In addition to the basic premise that racism holds white men as inherently superior to blacks, the narrator presents the oppressed minority as a community whose constituents internalize and often propagate traditional racist notions. The novel shows a darker side of the black community, revealing sharp jealousy, racism based on skin color, mob mentality, and a desire to tear down their more successful peers. The most important aspect of race in this book, however, is that it attempts a holistic look at black southern culture. The novel highlights positive aspect of the culture, such as colorful storytelling, playful humor, and a love of fun. In contrast to the black characters, white characters tend to be cold, un-dynamic, and uninteresting.
In this novel, race based more strongly on shared culture than shared genetics. Janie resonates most strongly with black culture and therefore never doubts that she is black despite her heritage.