The Color Purple

The Struggle to Express Themselves

A Struggle to Express Themselves



There is one primordial reason why we do not doubt Europeans have
taken the lead in history, in all epochs before and after 1492, and it has
little to do with evidence. It is a basic belief which we inherit from
prior ages of thought and scarcely realize that we hold: it is an implicit
belief, not an explicit one, and it is so large a theory that it is woven
into all of our ideas about history, both within Europe and without. . .
(Blaut pg. 6-7).

African-American people have had to climb over many obstacles to get to
their position today. First, was the selling of their people into slavery.
Then, they endured slavery itself, being treated like an animal. After
slavery was abolished, Colored people still had to deal with racial
discrimination and hatred. If this sounds rough, black women had it worse.
African-American women had to deal with all the previously mentioned
things, but they were women too! Females were oppressed almost as bad as
the blacks. White women were not able to vote until the 1920. Therefore
colored women had a double edged sword, they had to fight for freedom, but
not be to dominate as to effect the men. Alice Walker\'s The Color Purple is
a good example of colored women\'s plight. Three obstacles black women had
to overcome to be able to express themselves were Racism, the lack of
education, and the stereo-type that women are inferior.

African-Americans have always experienced racism throughout their
habitation in America. Slavery, is what caused most of the hatred towards
blacks. African Americans were sold by their people and sent off to a
foreign land. Colored people were used as work horses when they entered
America. "It was acceptable for a white person to be lazy (in the South),
and therefore, a white person takes advantage of this" (Theriault). White
people wanted to keep their laziness. If the slaves were set free, then the
whites would have to do more work. The slaves still fought for what they
wanted, and finally won their "independence." Another dilemma was "if the
south could abolish slavery, what would happen to the slaves? These slaves
have been slaves for all their lives and would require education. These
slaves would also require homes, some type of compensation, and more"
(Theriault). Blacks were put in prison for rebelling against the white
establishment. Most times these crimes were minuscule in comparison to the
crimes committed against blacks or by whites. A colored person could be put
in jail for looking at someone inappropriately, but if a black man was
lynched, nothing happened. "I have been locked by the lawless. Handcuffed
by the haters. Gagged by the greedy. And, if I know any thing at all, it\'s
that a wall is just a wall and nothing more at all. It can be broken down"
(Shakuer). This excerpt from "Affirmation" is an example of the feelings of
hatred for the Whites. However, this quotation also shows the fight in the
African-American race let alone its women. If the South could have kept
education away from the blacks. Then ides as the one above would have never
been published.

Lack of education was a way the South tried to keep the blacks in a lower
class. In The Color Purple, Celie is not allowed to go to school because she
is to be kept barefoot and pregnant. She still received an education by
learning what her little sister was teaching her, though. It was believed
that if the blacks were kept uneducated then they would not know any better
and would not fight for freedom. Unfortunately, for the South, the North
was educating their blacks. Then these blacks were coming south and
starting colleges for colored people. Booker T. Washington wrote, in his
autobiography,

ONE day, while at work in the coal-mine, I happened to overhear two miners
talking about a great school for coloured people somewhere in Virginia. This
was the first time that I had ever heard anything about any kind of school or
college that was more pretentious than the little coloured school in our town.
In the darkness of the mine I noiselessly crept as close as I could to the two
men who were talking. I heard one tell the other that not only was the school
established for the members of any race, but the opportunities that it provided
by which poor but worthy students could work out