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Word Count: 967
Racism or the belief that ones race is superior to anothers due to the possession of certain characteristics is a theme that is extremely prominent in American literature set in the 20th century Although our modern day society frowns upon open racism it is still subconsciously rooted in every person whether they realize it or not In Recitatif by Toni Morrison a short story about two orphans and their struggles with racism the author does not explicitly state the race of each character Instead Morrison addresses the common inclination of association of certain characteristics with each race by addressing the topics of prejudice racial awareness and social status Prejudice or the hatred of a group due to factors such as race or religion is a theme that was extremely prominent during the late 20th century Recitatif addresses the subject of racial prejudice Both Roberta and Twyla are raised with awareness of racism For instance Twyla dislikes the idea of rooming with Roberta who was of a different race because her mother told her that they never washed their hair and they smelled funny 1 Later during the Easter service Robertas mother coldly refuses to shake Twylas mothers hand who didnt say anything just grabbed Roberta with her Bible-free hand and stepped out of line3 The fact that their mothers who in the traditional sense of the term act as role models thought it was acceptable to expose their children to that kind of racism suggests that racism was not frowned upon at that time period A couple of years later when Twyla and Roberta are in their early 20s they meet again at Howard Johnsons Roberta acts coldly to Twyla but when during a meeting several years later Roberta acts warmly and when she was confronted about her behavior at Howard Johnsons she brushes it off by saying You know how it was in those days black-white You know how everything was9 suggesting that it
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