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Confronting Social Identities In Society Essay

1977 words - 8 pages

There are a lot of social problems that exists in the world today, which includes but do not limited to self identity and racism. However, they somehow go unnoticed because at times people conform to what society thinks is the way to live. In my opinion, people believe they should act or feel a certain way because of what is broadcast on television, featured in magazines, and even brought into the limelight by celebrities. While Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye” (1970) and Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use” (1973) both target ongoing social problems, Morrison structures her story to reveal just how pervasive and destructive social racism is, whereas Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use” focuses on the character’s conflicting ideas about their identities and heritage.
“The Bluest Eye” is focused on a little girl name Claudia who is confused on why white girls was glorified and not black girls like her. The story implies a message that being white makes you superior in the world today, for example, giving Claudia a white baby doll and the little girls idealizing Shirley Temple. Morrison uses Claudia as a strong character who is suffering from racist and material insecurities but does not worship whiteness as the other little girls. Claudia wants to get to the bottom of why white girls are being glorified; therefore, she dismembers the doll she states,
“To see of what it was made, to discover the dearness, to find the beauty, the desirability that had escaped me, but apparently only me. Adults, older girls, shops, magazines, newspapers, window signs—all the world had agreed that a blue-eyed, yellow-haired, pink-skinned doll was what every girl child treasured (Morrison 21).”
but only to realize that it is just what it appears to be, a baby doll.
A major theme Morrison use to depict they way Claudia feels towards being white is seen versus being seen. This is important in the story because Claudia wants to go out in the world and be seen as beautiful and as pretty as the white girls, instead of just “being seen” as a regular black little girl. Morrison uses an important part in the story when Claudia pinches a white baby to see what is so special about them and come to the realization that they do what every baby do and that is cry. In society black is seen as being ugly and dirty whereas white is considered to be clean and pure. There was a study conducted back in 1939 by Dr Kenneth Clark where they asked black children between the ages 6 and 9 to choose between white dolls and black dolls. Dr Clark asked several questions about the black doll such as “which doll is the good doll and which doll is the bad doll?” a lot of the children said that the bad doll was the black doll and the good doll was the white doll (Clark).
This goes to show how society depicts blacks and whites and how racism and self identity issues still exist and very much alive to this day. For example, when making a cake white cake is considered angel food whereas black cake is...

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