Prejudices Of Race And Gender In Jessie Fauset's Plum Bun

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Race and gender have always been used as a physical marker to segregate the dominant society from those they deem less superior to themselves. Historical and social discourses demonstrate the racial divide among Americans as members of the black community continually analyze their behavior, perception, and social standing in the presence of whites. Along with African Americans, women are another group that society has imposed upon this social consciousness through marginalization. Women struggle to be independent, as society forces them to construct a secondary persona that limits them to marriage and motherhood. Prejudices of race and gender restrict communities to maintain a white male hierarchy built upon the power taken from blacks and …show more content…
Angela’s sense of self and relationship with the black community degrades in the result of America constraining blacks to live in a space opportunistic to whites. Struggling well into adulthood with her racial two-ness, she decides to reject her family, community, and identity to reap the advantages of white privilege. Vital to shaping this disassociation from the community is Angela’s experience of pretending to pass as white with her mother. During a shopping trip, Angela recalls how she and her mother consciously failed to acknowledge the darker skinned members of their family. Once Angela becomes aware of her ability to pass, she fears how the white community will isolate her socially. More importantly, she interprets her mother’s behavior as escaping from her black identity, commenting “It’s a good thing Papa didn’t see us, you’d have had to speak to him, wouldn’t you?” (Fauset 19). Although this is not the mother’s intention, Angela internalizes the idea that opportunities available to her when passing supersede her ties to the race. Furthermore, her mixed race identity double penalizes her from society, as the white or black community excluded her from completely belonging to either group. Angela makes the decision to suppress her black identity for white privilege; however, …show more content…
In spite her willingness to adopt a new persona; Angela is still mentally operating as a black woman constantly reminded of the disadvantages her race carries. In passing, Angela realizes the level of dependency women must rely on men to satisfy their needs. By reinventing herself, she decides to court a wealthy white man named Roger. Committed to enter white society, she surmises their marriage would solidify her social and economic standing with the thought that “She was playing a game now, a game against public tradition on the one hand and family instinct on the other; the stakes were happiness and excitement” (Fauset 146). However, she becomes emotionally isolated in her plan to use men and marriage as her only source of social mobility and safety. During her experimentation, she sacrifices the support of her community and her psychological welfare by suppressing this surmounting lie. In her moments with Roger, Angela feels her two-ness the most. Her double consciousness becomes an inner monologue in which she is losing her morals to salvage this

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