Oppression Essay Example
People look the other way when things get hard and do not want to face the issue. This is called the flight or fight response. The flight or fight response is when someone is in a challenging situation. They either run away from the problem, face it and deal with it. Many African Americans responded with the fight method, but was their process significant in solving the oppression issue? How a problem is approached makes all the difference when trying to resolve it.
The African American readings allow the reader to see that there has been oppression throughout the character’s heritage. Still, it is not the oppression that they have inherited. How they handle the oppression has made them who they are and allows them to manage it with dignity and self-respect. In “How It Feels To Be Colored Me” by Zora Neale Hurston, the main character Zora is not afraid of her heritage.
She does not look down upon her heritage and shame those who oppress her race. Instead, she uses her heritage to grow as a person, giving her this newfound confidence along the way. Growing up, Zora did not notice the race difference until she left her small town and was now considered different from the whites. She still does not let that affect her, and she says, “But I am not tragically colored. There is no great sorrow dammed up in my soul, nor lurking behind my eyes”.
She has learned from her heritage that facing oppression with dignity and respect will allow her to not be held back by pressure but use it to become a strong person. She says, “No, I do not weep at the world – I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife.” She is not upset with the world. She is merely using what has happened to strengthen herself as a human being. She learns from her heritage that by facing oppression from the past and from the present with dignity and self-respect, she will succeed more than any other African American has before. Her approach to oppression will allow others to have respect for her.
Throughout Martin Luther King’s Letter From Birmingham Jail, he maintains dignity and self-respect, even in the face of oppression. Dr. King is in jail for speaking out about the blacks’ situation. To many, this would be discouraging, but he allows this to drive him to become more passionate about the subject, making him want to do more.
Through his heritage, he sees how the people before him handled the discrimination, and he uses their methods to learn how to address the situation more appropriately. Dr. King says, “Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed” (272). He knows that he has to address the discrimination. Still, he knows that he has to address it in a particular manner with dignity and respect that will grab the attention of the whites.
From his heritage, he has learned that trying to handle the situation by resolution to violence will never make it any better. He says, “Christ was an extremist for love, truth, and goodness and thereby rose above His environment” (273). Martin Luther King Jr. wanted to create peace between the people, but he knew he would have to rise above all the others attempting to do the same things. He knew that he would have to approach the condition with dignity in himself and respect so that, in return, he might receive the same respect. ”
I stand in the middle of two opposing forces in the Negro community(276)”. Dr. King knew that many in his community did not agree with how he handled the situation they were in. Still, he knew that it was the right way and the best way. Throughout “A Raisin In The Sun” by Lorraine Hansberry, the reader sees that each character handles and views their heritage differently.
The Younger family is left with money after the father’s death, and each has their own idea of what they will do with it. Each of their beliefs is based on their heritage. In this story, Mama seems to be the only one who handles it with dignity and self-respect in the face of oppression. She understands that this money is a chance to start a new life, where they are no longer worried about if they will have enough money the next day. She says, “Once upon a time, freedom was life.
Now it’s money.” She is not ashamed of her heritage, and because of this, she wants to make the rest of her life the best it can be. Many blacks during that time did not have much money and lived in the same area. Mama and her late husband shared a dream of buying a house, exactly how she wanted to spend the money. Her heritage allowed her to see that, yes, oppression was terrible. Still, many blacks let oppression stop them from accomplishing their dreams.
So, instead of letting the oppression stop her from accomplishing her dream, she maintained her dignity and self-respect and pursued her dream of buying a house. Throughout the story, Walter Younger, Mama’s son, is never satisfied with his life. He always wants more, and he wants to make himself known. Mama says, “You ain’t satisfied or proud of nothing your dad and I have done.
She wants her son to know that they have worked very hard to try and make a better life for their family in the face of oppression. This shows how Mama was willing to do anything and everything so oppression would not defeat her. Everyone has a different method they would like to use when it comes to a challenging situation. Still, those who approach the situation with dignity and respect will receive a reward in the end.
Throughout these stories, the characters use their heritage of oppression to know how to deal with it during their time and make a better life for themselves. Their heritage of oppression gives them an insight into the best way to be successful when facing oppression in the present. Those such as Martin Luther King Jr., Zora Hurston, and Lorraine Hansberry learn from their heritage the best way to approach oppression is with dignity and self-respect.