Often there are individuals who stand up to the racism that exists everywhere in the world. In Black Boy, by Richard Wright, Richard Wright is confronted by racism everyday. Richard faces a difficult struggle in life because he refuses to accept an unequal role in society based on his race. Many of Richards family, friends, and acquaintances accept things the way they are. For example, after Richard seeks guidance from Griggs, he says, “Then for gods sake learn how to live in the south! “(202). He is displaying his concern by advising him on how to survive in the white world.
Griggs is an intelligent person who has a sense of when blacks need to abide by the white rules. In addition, when Harrison and Richard are discussing the boxing match, Harrison say, “It’s just exercise. Four rounds for five dollars”(264). Racism sometimes prevents those it affects from acting rationally or humanely. They are so pressured that they can not truly care about the other person. Furthermore, Richard observes Shorty trying to earn a quarter when he says to a white man, “You can kick me for a quarter”(249). He shows hos lack of self respect to earn his way through life.
Although he has pride for his race, he engages in demeaning behavior to earn money. Therefore, many of the people he knows live their lives according to how the white people want them to live. Richard is forced to struggle because he does not go along with the white way of life and will not accept the way black people are treated. For instance, after being promised to be taught the optical trade, Richard “walked up to Reynolds and asked him to tell about the work”(207). Richard believed he was finally going to be treated equally.
He did not realize that an enemy can be hidden in a friendly place. Also, right after the white man throws the empty whisky bottle at Richard, he says. “Ain”t you learned to say sir to a white man yet? “(200). Richard felt no necessity to say since he had never had to say it before. He was not treated with respect so why should he treat them equally. Moreover, after being thrown by Griggs, Richard says to himself, “Yes, they were white, but I had not noticed it”(203). He felt little connection with those people so he did not act any differently.
Although somewhat of an outsider, he learns to remain concerned with humanity. So, Richard is determined to live by his own principles and is willing to live with the consequences. Consequently, the wall of racism prevents Richard from continuing on his path to his greatest potentials. His most essential characteristic is his belief in his own worth and capabilities. This frequently renders him willful, stubborn, and disrespectful of authority, putting him at odds with his family and with those who expect him to accept his degraded position in society.