Bigotry In Children

1136 Words 5 Pages
Racism, discrimination, and prejudice impact everyone, especially children. From the time they are born, children are viewed as pure and naïve. They have no format for treating people a certain way based on their religion, gender, economic status, or race. As they grow, they learn about stereotypes, discrimination, and racism. Society, family, and peers teach them that they are different, and so they act accordingly.
Early experiences of racial prejudice can have dramatically affect a child’s self image for the rest of his/her life. In the story, Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry, a young Black girl and her siblings, in the 1930’s, experience various forms of bigotry and discrimination. Cassie’s first direct exposure to racism happens in Strawberry
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In his poem, “Foreign Children”, Stevinson writes, “You have curious things to eat, I am fed on proper meat…Little Indian, Sioux or Crow, Little frosty Eskimo, Little Turk or Japanee, O! don’t you wish that you were me?” (Stevinson). The speaker of this poem appears to be a very young child, who was taught to believe that the way he lives is the “proper” way. This evolves into the idea that he is better than other children around the world who live their lives contrarily to his. Whether positive or negative, our parents and family have a huge impact on the way we think about and treat others. In Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry, Jeremy, a White boy, shows up at the Logans’ house to give Stacey a gift on Christmas. All of the Logans act as if they are suddenly on edge when they see young Jeremy at the door. David, Stacey’s dad, tells Stacey not to befriend Jeremy, because he is White and could grow up to be a dangerous White man. Although he is just trying to protect his son, David is teaching Stacey and the rest of his children to separate themselves from White people, even at a very young age. This scene is a disappointing one, because the Logans portray such a proactive family that battles the idea of racism and segregation. Yet, when one brave child attempts to break the segregation of friendship, they steer their children away from him and the idea of …show more content…
Even after her awful experiences in the store (society’s influence), and on the sidewalk with Lillian Jean (peer influence) and her father, Cassie cannot grip the reasoning behind their horrendous actions. Cassie claims, “Mama’s grip did not lessen. ‘It is something Cassie. White is something just like black is something. Everybody born on this earth is something and nobody, no matter what color, is better than anybody else.’ ‘Then how come Mr. Simms don’t know that?’ ‘Because he’s one of those people who has to believe that white people are better than black people to make himself feel big.’ I stared questioningly at Mama, not really understanding” (Taylor 127). After her mother’s thorough explanation of why the Simms acted the way they did, Cassie admits that she still cannot fully comprehend the basis of their actions. After facing such oppression, it seems strange that Cassie does not understand what Lillian Jean and her father were thinking. Certain theories, “identify an initial ignorance regarding the existence and impact of racism and of an individual’s own ethnicity, a state that is challenged when the individual personally experiences oppression or racism” (Jamil, Harper, Fernandez). After an experience like Cassie’s, a child is forced to wonder why and realize how they are treated negatively, because their race differs from other

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