5. Write about the incident with the hitchhiker. What is strange about Vladek’s comments about the African-American hitchhiker?

maus II chapter 3

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Vladeks' comments are completely racist, something most people would find strange coming from a Holocaust survivor.

"In the car on the way back from the store, Vladek tells his son that he exchanged letters with the Frenchman for years, but burned them along with Anja's diaries. Francoise stops the car to pick up a hitchhiker, an African-American. Vladek is furious and mumbles to himself in Polish. When the hitchhiker is let out, Vladek screams at Francoise about letting a "schvartser" into the car who might have stolen their groceries. His prejudice originates from his first few days in New York after the war; he says that blacks would steal his belongings if he left them unattended."

"Also of note in this chapter is the fact that Vladek, the victim of perhaps the most horrendous application of mass racism in the history of civilization, is himself a racist, as evidenced by his reaction to picking up a black hitchhiker. His feelings towards African-Americans are the result of his experiences during his first few days in New York City; he felt that they were always trying to steal his valuables. From this, Vladek has judged an entire race of people in much the same way that the Jews were condemned during the Holocaust (albeit on a much smaller and less violent scale)."