Race Essay

Throughout history, black Americans had been taught embodying “whiteness” allotted for greater chance of opportunity to succeed in life. Opportunities drive individuals with lack of options to fall under whatsoever category they have the ability to even in the case of denouncing one’s own race in spite of it. In the words of famous writer/ poet, Langston Hughes, “the word white comes to be unconsciously a symbol of all the virtues. It holds for the children beauty, morality, and money. The whisper of ‘I want to be white’ runs silently through their minds.” Black American families of the early 1900’s attempted to conform to the societal norms of the white American family.
Conformity was a method many viewed as the only to survive in a white run nation. This came in varying degrees from lighter skinned individuals physically passing as white to others acting more akin to white in anticipation of less identification with their “negro” counterparts.   Many this achieved conformity in act by changing their natural dialects to appear more white in sound and dress. In fact, though the consequences for passing as white and being exposed were great, apparently the gains were greater in some sense. I’ve heard numerous stories of individuals “passing for white” and getting exactly what was in need for it. Whether it be better service or greater respect, what seems like such a small request in today’s terms was huge in the past. Others attempted conformity by moving in as close proximity as possible to whiter neighborhoods, schools, and family oriented locations. This was done to enhance opportunities of acknowledgement as well as success for children as well as adults.
Others still attempted conformity by choosing as light a spouse as possible as an additive in appearing more white to the outsider looking in as well as in hopes of having their children born with a lighter complexion. Many felt the lighter one’s skin tone, the simpler issues involving race became, especially...