travels back into the early 1800s where she meets her ancestor, a young white
How would you feel if you woke up in the morning, knowing that everyday a mass group of people are against you, because of the color of your skin? America has always come across issues about race, and this is something that will most likely never end. Race is embedded into our society, media, and even our classrooms. Zora Neale Hurston, author of “How it feels to be A Colored Me”, describes her exploration in the discovery of her self-pride and identity. She tells how living in her community she did not feel alienated or different. Tyina Steptoe, author of “An Ode to Country Music from a Black Dixie Chick”, uses a country film to understand her own life because she notices that the film sparked her love for country music, even though she had
The story “The Fourth of July” by Audre Lorde demonstrates that she comes across a realization that she had to speak up for her rights and independence when she visited the capital city of the United States, Washington, D.C. Lorde explains how she was frustrated with the situation that occurred in Washington, D.C., which shows that she had learned the reality of the society. She writes about many things that she came across during the trip to Washington D.C. in the summer vacation. In the essay, the meanings of independence for Lorde are to fight for it and to speak up for the rights that they deserve. Lorde and her family visit many places in the capital city where they were told to leave the place because black people were not allowed there.
“Citizen: An American Lyric” is a poem about the issues of race that gives a voice to African-Americans and strife in a white majority country. The book begins with the mention of “racial incidents experienced by Rankine and friends of hers” in the second person (Chiasson 1). Then, the experiences in a private school, the cabin of a plane, and on the way to therapy demonstrate that Claudia Rankine used African-Americans as professionals and academics who encounter injustices (Bass 1). For example, the author implements Serena Williams’ story. As a black tennis player in a white dominated sport, she had to confront “egregious acts of racism and unfairness” from umpires and commentators (Evaristo 1). One of the author’s objectives is to demonstrate that “no American citizen is ever really free of race and
It is amazing to me how Andre Lorde‘s essays discussed so many concerns that people of color are facing. I was amazed when I read Andre Lorde’s essay about her visit to Russia, especially during the time that the essays were written from 1976-1984. I felt that Andre had some type of positionality and privilege as a writer and professor. In Russia during the year that the essay was written, it was not very common to see black women. Russia was also not very open minded about gays and lesbians. During the year 2013, I took a trip to Cancun, Mexico. I went to an interesting club called Coco bongo. Cancun, Mexico is a very well known tourist area. I observed that three African American women in the club were treated like they were unique. They were not celebrities but it seemed like they were. The individuals of Mexican descent were fascinated with the way the women danced and the color of their skin. The reason I share that story is because I pictured Andre feeling like those African American women in Mexico did on her trip to Russia. It appeared that Andre was shocked about some Russian customs. It was the second time I read the word oppressive in her essays “In Russia you carry your own bags in airports and
Hughes’s poem, “Let America be America Again” conveys a forward-looking, emboldened tone. The speaker acknowledges the suffering of all of the different people, from the “poor white” (Hughes 19) to the “red man” (Hughes 20) to the “Negro” (Hughes 32). The speaker attempts to name all who have suffered in America, but continues to dream that
Historically, as a country we have ignored many of the values that our nation is based on when it comes to our racial and ethnic past. Liberty is the state of being free, to enjoy the social, political, or economic rights and privileges, the power of choice (Liberty, n.d.). Liberty should not be limited by sex, race, or ethnic background. “The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity, and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me.” (Douglass, 1852) to think that a former slave would be asked to speak at an event regarding the 4th of July, a holiday meant to celebrate our freedom, something that we deprived Mr. Douglass of. Legal equality and...