Teaching Dance to Underprivileged Kids Essay

1042 Words May 3rd, 2011 5 Pages
Teaching Dance to Underprivileged Kids

Once prejudices enter the human mind they are not likely to leave it again. In the short story “Teaching Dance to Underprivileged Kids” the main character Carrie Lerner is a good example of this. She cannot let go of her prejudices against black people and this leads to an irrational fear of them. The short story takes place at a dance institute in Newark, a city in the state of New Jersey. Newark is described by the narrator, Carrie Lerner, as a city of poor and underprivileged people. Most of the students at the dance institute are black and they are also described as underprivileged. Carrie Lerner is 22 years old and has just graduated from a big and prestigious women’s college, known as
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She is also afraid that what her black students see in her isn’t her, but merely someone white. When Andy and Carrie, during the third week, drive to the beach Andy tries to kiss Carrie, but she is dismissive of Andy. Andy asks if it has anything to do with him being black. She denies it and kisses him on the cheek, but he doesn’t to believe what she says. It says in the text that, “As he (Andy) pulled away, an image of Lorraine’s pale blond hair appeared before me, but I wasn’t sure if it was her face I saw beneath it or my own” (p. 4 ll. 191-121). This would indicate that Carrie discovers a similarity between herself and Lorraine in her attitude towards Andy and black people in general. Seeing Lorraine disgusted by her being together with Andy, has made her consider the consequences of starting a relationship with a black man. But why is Carrie so affected by Lorraine’s judging and disgusted look? It is very likely that the reason for this is that Lorraine is an embodiment of the white “proper” society and its prejudices against black people. So when Carrie obviously is afraid of getting involved with Andy this is because of the prejudices that exist in white society in which she is brought up. She is simply a product of the prejudiced white society and she can’t let go of her “dislike” of Negroes. Furthermore she is worried about the reputation she would get if she was together with a black man and that is also why the relationship

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