Richard has many different ideas on how to deal with racism. Throughout the entire first part of the book he makes many references as to what he believes could help the problem. Although the most frequent method he practiced to deal with racism was acceptance, Richard does not believe this is the best way to handle it. Richard believes that educating oneself about racism bests combats the problem. Through education, Richard thinks that people can more easily come to realize how severe the problem is. He believes that far too many people are simply accepting racism because they don’t know what it is like to live without it, and have no idea how to go about ridding themselves of the problem.
Richard feels that if both whites and blacks could know what it would be like without the institution of racism running many of the aspects of their daily lives, then both races would benefit from this knowledge and change the nature of many of their actions. The belief that people need to be educated about the subject is commonly supported throughout the text. Entering the seventh grade Richard first realizes that racism is never talked about seriously. He thinks to himself, “Nothing about the problems of Negroes was ever taught about in school; and whenever I would raise these questions with the boys, they would either remain silent or turn the subject into a joke. They were vocal about the petty individual wrongs they suffered, but they possessed no desire for a knowledge of the picture as a whole.” (Pg. 193).
... though there isn’t segregation anymore racism is still a problem. People are racist mainly against blacks. Like this ... it used to be. My solution to the problem of racism is very hard to do. It is ... have from the book that says racism was, and still is a problem is, “But around here ... ; . . . and steered us gently through the black people in the balcony. Four Negroes rose and gave us their ...
This shows how Richard is aware of the lack of education, and also brings to light his misunderstanding of why there was a lack of education. Richard believed at this time that the reason blacks were not educated about the subject and nothing was ever done was because of white authority. The truth was the reason lied much deeper into the human character, and originated equally, if not more, from action the blacks took (o didn’t take).
Many southern blacks at this time had no idea of what life without racism would be like (besides the ‘fairy tales’ of a non-racist northern society).
And because of most peoples’ natural desire to maintain traditions (and promote a static reality), even when changing traditions would prove beneficial far in excess of the costs of the change, the majority blacks themselves in the south took no real action to promote change. Richard believed that education would naturally be the ultimate catalyst of change in a society so deeply lacking in education.
Richards’ conclusions about how to combat racism are very clear and well thought out. He knows that although there are many different techniques to deal with racism, and because racism is embedded to such a deep magnitude, the only real way to make any progress is to educate both whites and blacks about the subject.