Life, Death And Racism Essay

Life, Death And Racism Essay

Length: 1995 words (5.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Life, Death and Racism

In the book, “A lesson before dying”, by Ernest J. Gaines he tells a story that 's set throughout the late 1940’s. The story is targeted on the interaction between Jefferson, a young and barely literate African American man, who is sentenced to death for an unjust crime, and Grant Wiggins, a university graduate and teacher that desires to assist Jefferson, however doesn’t have the skills to help him. The story is told through the perspective of Grant. The focus during this book was Grant and Jefferson’s relationship to remodel every man throughout the story and teach every a lesson concerning human dignity. The most important character is Jefferson’s defense lawyer as he was the man that allowed Jefferson to lose his dignity and self-respect. Jefferson’s lawyer is the image of society’s racism and because of him, Jefferson is referred to as a “hog” and as a result of this it sees him automatically assumed he’s guilty due to his race. Even though the lawyer is assigned as a lawyer to “protect” him, he does not care concerning the person one way or another.
During the 1940’s times were ruled by segregation and racism. Throughout that time period, African Americans had no say in society. For example, within the book it shows Jefferson within the courtroom getting prosecuted for one thing that he didn’t commit. Because the lawyer said himself that at the beginning of the trial “The Defense argued that Jefferson was innocent from all charges except being at the wrong place at the wrong time” (Gaines pg.7). This meant nothing to the jury because of the time period during this book. From the start of the case, it showed some ways that the lawyer defending Jefferson failed to believe this man was innocent because o...


... middle of paper ...


...en being black verses being white in that time period. Gaines used this character to indicate that it’s the color of your skin to determine whether or not you get a simple or unjust case, and whether or not you 're a free man or not. Gaines used several examples that were used to emphasize stress on the community as well as the courtroom. For example, by describing the judge’s look within the end of the courtroom scene promptly gave a clear image on how racist society was towards African Americans because it represents what race is dominant over the others. Jefferson’s lawyer is an image of society’s racism because of him defending Jefferson as a “hog” because he sees him as one, he automatically assumes he 's guilty due to his race, and because he is assigned as a lawyer to “protect” him, he doesn 't care about anything concerning the Jefferson one way or another.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Role Racism Plays in Death Penalty Essay

- Imagine a man or woman standing in front of a jury accused of a crime they may or may not have committed. The jury has two decisions: either to let the defendant live or to let him or her die under the death penalty. The death penalty is a capital punishment where the person convicted of the crime is executed. The jury may use evidence in the case to determine the fate of the defendant or they could use their own racial bias. Unfortunately, more often than not the future of the defendant is fueled by racist thoughts in the process of his or her conviction....   [tags: death penalty, jury, penalty system, racism]

Better Essays
1238 words (3.5 pages)

Racism of Yesterday and Today Essays

- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was written by Mark Twain in the middle of the nineteenth century. Much of the inspiration for the book came from Mark Twain’s own encounters. Twain’s experiences as a steamboat pilot from 1835 to 1845 provided a great deal of the historical context for his work. The novel revolves around a southern boy, Huck, and a slave named Jim who both reject society by running away in hopes of finding freedom. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn highlights and portrays the cruelty of racism that surrounded the south in Pre-Civil War America; the racism depicted in the book still to this day receives uproar of controversy and criticism....   [tags: Racism ]

Better Essays
1642 words (4.7 pages)

Essay on Racism and The Cherokee

- Christopher Columbus “discovered” America in 1492. His discovery happened when Europe and its growing states were ready, both technologically and financially, to explore the world in order to settle trade relationships and colonies. Mercantilism, which is an economic system that measure the wealth of country by the amount of precious metal (ex: gold) which it possessed, drove the policies of expansion of many European countries such as Portugal, Spain, England or France. For instance, England began the European colonization of America through a joint stock company, the Virginia Company, in Chesapeake....   [tags: Racism Essays]

Better Essays
2633 words (7.5 pages)

Racism: The Root Of All Evil Essay

- “The piano keys are black and white but they sound like a million colors in your mind.” In one phrase, the writer, Maria Cristina Mena expressed the truth about the world. Even though people may have a different skin color, religion, background, etc., they altogether create a masterpiece, mankind. However, nowadays, that masterpiece, mankind is divided. Society lives poisoned by the sting of racism, which may lead and is directly related to immigration, violence, social tension. Racism as defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race....   [tags: Racism Essays]

Better Essays
1033 words (3 pages)

Is Racism And Prejudice? Essay examples

- Is racism and prejudice in movies portrayed to make the white citizens look morally right, while the blacks are depicted as morally wrong. Every high schooler in America is usually familiar with the movie To Kill A Mockingbird. It is about a white man defending a black man in a rape case, which is very unusual for this time period. Since it is set in the 1950s, it gives viewers a realistic view of how African-Americans were treated by white people--Southerners in this case. The way most people in the town treat African Americans is completely accurate of how people were in the 1950s....   [tags: Black people, Race, Racism, White people]

Better Essays
1058 words (3 pages)

Environmental Racism And Environmental Discrimination Essay

- In the modern twenty-first century, there are many parts of society that are overlooked. Those that live in the higher rungs of the social order often live in the comfort of others. This phenomenon is known as environmental racism, which can be defined as any environmental policy, practice, or directive that disproportionately disadvantages nonwhite communities (Desmond and Emirbayer: 196). However, these policies can discriminate against poor whites as well since environmental racism categorically attacks communities that are less economically advantaged and live in poorer neighborhoods....   [tags: Racism, Race]

Better Essays
1159 words (3.3 pages)

We Must Stop Racism Essay

- We live in a world that is culturally diverse, with rich culture and heritage. Everyone comes from a different background, with unique history and life experiences. Today we have broken-down a lot of racial barriers that existed in the past, and we have learn become more accepting of each other culture and way of life. Even though our society is growing up and becoming more tolerant of each other, they are still many barriers that needs to be broken. Racism still exists today, it is something that we cannot get rid of easily....   [tags: Racism Essays]

Better Essays
1229 words (3.5 pages)

Christian Teachings Concerning Racism Essay

- Racism can be defined by the formula prejudice + power = racism. Racism is when racial prejudice is turned into action that harms others. Racism is the belief that one race of people is superior to another because of their colour or race. Racism is simply based on the colour of a person's skin. Racism is destructive and it disembowels people by shattering their identity. It destroys community cohesion and creates divisions in society. It is the opposite of the democratic principle of equality and the right of all people to be treated fairly....   [tags: Racism and Christians]

Better Essays
3030 words (8.7 pages)

Racism Essay

- Racism is defined as discrimination or prejudice based on race. In the past and present racism was main part of most of the war this county is and was in. These consist of the Civil War, Holocaust, and the racism after 9/11. Well let's go in order. First was the Civil War. That's was the war about slavery, and we all know that slavery is one of the biggest forms of racism known to man. It was fought between the North (Union) and the South (Consecrates). The cause of this war was slavery, which is the base of racism in this country today....   [tags: Race]

Free Essays
1043 words (3 pages)

Racism Essay

- Racism can ‘destroy the personality and scar the soul.’ Martin Luther King Australian society is made up of a wide variety of groups. These groups of people have different cultural traditions and economic and social background. The success of the communication and interacting of these groups depends largely on the attitudes, values, and behaviour of people towards different groups. Racism is probably the first form of discrimination we think of. It is the belief that some races of people are inferior to other ‘races’....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
1102 words (3.1 pages)