CompLitEssay2 - As we walk down the street, others...

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predetermines our societal fate before we have a chance to intervene. The notion of race has pervaded society to an extent that most Americans allow it to take control without questioning its validity or the immeasurable damage it has caused. One way to investigate “race” is through the oppression that these rigidly defined groups have faced, often from outside groups. However, just as opponents of racial classification have noted the genetic variation within a single “race”, there is also persecution between members of these minority groups. In both Walter Mosley’s Walkin’ the Dog and John Okada’s No-No Boy , the characters Socrates and Freddy lie within group conditions that are made intolerable by both white society and internal conflicts within the group, and are incapable of escaping these conditions as a result of this unceasing hatred as well as the emotional damage it has caused. Socrates, the protagonist of Walkin’ the Dog , doesn’t merely face the disadvantages that come along with sorted into the “black” category of the United States. His status as an ex-con that has braved twenty-seven years in prison has pushed him farther down the socio-economic ladder and into the crime-ridden Los Angeles neighborhood of Watts. Mosley depicts Socrates’ journey from the neighborhood where he works that “seemed more like botanical gardens” to his own neighborhood with “cracked sidewalks where a choked palm tree could be found every mile or so” (WTD 77) with the intention of portraying something deeper about the intolerable conditions of lower-class blacks in Los Angeles (and other large cities). Just as the palm trees of Watts are choked, its inhabitants are struggling to survive amongst poverty and crime. Socrates, even without having disclosed his criminal history, is forced to make due with a salary under five dollars an hour and considers himself fortunate to live in a sheltered gap between two stores. This aspect of the intolerable conditions for lower-class blacks can be attributed to white
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CompLitEssay2 - As we walk down the street, others...

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