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Maya’s portrayal of the Black Community in the USA

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  • Category: Community

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The black community Maya lived in is one with positive and negative points. In this essay I will try to decide is the community she lives in is more positive or if it is more negative. Maya’s view on it isn’t decided really and her feelings about it are vastly varied. On the positive front Maya says how the cotton pickers who owed large amounts of debt had to work in the cotton fields in an attempt to re-pay it, which they could never achieve.

She says that even though they were cut badly and their shoulders and arms were aching they kept high morale by singing songs. They never complained of this tedious and tiring work, as they all knew that it was their only form of income. “In later years I was to confront the stereotyped picture of gay song-singing cotton pickers with such inordinate rage that I was told even by fellow blacks that my paranoia was embarrassing.

“But I had seen the fingers cut by the mean little cotton bolls, and I had witnessed the backs and shoulders and arms and legs resisting any further demands. ” The first quote backs up my point about the workers keeping morale high by singing songs and the second quote I have used proves that the job of cotton picking was very tiring and the workers were exhausted by the end of it. Maya also felt that the Negro society differed from the white in that they had this sort of tightly knit society where they would help each other out and watch other black people’s back.

If for instance a small boy was travelling on his own by train, and he had no food then the other black Negro passengers would give him so of their food as they knew that he wouldn’t be able to get any as the white stores would not serve him. “Negro passengers, who always travelled with loaded lunch boxes felt sorry for ‘the little motherless darlings’ and piled us with cold fried chicken and potato salad. ” In the black community there was a sort of hierarchy as at the top were the church ministers, then Momma as she was very successful and rich compared to the other people.

However with the rest of the society, equality remained apart from Uncle Willie as he was crippled so he was seen as lower than everyone else. But Momma came to his defence and generally stood up for him. This meant that forming this hierarchy would have given the community stability and order. If everyone was on the same level it may have meant that people would have taken advantage of others and refused to work.

But also the higher members of this hierarchy never treated the lower members inappropriately because they weren’t as successful but kept the community spirit, by acting as if they were on a similar level. Even though the community had very little, it was deeply proud of what it did have. When Uncle Willie met strangers he pretended not to be crippled and they all dress up in their best clothes for church as a sign of respect. This again brings the community together more as people are all doing the same things.

Also by celebrating what they do have they are not intimidated by the white community being richer and they were happy with what they did have. If however they were always praying for a similar life as the white community they would be miserable and always hoping for something that they could never get. ” When I looked at Uncle Willie, I knew what was pulling my mind’s coattails. He was standing erect behind the counter, not leaning forward or resting on the small shelf that had been built for him. Erect.

His eyes seemed to hold me with a mixture of threats and appeal. ” The community’s faith is very strong and they follow what the bible says, it is so strong that after an exhausting day’s work, instead of going home to relax the people go to church to pray and sing. “We going home and get cleaned up to go to the revival meeting. Go to church in that cloud of weariness? Not go home and lay those tortured bones in a feather bed. ” “That was what the bible said and it didn’t make mistakes. ” However on the negative front she feels differently about the black community.

Even though the majority of the black community live a faithful life it is not easy. They are seriously disadvantaged as they have no facilities and any that they do have are of poor standard, the jobs they have are manual and are very tiring with little reward. They also have to put up with the racism from white people and vicious beatings by the Ku Klux Klan. Even though the society had a good sense of bonding it could be very hostile and very cautious to outsiders as if it had a fear of change, but when it new that the outsiders were harmless then it was very welcoming to them.

The town reacted to us as its inhabitants had reacted to all things new before our coming. It regarded us a while without curiosity but with caution, and after we were seen to be harmless (and children) it closed around us, as a real mother embraces a stranger’s child. Warmly, but not too familiarly. ” As the black community had been so degraded by white people they had been convinced that white people are better and more important than black people are. This lowers the moral of the people and then the racism can get to them. “Oh, it was important, all right.

Whitefolks would attend the ceremony, and two or three would speak of God and home, and the southern way of life. ” One real danger for the black society was that there was a continual danger of the Ku Klux Klan and in one incident Uncle Willie was forced to hide. The sheriff who was white informed them but it seemed like he was almost gloating about the fact that Uncle Willie was in danger rather than helping them. “Annie, tell Willie he better lay low tonight. A crazy nigger messed with a white lady today.

Some of the boys’ll be coming over here later. From the points I have shown it is still very difficult to determine if the Black community was more positive or if it was more negative. But really it depends on how you look at it. If you were someone who hadn’t experienced the white community with its larger number of advantages then the black community would be positive as you wouldn’t know any better. But if you had seen how better off and easier the white community had it in comparison to you then you would probably portray the black community from a negative front.

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