USE OF LANGUAGE IN THE EXPRESSION OF RACISM; A STUDY OF RICHARD WRIGHT’S BLACK BOY
Obviously, it has been brought to mind that racism is one of the major issues in Black American literature and has triggered concerns over the years. This study will attempt to make readers realize these themes in Richard Wright’s Black Boy by analyzing the concept of racial segregation of Black in America. We will examine the historical perspective of Black writing narrative and the effects of racism, which include poverty, hunger assault etc. and the ways through which the blacks reacted to racism. We can claim that Black American literature was written to oppose racism and oppression in all ramifications and also to gain self pride and identity.
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Racism changes its form, as well as strength, over time and from place to place. It manifests itself in different forms in Australia today. Indeed, it is this changing quality of racism which makes it difficult to identify and challenge, and which helps make racism so contentious an issue today. First, people are identified as members of a group because of their physical appearance, culture or ethnic origin, real or supposed. Secondly, they are judged according to the presumed characteristics of that group. Thus people are being labelled, and those labels are often on the basis of stereotypes of the group (Cardwell, 1991). Stereotypes are generalised images of people in a particular group or category, which are held whether or not most, or even some, people in that category fit the image. We are constantly categorising people and things, and making generalisations about them, for we have neither the time nor the information to make new judgments each time we meet an individual or enter into a new situation. However, stereotypes are relatively fixed generalisations, which are reinforced by selective perception and selective forgetting — we notice characteristics or behaviour which confirms our views; we overlook or rationalise away the many exceptions (Beaver & Harold, 1974). Hence stereotypes are exaggerated or distorted pictures of others. Even where they reflect elements of truth, these are usually misinterpreted, or combined with inaccurate and derogatory images. This is made especially easy because we hold stereotypes about many groups without having any personal experience of them (Brown, 1969).