Essay on If He Hollers Let Him Go

1529 Words Nov 11th, 2010 7 Pages
America has gone through many changes since its independence in 1776. However, as America was in the midst of its’ Second World War, it became obvious that one thing that had yet to be entirely solved, racial discrimination. In the novel, If He Hollers Let Him Go, Chester Himes creates a wide variety of characters that all have a different, but concrete, view point on race and racial discrimination. The novel is about Bob Jones, a black man, who moves to California during World War II because he is tired of the extensive racial discrimination in Ohio. Bob begins to work at Atlas shipyard, one of the many shipyards that are responsible for producing ships, which was crucial during the time of war. Bob eventually becomes a leaderman in the …show more content…
Mrs. Harrison believes that black people have to earn the white people’s respect, trust, freedoms and equality. Mrs. Harrison says to Bob, “You mustn’t think in terms of trying to get even with them, you must accept whatever they do for you and try to prove yourself worthy to be entrusted with more” (52). She states that if black people work hard enough, the white people will reward them. She also wants the black community to wait for the white people to “give” them something better, to accept what the white people “do for them.” She compares the idea of black and white people equality to communism. She tells Bob that he needs to make himself worthy of respect. “You know yourself, Bob, a lot of our people are just not worthy, they just don’t deserve anymore than they’re getting” (52). These comments illustrate how class has a great influence on Mrs. Harrison’s point of view on race. Without having to work and being rich, she is ignorant of the racial discrimination that a day to day skilled worker of Bob’s color has to go through. Like her daughter Alice, Mrs. Harrison has been given special treatment by the white people for her lighter skin, and her social and economic class.
Alice is a very light skinned, black woman who could pass off as white without any makeup. She works as a supervisor of case work in city welfare. She came from the one of the richest Negro families on the West Coast. She is, in Bob’s mind,

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