I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings By Maya Angelou: Racism And Diversity Essay

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“I’d rather stick my hands in a dog’s mouth than in a nigger’s,” (Angelou 186). In the autobiography, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, Marguerite, Maya’s real name, is often told that because of her race, she is worthless. Angelou experiences racism and oppression throughout the novel extensively, but after analyzing it through a postcolonial lens, it becomes clear that race and the oppression one faces does not have to stop them from thriving. Despite what one is told throughout life, one may still become intelligent and successful, as demonstrated through a number of characters in the novel.
To start, numerous characters show that one can be intelligent regardless of race. In the autobiography, Marguerite exceeds expectations
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When she moves to San Francisco, where she went to school with the ‘smart white children’, Marguerite is a grade ahead (260) and accepts a scholarship at a college at the age of fourteen and another at fifteen (213). About half of the Caucasians did not finish high school in the 1940s (IMPUS) let alone receive scholarships, thus showing the readers that it is possible for an African American to be intelligent. Moreover, Daddy Clidell’s friends demonstrate that one may use their oppression in an intelligent manner. His friends are con men who pretend to be unintelligent like the African American stereotype towards an arrogant white male and conned him out of thousands and thousands of dollars (217). After hearing this story, Angelou writes, “born Black and male before the turn of the twentieth century, should have been ground into useless dust. Instead they used their intelligence to pry open the door of rejection and not only become wealthy… ,” (220). She explains perfectly how African Americans are not seen as intelligent nor …show more content…
Out of the ordinary, Momma, an old black women, is one of the most successful people in Stamps, Arkansas. Momma owns the only general store in the black community and is one of the only people that survived during the Great Depression. She even survived better than some of the white people in town. For instance, Momma lent money to a white dentist during the Great Depression (186). In the autobiography, the author describes how little others think of black people as she says, “it would all be true, the accusations that we were lower types of human beings. Only a little higher than the apes,” (132), but Momma shows the readers that black people can be richer than white people and that they can be seen as more than animals. Although Momma faces oppression every day, she shows she can still be very successful and successful enough to lend money to someone who is supposed to be superior. Moreover, at a young age, the thought that black people can not succeed is implanted in Angelou’s mind. On her eighth grade graduation, a white speaker named Mr. Edward Donleavy, talks about how the white school in Stamps is getting a number of improvements whereas the black school is not . Society favouring white children enrages Angelou and she says, “who decided that for Henry Reed to become a scientist he had to work like George Washington Carver, as a bootblack, to buy a lousy

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