The way our government treats
African-Americans has improved over
the years. Especially during the period
of time following the Civil War when the
end of slavery came. The prejudice
behaviors of some of the American
population did not end with last gun shot
of the Civil War though. Throughout the
years our country has bore trough
since the conclusion of the war there has
been traces of racism everywhere. It
has been witnessed in our California
riots via Rodney King and it has been
seen in such things as sports via Marge
Schott. It is no surprise that racism is a
popular topic for literature.
James Baldwin's "Sonny's Blues" is a
story about a young black man who
finds his way out of Harlem and into
trouble. The young black man, Sonny,
was a musician who left Harlem and got
involved in drugs. He came back after a
prison sentence to stay with his brother,
the narrator of the story. The story is
mostly a tail of the trials a black man
goes through living/getting out of
Harlem. The story is not as much
concerned with the way the Caucasian
race treats the African-American race
as it is a story of the struggles blacks
have getting to positions that are at
least achievable for whites. The main
instance of racism and the mistreatment
of colored people is the killing of
Sonny's uncle.
"This car was full of white men. They
were all drunk, and when they seen your
father's brother they let our a great
whoop and holler and they aimed the car
straight at him. . . .They wanted to scare
him. . . By the time he jumped it was too
late" (Baldwin 102).
The previous passage was taken
from the conversation the narrator was
having with his mother about his uncles
death. It is a very definitive passage
for the view some Caucasian people
had/have toward African-Americans.
U.S. News and World Report
reported in June 1996, "In Charlotte, N.C. .
. . a 13-year-old white girl was arrested
and charged as a juvenile with burning
the sanctuary of a black church; there"
(Witkin 32).
Racism has no boundaries it is in the
young of our country, the old, the poor,
the rich, white or black. This is something
that is briefly addressed in "Sonny's
Blues" but is more of an issue in Toni
Morrison's "The Bluest Eye". The story
fits perfectly with the previous U.S.
News article. It deals with a African-
American girl, Claudia, whose hatred
for little white girls leads her to the
dismembering of baby dolls she is given
as presents. The hatred also leads her to
wishing she could do the same thing to
real white girls that she does to the dolls.
The story goes on to talk about
Claudia's later life and the way she
turned her hatred into not love but the
ability to put up with the opposite race.
The story is much more racial than
what "Sonny's Blues" is. At one point in
the story Claudia says, "I destroyed
white baby dolls"(Morrison 72). This
leads us to believe that Claudia would
not destroy a African-American baby
doll had she been given one. She also
wanted to be seen as an individual not a
little black girl she had her own opinions
and wanted to be individualistic instead
of taking part in fads the little white
girls and adults have set. "Adults, older
girls, shops, magazines, newspapers,
window signs-all the world had agreed
that a blue-eyed, yellow-haired, pink-
skinned doll was what every girl child
treasured" (Morrison 71).
In both of the stories the treatment of
minorities and their abilities to be
individualistic is discussed. The fact
that their race held them back from what
they wanted to be, Sonny a man whom
escaped the black streets of Harlem and
Claudia whom wanted to be a colorless
little girl who could do and feel as she
felt without worrying about what a
adult or a white person thought about it.
The treatment of minority groups in
the United States has improved over the
years but is yet to be as good as it
could be. This was proved in 1947 when
slavery was no more but prejudice was
ever prominent. John Simons [a writer
for U.S. News and World Report ] says
"On April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson
became Major League Baseball's first
black player. Robinson's arrival on the
field was greeted with taunts and
threats, but competed fiercely anyway"
(Witkin 58).
Just in the two examples and two
stories that dealt with racism we can see
that our country is moving in the right
direction on being a free country for
everyone; we're not there yet.

Baldwin, James, "Sonny's Blues."
Literature and Society Ed. Pamela
Annas and Robert C. Rosen. Prentice-
Hall, 1994. 93-117.
Morrison, Toni, "The Bluest Eye."
Literature and Society Ed. Pamela
Annas and Robert C.