The Bluest Eye
Race Quotes Page 2
How we cite our quotes:
The line between colored and nigger was not always clear; subtle and telltale signs threatened to erode it, and the watch had to be constant. (2.5.14)
Geraldine teaches Junior how to examine other black people in order to separate the "good" ones from the "bad" ones. This method isn't foolproof, however.
Never did he once consider directing his hatred toward the hunters. Such an emotion would have destroyed him. They were big, white, armed men. He was small, black, helpless. His subconscious knew what his conscious mind did not guess – that hating them would have consumed him, burned him up like a piece of soft coal. (3.6.61)
Cholly is unable to hate the white men because hating them would have destroyed him, as they are socially and legally more powerful than him. Instead, he transfers his hate to the women in his life.
His mother did not like him to play with niggers. She had explained to him the difference between colored people and niggers. They were easily identifiable. Colored people were neat and quiet; niggers were dirty and loud. (2.5.14)
Geraldine internalizes, and teaches, a racial hierarchy.