Themes Of Racism In Literature

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To be Black means to be different. As a student of color and a woman I already have barriers stacked against me in life. Barriers that have been written about in literature I have read. Throughout the semester we came across multiple themes such as Justice, Identity, Trauma and other signifying themes. However these are not just themes but occurrences that happen to people in the United States and South Africa. Although both of these countries are far apart and have culture difference they share the societal evil of racism. Racism is defined as “the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races” (Google Dictionary). …show more content…
In Welcome to Our Hillbrow by Phaswane Mpe features a character by the name of Refilwe who decides to go to Oxford to receive her masters. While she is there she faces many times that racism is clear to her and she does not know how react. Refilwe speaks about a time she is in the airport and two men are racial profiled and from there they are searched based on their backgrounds. “Such scenes repeat themselves frequently in our England in the new millennium, in the early part of the twenty-first century. Nigerians and Algerians are treated like pariahs in our white civilisation. Refilwe learnt that the supposed reason for the treatment was that they were all drug dealers, or arms smugglers, engaged in trading weapons for their civil war-wracked countries. They were criminals masquerading as students, or as professionals coming into our England to negotiate reputable business deals” (Mpe 101). Not all Nigerians and Algerian are drug dealers or arms dealers but all of them are outsiders in White civilization such as Oxford. Racial profiling is one of the issues that both South Africa and America have. In South Africa they judged you based on whether you were Affrikans, Black or Coloured. In America, if you are not White you do not have the same privilege as they do. Musilms are automatically stopped in an airport, African American men are stopped and frisk in the street and Mexican are …show more content…
In South Africa was racism was grown by the developing corrupt government forcing Apartheid onto the people whereas in America racism occurs in social settings especially by the police enforcement. In Claudia Rankine’s novel Citizen: An American Lyric touches on the microagression, a form of racism where due to negative notions interaction with other racial groups is quite limited. “Ah! These English are really strange! They simply greet you and from then on, they pretend that you no longer exist” (Mpe 106). Refilwe and her friends, a group of different ethnic people feel they are invisible based on the reaction of their Oxford peers. This is similar to an event that occurs to an ethic woman in a poem by Claudia Rankine. A woman is about to pay for her things when a male, assembly White, skips her in the line to pay for something. “In line at the drugstore it’s finally your turn, and then it’s not as he walks in front of you and puts his things on the counter” (Rankine). This line is a structural ambiguous sentence where it can be read as two ways. It was finally this young woman’s turn when it is taken away from her when someone jumps in front of her on line. Another meaning is metaphorical, as she finally has an equal right for it to disappear with a snap of someone’s finger because they felt they were above her. However in this poem it is seem as that microagression is

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