Do you think Jubie's parents are racist?
Join Date: 10/15/10
Join Date: 10/16/10
I think Bill is racist, but I think Paula is too weak to speak up for her beliefs. Paula is clearly uncomfortable when people use the "n" word or when Mary is mistreated, but she doesn't do anything about it. This almost makes her worse than her husband because she could have been a person to stand up for black people and be an example to her children. Instead, she just rolls along with the status quo, occasionally correcting someone's word choice or quietly getting Mary's hair done before the funeral. It would be interesting to know how this changes after she leaves Bill, if leaving her husband also means that she can have the strength of her convictions and act the way she believes she should rather than the way least likely to make waves.
Join Date: 05/12/11
Join Date: 04/14/11
Bill was definitely a racist, although his beliefs were very common in that time. Paula was able to see blacks as true people, but I'm not sure she saw blacks as equal. When you know someone like she knew Mary, it is more difficult to dehumanize them. In the '50's it would have been impossible for Paula to speak and act much differently towards Mary, without her own risk of being beaten. Woman didn't have much status in those times either.
Join Date: 09/01/11
It is easy to say that Jubie's parents were simply products of their time and place, but it went beyond that. Bill seemed to think that blacks were simply there to do whatever he needed or wanted. It has always amazed me that white men would think that blacks were so below them and yet he went after young Mary. Paula was just weak and wanted to keep everyone happy and fit in. I think she liked Mary but was not going to jepordize her position by treating her as more than the help.
Join Date: 09/14/11
I think probably both Bill and Paula were raised as products of their environment where whites thought themselves to be completely superior to blacks. I think as Paula may have had more personal interactions with Mary and others, she could see the holes in this belief. Bill continued to believe much like Zora Neale Hurston often expressed that "black women are the mules of the world". Paula was too entrenched in that society to question or stand up for anyone especially when she didn't even stand up for herself.
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