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Racism is having negative feelings against people of a different race due to a sense of superiority in one’s society. However, many people’s simplistic assumptions about racism are incorrect. One of the central themes in Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun” shows how racism through oppression and social segregation affects the life of a black family across several generations.
There is racism in the play Raisin in the Sun. Both characters, Mama and Ruth, are domestic workers, and the kind of job they are doing is for poor African American families who cannot afford quality education compared to whites. Younger’s families and other black Americans face discrimination when seeking better-paying jobs. Besides another character, Beneatha struggles with racial inequality, gender, and stereotypes, affecting her dreams of becoming a doctor (Brady, 2018). At the beginning of the play, Walter is harassing her about the choice she made. ”Aint many girls who decide to be a doctor ” these are Walters’s words criticizing Beneatha. He meant that it wasn’t possible for her to achieve her dream since she was African American and such priorities were for the whites, and even if she did, it would be difficult for her to find and keep her job.
In addition, many African American men could not set their dreams high as a starting company (Hansberry, 2014). Walters’s words explaining to his mother what he does all day long, saying “it’s not the kind of job,” show racism. He refers to it as a low-class blue-collar job. He continues explaining that he tried so hard to get himself a job that would pay him well to support his family. African Americans cannot have a chance to work as clerks in the loop stores. He also explains it through “manning,” where black bus drivers, police officers, and firefighters grab vast positions serving their communities.
We can do it today.
In the play, Mama is obstructed from her dream of residing in a nice neighborhood. It is evident from the book that she lived on the south side of Chicago for most of her life. Many of the houses they lived in were in poor conditions with minimal lighting, for there was limited access to natural sunlight (Rose, 2014). Racism is explicit when Mama purchases a better house in Clybourne Park, an all-white community, and she gets confronted. “Negro families are happier when they live in their communities”. These were Mr. Linder’s words, a representative from the park, mocking Mama. The statement is sarcastic indicating that they don’t deserve to be there. Thus, it’s evident that African Americans were seen as inferior and didn’t deserve the right to stay in the same place as the whites. Several conflicts occurred between Lena Younger and the white people when they moved into their new house. Her family’s presence faces rejection in the area, and she receives a note to leave her house in Clybourne Park. House segregation shows racism as black people face social conflicts.
In conclusion, A Raisin in the Sun shows that racism affects American society. Africa Americans face discrimination when seeking good education, jobs, and rental houses. They have to do underpaid employment, live in segregated areas, and attend “black schools.” Therefore, the book teaches a lesson that there is a need to establish a just society free from racial segregation to make life easier for everyone in the United States of America.
- Brady, E. (2018). Two Unattainable Ideals: Beneatha’s Struggle for Identity in A Raisin in the Sun. Undergraduate Review, 14(1), 32-35.
- Hansberry, L. (2014). A Raisin in the Sun. In African American Scene book (pp. 57-62). Routledge.
- Rose, T. (2014). Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun and the “Illegible” Politics of (Inter) personal Justice. Kalou, 1(1).