Racism In The Color Purple

Decent Essays

In the book, Class, the writer Paul Fussell states that “if navy is the upper-middle-class color, purple is the prole equivalent,” and “purple polyester pantsuit is the absolutely bottom”. In fact, he urges the reader to “avoid purple under all circumstances”. However, I’m not trying to call Fussell out as a racist. I want to point out how he details the discrimination the color purple faces, which echoes to the discrimination black people face in the 20th century. As the color purple is the closest representation of Black American’s complexion. On the black to white gradient, purple is the color closest to black. If we think of what the transition emerged from the color black conveys, we need to put the color under a social and cultural context. If we see Black Africans as black, White people as white, then purple matches Black Americans in this analogy. Steven Spielberg’s movie adaption of The Color Purple uses color to indicate Black Americans’ historical attempt to make a transition to White people. In the movie, the colors are encoded with deeper meanings. The color white represents the oppression, while black represents the oppressed. The blacker it is, the more oppressed it signifies. There is a detail that can be easily overlooked – the old Mr. Johnson has rather pale complexion as a black person. From the presentation of him being “almost white,” we can infer that the erosive influence White people have on Black people’s mind and body. Mr.___ in the movie lives

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