Wife Of His Youth People often make the categories of race, class, gender, sexuality, age, physical condition, etc., contend for the title of most oppressed. Within”race,” various populations groups then compete for that top spot. Through the book, The Wife of His Youth, by Charles Wadell Chesnutt one can learn that racism existed within the “race,” colored mattered, and that racism evolves throughout the racial history. Racism existed within the race. People within the groups competed to be at the top.
In The Wife of His Youth, the main character Mr. Ryder is a highly respected man in his society called the Blue Veins. The Blue Veins is a society for the colored people who have white skin that their veins show. Mr. Ryder is faced with a situation where he has to choose to stay at the top by hiding the truth and marrying a highly respected woman in the Blue Veins, Mrs. Molly Dixon or reveal his secret and be married to a woman who is considered low among the races.
However Mr. Ryder chooses to reveal that a former slave is his wife, but in order for him to come to the conclusion he struggles much about how the others would feel about this situation because mostly likely people of his society would look down upon him. Color matters within the race. In The Wife of His Youth, the Blue Veins is a society that does not emphasize culture of the race, but how light the color of their skins are. The people of the society must have really light skin to be even considered to be a member of the Blue Veins.
The wife of his youth, a former slave, Liza Jane would never be considered to be a member of the Blue Veins because she was very black and her social status in society was of a former plantation worker. One could also see that Mr. Ryder struggles whether or not to reveal his secret to the Blue Veins because colored mattered and he did not know if they would be able to accept the fact that he was married to his ugly black woman. In addition, Mr. Ryder had to somehow gain recognition from the Blue Veins that it was okay to have a wife outside the approval of the race, the society.
He asks, “Shall you acknowledge her?” (p. 56) He wait for their nod of some kind of positive reaction. Racism evolves; it has no single, permanently fixed set of characteristics. Racism is not a set theory in the minds of the people, but instead a theory that constantly changes according to the time and the needs of the environment. Mr.
Ryder in the Blue Veins who was in a high position who accepted only the light-colored is able to reconsider his status for the wife of his youth. He was able to persuade the Blue Veins so that the wife of his youth can be accepted in the society. Also by reading The Wife of His Youth, one knows that Mr. Ryder was a former slave, too who just happens to be free and of high status at the present moment. After he becomes “a someone” in society he wishes to forget about his past until the wife of his youth comes along his path and makes his decide, truth or fame.
Through the book, The Wife of His Youth, one can learn that racism existed within the “race,” colored mattered, and that racism evolves. The challenge is to understand the changes of racial history and draw strength from our understandings. Also today one has to acknowledge the fact that other races exist, not only blacks. In doing so, one has to proceed with both boldness and infinite care. Talking race is an intellectual minefield; for every social observation, one can find three contradictions and four necessary qualifications. Crawling through the complexity, it helps to think: “keep your eye on the prize, which is uniting against the monster.”.