Langston Hughes: The Negro Artist And The Racial Mountain

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The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain
Born on February 1, 1902, Langston Hughes grew up in Kansas, Lawrence, Ohio, Illinois, and Mexico. The complexity of his ancestry is because his paternal great-grandfather was a white slave owner in Kentucky while his paternal great-grandmother was of African American decent. As a result, like most African Americans he was a victim of racial stereotype leading to his election as a class poet in high school since Negroes were known for their rhythm in poetry. More importantly, he became well known as a social activist, poet, novelist, columnist, and playwright, whose works focused on social prejudice against the blacks (Rampersad 1).
Hughes rose to prominence due to his passion for black music whose devotion
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Notably, he emphasizes the desire of African Americans, even the rich individuals, to emulate Caucasians and abandon their practices (Hughes n.p). For instance, he notes that African American’s want to purchase white art for them to be accepted in the society since the value of art is based on the race of the artist. In the first part of the article, he stresses that the blacks desire to emulate the whites is not about being white, but rather, being “normal,” a character associated with the white race.
Respectively, the metaphorical use of the word tom-tom by Hughes in the article portrays jazz music as the perfect way of embracing the black culture and molding a unique lifestyle around it (The Nation 1). He contends that Jazz is the natural expression of the African American lifestyle in America, the eternal tom-tom present in every African American soul. He uses the metaphor to express his desire to revolt against the weariness of the Caucasian world. Consequently, the metaphor of tom-tom is depicted as the strength and determination to ascend to the level of the white
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Hughes argues that black artists should embrace their otherness and stop copying the whites. Moreover, they are capable of creating newness on their own if they embrace their heritage. Notably, Hughes expresses his aspiration to be a poet, not a ‘Negro poet,’ and he depicts the desire of African Americans to be white (Hughes, n.p). Furthermore, the ‘mountain of assimilation’ is expressed in his assertion that middle-class black Americans are in constant urge to be identified with the “superior” race. The mountain he talks about is the black’s rejection of their culture since the white race is associated with higher morals, ethics, and intelligence.
According to the author, black artists are supposed to focus their interests on their cultures since there is beauty in being black. Unfortunately, he contends that financially stable and middle-class citizens of black descent do not value their worthiness; as a result, they end up emulating the whites. However, low-class citizens seem to embrace the beauty of their otherness and make no effort to ape the other races. Nonetheless, the problem identified by Hughes is that white and the middle-class black citizens have ignored Jazz art since social teaching expresses the Negro culture as less

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