Mixing in Other Worlds

“Here’s to being the only one.” Raymond Deagan said as he proposed a toast to Cathleen Whitaker when he truly believed that being different and having different beliefs was a good thing. He knew that going to the art gallery with his daughter, being the only colored people, would turn heads and cause the white people to whisper. Despite this, he refused to allow this to stop him from enjoying his freedom. However the people of the town believed he overlooked his boundaries of freedom when he offers his friendship to Cathy. He even takes her to a diner full of colored people, showing her what it felt like to be the only different individual in the room. Although he reassures her that it is a friendly place, the judgmental eyes that surrounded them said otherwise.

Trying to break free from the shackles of normality in society, he did not imagine that adopting a harmless friendship would in turn cause harm for his daughter. Three white boys threw rocks at his daughter and other black people threw rocks at their windows. The deplorable truth behind this was simply because the color of his skin did not allow him to associate freely with someone other than his own kind. It is ironic how the outcome of a friendship between a black man and white woman would cause such an uproar between both races, showing how outrageously unacceptable this was on both sides of town. Both blacks and whites began to shun Raymond, causing him to flee from the racist madness. Left with hopeless ideals of equality, Raymond is trapped by the walls built by society and unable to pursue his interest for Cathy. He is left with no choice but to accept the boundaries, “I’ve learned my lesson about mixing in other worlds. I’ve seen the sparks fly. All kinds.”

The Triple Hurdle

An ex-slave and woman’s rights advocate, Sojourner Truth spoke at the Fourth National Woman’s Rights Convention in 1853.

“I know that it feels a kind o’ hissin’ and ticklin’ like to see a colored woman get up and tell you about things, and Woman’s Rights. We have all been thrown down so low that nobody thought we’d ever get up again; but … we will come up again, and now I’m here. . . . we’ll have our rights; see if we don’t; and you can’t stop us from them; see if you can.”

Still struggling and fighting for woman’s rights, Sojourner Truth rose again at a meeting for the American Equal Rights Association.

“There is a great stir about colored men getting their rights, but not a word about the colored women; and if colored men get their rights, and not colored women theirs, you see the colored men will be masters over the women, and it will be just as bad as it was before.”

Black women faced, what Howard Zinn referred to as the triple hurdle: “…of being abolitionists in a slave society, of being black among white reformers, and of being women in a reform movement dominated by men.” Struck by constant hurdles of discrimination, black women found themselves battered in a society where they were denied liberty and freedom. Harriet Tubman, a slave born woman who escaped into freedom, always carried a pistol, expressing her bold philosophy: “There was one of two things I had a right to, liberty or death; if I could not have one, I would have the other; for no man should take me alive…” Black women were punished and pushed into being minorites in terms of race, class and gender, continuously being looked down upon and thus stripped of their rights. Despite this, black women also played important roles in the Civil War as well as the rebuiling of the postwar South, undoubtedly displaying their passionate efforts for the equality for black men and women.