How Race Affects People. Segregation Essay Example

In the play we see that there was a lot of segregation still happening, while in life today there is not nearly as much, but around the world this is still a big thing. In the play the Youngers were segregated a lot. It was hard for them to find work, get a education and find a good home. After they bought the home they were treated very different. Walter Lee is a desperate man who wants to live a good normal life. But his race held him back from this in his work, normal day-to-day life, and his life goals.

Since Walter Lee wasn’t of the same race as the other people in his town he struggled finding a good job, and never got to do what he really wanted to do. Mama and Walter are talking about Walter's job and how he is making money. Walter hates his job but he can’t get a better one because he is African American. “A job. (Looks at her) Mama, a job? I open and close car doors all day long. I drive a man around in his limousine and I say, "yes, sir; no, sir; very good, sir; shall I take the Drive, sir?" Mama, that ain’t no kind of job...that ain’t nothing at all. (Very quietly) Mama, I don’t know if I can make you understand.” (Hansberry 1.2.224) This quote is showing us that his job is not really a job, but really just serving someone.

Walter wants to have a good job, and live a successful life but he can’t do those things if he’s a limo driver. If Walter was not African American he most likely would be able to leave his job and find a much better job. He could look for  another job, but he would not make as much money as everyone else. Even today we are still witnessing segregation in the workplace. People's wages are being affected by their race. Back when this play was made, it was even worse. “Large racial and gender wage gaps in the U.S. remain, even as they have narrowed in some cases over the years. Among full- and part-time workers in the U.S., blacks in 2015 earned just 75% as much as whites.”( This article proves that we are still witnessing segregation. In the Poem Walter was witnessing this first hand, but way worse. He couldn’t get some jobs just because of his race. Segregation in the workplace is a very bad thing, that we still need to 100% fix today.

Also segregation affects people’s life goals. Walter always had big goals and things he wanted to achieve, but he couldn’t reach these because he was getting held back by his race. In the story Walter tried to do many things, but he could not because of his race. He always had dreams, and things that he wanted to do. Mama explains to us about his aspirations in life by saying “Yes, a fine man – just couldn’t never catch up with his dreams, that’s all.” (Hansberry 1.1.208) In the quote she talks about how he can’t catch up with his dreams. When she says this she is talking about the goals he wants to achieve are very difficult because he is African American.

Walter also wants to spend the money on a liquor store, this is a difficult goal because Mama does not want to own a liquor store at all. Walter thinks this is one of the only viable options for the family because they are African American. If they were a white family, they could have easily bought multiple other things for a cheaper price. Since Walter is super ambitious he wants many things and wants to live a good life, but he shows that this isn’t a good thing when he says “I want so many things that they are driving me kind of crazy…Mama – look at me.”(Hansberry 1.2.222) Walter explains to us that he wants to many things, but he can’t get them because he is treated differently. If Walter was white he would be able to get many of the things he wants. Segregation truly can ruin people’s goals and aspirations in life, as shown by Walter.

Walter’s race also affected his family’s opportunity for good housing. 

Walter’s Family bought a house in a white neighborhood, but the people there tried to make them leave. They were treated differently just because they weren’t white. For African Americans back then it was hard to find good houses for a reasonable price. This relates to today shown through “Study after study shows African-Americans in 2018 still lag far behind whites in home ownership, a key asset in building middle-class wealth.”( This shows that we aren’t as far away from segregation as some may think. We still experience it every day and we need to change that. The Youngers struggled to find a home, just like the majority of African American families today. When they look for a new home they know that they have to spend a lot of money, because African Americans were forced to spend more because they are treated differently.

Still in 2019 we see this “In fact, when African-Americans tried to buy homes in predominantly white neighborhoods, "property values rose because African-Americans were more willing to pay more [than whites]… simply because their housing supply was so restricted and they had so many fewer choices."( This quote shows that today we still see segregation happening. The quote talks about how African Americans have a restricted housing supply solely because of their race. The Play shows us this because African Americans weren’t supposed to buy houses in white neighborhoods, but the Youngers did and proved people wrong. As shown through these two quotes and through the play we see that race is affecting your ability to buy homes.  

All though we don’t see segregation happening a lot anymore, there is still some going on “behind the scenes”. In the play we see that they were experiencing first hand what segregation really did to people. We see that their housing, and job opportunities were mostly affected by segregation. We need to stop all segregation from happening so no more families go through what the Youngers did.



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