“The Ethics of Living Jim Crow: An Autobiographical Sketch”
In “The Ethics of Living Jim Crow: An Autobiographical Sketch” Richard Wright explains how the oppression and violence of the white are what lead to a shift in morals in the black community (Wright 21). There was constant fear of death that the blacks felt like they were under; they became more and more accustomed to that abusive treatment. It seems that Wright used a series of vignettes, while mostly consisting of narration of events that was illustrated by oppression and violence by the whites to share is outlook on the change in morals.
Wright goes on to share his experience of growing up in the segregated south. He recalls what his mother told him about the differences between whites and blacks. Wrights mother goes on to teach him not to fight the white man and beat her son when a broken milk bottle, thrown by a white kid, hit him (Wright 22). I am so glad I was not brought up in an era where this was acceptable, even more so when his mother’s taught him that blacks belonged in their place and that whites had their own. Only to inform him that he did not mix well with the whites. From that point on Wright lived in constant fear of the whites and he would only soon learn why his mother wished him to feel this way.
Wright reiterates throughout “The Ethics of Living Jim Crow” on the lessons of how whites are clearly more dominant over blacks. The theme of white dominance is shown when Wright was applying for a job at the optical company. "I was very careful to pronounce my sirs distinctly, in order that he might know I was polite, that I knew where I was, and that I knew he was a white man" (Wright 24). For the most part blacks respected the white man, as the white man demanded it. Blacks were expected to know their place in society. Throughout “Ethics of Living Jim Crow”, you were constantly reminded how a black man must not dare to blur the boundary between blacks and whites. Whites...
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