My Lagoon Shook By James Baldwin Analysis

Decent Essays
Silence in the face of Racism
It was just this past Christmas break that I realized how racist my community could be towards people of different races. Whenever we our youth had Bible study, our instructor would make remarks about my cousin, who is half Samoan and half black in regards to his race. He would said, “go sit in the back like how it was meant to be”. Majority of the youth would laughed along with the instructor because it was meant to be a funny joke. My cousin would silently smiled at him, but I knew that he was burning with anger inside. Because we grew up learning that we must not disrespect our elders, my cousin could not say much. We were conditioned by our parents that age and respect matters in the Samoan culture. Even if
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Baldwin wants to ensure that his nephew understands and is aware of how the society function and their treatment of people of color. As Baldwin stated in his letter, “For these innocent people have no hope. They are, in effect still trapped in a history which they do not understand; and until they understand it, they cannot be released from it” (Baldwin 46). Baldwin explains that white individuals are classified as the innocence because they lack an understanding of racism. They are conditioned by the culture that they have superiority over minorities. When confronted in a racist situation, it is reasonable to put themselves in a position of silence. They are taught at a young age that they are entitled to have power over people of color. They never questioned these concepts because it is not what society expects. Therefore, they are not exposed to racism nor experienced it. Like the white man on the plane, he is not aware that the situation is more than just giving up the seat because he is not a person of color. His response to the situation is what keeps the cycle of racism continuing. If hooks never mentioned anything, then he would have took as another “angry black woman problems”. This is why Baldwin wrote the letter to his nephew so that he can teach these unaware individuals and help bring awareness to end

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