Racism In Desiree's Baby

Superior Essays
Racism by definition is the belief that one race is superior to that of another. Throughout history, the story behind the lives of people of color has been recognized as a tough, ongoing battle. The fine line between white and black has been the core reason behind prejudiced beliefs; beliefs that had led to misconceptions about them as individuals. In the 1800’s, racism was stronger than it is now due to enslavement and general mistreatment. During that time period Americans identified African Americans as inferior and were similarly categorized as minorities. Kate Chopin is an author who often wrote about subjects relating to those previously mentioned, that were particularly sensitive during her lifetime; many of which are still present today. …show more content…
It is here that this short story describes just how powerful social class can be. As much as Armand accuses Desiree of being black, it is him that is guilty of pertaining to the African American race. Armand’s mother writes in a letter he found after separating from Desiree that says “ I thank the good God… Armand will never know that his mother… belongs to the race that is cursed with the brand of slavery" (Chopin, 6). Social acceptance was a necessity even before Armand’s birth, signifying that it was extremely important that Armand was never to find out that his mother was African American; knowing that would cause permanent damage to his reputation as a “white” …show more content…
Yet at the same time it was completely in the norm for white males to be intimate with black women, as the child would be born into slavery. Some children born on behalf of these relationships however, are born with a light skin complexion giving them an opportunity to blend with the white community. “ ... his father brought him home from Paris, a boy of eight, after his mother died there,” Armand was one of the few who experienced such luck which is why his parents agreed to never reveal the truth about his background (Chopin, 1). Generally, most people either fell on one side of that fine line previously mentioned and others were on the border of social acceptability. Because of this, Desiree’s baby who is partially black, was in no position to serve his white father due to his skin tone. Armand’s son was destined to one job, his duty was to be a slave and a slave only.
Racism is a strong factor that has been around for years. Although the intensity of racism has decreased, it is not entirely vanished. For this reason, I believe “Desiree’s Baby” is one the many stories that exemplifies the cruelty of racism. Love is powerful, but is it powerful enough to cause one to rebel against the beliefs of society? In Armand’s case, the mistreatment towards Desiree occurs because the secret Armand is confronted with about his culture doesn’t

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    They excused themselves simply because darker skin meant that that person was also inferior. Millions of minorities have suffered because of this. There were multiple laws that encouraged racism before and after the Civil War. These laws separated the whites and blacks and made it seem as if whites were higher in class than blacks. Bill Bigelow writes about this occurrence in “The Color Line”: “The social…

    • 1263 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    All through the story Armand is very arrogant and is a brutal plantation owner. He later married Desiree’s despite not knowing her origins. Desiree once called Armand the proudest man in the parish, because he had a son that could carry out his name. However, as soon as Armand found out his son was Bi-racial he rejected him and his wife and assumed that Desiree had Black Lineage. The Irony of the Story was that Armand was the one with African American heritage.…

    • 723 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    The American part is said to be the only reason the black man was born is because of slavery. "Oh," thought I, "this is lucky", but even then felt the awful shadow of the Veil, for they ate first, then I---alone" (DuBois 50). A veil is a piece of clothing that conceals the face, this relates to the suppression of the African Americans because whites think they understand the day-to-day life of being black or a slave. They think they know what it feels like to live black to black, but they cannot relate in any aspect. He was confronted with the existence of the veil when DuBois had dinner with a white men and he had to wait for…

    • 1186 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    However, due to the harmful effects of racism, Armand is unable to see past the fact that Desiree could be part black. Before the baby was born, Armand thought Desiree was beautiful and thought nothing of her unknown past. This is proven in the story when it states, “What did it matter about a name when he could give her one of the oldest and proudest in Louisiana” (Chopin 232). After the baby, Armand was willing to hurt the woman he once loved due to the simple fact that she could be different. Armand no longer saw the pure soul of Desiree, but rather the color of her skin.…

    • 1038 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Racism In Huck Finn

    • 930 Words
    • 4 Pages
    • 7 Works Cited

    For example, his cruelty against Huck functions as the perfect tool to exhibit the irrational idea that a person who “always whale [his son] when he was sober” (Twain 14) is considered better that a person of color. Twain continues his social argument through Pap’s racist speech, where Pap describes a black person able to vote as a “prowling, thieving, infernal…nigger”(Twain 28). These accusations only make Twain’s arguments more valid. He shows how the black man has everything a country could want in a citizen (Twain 28), but even then the country favors people as low as Pap. These passages purposely expose how hypocritical and pretentious white people were in the antebellum south (Rasmussen 568).…

    • 930 Words
    • 4 Pages
    • 7 Works Cited
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Frederick Douglass remembered at a very young age he was unhappy and confused. He had no one to ask what his age was even if he wanted to. His mother was Harriet Bailey, she had died when he was very young, and his dad was unknown. However , he heard stories about his dad being his slave owner, Captain Anthony. Which would make Douglass half white.…

    • 1390 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Great Essays

    Throughout the history of the United States the struggle between African Americans and whites has always been distinct, from the birth of the nation all the way up to the civil war the enslavement of African Americans had been a way of life. Even after African Americans had secured their freedom they would still be discriminated against through unjust social restrictions, placed upon them by their white superiors. Through these social restrictions the African American people came to see themselves as inferior and helpless compared to the white race, the whites on the other hand believed and propagated the false belief that "white is superior." Through their self-egocentric and retrogressive acts, resources that were meant to be for the benefit of all the American people, were unfairly divided. The whites got the privilege of being superior as the blacks wallowed in poverty and extremely poor living conditions.…

    • 1792 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    It is thought to have come about as a mispronunciation of the word “negro” by southerners in the 19th century, but has progressed into an extremely derogatory racial slur. In the 1800s, it was primarily used to demean black slaves, with the underlying implication that they were worth little to nothing, dead or alive, being far inferior to the whites. Rufus, a young white male being raised by an abusive slaveholding father and selfishly extravagant mother in the early 1800s, ignorantly uses this term to describe Dana. During his early years, Dana, in her short moments spent with Rufus due to her unexpected time traveling, does her best to explain the wrongs of such derogatory terms to him. She is somewhat successful with him as a child, but once he reached young adulthood, his father begins to have a larger influence on him.…

    • 1143 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The background of Désirée’s Baby is the era of slavery in the nineteenth century, which put race into the story as the key point to be noticed and be cognizant of. During that period of time, racial prejudice played a major part in people’s lives. Relationships between two people of different races is forbidden. The quadroon children often ended up as slaves because of the theory that even one drop of African blood made a person black rather than white. Armand was proud of his family’s name and he would do anything to protect it, so when Armand found out their baby was of mixed racial heritage, he quickly assumed Désirée was black and asked her and her baby to leave.…

    • 839 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Racism according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is “a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race”. The Black Lives Matter statement, is believed to be a racist movement started by African Americans to gain support over how unjust they have been treated. On one hand, it is acceptable to have a movement, however, labeling it by a race makes people question its validity. Whites, Asians, Chinese, and all other races look at this movement and think that the world should only care about the unjust that African Americans are dealing with. In reality, it isn’t just the black community that is subject to racism, torture, and ridicule.…

    • 1250 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays