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The reasonable man adapts to the world around him The unreasonable man expects the world to adapt to him Therefore all progress is made by unreasonable men -George Bernard Shaw The book Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man by James Weldon Johnson is the tale of a black man who decides to pass for white It was released anonymously in 1912 then reissued in 1930 fully acknowledging the authors identity The first edition had been assumed to be an actual nonfiction narrative by its author and many were understandably surprised when it was realized to be a work of fiction This was one thing which pleased Mr Johnson because he had intended to write in such a manner that his fiction would be taken for truth and thus open the eyes of America to the social situation in its midst that being the racism and mistreatment of blacks and how racism functions in our lives It served as social commentary but not any particular judgment or call to change There are many angles from which to view this book and I would like to touch on a few of them To examine them from a white mono-racial point of view may seem inadequate and draw criticism What do I know about being black or passing Would some people disregard anything I might have to say because I could not possibly have sympathy for or empathy with the black in America It was once mentioned to me that I really had no need to know what it is like to be black because I ruled the country I recognize that as an opinion that exists in the world possibly even a valid opinion However I believe it is important to understand our fellow man and I reject the notion that one must be some thing in order to understand that thing or that one must experience some thing in order to feel that experience in a
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