Mr. Karl Lindner represents the racism of white American society, and yet he does not think he is racist. In fact, he views himself as reasonable and forward-thinking. It seems Mr. Lindner’s friends and neighbors have a similar opinion of him, as they choose Mr. Lindner to talk the new Black family out of moving into their all-white neighborhood. He tells the Youngers that people would generally get along better if they just took the time to listen to each other. This statement is misleading, as Mr. Lindner goes on to explain what he really wants is for the Younger family to listen to him, not to partake in a mutual conversation.

When Mr. Lindner claims everyone in his neighborhood comes from a simple, hardworking background and therefore won’t have much in common with the Youngers, he betrays his prejudice that Black families do not fit into those categories. Mr. Lindner knows next to nothing about the Younger family, and he is uninterested in learning more. He is ready to see them as reasonable people insofar as they behave how he wants. Unwilling to see his own deep-seated racism, Mr. Lindner believes it is a great kindness to offer Mama more money than she paid to buy the house back from her.

Although he presents himself as a sympathetic agent of peace, Mr. Lindner is at least partially aware that the Youngers may not appreciate his message. He is hesitant when he starts speaking. Either Mr. Lindner is wrongly afraid of Black people, he knows there is something underhanded about his offer, or likely he feels a combination of both. Despite his talk of understanding and togetherness, Mr. Lindner wants distance from the Younger family, and he wants to accomplish his mission without conflict so he can protect his standing as a reasonable, diplomatic man.

Later, when Walter calls Mr. Lindner to tell him they will take the money and forfeit the house, Mr. Lindner is not surprised. He feels they have made the right choice in keeping themselves separate from his white neighborhood. Mr. Lindner genuinely sees himself as kind and generous in his actions toward the Youngers, and he is gratified when they take his advice. When he arrives at the Younger apartment to find it in a state of disarray, Mr. Lindner is immediately uncomfortable. He feels threatened by the large, dramatic emotions of the family and by Walter’s ultimate decision not to take the buyout. Not only has Mr. Lindner failed in his mission to convince the family not to move, but his attempts at diplomacy are revealed to be overtly racist catalysts for Walter’s empowered refusal to back down.