Secret Life Of Bees Racism Analysis

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Racism in The Secret Life of Bees In Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees, racism is portrayed in different ways from a diverse range of characters. Lily discovers she herself is racist toward blacks. June discriminates against Lily in what is called reverse racism. The churches, although supposed to be excepting of everyone, discriminate against African Americans. Racism is pervasive, as shown through even the least expected characters in The Secret Life of Bees. In the beginning of the book, Lily does not consider herself a racist at all. However, when she arrives at the Boatwright’s house, she finds herself surprised that blacks could be smart; she realizes she had a bit of racism in herself. She thinks shortly after meeting August, “…August is so intelligent, so cultured, and I was surprised by this. That’s what let me know I had some prejudice buried inside me” (Kidd 78). Even Lily realizes she is racist and is genuinely surprised by this. She struggles with, and in the end, finally overcomes, her racist self. Furthermore, Lily realizes she is racist when she is surprised that Zach is handsome and that she could be attracted to blacks. She also is surprised Zach wants to be a lawyer when he grows up rather than an athlete like Lily thinks. Even though she does not think it at first, this shows that…show more content…
Later, she reveals to August that she doesn’t like Lily because she is white – this is an example of reverse racism, where the minority discriminates upon the majority. Lily is surprised that June could look down upon Lily because she is white. She protests to August about Lily, “But she’s white, August.” (87). Lily thinks right after, “I hadn’t known this was possible – to reject people for being white.” (87). June’s racism is unexpected and especially odd. This shows that not only do white discriminate towards blacks, but blacks will also discriminate towards
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