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If We Must Die and Other Works on Historical Prejudice to People of Color

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Very often than not, different works of art have similar content. These related subjects may vary from political issues, historical injustices, and other critical matters at the time of composition, the poems chosen for this assignment are La Migra written by Pat Mora, Negro written by Langston Hughes, and If we must die written by Claude Mckay which all discuss a similar issue in society. Those being race, freedom, and courage. These are the most significant issues in the poems provided. A cultivated analysis of the relationship among these great poems are as follows in the analogy paragraphs below.

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Let’s begin with the poem La Migra which was written by author Pat Mora. This poem touches on to the challenges that people of color face in the United States. Critically, it is crucial to understand the background of the poet, as Pat was Mexican-American. She was born at a time when discrimination was at its peak in the nation. Furthermore, the poem employs symbolism in its most nature way to demonstrate the racial abuses and discrimination in the country during the time, for instance, the use of handcuffs and guns to show the power that American border patrol individuals have helpless Mexicans, who seek to find a better life across the border. In the text it states “I have handcuffs. Oh, and a gun.”(778 line 16-18) which implies the because of that there’s a certain type of control that they have on a immigrant woman. The poem is made up of two stanzas, both eighteen verses long, and the poet uses specific words that are used to portray the need for freedom and the dangers of being a refugee. It allows the reader to relate to the conditions being mentioned to by the author of the classical piece of the poem. Racial injustices such as abuse happen to Mexicans, and even to those who are not, they are scared, but they cannot do anything about what they are going through. The cruelty demonstrated by the border control agents pits American society against the Mexicans or illegal immigrants in general. The author succeeds in showing the racial injustice committed by border control agents throughout the American-Mexican border. In the second part of the poem its ironic, the story is kind of turned around to where the Mexican woman having her own power. Compared to the first part of the poem it is portrayed as a man or a boy for this matter. Where he has the control, “I can touch you wherever I want but don’t complain to much”(Line 12-14) This showing that the boy feels as if since he’s a male he has the upper hand. In the second part she expresses that her as a female she’s smarter and the story turns around.

Finally the next poem is Negro by author Langston Hughes is racial discrimination. Critically, the poem is written from a slave’s point of view, making the reader understand straight-on that the theme of the poem revolves around racial injustices to the Black-American community in the United States. However, the poet succeeded in making the point understandable by ensuring that it is neither metaphorically or technically rich. The use of simple words and less stylistic devices makes the poem accessible to individuals with various levels of education and understanding. A correlation between the darkness of night and the color of black individuals is drawn by the author, to signify the ignorance black individuals are associated with within the nation because of the color of their skin. Much like the Mexicans in La Migra, Hughes suggests that Africans do not have access to the American dream, and the most significant reason for this is the fact they have a different skin color. The white color is associated with purity and power, while the black color is the contrary. He argues that slavery stemmed from the mere difference in color.

“I have been a victim, Belgians cut off my hands in the Congo.” Hughes state to the fact that race has long been a driving factor in the world. Africans have fallen victim to many sad situations because of their color. However, the underlying message in the poem is the fact that all civilizations that have submitted Africans to cruelty because of their color have fallen, “Caeser told me to keep his door-steps clean.” In the third stanza, the author suggests that black individuals have been misused in the past without complaining, “under my hands the pyramids rose.” All in Hughes and Mora address the issue of racism. However, it is significant to understand that both authors take different approaches and employ different characters. Freedom as a theme also plays a critical role in the composition by both authors, demonstrating the need for oppressed individuals to be free and have self-determination.

The next poem is, “If we must die” by Claude McKay is a poem about oppression and political resistance. The matter of black-racism plays an intricate in the composition and wordplay by the poet, showing the need for individuals to resist this form of racism. Symbols are used by the author to drive the point home, with some of the most significant examples being the use of hogs and dogs. Hogs symbolize the condition that black individuals find themselves (McKay 1). Critically, it is worth noting that Hogs are dirty farm animals that are slaughtered for pork. The symbol is used to mean that black individuals are oppressed, and this form of oppression is beneficial to their oppressors. This resonates with the theme of racism in both La Migra and Negro. Though the poet does not address the black community directly, it is easy to allude to this fact because of the simile used in the poem. The choice of words shows that the author is addressing a minority in society.

In conclusion, authors McKay, Hughes, and Mora address similar issues in their poems. Critically, although the context might be different, the authors address matters relating to oppression and racism. Various stylistic devices are used to drive the point home by the authors. The poems were written in different periods but addressed almost similar matters relating to oppression and subsequent racism. Therefore, racism to the Black-American community and Mexicans is explored.

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