The Color of Water Essay examples

843 Words Jun 30th, 2013 4 Pages
Sara Knigge
The Color of Water Essay
Racial Identity The Color of Water by James McBride was a story about a young boy trying to figure out his racial identity but his mother would not talk about her past or what race she was. All James knew was that she was white living in a black power neighborhood and that fact terrified him. He thought that to grow up he had to know his racial identity but through all the trouble and hard times he went through he learned that his race did not matter. It was his education that was the most important. Ruth attitude about her race effected James through his childhood and as a young adult, she negatively affected his racial development, and Ruth eventually clears up his questions that he has been
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Ruth’s impact on James’s racial development is negative, but she had good intentions. James never knows what his racial background is and that bothers him throughout his life. If he would have known what his mother’s background was maybe then he would understand himself in his eyes, but it does not take your race to figure out yourself, it takes learning who you are on the inside. Ruth was trying to make it a positive impact on his racial development. Ruth knew that race did not matter, it was about what was on the inside of the person, but James did not understand that concept. Race never concerned him by saying he was not going to associate himself with a person because of their background but he want to know about their race, and Ruth had no cares about their race, which is a better way to go at it. Ruth offers James confusion as he grapples with his racial identity as a younger boy, but she offers him clarity as a young adult. When James was young, Ruth would answer any of her questions and that bothered him but he knew not to push her to her limit or he would get the belt. He does not know what half of his race is, he know he was black from his father but knew nothing about his mother’s race. Ruth was not ashamed to be a Jew, but she did not support Judaism because of her father, Tateh. She was not hiding the fact that she was a Jew from James but she did not want to think about everything that she ran away from when she

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