Langston Hughes: Poems

Comparison of “Harlem” and Toni Morrison’s “Sweetness” on Systemic Racism 12th Grade

From the first-person accounts during the abolitionist movement to the literary works during civil rights period and the contemporary times, African-American literature have extensively addressed social issues regarding race. Systemic racism, as one of them, is considered a spillover effect of Jim Crow policies influencing systemic practices, political and economic structures to place minority ethnic groups at a disadvantage. Systemic discrimination through history is apparent through disparities in regards to housing, criminal justice, wealth, employment, education, and healthcare. Institutionalized racism influence African-American writers to incorporate several tactics and subject matter in their works to handle its impact. They use black characters and promote African American traits and semantic to enrich the status of the race amidst the discriminatory climate. Langston Hughes’ Harlem and Toni Morrison’s Sweetness address the issues and limitations black people face due to institutional racism. Black writers have tackled systemic racism by identifying and challenging its impact in their works to promote progressive discourse, as institutionalized prejudice receives minimal public criticism.

In Harlem, Hughes addresses how...

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