An Idea Of Race In Hurston's Essay
Hurston feels her race does not affect the person that she claims to be, yet it affects people’s perspective of her.Hurston specifically complains about the tendency to overemphasize the legacy of slavery, which she dismisses and dehumanizes by placing it sixty year in her past. She describes centuries of slavery as a horrible lifestyle of sacrifice so that African Americans could have a chance at freedom and a new opportunity in life. Above intolerance, people often stereotype others due to ethnicity.
Hurston claims to remember the first day she became colored, which occurred when she was thirteen. However, race can be more a matter of social reinforcement. In short, she did not feel colored until people made her feel like she was. Her appeal to pathos is mainly a refusal to be horribly colored, which appeals to the way her audience admires the strength of her character. The insistence on people being individuals rather than begin defined by race and the sympathy. She shares “her” point of view leading to the final disagreement that people should not be defined merely by skin color but by all the complex elements of their character. Hurston divorces herself from the sobbing school of Negrohood that requires her to continually lay claim to past and present injustices. She can sleep at night knowing that she has lived a righteous life, never fearing that some dark ghost might end up next to her in bed.
Through her witty words, Hurston delivers a powerful message to challenge the mindsets of her, and our, time. Hurston uses an anecdote when she stated, I remember the day that I became colored, I was not Zora of Orange Country anymore, I was now a little colored girl. Hurston is showing her love of her culture and her recognition of her color. Simultaneously Hurston also believed the only difference between white and black people was that white people would pass through town but never stay. Even so, she would perform for the white tourist, singing, and dancing, which they would sometime reward with dimes. This surprised her because performing was something she would do anyways. The black locals did not once think about paying her for a song, but she knew that they had cared and supported her anyway. In her childhood, Hurston was protected from the worst derivative statements as she lived in an all-black environment. Through performance for the white tourist, she starts to detect a difference in the white visitors, one is with them having money, and the financial stability to pay for art and entertainment.
One way to evaluate the problem is a simple comparison between the two lifestyles (black and white). When she decides to compare herself to a white person in a jazz club, she feels as though she is superior in the way that she can immerse herself in the music. While Hurston was in a trance, her friend had been smoking calmly. He seemed unfazed by music, giving an inadequate compliment. Hurston sees him as if across a continent and described him as pale with his whiteness in a way that lacks passion and vitality. At other times, Hurston feels like she has no race. She feels expression of eternal femininity or just one fragment of a Great Soul. When she walks the streets, she feels snooty and aristocratic. Of course, she experiences racism, but she only pities the racist for depriving themselves of her company.
Hurston isn’t limited by her black identity, as she also embraces her female identity, or at times, simply disavows identity although to be a piece of the Great Soul. Her efforts to pick up or put down identities at will benefit her from a sort of performance. Hurston describes herself as a brown bag among white, yellow, and red bags. Each bag has a jumble of contents both marvelous and ordinary, such as a first water diamond or a dried flower or two still a little fragrant. The different colored bags are Hurston’s central metaphor for her mature understanding of race. The color of the bag corresponds to skin color and external appearance, and the varied contents represent thoughts, memories, emotions, and experiences particular to each individual. The contents Hurston describes are both beautiful and mundane, but they all surpass the exterior of the bags in specificity of detail.
Hurston seems to say that this internal content is much more important and much more interesting than a flat, one-word description of the skin. After making the realization that she is in fact of color and of the consequences regarding this fact, she makes a clear distinction between herself as a person of color and “the sobbing school of Negrohood” (1984). Here she exhibits an ambition that carries her past the obstacles that both then and now face African Americans during their lifetimes. Having an outspoken, high spirited, and ambitious personality, Hurston could obtain an education and explored the complexities of African-American society through her research and writing. Above the intolerance, people often stereotype others due to race.
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