Locke opens his essay with a contrast of the “old Negro” and the “New Negro” based more in rooted ideology than chronology. Is this, in your opinion, an accurate depiction?
The contrast given by Locke between the “old Negro” and the “New Negro” was ideological rather chronological is an accurate depiction. The writer has accurately explained that Old Negro has become a myth in today’s world as they were the creation of historical dilemma. The old Negro was the victim of learned helplessness as he was not aware how to shackle the walls around him, rather he accepted his fate. Even the Negro themselves have contributed to today’s’ social mimicry that was forced upon them and so they have learned to live by dependence. They have forgotten their real self and their self-concept was distorted to them. But now new Negro is contributing their share by having new social-understanding. Although, these days Negro is working to get self-respect still there is social discrimination. Now the new Negro is more interested to be known by his actual self rather by the stereotypes, his faults, or his histories.
How are the subjects of prejudice and discrimination explored in Larsen’s and McKay’s work?
Larsen’s and McKay’s have majorly focused on the Black and have discussed the subjects of prejudice and discrimination. They both have very beautifully explained the theme of their work and showed the innocence of black in a very positive sense. During the Harlem Renaissance, the free voices of children of slavery emerged, a number of poets and writers work on the psychological and societal aspects of racial injustice. The work of Larsen and McKay was a simple protest against racial injustice. Larsen’s works show that those who actually try to pin down the identity of Blacks they are actually showing their prejudice and their own assumptions towards race. McKay’s poem ‘If We Must Die’ was considered as one of the best of the genre that again was a great thing addressing racial discrimination and prejudice. Larsen’s and McKay’s work are an inspiration for the world as they beautifully address the issue.
Lock, A. Entering the New Negro. Survey Graphic vol. 3 (1925).
Tillary, T. Claude McKay: A Black Poet’s Struggle for Identity (1992).
Carby, H. Reconstructing Womanhood: The Emergence of the Afro-American Woman Novelist (1994).