Racism in American Culture

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One could say race has a poor relationship with America; that there is a strong connection between the two; or that they simply do not coincide with each other. Alain Locke, who is an American writer, educator, philosopher, patron of the arts, and “Father” of the Harlem Renaissance, wrote several works of literature which went against the oppression of African American men, women, and children. Another famous Renaissance writer, Langston Hughes, touches on the American Dream in his work . Both writers are trying to better societal views. Alain Lockes “The New Negro” and Langston Hughes’ “Let America be America Again ” both reveal the backwards and intolerable ways of this country.

Alain Lockes “The New Negro” is a term and work that was used during the Harlem Renaissance which implied outspoken advocacy of dignity and the complete refusal to submit to the practices of and laws of Jim Crow. These laws represented a formal, codified system of racial apartheid that dominated the American South for three quarters of a century beginning in the 1890s. The laws of Jim Crow consisted of the segregation of schools, public places, transportation, restrooms, restaurants, and drinking fountains.

During all of this absurdity, The Great Migration was in full effect. African Americans were taking a stand and boycotting the laws of Jim Crow which gave them power to escape the oppression they were facing. Most of them left their homes in the south and headed north in search of employment and a new beginning. This migration expressed the extent of their voice and gained power . Alain Locke said “..the mind of the Negro seems suddenly to have slipped from under the tyranny of social intimidation and to be shaking off the psychology of imitation and implies inferiority. By shedding the old chrysalis of the Negro problem were are achieving something like a spiritual emancipation.” By shedding this “chrysalis”, Alain is showing how the attitude and mindset of the negro is no longer shaken by inferiority and is now receiving spiritual freedoms.

Racism in America seems to be a universally known concept and Langston Hughes’ “Let America Be America Again” demonstrates his thoughts of the American dream.

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