The Theme of Race as Depicted in the Precious Movie and Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

Published: 2019-09-30 11:00:00
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The aspect of race and discrimination between the Whites and the Blacks in the United States of America is one of the major characteristics of the states history. The racial segregation in the country was encouraged by the existence of the African American, which paved the way to their seclusion from the equal privileges and access to essential social amenities. The Southerners historical marches and protests described how they were oppressed by the regime that secluded their existence in the American soil. The struggle for equality has been recorded in different literature to preserve the national culture and heritage through the rich history accounts on race. Some of the important writing with important themes including the concept of the color include the Precious Film of 2009 and Still I Rise poem by Maya Angelou in 1978. The two literature have major accounts that the authors have used to depict the extent of the matters they are respective to their time. This paper critically examines the theme of race among women as presented in the two literature pieces by highlighting the specific events incorporated in the respective accounts.

The major events of the two kinds of literature revolve around the life of a woman who is struggling with the shortcomings within the environment they live. Maya published the Still I Rise poem in Random House in the year 1978, which was letter included in a book containing short her poems titled And Still I Rise. Maya has used her poetry talent to explain and display important themes regarding essential elements in the community related to African-American people. Most of her work depicted her experiences with the occurrences as well as what she witnessed during her time. In her poem Still I Rise, Maya outlined how a woman confronts her traumatizing slavery period while struggling to rise above the setbacks in the foreign society. On the other hand, Precious is a drama film based on the Push novel by Saphire cast in 2009. Lee Daniels outlines in the movie the life of a 16-year girl called Claireece Precious Jones was sexually abused by her father twice (Regester 30). Jones lives with physical, mental, and sexual abuse experiences from her parents and is considered illiterate and obese. Her condition prevents her from accessing essential services such as education as she struggles to overcome her challenges.

Maya described in her poem how the life of the woman was characterized by oppression while in slavery. It is essential to note that between the year 1950 and 1960, the civil right movement was instrumental in championing the grievances of the Black American community. The contribution of the group of activists assisted in the mitigation of the relationship barrier that existed between the Whites and the Blacks. The period enabled many Black people in the United States of America to realize their worth and step up to bring changes within their setups. Among those who were challenged to reconsider their contribution to the society were women. Maya portrays the woman in the poem as one who has recognized her position and capacity irrespective of her identity as a Black. The 1960s period was not an awakening period for the Black women in the USA as part of the Black Power radicalization (Racism and Discourse in Latin America 585). The women were confined to being welfare mothers, nuns, and house helps. On realizing their potential, the group of women protested against racism, discrimination, and oppression of the Black community. The calls for equality could not be ignored since their persistence showed how they could only rest once their pleas are addressed.

The director of the Precious film outlines how Jones struggles with multiple social problems as a teenage incest victim. Jones being sexually abused by her father and pregnant sets her to be a vulnerable victim of the aftermath of her ordeal. Her life becomes complicated when she gives birth to a daughter who is diagnosed with the Down syndrome. The family living in a shanty was surviving on welfare services since the parents did not have a stable source of income. The access to quality services such as the health and education was a problem for most of the African American community (Taylor 347). In the film, the experiences of Jones came when the Blacks has started to access leadership position in the political and economic facets in the United States in the 1980s. The struggle of the Civil Right Movement paved a way for more a healthy relationship and coexistence for the Blacks and the Whites. The poverty in Jones family has been inherited from the oppression of the community who could not access opportunities to engage in income generation apart from being the servants to the Whites. Poverty emanating from the dominant racial discrimination of the 1960s had trickled down to the generations.

It is imperative to heed that the notion of race discrimination among women is a problem that has affected their achievement. The race among other factors in the society has tried to trod women in their very dirt as noted by Maya. The discrimination of against the Black community had affected the ability of the women to assist in transforming the society through leadership, community support, and politics. The Black women were considered suitable for substandard jobs and little pay since they did not have relevant academic qualifications. Maya indicates in the poem that some of the activities carried out by the oppressors were meant to break down the attempts made by the black women to overcome the barriers to success (Hudley 1). The speaker in the poem shows how the process of suppressing the Black women was not a one-day event, but a planned process that has been in existence for an extended period. The sorrow of the persona is shared with the entire Black community since the struggle for equality and democracy was a society call for many years. Maya depicts the Blacks as people in a mission against racial discrimination.

On the other hand, Jones experience is similar to the Black women during Mayas time although what she goes through is more accurate. Jones challenges as the woman, is both internal and external. She faces discrimination from her school and neighborhood being disadvantaged because of her race as well as from her mother who is not aware of her husband abusing their daughter sexually. Jones was attending a school within the community; however, the crowded classrooms and poor quality education complicated the environment she was living. The society, as well as her family, had belittled her to retreat to her incapacity to bring change around her. The Precious film highlights the oppressive nature of the circumstances that surrounds the life of Jones (Register 33). Racial factors had confined Jones to the family circle despite the ill treatment she received from her parents. She could not advance to her expectations since there was not special support for children undergoing similar challenges. The struggle for existence depended on the level of conformity to community cultures and norms that affected the capacity of women to achieve their desired goals as witnessed with the Black women in 1960s.

Moreover, the effect of racial discrimination cultures avenues that attract other occurrences that complicate the existing situation. In her poem, Maya outlines how racial discrimination paved the way to other problems that affected the women, their families, and the community as well. The speaker notes the factor of history since the experiences of the Black women would remain in the historical accounts of the United States of America. History is an essential part of a country and may define how some structures and norms are developed among the generations. Maya incorporates the effect of pain and slavery that the Black community underwent. The choice of words describes the sorrow of women that lasted for many years, which pushed them to decide to take an alternative course. The speaker also notes the effect of terror and fear. The struggle for equality was not a peaceful process. Brutality including sexual harassment, murders, and assassinations characterized the fight. In the face of race factor consideration, women are affected by the secondary problems encouraged by the discrimination. The process of living with the pain is another challenge that the poem denotes, which affects the manner of starting a new life. The speaker recounts all her experiences as well as the measures put in place to brush off her efforts.

Besides, Jones case was extreme since her predicaments were severe partly because of the age. The inherited poverty and poor quality of social and cultural existence encouraged debased family life. Her father sexually abused Jones at 16 years old. The ordeal led to her pregnancy, and she gave birth to a daughter with physical disabilities. The child was diagnosed with Down syndrome since Jones maternal age was young that also favored the genetic inheritance of the translated chromosomes from his father to the child. The condition of the child affected the family since Mary started to abuse Jones physically. Her education was also affected. The subsequent pregnancy shuttered her dreams since it was her fathers too. The only consolation that Jones received was in her imaginations of the perfect life she desired to live. When her father died, it comes to her knowledge that she is also infected with HIV. It is clear that the onset of racial discrimination subject women to more problems that tend to suppress their ambitions. Through the help of the social worker, Jones manages to strike a new beginning for herself and her two children.

Although the accounts of the challenges marking Jones life and the persona in the poem are associated with race, we cannot entirely esteem the arguments portrayed in the film and the poem. A critical examination of the two literature pieces shows the extent to which women suffer amid the absence of essential institutions within the society. Women across the globe are subjected to discrimination, not because of their race but majorly the scenarios incline to the gender factor. During the Human Rights Revolution in the United States, both the men and women were equally affected (Rothmuller 2). In fact, the men were subjected to police brutality more than females were. The Black men were considered arrogant and daring as compared to their female counterparts, which explained why Black women were the only ones allowed to continue serving their White masters during the demonstrations. Women across the globe are facing the same challenges the persona is elucidating in the poem and fighting to access internal and external freedom to achieve their desires irrespective of their race. The aspect of race and others such as economic factors, education, and age comes in as a differentiating elements and measure of diversity.

Furthermore, Jones challenges emanated from the family circle. Her father sexually abused her, who was the close member of her nuclear family. When her child was diagnosed with the Down syndrome, it was a natural course, which can affect any woman across the divide. The physical, mental, and emotional traumatization she went through was caused by the manner in which her family treated her. The support she received was external unlike the anticipation of the society. Worth noting is that the poverty inherited by the family emanated from the oppression of the Black community in the USA; however, her parents could have played a central role in protecting her from the social challenges that she was vulnerable to encounter. Dramatically, her parents subject her to emotional and social despair with her father infecting her with HIV. The aspect of race played a role in Jones l...

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