Racism in Society: The Fight for Justice

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry is a representation of life that once was in America. There was racism and inequality everywhere you went and this book portrays that point in time perfectly. Racial prejudice and racism is present in Act II, Scene III. The Younger’s future is at stake and their dreams of moving into a new home could be a nightmare in reality. The family has moved into a predominantly white neighborhood and an unexpected visit from Mr. Lindner of the Clybourne Park Improvement Association leaves the family on edge about their future and provides insight on the racial prejudice that exists: “Ain’t it something how bad these here white folks is getting here in Chicago!…You hear some of these of these Negroes ‘round here talking bout how they don’t go where they ain’t wanted and all that…” (Hansberry 100). The white population in the neighborhood are pushing out the minority races because they do not believe in equality. All people are equal and there should never be this type of treatment towards other humans. The family is not wealthy and struggle day in and day out to provide. There is a common theme throughout the book which is an ongoing fight for African-American equality. The family has moved into an all white neighborhood and this symbolizes the push and fight against inequality.  

Racial inequality is an awful and dark past that we once had in America and if there never was a fight for equality, where would we be today? African Americans fought for their rights and equality but this dark history should have never occurred. All people are equal. There is also a theme of fight and pushing back against common beliefs. For example, Beneatha changed her hairstyle for self expression and to be her own person. Another example is the family moving into a predominantly white neighborhood to go against society. Never change who you are to fit with societies beliefs because all people are unique but we are all the same on the inside. This situation is a small, peaceful protest because they stood up against the neighborhood and society by moving into the new house. 

Martin Luther King was the voice for African-American fight for equality and its fearless leaders like himself that improve society and make America a diverse and thriving country. Unfortunately, there are people that still view others of different races as inferior and that is just a sad reality that in 2019, racism is still an issue. The large majority do not view others as inferior but equal and without the fight, America would not be the same. Equality is important in aspects of life and everyone should be able to accept differences and live their lives.

  1. What events from the past or present relate to the fight for equality presented in A Raisin in the Sun? Explain. 
  2. Do you think that it was a good move for the family to move into the new neighborhood and stay despite all of the racism and race prejudice? Why or why not?

7 thoughts on “Racism in Society: The Fight for Justice”

  1. I do think it was a good move for the family to move into the new neighborhood. However, I don’t think this is representative for a large-scale impassioned fight against racism in housing; I think it focuses on the day-to-day realities of people of color navigating a space affected by racism. The people of Clybourne Park raised, as Ruth says, “All we paid and then some,” (pg.119) so they wouldn’t move into the neighborhood. To accept that money and stay where they are would be to accept their terms that Clybourne Park is a white neighborhood, and their racist idea that they would be better off in a black neighborhood.

  2. I agree with many of the points you made in your blog post, but I feel like your use of past tense in reference to racism issues erases the fact that many of these issues are still prevalent and used to exploit black people through the media. Racial inequality is STILL an awful and dark PRESENT in America and even though MLK fought for equality, he was killed for it the same way many black people are killed today. I feel like it is also important to point out that on page 121, Beneatha wraps up Lindner’s approach to the family as what it was- a white Christian way of being racist in an appealing way. Because he is Christian and sitting down with the family to discuss buying them out of their new home, it makes him seem considerably less racist, pushy and have less of a dehumanizing tone to him. He seems progressive in a way because of this, or what would be considered a white moderate in such a time. A quote from MLK to back this is one he penned in “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” in which he states, “I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice… who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”… Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection…”

  3. I truly do believe it was a good move for the Younger family. Even though it is predominantly a white community, it is a good change for the Youngers. Personally, I think it shows how courageous the Youngers are because even though Mr.Linder came into their home being racist, “… that for the happiness of all concerned that our Negro families are happier when they live in their own communities.” (118) , the Youngers pushed through the hatred and are looking towards the future for Travis. It also shows that even though they would have liked to live in an African-American neighborhood, the Youngers (mainly Mama), are showing that they would like to get a house worth what they are buying it for. Being offered more money to move out of the house they already purchased because the people of Clybourne Park don’t want them there is like a slap in the face. It shows how racism is still around, from around the time of World War Two to present. “You should hear the money those folks raised to buy the house from us. All we paid and then some.” (121)
    Mike, I really liked your post. It was an awesome read!

  4. I definitely think that the racism and inequality that is portrayed in A Raisin in the Sun is still very prominent in today’s society, however I do think that with this generation especially, and future generations we are working towards writing a different narrative, but the problems that every race encounters daily are still very problematic and need to be fixed immediately, and I think that Hansberry does a great way of addressing that this will always be a problem that should be worked on when outlining the time period of this play (between WWII and the present).
    “But you’ve got to admit that a man, right or wrong, has the right to want to have the neighborhood he lives in a certain kind of way.” (117) I do agree with Linder’s quote here, on the fact that everyone has expectations for how their community or neighborhood operates, but to expect people of a different race to compromise their want to live in a nice home that they can afford, is completely hypocritical and plain disrespectful. I think it’s a great move for the Younger family to move to a place that they can afford and will be a suitable home for them, regardless of the racism and prejudices. There have been endless quotes throughout history about and how progress begins outside of comfort zones, so to move into a predominantly white neighborhood will help the Youngers and hopefully force the other families in Clybourne Park to accept that times are changing and like I said above, begin to change the narrative.
    Great post, Mike, and great questions, definitely got my brain working!

  5. You’re definitely right on multiple fronts in this post. I did however want to add to it by noting how Mr. Lindner was sent alone to speak to the Youngers as if they wanted to keep their threats secret from the rest of the world or as if he had drawn the short straw during the decision. “And that’s why I was elected to come here this afternoon and talk to you people.” (117)

    But it goes beyond that as well, this hate he and the other white people of his neighborhood feel. We see Walter and Ruth both offer him a drink out of hospitality and kindness and Lindner all but physically turn up his nose at this gesture as if he even despises things that have been in a colored person’s possession. “(Upset for some reason) Oh- no, really. I mean thank you very much, but no thank you.” (115)

    I can’t help but feel that this shows the depth of the hate and racism the Youngers are entering into.

    Your post was very well thought out though, and you made some excellent connections to history.

  6. Hansberry very effectively portrays the reality of racism within her play A Raisin in the Sun. I think that talking about racism in the past tense, effectively shows it’s prevalence in today’s society. Hansberry purposely did not include a specific time period when introducing the setting of the play. This is an effective writing strategy, as it is up to the audience to decide when it could take place. Hansberry described the play as taking place anytime after 1959, the post war period. This leaves the time period up to interpretation, as the reader reads, or the audience views the play. Some past events that took place prior to the setting of A Raisin in the Sun include, the court cases of Brown v. Board of Education, and Brown v. Board of Education, which are supposed to limit racism and discrimination in the United States. Clearly, as seen in Act II, Scene iii, these court rulings were not effective. The Younger family is packing up their life in order to move into a new house located in a white neighborhood. They have a white man named Karl Lindner. Lindner comes to the Younger household in order to convince the Younger family not to move into the Clybourne Park community. The Younger family is nervous, however Lindner feels that “most of the trouble in this world, when you come right down to it (He hits his knee for emphasis) most of the trouble exists because people just don’t sit down and talk to each other.”(pg 116). He describes himself as the “Welcoming Committee,” and comes to speak for the WHITE families of the Clybourne Park community. He says “It is a matter of the people of Clybourne Park believing, rightly or wrongly, as I say, that for the happiness of all concerned that our Negro families are happier when they live in their own communities.(pg. 117)” This is immensely disrespectful, and correlates directly with events of racism in the past. It goes against the rulings of Plessy v. Ferguson, and Brown v. Board of Education, whose intentions were to make the world better for the black community. Lindner comes into the Younger home, and disrespects the family. These past events relate to the Younger families fight for equality in A Raisin in the Sun.

  7. The Youngers moving into the neighborhood is a great move for the family regardless of racism and prejudice because as Americans, regardless of race or color, they have a right to opportunity just like the rest of everyone else in America. To use Mr. Linder’s own quote against him, “But you’ve got to admit that a man, right or wrong, has the right to want to have the neighborhood he lives in a certain kind of way.” Even though the Youngers did not research the neighborhood before and Mama just picked the nicest house for the cheapest price, the Youngers deserve to live in their neighborhood of their choosing and if their neighborhood happens to be the neighborhood of other peoples so be it. Race shouldn’t be an issue when deciding on improving ones life based on fear, but unfortunately it is even in society.
    An event from history that relates for the fight of equality like in the book would be the Civil Right’s movement because it shows that the Youngers, like many African American’s during that time, were fighting for freedom of everything, from schools, to restaurants, to housing included. Mr Linder stated that “believing, rightly or wrongly, as I say, that for the happiness of all concerned that our Negro families are happier when they live in their own communities.” This is what people during that time were trying to fight for. Overall, great job on the blog post!

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