In "The Artificial Nigger," what message is Flannery O’Connor trying to convey in the scene where Nelson "sees his first nigger"?
O’Connor shows here that the idea of race and the social implications linked to it are constructions of the mind, not facts based in nature. Nelson’s response to meeting an actual Black person also reveals the cartoonish way that Blacks were perceived and depicted by many Southern Whites. Nelson expects all African Americans to look the same, and to be poor. He does not expect them to be actual people with lives and experiences similar to his own. In other words, racism is taught and learned; it is not an ingrained...
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