Black Boy A word is just characters (letters) put together to make a meaning, statement, or idea. In the South, whites wanted power over the blacks, and the only form it came in was a word. By the first amendment the whites had power to use words, as did the journalist against the southern whites. Richard grows up learning about the south and how it demolishes others, and how it stabs him in the back by words. Richard at the age of four learns that words have an undeniable power behind and in front of them. Parents are our first source of knowledge, power, and style of living.
They structure us (children) for todays world. Richard began his life without his mother and fathers right hand. The mother never tried to be nice, or caring to him, and the father had to work at night. At home his is not expected to be a child, but a nothing. He is no supposed to run yell, even have fun.
“He was the lawgiver in our family, and I never laughed in his presence.” (16) Richard was playing with a cat, but his dad rest during the day. The cat would meow and purr, but the father told him to kill the damn cat. Richard did so, without having any feeling toward the cat. Richard really knew that the dad did not mean it, but he did it. The father leaves, this being one of the major reasons.
The consequence of this action is the Richard, the mother, and brother, now have to work more to make money, and have to starve at some moments. Whites expect gratitude and polite measures from the blacks at all times. The whites are the supremacy of the land and should not and could not be fooled. Richard was working for a clothing store, where blacks where undersold. He would make deliveries for the store and one day he got a flat tire on the bike.
There were white drunk southerners who were willing to give Richard a ride. Richard did accept the ride. During the ride empty bottle did hit him, but never a white man. ” Oh no. I said.
The words where barely out of my mouth … Aint you learned to say sir to a white man yet!” (200) The whites always want to be referred to Sir or Mam. The whites hit Richard because they have the power to do so for this. The word “sir” if said has the power to put down a black (for condolence to higher power), and if not said, it had the power to kill (for no condolence to higher power). The whites have an unbalanced situation for the blacks.
Blacks have a life of pressure, no choice to do or not to do. Richard works for an optical company, and across the street another boy named Harrison in the same field of job. They do not know each other, but the whites in the town do. In chapter Twelve, the whites use words of pressure, to persuade Richard and Harrison to fight themselves. Both have a feeling toward another that one is going to crumble before the whites.
Harrison is the one; he crumbles for five dollars. He is selling himself out to the whites. They do make a verbal agreement not to be harsh. That is not what happens, and they fight for blood (like a chicken fight). The idea here is that the words, if used in the right way, leads to life; if used with pressure and a verbal agreement, it leads to pain.
A small tiny boy of four years old, had the left hand to learn that words have an undeniable power behind them. Richard learns that words: if taken literally can separate people (father); that simple words have a unbalanced situation for blacks (car ride with whites); the words of used correctly, leads to life, and is used for pressure and verbal agreements, leads to pain. On the way north on the train, Richard realizes that he knows the south, and he is just beginning to learn it. He figures out you have to see the whole picture, then the inside first. He also knows he is not leaving it all behind. The emotions, thoughts, and words (scars) are still going wherever he does.