The Racial Divide Within America Has Been Ingrained Within

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The racial divide within America has been ingrained within societal constructs throughout the history of the country. Although tensions certainly still persist, it is clear that the severity of oppression was not only maximal, but also an accepted paradigm within the South during the first two centuries post-independence. Ironically, a nation established to bring liberties to all had no problem discriminating and enslaving an entire race. Going to Meet the Man by James Baldwin is a short story which explores this phenomenon, delving into the introspections of Jesse, a rampantly racist Southern sheriff. The subjectivity of what is “right”, a learned concept, provides readers an account of the rationale individuals must have relied on in…show more content…
"Otis can 't do nothing," said his father, "he 's too little” (Baldwin, p. 1756). Jesse’s childhood friendship with a black boy, Otis, supports the notion that the concept of “right” is subjective, and can be influenced. It is apparent that at a young age Jesse’s was naive to racism. He was simply a child upset that did not see his friend. However, his father makes it abundantly clear that Otis has the potential to harm society, and that his age is preventing him from doing so. A pivotal role of Jesse’s father’s duty as a sheriff is allegedly to protect blacks from others and themselves, one which is later recapitulated by Jesse himself. For Jesse, that paradigm of the times were morally acceptable, and necessary. He reflected on his past mentors, law enforcers who were implied to keep order by suppressing black individuals. “These men men were his models, they had been friends to his father, and they had taught him what it meant to be a man. He looked to them for courage now. It wasn 't that he didn 't know what he was doing was right- he knew that, nobody had to tell him that; it was only that he missed the ease of former years” (Baldwin, p. 1754). Societal expectations of Jesse moulded his conception of right versus wrong. In his formative years, he felt the need to defend Otis, yet at the time of Jesse’s introspections, he was disgusted by his friendship. It was
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