Miss Millie In The Color Purple

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A common human behavior due to illusory superiority is to overestimate skill, capability or perception of oneself in comparison to others or underestimate it. Alice Walker, a black woman herself, and a partaker of feminist and anti-racist activism creates a scenario that nearly every person from any cultural background can identify with. Miss Millie in The Color Purple has internalized racism and refuses to acknowledge it, maintaining that she is “less racist” than the “other white people”. While viewing herself as superior among blacks and whites, Miss Millie remains in denial about her subtle racism. She is unaware of the fact that her comments are insults rather than the compliments she assumes them to be. This disconnect fuels Sofia’s response, …show more content…

In her eyes, growing up with a family that would beat on her, leaving an abusive and diffident husband, and doing a man’s work in the fields, her "Hell no" is not only a result from Millie’s comments. “I had to fight my brothers. I had to fight my cousins and my uncles. A girl child ain’t safe in a family of men. But I never thought I’d have to fight in my own house. She let out her breath. I loves Harpo, she say. God knows I do. But I’ll kill him dead before I let him beat me” (Walker 423). To Sofia, the thought of subservience under a white woman would be a crime against her character and ultimately, her freedom. The mere implication of being a maid under control of another woman and to care for her children is an insult in itself. Not only is the question an outrage, but an audacious question of utter disconnect and disrespect as …show more content…

Thus, being praised for doing nothing outstanding or even having character, Millie suffers from an illusory superiority complex. The Dunning-Kruger study investigates the cognitive bias that leads incompetent men and women to believe they are higher in character, skill, and adequacy than others, "The miscalibration of the incompetent stems from an error about the self, whereas the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from an error about others." (Dunning-Kruger 1127) Her actions are offensive and comments more so, but as a result of such a bias, Millie believes that she is better than the rest of society. However, as the novel goes on it is revealed that Millie has no friends and is unable to drive. Miss Millie takes praise in that she is less racist than other white people, “Oh, she say, I couldn’t ride in a pick-up with a strange colored man,” but is in fact racist in subtler ways. Her complex allows her to believe she is an overall good person and forego her racist comments. These comments based on stereotypes are not actually compliments, but insults to Sofia's race. “ Cute as little buttons though, she say. She stop, put her hand on one of the children head. Say, and such strong white teef…“She say to Sofia, All your children so clean, she say, would you like to work for me, be my maid?” Millie grabs the children, disrespecting personal space, and gawks at

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how alice walker depicts a scene bursting with themes of racism, sexism, and cultural stereotypes.
  • Analyzes how alice walker was born in 1944 and lived in a critical era of civil rights for blacks in america. the encounter between sofia and millie can be identified by cultures throughout the us.
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