Essay about Race and Society in Jean Toomer's Cane

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The Harlem Renaissance was an intellectual and literary period of growth promoting a new African American cultural identity in the United States. The decade between 1920 and 1930 was an extremely influential span of time for the Black culture. During these years Blacks were able to come together and form a united group that expressed a desire for enlightenment. This renaissance allowed Blacks to have a uniform voice in a society based upon intellectual growth. The front-runners of this revival were extremely focused on cultural growth through means of intellect, literature, art and music. By using these means of growth, they hoped to destroy the pervading racism and stereotypes suffocating the African American society and yearned for …show more content…
During this time race was a social construct. Everyday lives were affected by color whether people were aware or not. For years African Americans were shunned into a classification that viewed their society as less than human. Toomer’s novel shows the ability race has to affect and intersect different aspects and domains of society and life, as well as dismantle it. Jean Toomer created this piece of art or a reason. Cane is showing that the social construct based upon skin color should be avoided, for each person has his or her own ability to create an intellectual masterpiece. Jean Toomer was born Nathnan Eugene Pinchback Toomer, on December 26, 1894 in Washington, D.C. His father was Nathan Toomer, a light skinned man who could pass for white, and his mother, Nina Pinchback was of African descent, but was also light skinned. Her father was the governor of Louisiana at the time and he was the first African American to assume the position of governor. As a boy, wherever Jean moved to, he would live in all white neighborhoods. The schools he attended varied with each move. For the majority of his childhood he was in all black schools, but there is record that Toomer attended two all white schools also. Jean Toomer grew up in constant confusion. His skin color was light, his grandfather was a black governor, he constantly had to swap

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