Richard Wright's Native Son

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Conditioning in Native Son by Richard Wright: Can a Man be Held Responsible for Actions Decided for Him? In 1607, the English crossed the great Atlantic Ocean, braving the unexplored terrain of the new world, in hopes to achieve economic prosperity. But to achieve this economic prosperity, it became clear that cheap, reliable labor would be a necessity in order to thrive birthing the practice of slavery in the United States. Three hundred years later, those values of being able to obtain economic success still holds fast, so Americans are still forced to rely to on the back bone that aided them in the success of the creation of America, Blacks. Because of this, Whites created Jim Crow in order to condition the Blacks to be subservient in order to maintain their privilege; this conditioning makes Blacks irresponsible for their actions due to the fact that society took away decisions away by drastically limiting their scope of opportunity. To truly understand the novel, the history of race relations in the United States has to be reviewed. Though much of American history since the Civil War, two competing political tendencies have vied for the loyalty of blacks. One calls for blacks to gain access to housing, schools, jobs, and other American social and political institutions but, the strong one that spoke during this time period advocated for the second class citizenship of Blacks. The separation in practice led to conditions for African Americans that tended to be inferior to those provided for White Americans systematizing a number of economic, educational and social disadvantages. Examples of Jim Crow laws are the segregation of public schools, public places, U.S. military, federal workplaces, and public transportation, an... ... middle of paper ... ...drug-infested neighborhoods and he lives in the hearts of nearly all black men -- regardless of status and income – often lashed by racism. He is Willie Horton; he is the mythical kidnapper a white South Carolina woman blamed for drowning her sons; he is O.J. Simpson, whose honorary white status was revoked after he was accused of killing of his wife and her friend, both white. This is due to the Jim Crow conditioning that is bestowed on Blacks in order to maintain economic and social barriers that create the American Dream; these barriers Bigger, and men like him, struggle to get rid of. But without them, how would America prosper because someone has to be the victim? Work Cited: Wright, Richard. Native Son. New York, London: Harper & Brothers, 1940. X, Malcolm, and Alex Haley. The Autobiography of Malcolm X. New York: One World/Ballantine, 1992. Print.
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