Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Response to Question#2

In Richard Wright's essay, "The Ethics of Living Jim Crow", he describes some of his experiences as a young man living in the South where there was more discrimination than usual because of the Jim Crow laws. It's obvious that the laws were unfair because the white man had more privileges and power. For example, they always had to say sir to the white man and if you didn't it would be a big insult to them. Also, they could beat someone innocent and get away with it by making an excuse. In his essay, he says one time he was in an elevator where especially the black man was supposed to take off his hat as a sign of respect and he couldn't because he had many things in his hand. So a white man took it off for him and placed it in the boxes he was holding. He said that he knew if he said thank you to him it would also be an insult to the white man because it would be as if the white man was providing a service for him so he pretended he almost dropped the boxes instead to avoid conflict. He said he heard a story of someone who got punched in the mouth just for saying thank you before.
The white man had the power over the black man in the past and there was little that could have been done. In Wright's experience, he says he was always eager to learn and get ahead. However it wasn't just him that the white man oppressed. In a job he had with white men, the boss had instructed the other workers to teach him what they knew about the job. However, they refused to do that and instead accused him of not calling one of the guys sir. They threatened they would beat him and they pressured him to quit his job because they didn't want him there. This is how many of them were oppressed for many years and they had to obey because the law wasn't also on their side. They were forced to respect them even if they didn't deserved to.
I think the right choice was made to rebel against the white man, even if it meant slowly but surely, like for example the Black Panthers who fought for their rights, Rosa Parks being in an organization and refusing to give her seat to a white man, and Martin Luther King being a leader for the civil rights movement. If that hadn't happened imagine still being on those times. Fighting through their struggles for what they believed in was the right thing to do and anybody being oppressed for so long is bound to rebel against their oppressor sooner or later. So in conclusion, these forms of resistance were effective to achieving liberation.