I, Too, Sing America Race Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Line)
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"
Then. (lines 11-14)
So, when you're around other people, you're generally taught to be polite, right? (We hope so. Make your mothers proud.) In a society of equals, no one gets ordered around (well, maybe you do by your boss), and people generally try to avoid being rude to one another. Not so in a slave-master society, though – when you think of another race as property, all normal social graces go out the window. In this moment, the speaker is looking towards a world in which he is, in fact, considered equal, and therefore deserving of all the courtesies that anyone else would deserve. Including not being ordered away.
They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed – (liens 16-17)
Similar to the last quote, this segment relies on the "foot in mouth" syndrome – you know, the kind you get when you say something like, "Boy, only a moron would like Skittles" and your best friend looks at you and goes, "Uh, I like Skittles." Whoops. You misjudged. Here, the people who enslaved the speaker in the first place will realize what a terrible mistake they made. And they'll feel really bad about it. (Turns out, Hughes was right.)
I, too, am America. (line 18)
In this final reprise of the title and first line, the speaker reiterates that he, too, is part of the American family. That is to say, that all races are created equal, and that it takes more than one kind of person to make up the country that we live in. Importantly, that means that no one group of people should be enslaved or oppressed by another group of people. The term "America" is often associated with "freedom"…but we'll get to that in a minute.