The Bluest Eye

by: Toni Morrison

Race

Quotes Race
The distaste must be for her, her blackness. All things in her are flux and anticipation. But her blackness is static and dread. And it is the blackness that accounts for, that creates, the vacuum edged with distaste in white eyes.

When Pecola goes to the store to buy penny candy, the owner of the store sees her, but Pecola notes that he does not seem to view her as human. Given that he knows nothing about her, she can only assume that her race causes his prejudice. Throughout the story, blackness equates with ugliness, while whiteness equates with purity. By knowing only her race, the store owner has made up his mind about what kind of person Pecola is.

She had explained to him the difference between colored people and niggers. They were easily identifiable. Colored people were neat and quiet; niggers were dirty and loud.

Geraldine tells her son, Junior, that white children will not want to play with him if he acts like what she considers a lower-class black child. Even though Geraldine and her family are black, because they dress better and have more money than other black people, they consider themselves better and almost of a different race entirely. Even among the black community, racism runs rampant. However, in this case, the prejudice stems from behavior rather than skin color.

Sullen, irritable, he cultivated his hatred of Darlene. Never did he once consider directing his hatred toward the hunters. Such an emotion would have destroyed him. They were big, white, armed men. He was small, black, helpless.

After Cholly and Darlene are seen having sex and humiliated for the act by two white men, Cholly develops a hatred for Darlene and for all women in general. Considering things in a logical way, Cholly should hate white people for shaming him. However, Cholly understands that he can never dominate white men or humiliate them as they did to him because, in their society, his race makes him weaker and lower in class. Therefore, he transfers his rage to black women. Now, he can hate and beat black women and feel like he’s doing something with his emotions, and such action makes him feel more powerful.