Racism in The Bluest Eye
"There is really nothing more to say--except why.
But since why is difficult to handle, one must take
refuge in how."
When bad things happen to us, the first thing we
ask ourselves is "why"? Most of the time however, the
answer to "why" is not readily available to us, and
sometimes there is not an answer at all. Racism has
been a concept which has existed from the beginning of
human civilization. For some reason, the "whites"
believed they were superior to everyone who was not
white for a very long time. There has always been a
misconception that racism exists strictly against blacks
from whites. However, Morrison shows the reader every
aspect of racism: whites against blacks, light-skinned
blacks against dark-skinned blacks and blacks who are
well off against poor blacks. The latter two are the
most emphasized and the most prevalent in the novel. In
July's People, we see the other side of racism,the
opression of whites.
There are many answers to the question "why?" in
this novel. There is not just one answer to which it
all can be narrowed down or traced back. Morrison
attempts to show the reader various catalysts which
explain (or can explain) HOW racism affected the
characters' lives. Often, there is really not an answer
to "why?", although at times, the reader may come across
to one of the many answers to this question.
In the beginning of the book, the reader sees how
the blonde-blue-eyed white girl (woman) has always been
the conceptualized ideal. Morrison does not (and
cannot) tell us why this is and has been from the
beginning of time. However, she shows the reader how it
is and to the extent it affects (and has affected)
anyone who does not "fit" the ideal. From the
beginning, the reader sees how Claudia despises this
"ideal" of beauty, knowing neither she, nor any of her
sisters or neighbors could ever live up to. In another
episode in the novel, when Pecola is on her way to buy
her Mary Janes, the reader is able to realize the extent
of the impact this idealization had (and still has) on
African-American as well as many other cultures.
Morrison makes a point to emphasize the fact that this
affected everyone in the novel, whether the character
admired or despised this ideal. Mrs. Breedlove "passed
on" to Pecola the insecurity she had "acquired"
throughout her life. Her insecurity and self-hate had
been in her since her childhood but it was made worse by
her emulating the movie actresses.
The reader first sees Pecola encountered with
racism from a white man with Mr....