Lonisha Darlington Due: October 12, 2018
Black Experience In Literary Trends
Topic one: Which two pieces are mostly closely aligned? What parallels can you make between these two pieces?
1: Strivings of the Negro People – By W.E.B Du Bois
2: If black English Isn’t a Language, Then Tell Me, What Is? – James Baldwin
Africans were brought by force to the New World to work in an economic system in which they had no stake. Bringing them to labor not only free of charge, but free of rights and above that treated as things that the white men own, meant a great and wide dispersal of people, maybe not the most important one throughout the history or the greatest or widest, but certainly a very important inhuman action that destroyed the lives of millions of people. When It comes to pointing out the dreadful behaviors of discrimination/racism and prejudice towards people of color in particular, authors W.E.B Du Bois and James Baldwin play a major role in doing so, through their pieces of literary texts. They mention things like double-consciousness of the Negro people and questioning the language of blacks. Examples of such derives from the experiences that both authors encountered, leaving them to question the reasons for the inhumane behaviors displayed towards them, majorly from Caucasian people.
James Baldwin’s essay explains the fact that even though people may speak the same language, it is going to be different based on where they come from, who they are, what they do, and the experiences they have gone through. In his essay, he brings up how when slaves came to America, the white people didn’t have any interest in educating them because they didn’t need an education. This is where the crucial nature of prejudice comes in. Because of the whites having no intention to give education to the blacks, the blacks developed their own language that was not, “merely, the adoption of a foreign tongue, but an alchemy that transformed ancient elements into a new language.” This language was used to connect blacks to one another and to identify who they were. Baldwin even says, “[Language] is the most vivid and crucial key to identity: It reveals the private identity, and connects one with, or divorces one from, the larger, public, or communal identity.”
I completely agree with Baldwin in that language identifies who you are and it connects you to a community of people that are similar to you. My dad was born in Guyana, so my family speaks in a Guyanese accent. When I first moved to the United States, I had no idea that there were so many Guyanese people that lived in and around Brooklyn. There was and still is a whole network of us across New York and although we are all different in a sense, it is our language that connected us to one another. And I know my parents will always introduce themselves to people when they hear them talking in a Guyanese accent. It’s always easy to connect to...