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Interacial Relationships: "Another Country" By James Baldwin

1209 words - 5 pages

James Baldwin's "Another Country" is an intuitive novel concerning race, sexuality and the search for ones own identity. The novel depicts the lives of several individuals in Harlem and Paris in the 1950's. The story begins with the suicide of Rufus, a black musician who abusive nature and bisexuality lead him into a hopeless hole of despair. Through this his friends search for a greater meaning. Rufus's sister Ida and his close friend Vivaldo begin a relationship which is soiled with racial tension. Baldwin creates a very realistic and problematic interracial-relationship that have to deal with detrimental racial issues present in the 1950s. As well as the socio-cultural dynamics imposed on a interracial relationship such as the social constructs, racial abuse and reverse racism.A boundary interracial couples have had to face in the 1950s has been social constructs. As far as the creation of modern America, perceptions of the African American race have been created, distorting the image and value of the African American. Interracial couples must be able to overcome these constructs indoor to obtain a successful relationship. James Baldwin depicts in his novel Another Country the effects of social constructs on the African Population during the 1950s. Here Baldwin creates a character named Ida who represents black history and whom acts as a magnifying glass, portraying the discrimination and unworthiness of the black population. Ida being a victim herself to racism has almost instinctively created a type of defense which attacks the white man and blames him for her failures, "I felt that I'd been robbed. And I had been robbed - of the only hope I had" (Baldwin 417). Ida believes she is unable to succeed in life because of the suppression her people have been victim too. This view is common among the black population in the 1950s and in itself creates a barrier between Ida and Vivaldo. Ida has a pre-perceived view of the white world, a view which was practically been instilled within her through her own culture, Harrison explains "some stereotypes may become highly accessible and perceivers may even automatically apply them without being aware of it" (Harrison 2). As society perceives today, only whites can be racist, but in fact Ida's view is stereotypical and in essence can also be called racist. Simply, one cannot ignore the great anguish African Americans have suffered, however two wrongs don't make a right. These attacks the African Americans have made toward the whites or more in particular Ida towards Vivaldo will inevitable lead to racial tension and ultimately have an effect on any interracial relationship.The 1950s were viewed as a time where equality was trying to be achieved, laws had been passed to put a halt on discrimination. These laws stopped what people did but they failed to changes ones feelings and beliefs. Racial abuse still plagued society, even though the 1950s were seen as a time of extreme prejudice against those of...

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