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Racism, The novel My Antonia by Willa Cather

Racism has been a controversy since the beginning of time, whether it be skin color, social status, or nationality. The term racism defines as an irrational belief in the superiority of a given group, nation, or people, usually one’s own. Racism comes in many different forms and can be directed at many different people. There is the violent racism, inflicted mostly by skinhead gangs, neo-nazis, the Ku Klux Klan and the Aryan nations. These groups direct their hatred to all kinds of different people, Blacks, Asians, and Hispanic. These are today’s problems.

The novel My Antonia by Willa Cather, brings out different types of discrimination such as racism, sexist, and anti-immigration back in the 1800s. Racism blind one’s self so much that all one could see in another race is something ugly and disgusting, all because they are different. The illustration in the novel when Jim descried an African-American child as a Negro head yet almost no head at all without anything behind their ears but folds of neck under closed-clipped wool (page 118). Another situation was when Jim descried an African-American woman as a buxom Negro wench (page 119).

Including the part where Jim describes that, Lapland women were fat and ugly with squint eyes (page 154). I have seen these situations usually in a verbal fight of two people of different races. They would try to hurt each other by verbally throwing inferior describing at each other’s ethnic background or physical features. Natives seem to have a natural instinct of not being able to trust foreigners. Most of the time is because they have insufficient knowledge about foreigners such as times in the novel when Jim’s uncle mentioned how you can not trust the Swedes to be fair (page 84).

I have seen parents who would not let their kids hang out with kids that are different race. They tend to believe that kids, who are not the same race as they are, usually are troublemakers and low in dignity because of the way they dress. I believe that parents who are like that have insufficient culture knowledge and tend to stereo type based on skin color and dress code. A common stereo type is a person who wears extremely baggy clothes is believe to be in a gang and into drugs. The truth is baggy clothes are in fashion, just that some kids tend to go over board.

New comer families usually do not have much respect from the natives because they do not have much money. They are often get mistreated, that is how it seems like it now and still has not change since the 1800s. The novel describe Jim’s uncle commented that an eleven year old American was better than the Shimerda family (page 82). Contrasting a family to an eleven-year-old kid is very disrespectful. This is common and does happen to families that do not have much dignity because of money problems; people will talk behind their back.

Another situation in the novel is when Jim’s uncle stated that Swedes will work for anything because they are poor (page 86). In current time, this seems to be the case, but certain race does not apply. In conclusion, I have learned through out writing my essay that being racist is not the way to be if I want to rise to the top. This world is now very diverse with different culture everywhere and different races in every school, industry, and even government facilities. To be successful in this world I must not ever be racist for this is now a world of diversity.

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