Racism In Bledsoe's 'Liberty Paints'

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“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. A key component of this thesis is the idea that College is whitewashing its students, creating students that blend and conform to the white society. This is done rather blatantly through an extended metaphor with the paints. The narrator starts with a murky colored substance, symbolic of an unaltered society, a mix of cultures and races. He then proceeds to put dope …show more content…

During a conversation with MacDuffy, the man who interviews the narrator says: “‘It 's not your fault. You new guys don 't know the score. Just like the union says, it 's the wise guys in the office. They 're the ones who make scabs out of you (197)”. Here he is discussing how management manipulates the lower workers without their knowledge. Additionally though, it bears a striking parallel to the letters Bledsoe gave the narrator, as both have a stronger controlling force controlling another group without their knowledge. This is significant as it is a clear example of the influence of powerful people; using a tactic to prevent the common people from rebelling and breaking the current status

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