Black And White Cultures : Hurston 's Essay About Being Black

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Hurston’s essay about being black in the early 20th century is an explanation of who she is. She does not believe her color defines her, but does see the contrasts of black and white cultures. Neither the color of our skin, or differences in our cultures warrant prejudice. Just because someone belittles or passes judgment on you does not mean you are what they say. People can rise above any unjust criticism that exists and be a better person for it.
By dividing the essay into four parts, you get to see different aspects or phases of her life and how she sees things differently than her friends, family, and colleagues. In the first section Zora states “white people differed from colored to me only in that they rode through town and never lived there” (Hurston 145). In her preteenager years, she was not subject to the negative aspects of being black in the south in the early twentieth century. This was mostly due to living in an all-black town, and not seeing any interactions between the races. By being one of the few people, if not the only person to talk to these outsiders, it put her in a unique position, and placed the whites passing through town off guard. Both Zora and the white tourist were drawn to each other out of curiosity. She sees that others don’t interact with the foreigners the way she does, but it does not stop her from continuing to interact with her brief guests. She is rewarded by the whites with coin, but the “colored people gave no dimes” (Hurston 145).

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