Stereotyping Essay

1916 words - 8 pages

In the world stereotypes and discrimination have always been a problem. Many policies have been implemented to try to separate the different ethnic groups, most of which were dehumanizing. This has caused the gap between the races to only grow larger and more hate filled. In A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines and Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson, people of different backgrounds try to search for the meaning behind the stereotypes and discrimination. Many spent their lives looking for answers and searching for justice. The two books shared common themes through prejudice and justice. The underlining truth found is that justice can not always be served. However, it is not a waste of time fighting got it, and fighting for what you believe in. Because, on the journey towards the search for meaning and truth something even greater can be discovered: the discovery of oneself. Grant Wiggins from A Lesson Before Dying is a young black male. But unlike the other black males he has broken the stereotype, gone to university to get an education, and become a teacher. "They are fifty years younger, maybe more, but doing the same thing those old men did who never attended school a day in their lives. Is it just a vicious cycle?" (Gaines 62) Even though Grant has differentiated himself from the other black males he has still been a part of the stereotype his whole life. The black men in this community are seen as uneducated, lazy and irresponsible.This stereotype has been prominent for many years and so far no one has proven it wrong. Grant feels he is different from the others and it frustrates him that no one is able to see that. "I tried to decide just how I should respond to them. Whether I should act like the teacher I was, or the nigger I was supposed to be… To show a lack of intelligence would have been a greater insult to me." (Gaines 47) Jefferson, an even younger black male has been accused of murder. No real evidence has been present, and it was simply a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. However, since Jefferson was a young uneducated black male that was all the proof that they would need to link him to the crime, and he was sentenced to execution. "They sentence you to death because you were at the wrong place at the wrong time, with no proof that you had anything at all to do with the crime other than being there when it happened. Yet six months later they K. Race 3 come and unlock your cage and tell you, We, us, white folks all, have decided it's time for you to die, because this is the convenient date and time." (Gaines 158) The fact that Jefferson is locked up in what they refer to as a cage shows just how little respect they have for this human being, and the fact that such a huge decision was made based on solely his appearance is discrimination at its finest. Grant feels that the whole system is corrupt and out of order. He is sick of feeling as though he and the other black males are looked...

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