Race, segregation, and discrimination is still being talked about even to this day after everything that had went on. It only seems right that race and ethnicity is discussed in the month of black history. This is the time that we celebrate the accomplishments of one special man that allowed us to see past color and ethnicity; the one we call Dr. Martin Luther King. We have come a long way from back in the day when two different races were not allowed to unite and have relationships; let alone sit on the same bus together.
The Apartheid was a big setback for the African American race. Nadine Gordimer’s “Country Lovers,” Smith’s “What It’s Like to Be a Black Girl,” and Walker’s “The Welcome Table,” allow us to be able to see what happens when race and ethnicity is an issue in the lives of many. Being able to compare the representations of both race and ethnicity in these three short stories permit us to focus on the overall point of these two stories and poem. All three have a great deal in common when it comes to the topic of race.
With so much negativity around us it is hard to figure out our place in the world. Some of us struggle with issues within ourselves and some are just day to day problems. We are left trying to be what everyone around us wants us to be. Whether it has something to do with physical appearances or whether it has a lot to do with who we may choose to date or be our life partners. Just like in the years before, a young person are struggling to live in the image of society but is it really worth it; to lose yourself to become someone else.
Why is it that we always let others get the best of us and decide our futures? If love was involved would we be so willing to sacrifice our happiness? Apparently for some people that answer is yes because to them society’s image is important. If God wanted everyone to be the same, he would have made us that way. What is apartheid? Apartheid was a system of legal racial separation which dominated the Republic of South Africa from 1948 until 1993, however, the mechanisms of apartheid were set in place long before 1948, and South Africa continues to deal with the repercussions.
Under apartheid, various races were separated into different regions, and discrimination against people of color was not only acceptable, but legally entrenched, with whites having priority housing, jobs, education, and political power (WiseGeek. com 2011). Apartheid was not only a system of interconnected social, political and economic structures that oppressed, but that it required those who lived under it to enforce it in supremely intimate ways (Sullivan, L. 2010)). What is segregation? Segregation is the separation of individuals into different racial groups.
Segregation allowed for all “whites” or all “blacks” to remain grouped together in a school church, restaurant, and any other public places (Defina, Robert. 2009). This is just like the story “The Welcome Table,” when the white people in the church wanted the black woman out and even went as far as having their husbands throw her out. At times we have things that hinder us from doing what it is that we may have our heart set on doing. Sometimes these things can come into effect for the better and at times for the worst. This is exactly the vibe I picked up from Thebedi.
She was a black farm girl that was in a very intimate relationship with a white man that was not and could not go anywhere further than where it was going. This was the time of apartheid and which was also the hindrance in the life of Thebedi. Race represented the major issue in her life which was hindrance because if race was not an issue at the time then she and the white man would be able to further their relationship. But I got the feeling that this was the way that the man wanted it to be. If you really loved someone you would fight for them but he neither fought nor did he allow her to bear his child.
He wanted no evidence that they were together. I believe that the basic theme of this story is both segregation and friendship, because through the whole segregation process friendship still found a way to prevail over everything. Each race has something unique about them that sets them apart from the rest and whenever race is not an issue; gender is. As girls, when we grow up our body takes us through many changes and that is what the young black girl in Smith’s, “What It’s Like to Be a Black Girl,” poem. She is currently going through the change that each child goes through at that age.
She gives us a look at how hard it is growing up around white people and basically why she wants to be someone other than who she is. She is basically having identity issues. She speaks about wanting to “put a bleached white mop head over the kinks of her hair,” and dropping food coloring in your eyes to make them blue and suffering their burn in silence. ” I believe that the theme of this story is acceptance and understanding because the girl is struggling with the her physical beauty and she does not understand that she does not have to have long white hair or blue eyes to be beautiful…. ll she has to do is be herself. Her biggest setback is how she perceives herself. How is it that so many people claim to be Christian and believe in the words of Jesus but become so engulfed in what they believe that they forget the importance of being kind. I remember while growing up; the pastor in our church would always say come as you are no matter who you are. I guess we have really come a long way from before when things were segregated and people couldn’t even praise and listen to the Lord’s word together. While reading Walker’s “The Welcome Table,” I felt bad in a way for the old lady.
She had been through a lot and her age was beginning to creep up on her and take effect on her body. She was not truly happy with her life at the moment and things were beginning to not matter to her anymore. The way she dressed made it seem as if she completely gave up on herself. Clearly, she was still living in the time of segregation because whenever she walked into the white church it was clear that she was the odd one out. They didn’t want her there and she didn’t care. I believe that she knew what was ahead for her. That’s why she stared at the ceiling of the church and sang.
She ignored everyone and their cruel stares. She was truly happy when she saw the one person that she has been waiting to see for a long time ……. Jesus! The old lady became alive again when she saw him and when they walked down the road together. It was like she was a little girl. I believe that the theme of this story is racism and about black women who would do anything to be free. I believe another theme of this story could be that true happiness could be found within yourself. You are the only one that truly knows what makes you happy.
We never really know when our time will come that we will pass away but the thing to do is make the best of life while you have it and be ready because we can die any day. I believe that “The Welcome Table” has a double meaning. Unlike the story in the Bible about the welcome table, this story does not involve a table. But just like the nameless being in the Bible the old woman in this story was also nameless and they both shared their troubles and woes. The old woman in this story tells her troubles to Jesus while walking down the street.
I believe the “welcome table” symbolizes being able to talk to someone about everything that bothers you without worrying about being judged. I think that we as young women should always have a certain degree of respect for selves and also self-worth. We as women are valuable; therefore we have to treat ourselves with such carefulness and make sure we preserve our self-esteem. According to Matt Ferkany, (2009), everyone desires the love, respect, and approval of others and is susceptible to hurt feelings, shame, or self-doubt if it is withheld.
Why would do we care so much about Respect? I believe we care so much about respect because we feel that if we do mot give it then we will not get it back. Respect is more than something that we try to get from other people. To me respect is something that we must first have for ourselves before we have it for anyone else . Respect is a concept that is often used in political and social discourse, but is rarely adequately conceptualized (Middleton, David. 2004). After reading all three of the stories I realized that they all possess the same representation of race and ethnicity.
They each tell a story about the issues that come along with being part of the black race. They all struggle with the willingness to have freedom and peace of mind. I believe that in order to live a good life and be able to live comfortably; one has to first go through a little pain and hardships because it humbles them. Each of the women in these stories had problems with their race, being loved, and physical beauty. Although the race of a person cannot be changed, everything else can be. I believe that it is very important not to sweat the little things in life that may hinder you from being yourself and happy.
It is funny how in each of the works that I have reviewed, the ones with the trials and tribulations are the women. It shows that no matter the age of a woman or young lady; we all have our setbacks in life. In conclusion, with so much negativity around us it is hard to figure out our place in the world. Some of us struggle with issues within ourselves and some are just day to day problems. We are left trying to be what everyone around us wants us to be. Whether it has something to do with physical appearances or whether it has a lot to do with who we may choose to date or be our life partners.
We have come a long way from back in the day when two different races were not allowed to unite and have relationships; let alone sit on the same bus together. I have reviewed all three stories and I feel that whether these women know it or not, they have a lot to offer. The overall theme of all three stories is about racism and acceptance. We have to learn how to love ourselves enough to where we do not need the confirmation from anyone else. Self-confidence is very important and it is something that neither of these black women have. Being able to read these three stories and learn about the apartheid.
Defina, Roberts. 2009. Diversity, Racial Threat and Metropolitan Housing Segregation. Retrieved February 14 from http://search. ebscohost. com/login. aspx? direct=true&AuthType=ip,cpid&custid=s8856897&db=aph&AN=44882891&site=ehost-live Ferkany, Matt. 2009. Recognition, Attachment, and the Social Bases of Self Worth. Retrieved February 14 from http://web. ebscohost. com/ehost/detail? hid=17&sid=2bcbbe76-77a6-4aff-9f91-8514d94aa26b%40sessionmgr12&vid=4&bdata=JkF1dGhUeXBlPWlwLGNwaWQmY3VzdGlkPXM4ODU2ODk3JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=aph&AN=45032799 Middleton, David. 004. Why We Should Care About Respect. Retrieved February 14 ffrom http://search. ebscohost. com/login. aspx? direct=true&AuthType=ip,cpid&custid=s8856897&db=aph&AN=15644568&site=ehost-live Sullivan, LaKeasha G. 2010. Through her eyes: relational references in black women’s narratives of Apartheid racism. Retrieved February 14 from http://search. ebscohost. com/login. aspx? direct=true;AuthType=ip,cpid;custid=s 8856897;db=aph;AN=55738083;site=ehost-live WiseGeek. com. (2011). What is Apartheid? Retrieved February 1, 2011 from http://www. wisegeek. com/what-is-apartheid. htm