A black man is chained naked to a tree, castrated then brutally murdered by white people. Representative of injustice in James Baldwin’s ‘Going to Meet the Man’; the story reflects the devastating reality of African-Americans suffering at the hands of the racist white society.
James Baldwin gives his account of experiences as a black man in a white country. The black community in utmost unfair circumstances was a marginalized part of the society, because their colour was black – leading to discrimination and racist violence.
He highlights the barbarity of white people and the destructive effects their ignorance had on cultural minorities. The moment we embark upon the story, tension grips us to the core. We sense something utterly bad is about to occur. The suspense intensifies when Jesse recalls a brutal massacre of a black man, falsely accused of crime.
We confront the venomous treachery of white man regarding abhorrent treatment of black people. The climax draws attention to their animosity when they celebrate the mutilation of a black man.
A question arises: Was there any escape to these long, unending days of tyranny? The morals of society are questioned. An example of gross condescension, the story entails the idea that the white race considered itself superior to black race – a manifestation itself of the prejudiced mentality. It presents a cruel picture of the overwhelmingly grotesque reality of African-Americans, subject to excruciatingly merciless torture in Southern America of 1950s. Their liberty was forfeited, reflecting oppressed humanity suffering the yoke of imperialism. Miserable plight of African-Americans is shown in a nutshell.
The story ‘Nomad and Viper’ by Amos Oz paints another painful scenario of persecution towards Nomad refugees. It reflects the distorted reality of Nomads, highlighting their unfortunate circumstances and the prejudiced beliefs of the town they reside in.
As soon as the story starts, we learn of the havoc the Bedouins have to endure. Their livestock was starved, which did not yield food and compelled them to relocate. They were denied their rights, deprived of privileges and were a source of heightened distrust and hatred among the Israeli locality.
The Nomads were unreasonably blamed for all the negative occurrences – robberies, bad harvests, famines, droughts, unproductive livestock and diseases even if there were no witnesses present. They yearned for freedom. They were always perceived to be at fault for every criminal act in society, even though not one nomad was ever caught red-handed.
There is a meeting taking place to decide what is to be done with the Bedouins. Geula takes a walk and has a brief encounter with a Nomad. As the confrontation commences, Geula buttons the top of her blouse, implying that an outsider was always perceived to be a sexual predator.
The nomad, following a brief discussion, gets frightened of her and flees. Geula also fled and fantasized the nomad of raping her. She is a victim of prejudiced mentality possibly because her brother, Ehud, was killed in a “reprisal raid” in the desert. At the meeting, there is a heated controversy over maintaining peace with Bedouins because Etkin felt hatred could lead to demise of balance in the society. The prejudiced narrator, along with other members, leaves.
The stories highlight the worst attitudes of mankind. They form a mirror that reflects the nature of mankind. James Baldwin ingeniously depicts racism to raise awareness about the consequences of racist violence. Amos Oz, on the other hand, merely manages to give us insights into the situation of nomads. He clearly did not want amiable relations with Bedouins.