How I Became Hettie Jones. The skin color of a person used to be a big issue in America, which appeared to have been resolved; however, it is still a big issue today. Although there is no longer slavery, a number of people continue to act in a racist fashion. They pass on these thoughts of prejudice and racism to their children, who then pass it on to their children and so forth, therefore it becomes extremely difficult to prevent it. Prejudice is an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason. There are still numerous stereotypes that can be associated with a person’s skin color.
Stereotypes are regarded as embodying or conforming to a set image or type. However, there is not only prejudice towards the black community, but also a prejudice against the white community. Hettie Jones tells the story of her life as an unconventional woman during the 50s and 60s, struggling to find her place and role in the world in New York City during the Beat generation. She was originally born as Hettie Cohen. This changed after meeting a fellow employee destined to become her spouse. She knew that their romance would cause criticism and discomfort with some people, as any interracial romances with “Negros” would at the time.
He simply had too much going for him, being a “warm, funny, voluble, tender, wildly ambitious, supremely confident…” Hettie became pregnant twice, one child aborted, the other she kept as the two wed. Both of their parents were simply heartbroken to hear about them being together. Ultimately however, the Jones family gave Hettie acceptance, welcoming a white daughter-in-law to the family. As for Hettie Jones, she did not consider herself white, because she didn’t know what that meant anyways which is the reason that made her marry a black person even if everybody around her gave her weird looks.
She quoted “ For being someone these people could not influence, or hold, forgive me, but this is America….. Sometimes you have to go on the road. ”(62). But after their first major fight, during which Roi slaps her, Hettie notes, “Do you see race in this? Have you forgotten? It would get worse. ” Many years and two children later, it does: under the influence of the Black Power movement, Roi grows increasingly ambivalent about the fact of his wife’s race, finally refusing to take her to the opening of his play, Dutchman.
The marriage, mirroring the times, dissolves; as Jones notes: “It fit right in with dissolving black-white political alliances. ” In Andrew Hacker’s book, Two Nations:Black and White, Separate, Hostile, Unequal. Hacker argues that blacks and whites live in two different worlds. Hacker believes that race plays a larger role in America than it does anywhere else in the world. The title has many sources and foreshadows some of the conclusions he makes in the book. The “Two Nations”being discussed are the White nation and the African-American (Black) nation.
It has been said many times in history that the two major races in this country have been separate, hostile and unequal. This book is Hacker’s opinion as to the real dimensions of race and how it controls lives and divides society. The integration issue was raised in the chapter of the book: Being Black in America. In thischapter, the author tries to describe in detail what an African-American goes through and has to deal with simply because of the color of his/her skin.
Hacker illustrates how black people feel they are looked at and treated by white America. He seems to really want to stress to white people that they should try to see things from a black perspective. He wants whites to try to imagine what it is like to have a stigma attached to you because of the color of your skin. He talks about issues that range from housing, to police, to their family structure, to blatant discrimination, to having to explain and defend themselves (and sometimes all blacks in general) intellectually to white people.
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