Themes of Racism And Discrimination in English Literature
In recent months, we were reading different books; many of them gave us a new knowledge and a new perspective about the different themes that they talk. This time I decided to read and present the incredible book, “Invisible Man”, by Ralph Ellison, where the topics more relevant in my personal point of view are Racism and Discrimination, for that reason I want to compare and contrast how these themes are used in another books named “House of Sand and Fog” by Andre Dubus III and “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hossein. I want to show the importance that these themes have in each book, of course they are presented in different ways.
I consider that Racism and Discrimination are among the most important themes presented by the books mentioned above; however, although the context in which the stories are develop is different from ours, it is essential to mention the importance and the controversy that these themes still having in the different social environments nowadays. I also think it is important to discuss these themes because through this essay, I will try to show people that Racism and Discrimination do not have a good justification, because in spite of that that, they are used to control people in order to have the complete power in many different aspects.
Based on my previous experiences in the subject, I can say that Racism and Discrimination are closely linked and they are defined as an ideology and action of rejection and intolerance towards people whose characteristics are not the same that people who discriminate, which means that if someone has a creed, color skin or different nationality, they become subject of ridicule, rejection and hostility. As a consequence of this ideology the mass have the control to the state, region or country.
As we can see, Racism and Discrimination are based on a psychological problem, but the damage they can cause is often irreversible, as we can see in the case of Mr. Behrani in the book “House of Sand and Fog.” Mr. Amir is looking for a new opportunity and a new lifestyle in a country where he is looked as an immigrant invading the country with his family. That is why during the course of the book situations will become more and more difficult for him, because people who are around, I mean Lester and Kathy, do everything possible to take advantage of the conditions and take advantage of Amir´s ignorance and innocence.
The case that the book presents only is a case lived in the United States of America, where day by day, through the news we see a series of injustices committed to immigrants in that country where fear plays an important role. Most of people who live in a foreign country think that they do not have rights so when they find people like Lester they feel threatened, because they are afraid to lost everything they have and they are afraid to be deported and return to the place they wanted to leave behind.
In this book, as we see, the actions that show the racist treatment towards Amir will rise as the novel is developing. The book ends with a tragic death of the Amir´s son which is one of the most serious consequences of Discrimination. Racism in this book is presented in a subtle way, because we can only say that the protagonists are the family of Amir. However, if we took the story to a real context, the family of Amir is the representation of all the families of immigrants in the United States, not just Ireland but from all over the world. The case that this book shows is very common, because even in Mexico it is and will remain difficult to win cases in legal matters when people are arguing with people who belong to the country, not for the fact that foreign rights are not taken, but closed mindedness that many people have and the little justice that occurs when people make decisions.
On the other hand, in the book “Invisible man”, we can see more clearly how Racism and Discrimination are given in an open, pathetic, cruel and above all sad racial discrimination. However, unlike the book “House of Sand and Fog”, where discrimination is to foreign people, in this book it is worse. Racism is between people of the same country, but this time it is between whites and blacks.
I think it is important to talk about the context because as we have studied throughout the major in the south part of the United States has always lived a large number of black people, on the other hand in north white people abounded . The separation of these two races was obvious, but not only for the location of each of them, but by the great social differences that they had, black have been seen as the working class and white people as the entrepreneurs.
In the book “Invisible man”, a person recounts the experiences he had when he decided to stop being just a black guy like the others. The “narrator”, which is how the book presents him, realized that life for black people is very difficult, not only because it was surrounded by a white supremacist, but because the majority of black people who had an important place always are trying to keep these posts but cheating on their own comrades. In the book, the protagonist faced with a myriad of humiliation by white people to get a job more or less respectable, but later he realized that he not only had to take care of white people, but more than that he should care of the interests that each people were looking, because sometimes it is not matter the color of their skin, because every person has a different mentality than a cause often not join. For that reason at the end of this magnificent book, “the narrator” gives readers a great lesson: he realizes that if he wants to make a real change he must start from himself before he pretend to convince other people.
With these books the readers can get an idea of the magnitude of these problems, Racism and Discrimination in the United States because through the chapters we can see literally how white people saw and tried black people as an objects, sources of distraction and income at low prices; but especially like a group of people capable of follow their orders in any circumstance in order to get a place in this racist society. As we can see, racism goes beyond mere speculation and denigration of other people. In fact, racism is the denigration of the human race in general, and there is no a logical reason to support the conduct of the people to judge other people. However it is difficult to say which of the two cases mentioned above is worse, the judge people by the color of their skin and their origin or to discriminate against people with whom we share more things, like, country, skin color, beliefs and above all ideals.
In the book “The kite runner” the author shows how difficult is to live in a society where Discrimination is present. Pashtun and Hazaras are two tribes who live and share the same traditions and land, however the different status do not allow them to live in harmony, because Pashtun think that they are better than Hazaras, they do not realize that all of them are very important for their society and also their need each others.
The reasons for Racism and Discrimination between people are many, like we can see in the books, power, ambition, skin color and the absurd ideology of superiority that many people have, but all these cases are caused by the lack of information of people and also an education separated from reality, where everyone sees a constant enemy in people who are not physically equal to them., but the government plays an important role in these delicate themes, for example in education programs always talk about discrimination and how it happened but how many times have we seen people from different places talking about the same theme or sharing their different cultures???The answer is very easy, never.
The books are the result of the reflection of a society tired of the same, tired of seen situations that happened and also the helplessness of not being able to do anything to solve them. The way in which Ralph Ellison, Andrei Dubois III and Khaled Hossein handled the stories, shows that anyone can be the protagonist of any of these novels, because none of us is immune to being racially discriminated. The important thing is that people, who read these books, read them not only because someone said that they have to do it, people have to read them because those books give us knowledge that we can use in real life. Racism and Discrimination are very sensitive themes in any area in which they are presented, and as we see in the book “Invisible man”, the fact that the narrator say speeches and talk about equal rights does not really exist, is something we have to keep fighting but it is something that people have to educate, because equality is not a privilege, it is a right.
In the books, “Invisible Man” and “House of sand and fog”, the authors use the same stage to talk about Discrimination and Racism; we refer to the United States. However, in my point of view I believe that racism and discrimination are everywhere; it is clear that the United States is a country where those topics are much mentioned, as we see it now with Arizona law which has as a main goal, deporting and deprive rights to all persons who are not United States citizens. The problem is not that people do not want foreigners in their country, but the way in which discrimination may judge a person by the manner of how they look. That fact is clearly a racial discrimination even when we are supposedly in a new century, full of changes.
It is important to note that now the United States president is black, because for years African-Americans have been fighting for their rights, which do not reach them until 1871 but it is until now that a president with these characteristics comes to power. This would seem a significant progress for this country so criticized, however it is the same period where the law Arizona is approve. I think this approbation comes as a reaction of white people as an act of rebellion against his president just because his skin is black.
Talking about Racism and Discrimination it is talking about topics that have no place of origin, it means that as well as criticizing the United States in both books, the same way we can criticize people any part of the world, like Afghanistan where the story of Amir take place or our own country, Mexico. The treatment that Mexican people give to people from the villages who wear traditional clothes is not too much different than the cases that the books present. In Oaxaca for example, people from the city ridicule and humiliate people from towns or poor people.
In Oaxaca, discrimination is present every day, we just need to take a look around us and we could see what it is happening to poor people or people who come from far away or from a poorly communicated town. They are generally treated differently than people who dress in a common way. Sadly we can see that Oaxaca is one of the states where there is greater discrimination for economic status reasons. However, when equal than in the United States, maybe because the history of each place, because the past plays an important role, for example in Mexico people are more discriminated when they came from Oaxaca, because I suppose that people from other states think that we do not have the tools in education to defend what we think and we are and in the United States people are discriminate because the actions that their country have done.
To conclude the themes of Racism and Discrimination is important to mention that the books “Invisible man”, “House of sand and fog” and “The Kite Runner” are books that only show one side of the balance, but the truth is that Discrimination and Racism are mutual between the people involved and it is why everyone should be aware of this. It is very important if we want to stop talking about these themes that all people begin to create individual action to achieve a society that can live in harmony, without prejudices and falsehoods. “Invisible man”, “House of sand and fog” and “The Kite Runner” are titles that show the delicacy of the themes, but they also give us the lesson that could help us to stop doing and repeat actions over and over again and continue with the same stories.