Ethnic Literature Paper

All I Want is Peace and Justice by Chief red Cloud, and The Negro Speaks of Rivers by Langston Hughes, are American literature books highlighting the concept of cultural discrimination in the United States of America.

Red cloud addresses ethnic discrimination and the suffering of the red Indians in the 1800’s. The red Indians were the original inhabitants of the United States as indicated by Red Cloud when he stays “…he gave us these lands, and you came here; we respected you as brothers” (Perkins and Perkins 53). We understand he is talking about the white people and how they related to the red Indians. When Red Clout, cites that “God almighty created you, but created you as white and dressed you; when He created us, he gave us red skins and made us poor” (Perkins and Perkins 54). The Negro speaks of rivers, on the other hand, is about slavery where by the victims were black Americans. The writer is a Negro who happens to be travelling home and comes across the River Mississippi which reminds him of the slave trade and the importance of the river in this context. The slaves typically operated along the rivers, they were transported through the river, and generally, worked around river sources since this is where most plantations were located.

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This is why Langston Hughes seems to have lived along the river for the rest of his life by stating “I have known rivers…. I bathed in.. I built my hut near the Congo…..

I looked upon the Nile raised the Pyramids….” (Hughes and Lewis 21) and so on. These two poems differ in a number of ways.

First, the writers hail from two different ethnic communities. Red Cloud is a Red Indian who claims that modern American people have taken away all their land and made them even poorer than they were before the invasion. He claims that they were being treated unfairly and being deceived into signing treaties that ultimately worked to their disadvantage because of their illiteracy. He believes God is being unfair to them by giving the white people all the advantages against the people of Red Indian ethnic origin (Perkins and Perkins 55). The Negro speaks of rivers is different from this in that it talks about slavery.

He tries to emphasize the fact that the slaves in the United States originated from the African regions, and they were transported to America through the rivers (Hughes and Lewis 23). This is why rivers are noteworthy to Hughes as a representative of the Negros. Besides the ethnicity of the main characters in both literatures, these two poems address the issue of ethnic discrimination from completely two different viewpoints. In the first case, we realized that the red Indians are discriminated against in a country that was originally theirs.

The whites found them in that country and owing to their ignorance they took away from them their land and all the property they owned. The writer describes his people as poor right from the beginning meaning that they had all the resources taken away from them, thus, they never made use of them. in the second poem, it is the Americans who brought in slaves from Africa and made them to labor in their farms. These slaves eventually became nationals of the United States, but they had to contend with racial discrimination for their entire lives. We cannot say that they were being discriminated against because they invaded other people’s country. In fact, they were forcefully brought into the country by the Americans who also settled in their lands back home. The qualities brought about in these two pieces portray the Americans as people who have been using their power and influence to treat other people unfairly. It brings about the fact that America has obtained all its wealth power by using the resources of the ignorant for their good.

This primarily involves human labor and farmland which they obtained from the red Indians in their countries and from the Africans brought in from Africa. People who worked in the farms and plantations were majorly the Africans and the red Indians. To make matters worse, they even took away land from the Africans in their own lands in the name of colonization. This land they used to grow raw materials that were transported latter on to the United States to be used in the industry. These two pieces also bring out the element that led to the development of the United States over and above the other nations of the world. Americans began exploiting the world long before the other communities even realized that there was something else beyond their borders.

That is when they discovered the present day United States which was home to the red Indians. These people were still living in the ancient times. The Americans took advantage of this, and tricked them into surrendering their land hence, assuming the role of servants. As if that was not enough, they went ahead and discovered that they could obtain more cheap labor from African, and that is when they established the slave trade. The pieces therefore, try to bring out the fact that American people have been influential for long and that they have been using their active brain capacities to attain the wealth that is being enjoyed by the American people to date.

Works cited

Hughes, Langston, and Earl B.

Lewis. The Negro Speaks of Rivers. New York, NY: Disney Jump at the Sun Books, 2009 Perkins, George B, and Barbara Perkins.

The American Tradition in Literature (12th Ed). New York, NY: McGraw Hill


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