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This Paper Is About Racism And How It Is Portrayed In The Following Poems: "Jasper Texas 1998," "A Party Down At The Square," And "Night, Death, Mississippi."

1112 words - 5 pages

Our Nation's DiseaseThis disease has swept the entire population. It infests our schools, churches, hospitals, playgrounds, and especially the workplace. Every person ranging from little toddlers to senior citizens have, in some fashion or another encountered this deadly disease. Starting as early as the birth of America, this disease lasted the varying tests of time. It is unavoidable as its symptoms attack our physical and mental health. Although it has stricken hundreds of millions of people every hour, this affliction stands strong. Though this disease can be treated, there is no absolute cure. What could be this ghastly, castrating ailment that permeates into all that we see and do? ...view middle of the document...

This did not affect them and they went on to kill the black man. The narrator is literally sickened by the spectacle, his most telling response comes from his insides when, to his shame, he throws up. "My heart was pounding like I had been running a long ways, and I bent over and let my insides go" (233). But his newfound empathy is tempered by the vastness of the racial divide: "Every time I eat barbecue I'll remember that nigger. His back was just like a barbecued hog" (233). Hayden's "Night, Death, Mississippi" uses a family of lynchers in this poem to illustrate the possibility of inherited evil expanding. Returning home at night after mutilating Black men, this rural father zestfully relates to the mother how it went: "Then we beat them, he said/beat them till our arms was tired/and the big old chains/messy and red" (II. 1-4). In dehumanized logic, the lyncher analyzes the thrill he experiences from this immoral act: "Christ, it was better/ than hunting bear/ which don't know why/ you want him dead" (II. 6-9). Critic John Hatcher explains, "The invocation to Christ here ironically recalls the crucifixion, and the whole tone of the narration implies that this sanctioned perversity is, like the mentality at the death camp, a reversal of affirmative conviction and a clear index to the depth of the diver's descent into darkness." Clifton's "Jasper Texas 1998" is based on a true story. In the year 1998, a black man was brutally murdered in east Texas by three young white males. Bragg states, "Whites and blacks in Jasper, Tex, are dismayed that Ku Klux Klan and two militant black groups plan rallies in town, where a disabled black man was chained by his ankles to the rear bumper of a pickup truck and dragged to his death" (A8). There are over a hundred homicides committed every year, but the manner in which this life was taken and the apparent motive of his perpetrators...

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