The Portrayal Of African American Women

1977 words - 8 pages

The Portrayal of African American Women Hansberry uses a series of characters, phrases and words in order to bring out African American women’s struggles during her time. For example, in her play, “A Raisin in the Sun”, the playwright uses the phrase “drop the Garbo routine”. Through this phrase, the author is trying to show how men wanted women to know their place in society. This fact is seen through one of the characters in the play known as Beneatha. The latter character was different from others because she was aggressive and was unafraid to point out any chauvinistic tendencies among the men that she interacted with. This caused a lot of tension between her and her male ...view middle of the document...

This child was coming at a time when Ruth was having problems with her marriage and did not know what will happen in the future. Beneatha is also struggling with a much larger problem in the African American community and America at large; that of gender barriers. These were particularly difficult for her because there were also other class barriers imposed upon her as an African American woman. Lastly, the play epitomizes the rigid beliefs held by certain African American Men who held stereotypical views in a world that was filed with so many possibilities for change. Consequently, this was why such men tried rationalizing their traditional ideas as much as they could. In Elaine Brown’s book “A Taste of Power”, she describes her experiences as a member of the Black Panther Party. Elaine Brown was brought up in a poor Black community but had the opportunity to access education. During her time in the Black Panther party, Elaine Brown, along with other women in the movement were largely interested in transforming African American welfare. These actions were the things that took up most of her time. Some of the activities that Ms. Brown focused on included increasing medical assistance to her community, provision of food assistance among many other aspects related to the social well being of her community. However, the men in this party had a more radical approach to their cause. Most of them applied a double thronged approach in the revolutionary activities; there was the political dimension and the militant dimension. Leaders like Huey Newton and Bobby Seale wanted to create a defensive system for the Black people through military techniques. These ideas even permeated into the running of their daily activities. For instance, the Black Panther party used to publish a newspaper in which Elaine Brown was one of the editors. At one time, it happened that Brown had delayed with the newspaper’s production by one hour. In response to this action, the tough disciplinarian Booby Seale sought to find out who had caused this delay. When it was revealed that the editing took longer than required, Seale commanded his subordinates to discipline Elaine Brown. They did this by flogging her with ten lashes on her back. Brown explains that while going through the beating, she was “burning with rage” at the actions of her leader Seale who seemed to be applying double standards in the administration of justice within this party. Within the Black Panther movement, women were expected to silently obey the words of the male leaders. Even the manner in which codes of practice were established in the Black Panther Party reflected this deeply engrained Sexism. No one was expected to vote or contribute to the rules governing the party. Instead, women were to listen and abide by the decisions made by their male counterparts. For example, Elaine describes an encounter she has with the Black Panther Party member Earl Anthony. Upon first meeting each other...

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