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Rock Street, San Francisco

Madeleise Ortiz
9/15/2018
Professor Baker

Have you ever judged a book by its cover? In the story… the main character feels judged by their appearance. The story about Uncle Jed’s Barbershop written by Mitchell, Margaree King is Uncle Jed’s Barbershop. The story talks about racism/ and prejudice. There are many examples of racism/prejudice woven throughout the story. One example is when the author talks about Uncle Jed being the only black barber that was willing to cut black people hair in the country. The author wrote, ” Daddy said that before Uncle Jed started cutting hair, he and Granddaddy used to have to go thirty miles to get a haircut” (pg.6). The reason why they had to do that was that there were no black barbers that would cut their hair because they were African American. Another example of racism/prejudice is on page 17 where it says ” It was midday when we got there. We had to go to the colored waiting room”. This shows the extent of segregation at the time. “In those days, they kept the blacks and the whites separate. It was called segregation.” During those times, they also had separate water fountains. Another example of racism that was brought out in the book was that the doctors didn’t even look at the black patients until they were finished helping out the white patients. (pg. 18). The doctors never knew the severity of the black patient’s condition until it might be too late. This was at best annoying, and at worst fatal.

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It is not fair that African Americans had to wait to get seen last by doctors who are there to help people get better. It does not matter what your skin color is if you or a child is sick, he or she hey should be seen right away because you don’t know what the problem is and it could be life-threatening. We are all humans and we deserve to be treated with respect no matter what your skin color is. If we get cut we all bleed the same color red so no matter what our skin color is we should be treated fairly because just like the golden rule says teat people the way you want to be treated, because you never know if one day that person will be the doctor that will end up treating you if you become sick or ill.

In conclusion the book of Uncle Jed’s Barbershop by Margaree King Mitchell she uses examples of racism and segregation effectively to Inform her readers about what segregation and racism was like during the 1920’s and how it impacted people’s lives, and that it doesn’t matter what your skin color is you should always treat people the way you want to be treated with respect and dignity. She also very effective when she was talking about how family life was affected due to the way people were treated, they didn’t have the nice houses with the white picket fence they had to live in run down all because of their skin color.
Mitchell choice of pictures was also was used very effective because it helped me follow along with what was going on in the story. For example when she was talking about the hospital she had a picture of what the hospitals looked like in those days they were small and crowded with a sign that said color only with an arrow pointing towards where the blacks were supposed to sit and then it shows the doctor just standing there not even making eye contact with Sarah Jean’s family.

The reason why Margaree King Mitchell decided to write this book about Uncle Jed’s Barbershop was that when her son Nelson was very young she would talk to him about his own history of being African American in the South and how they were treated back in the 1920’s. She was very surprised to see that there were no children’s books about this subject so she decided to write her own story about the subject of how racism/ and prejudice was in the south and how if you were a person of color you were not allowed to have a dream of succeeding or wanting to start something. The Whites thought that they were the only ones that could have the decent nine to five jobs and the nice house and be “very educated”, and all that the blacks were capable, and allowed to do was clean and take care of the animals and be ” very uneducated (in other words dumb and stupid) and live in shacks and run down places because they were poor. This book was released in 1993 and ever since then, it has won several awards. It is also being incorporated into the 3rd and 4th-grade curriculum as part of African American history.

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