The Economic Mirror of Racism

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“The day of the white man is over. By his own hand he created a doomsday device designed to kill you and me” (Mosley, Futureland 345). This quote is an example of how Walter Mosley expresses the bigger picture of how economics has been weaponized as a tool of racism.

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Racism, though decreased in severity, still remains prevalent and will continue to thrive into the future unless society makes dramatic changes to correct the trajectory. In Mosley’s mystery fiction work, Devil in a Blue Dress, and science fiction novel Futureland that includes the short story “The Nig in Me,” the author delves into the theme of systemic racism, facilitated by large organizations, fleshing out the logical conclusions from the past and the present, while making dire predictions about the inevitable effects the current direction that racism will likely have on society and finance. In Mosley’s world, the future is doomed to a dystopian outcome based upon the examples from the past.

The economic racism from the early twentieth century is demonstrated in the novel, Devil in a Blue Dress. Mosley writes a compelling story of racism, centered on a young black veteran named Easy Rawlins who finds himself fighting against post-World War II society. The protagonist is loosely based upon Mosley’s own father’s experiences from that time (Lev 73). Easy is a reflective character determining how to resolve the moral complexities and ethical choices he experiences, both as a private detective and as a black man of the Post War era (73). Mosley’s noir-style story is set in the late 1940’s Los Angeles when Easy has been unfairly laid off from his job and finds work as a detective paid under the table (Mosley, Devil in the Blue Dress 5).

At the same time, Easy experiences the systemic racism of the period during the entire course of the novel. In one interaction, he chats with a Jewish woman and finds himself confronted by racist men; “”Hey!”” the tallest one said. “”What’s wrong?””””N—–’’s trying to pick up Barbara.””””Yeah, an’ she’s just jailbait” (Mosley, Devil in the Blue Dress 22). Mosley’s work demonstrates a distant and different time period. The reader gets drawn into the specific injustices that reflect the kind of experiences that black men would have experienced during that time while trying to complete an honest day’s work. Mosley brings his own sense of the present day to this novel, creating a story that encapsulates the experience of his father’s generation that echo well into the present day. Mosley wants the reader to firmly grasp the experience of African American people, so that they can obtain a glimpse of what life must have been like for many people from the past. In doing so, he allows the message to resonate the reader’s experience in the present,

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