Paper Example on Racial and Social Justice

Published: 2024-01-05
Paper Example on Racial and Social Justice
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Racism Poem Stereotypes Social justice
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 606 words
6 min read


Published in 2019, Len Lawson’s Chime is largely a depiction of the present and past black experience. The collection of poetry explores the Black body, mortality, and trauma. It also presents the anxiety and grief that the Black community experiences when they lose substantial and invaluable components of their lives unjustly and brutally. To this end, racial and social justice are among the most prominent themes in this book of poetry. Through a discussion of four poems from the book, this paper seeks to show how the poet represents these themes.

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Enhance Racial and Social Equality

While great strides have been made to enhance racial and social equality, racism has been institutionalized over the years, and hence Blacks still face discrimination. Institutionalized racism in the education sector is depicted in Niger (or the Country with a Missing Letter). This poem is set in rural Carolina in the 1980s, which helps the reader further appreciate the themes. In this poem, the poet shows how the education system is biassed against Blacks. For instance, he states the teacher “accounted for no African studies in her curriculum” (Lawson 29). The fact that no one had told the students anything about Africa in seven years of education shows that Black history is often overlooked in the curriculum. It is also misrepresented, as seen when Africa is presented as a land of savages and “a race of vampires” (Lawson 30). The deficiencies of the education system are also seen in How Not to Dissect a Frog. The system leaves Blacks questioning their skills and abilities, just like the narrator in this poem.

The invisibility of blacks in education and other spheres of life is seen when the teacher refers to the student as “an obscure black boy” (Lawson 30). The laughter that ensued after one of the white boys pronounced Niger as Nigger represents the discrimination that Blacks face in daily life. The poet likens this event to the middle passage bringing in the theme of slavery, which features heavily in Mother Earth’s amniotic fluid Rain. In this poem, the author laments the hopes and dreams of Blacks, which were crushed by slavery. He calls them the “lost dream of slave ships/dreams stowed away in this vessel” (Lawson 18).

Various Black Stereotypes

In Which People Say You Look Like Buud from The Cosby Show, the poet talks about the various Black stereotypes. Often, Blacks are thought of as criminals and polygamous. This issue brings to the fore the skewed criminal justice system, which has led to the mass incarceration of Blacks. To this end, the poet talks about police brutality and the need for Blacks to keep their mouths shut when detained. The narrator states, “Maybe he saved me from being killed on the streets by police” (Lawson 57). Such issues are so relevant today, as seen in the recent #BlackLivesMatter protests following the killing of unarmed blacks by law enforcement officers. The issue of broken families in the black community is seen when the narrator states, “Maybe I was found in dumpster/like in Tupac’s “Brenda’s Got a Baby” (Lawson 57). Children in these families miss “the kind of love we crave” (Lawson 57).


Therefore, these children grow up to form dysfunctional families, and the cycle continues. Blacks are also often associated with fake lives “because the pain of acknowledging reality is too great?” (Lawson 58). This pain, according to the poem, is caused by the racial injustices seen in society.

Works Cited

Lawson, Len. Chime. Get Fresh Books LLC, 2019.

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