Discrimination, case study of For Troy, living in 1957 where African American
Whether it be skin color or sexuality, discrimination exists and has been a large issue in society. Discrimination is clearly shown in “Fences”, and “The Laramie Project” in that it affects the way the main character or other behaves and or thinks. In “Fences” Troy’s experiences have been tainted by society’s views on African Americans, he wasn’t given the opportunity to move up in the world and follow through with his dreams. This is also a similar situation in “The Laramie Project” in which Matthew Shepard is also discriminated against, but in a more violent manner. Although these two pieces of text come from different times, the issue at hand is still the same.
For Troy, living in 1957 where African American are treated like second class citizens heavily affects him in regards to his job. Troy is a garbage man, he desires to move up to the position of driver, but when he approaches his boss, Mr. Rand, asking him if ” only white fellows got sense enough to drive a truck “(Fences, pg.2), Mr. Replies by telling him to “take it up wit the union”(Fences, pg.3). Although the situation was handled peacefully, Troy’s Friend Bono is worried at Troy could have gotten them fired from just requesting a promotion due to the fact of their skin color. Once he actually acquires this job, he ends up losing his relationship/connection with Bono, because Bono expressed a bit of jealousy that Troy was able to make it to this position, while the others were not. Troy now feels the urge to retire because he feels lonely having no one to talk to, if his friends were also offered a promotion, he wouldn’t be having such thoughts about retiring, but because of discrimination against them, he has no one. This is just one clear way that discrimination is displayed in “Fences”
In addition to Troy just being Discriminated against in his workplace, he was also passed over for a chance to be in the major leagues due to his race. Troy in the novel was described as an exceptional baseball player, Troy though was denied the chance to be an MLB player as he “came along too early”(Fences, pg.10), before the time that Jackie Robinson had changed the whole game of baseball for African Americans. Troy doesn’t think that it is fair that Jackie Robinson was able to become an MLB player as he “done seen a hundred niggers play baseball better than Jackie Robinson”(Fences, pg.10). He sees this as being unfair as he was forced to give up something he loved to do because he was a different race than the players that were allowed to move up in the sport. This affects Troy’s Life dramatically in that the stage directions after his rant about Jackie Robinson show him “taking a long drink from the bottle”(Fences, pg.10). He is drinking to forget about his dreams of making it into the MLB getting shattered. His death at the end of the book also relates to baseball in a way.
The Laramie Project is another piece of text which magnifies the issue of discrimination, but in terms of sexuality. This novel was explicitly written to bring light to the issue of homosexuality and how some people view it and discriminate against those who are homosexuals. The main character, Matthew Shepard, who was a homosexual young man was murdered in the town of Laramie all because of his sexual preference. Throughout the play characters interviewed say that Laramie is not this type of place where they discriminate against gays, but upon closer look and more interviews it became clear that Laramie was the type of place that many had not seen it for. The whole entire city actually was driven by the value of “Live and Let Live”, but this is actually proven wrong when one gay individual was actually interviewed in saying that “And it’s even in some of the western literature, you know live and let live. That is such crap. I tell my friends that —even my gay friends bring it up sometimes. I’m like, “That is crap, you know?” I mean, basically what it boils down to: If I don’t tell you I’m a fag, you won’t beat the crap out of me. I mean, what’s so great about that? That’s a great philosophy?”(Kaufman, 59). After Matthew Shepard’s death, the issue is brought to light and the whole nation is affected and informed on the way gays have been treated.
The play brings to light that even though we may see ourselves as moved on from this whole idea of discriminations against others, it will never be like that. Discrimination exists as a human flaw, one that can never be changed from everyone in the world. Although discrimination will never end, bringing light the situation will cause more people to be accepting and allow for a closer to equal treatment of others. Matthew Shepard’s death was one incident which was one of the first incidents that really caused major attention to the issue of discrimination of gays. Although it’s never to say someone died for a good reason, Matthew Shepard’s death has definitely greatly and positively impacted many communities.
Both of these plays bring great attention to the large problem known as discrimination and show us how we can avoid such issues. Whether it be discrimination based off of race, sexual preference, heredity, or any other form, it is not okay. We must advance into a society that is more aware of the different types of discrimination and one that advances to teach our next generation not to discriminate against anybody and that it’s not ok to do so. Of course as previously stated, discrimination is not something we can get rid of for good but we can do something about it to decrease the rate of discrimination not only in our nation, but worldwide.
Kaufman, Moisés. The Laramie Project. New York: Vintage, 2001. Print.
Wilson, August. Fences. Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and