A Comparison between The Welcome Table and What It’s Like to Be a Black Girl

Topics: Black people, White people, Race and Ethnicity Pages: 5 (1793 words) Published: July 15, 2013

Racism and discrimination is the biggest challenge and plight that faces the black women in the minority society as they are treated and regarded as inferior by the white people as well as black men. The story “The Welcome Table” written by Walker and the poem “What It’s Like to Be a Black Girl” by Patricia Smith are two literary works that illustrate both racism and discrimination towards black women in the American society in the past, present and even the future. The “Welcome Table” story reveals how an old black woman is expelled from a church believed to be occupied by the white people (Soles, 2010). This act displays how the black women are observed and treated in the society. The church is usually open for all the people and hence anyone has the right to attend the services. However, instead of the white people to welcome her into the house of the Lord, they felt ashamed and threw her out. On her way back home, she meets with Jesus which means that God does not discriminate against anyone. Moreover, the story reveals that a black woman is always seen as inferior. This simply explains why there are churches for the black people and churches for the white people in America even up to date. According to Bloom (2008) the old black woman is seen as a taint in the white community and thus an outside yet she has all the everything a white woman has expect the skin color. Such racism and discrimination actions are also witnessed in the poem “What It’s Like to Be a Black Girl” by Smith which elaborates how she faced very many challenges after being born and brought up in white society (Griffins, 2006). In this poem, Smith elaborates how hard it is for a black lady to be brought up in a white community. She moves further to explain the conflicts and challenges that faces a black girl from childhood to adulthood in such societies. Patricia wishes that she was born a white child due to the fact that white girl do not experience such mistreatment in the society. In her poem, Smith pours food coloring into her eyes as well as bleaching her natural hair which symbolizes the importance being accepted in the society as one grows (Bonebakker, 2008). In the story “The Welcome Table” Walker unveils the fact that black woman is viewed as a foreshadow of what should be expected in future. This implies that white people had the thought that the black people will one day invade the church which they consider as a white man’s sanctuary. Her entrance into the church provokes fear among the white people. The same challenge faces Smith as put forth by the poem. Smith wishes that she were never born a black girl as it creates the basis of discrimination against her by the white. Smith also elaborate that a black woman suffers racism in the eyes of the white (Merida, 2007). In the two literary works, we also acknowledge the fact that everybody in the society is equally regardless their color, ethnicity and even tribe. For instance, after the elderly black woman was thrown out of the church by force, she meets Jesus on her way home. On the other hand, Smith notices that her body is changing at the age of nine, something which also occurs to white girls. Puberty stage is a must for any girl regardless of her status, color, race or ethnicity. These two literary works describe the story of different black ladies living in the white society but experience similar challenges. In the poem “What It’s Like to Be A Black Girl” by Smith is a story being narrated as evident that there is use of jagged structure in sentences throughout the poem just as observed in the story “The Welcome Table” by Walker. Moreover, in the poem, Smith portrays a strong and forceful language used in conveying the message, hence indicates the seriousness of the topic. This is also the case in Walker’s story as she uses a...

References: Bloom, H. (2008). The Color Purple New Edition.. New York: Infobase Pub..
Bonebakker, V. (2008). Imagine what it 's like: a literature and medicine anthology. Honolulu, Hawaii: Univ. of Hawai 'i Press.
Clugston, R. W. (1983). Identification of moral reasoning levels in freshmen choosing a Christian University, as measured by responses to an admissions advertising instrument. Ann Arbor, Mich: University Microfilms International.
Griffin, J. H. (2006). Black like me. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Merida, K. (2007). Being a black man: at the corner of progress and peril. New York: PublicAffairs.
Soles, J. (2010). Engaging the Word: the New Testament and the Christian believer. Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox Press.
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